Nakia and the Blues Grifters – Before he was on “The Voice,” Nakia was a Blues Grifter. Named for the age-old concept of
stealing from the greats, the Blues Grifters formed in 2010. The band quickly became a hit on the
club circuit in Austin performing at the legendary “Home of the Blues,” Antone’s Nightclub, and the
South Austin hot spot, C-Boy’s Heart & Soul and began recording its first album. A video of Nakia’s
full-throated, soulful performances found its way to television producer Mark Burnett who insisted
on recruiting Nakia for a new show. Reluctant but hopeful, Nakia put the band, and the album on
pause to go to Hollywood.
On the first season of “The Voice,” Nakia immediately became a fan favorite before finishing as a
semifinalist. More than 14 million viewers tuned in each week to witness Nakia wowing the show’s
four celebrity coaches with his electric stage presence and using his gritty voice to make Top 40
songs his own.
Using the momentum from the whirlwind of reality TV, Nakia focused on writing songs for a new EP
and subsequent tour, still leaving the band on hold. Nakia knew it was time to call up the Blues
Grifters again when he was invited to appear on the ALL ATX compilation album in 2016. Together,
they transformed The Allman Brothers Band’s “Whipping Post” from a prog-rocking guitar dirge
into a lowdown gritty sax-infused soul jam that culminates in a double time frenzy. Renewed from
that studio experience, Nakia was ready to finish the album he started almost a decade ago with
his long-time collaborator and fellow Grifter, Mac McNabb.
“I started the band as a way for me to cut loose and get lost in the blues, so I wanted this album to
be a homage to the great blues artists who inspired me,” Nakia recalls, “but ‘The Voice’ happened
and I couldn’t reach the finish line on the record. Once Mac and I got back together and listened to
the tapes, we committed to finish the album. We cut these songs using old ribbon mics, analog
gear and tape machines. Many of the songs recorded live, all in the room together. Real live blues
— the way it was meant to be.”
After all this time, “Blues Grifter,” is finished featuring songs by blues and soul greats Otis Rush,
William Bell, Johnnie Taylor, Howlin’ Wolf, Luther “Snakeboy” Johnson and more. Nakia will
celebrate the release with a free in-store performance at Waterloo Records Friday, August followed
by album release parties in Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio with more cities to be announced.
Nakia will donate a portion of all “Blues Grifter” album proceeds to The Clifford Antone Foundation,
a 501(c)(3) non-profit in Austin, Texas dedicated to preserving blues music culture and community
by caring for our elders and investing in our youth.
Underhill Family Orchestra open the show at 9:30
The Underhill Family Orchestra, native to the Alabama delta, has been described as “outright anthemic” taking their compositions to “idyllic places” that make you want to “paint your face, forget your age, and kiss a stranger.” With “the bare knuckled nature” of their sound and their command of the “intricate, melancholy and densely literate” themes in the songs they create, they invoke a “sense of riot” with their arm-swingin, foot-stomping, Appalachia-inspired sound that makes effort to “infuse sheer pop catchiness into the rootsier, grittier elements” made up of sultry and soulful 4-part vocal arrangements and a unique take on the southern sound for which Alabama is known. Their NEW album, Tell Me That You Love Me, is available for streaming and download on ALL major platforms.
Donovan Keith –
The man that never stops moving. First known as the frontman of Soul Track Mind, the band he started in 2008, Donovan Keith embodies the ideals of both stunning vocal ability and infectiously frenetic showmanship. The mystery has yet to be solved: How can a mild-mannered ginger sing AND dance like that?
A native Midwesterner, Donovan chose Austin, Texas, to cultivate his music dreams and moved across the country with no job, friends, or family to receive him and no experience in leading the band he was about to form. Soul Track Mind grew into an outlet for Donovan’s love of soul and R&B music and gave him the perfect vehicle for his first years of development as a songwriter and performer.
From 2008 to 2016, STM was eagerly embraced by the Austin music scene and expanded like a blast wave throughout Texas and the South, out to both coasts, and all the way back to the northerly states of his youth. Donovan’s one-of-a-kind, dance-infused stage show became beloved by fans and acknowledged by reviewers across the country, earning kudos from the likes of Performer Magazine which declared, “Aside from showcasing an impressive vocal range and blues-soaked sound, Keith can engage an audience with his unbridled enthusiasm and dance moves.” Successes for Donovan with STM included winning the Music Prize (lamusicprize.com) in 2014; performing by special invitation at the 2015 Texas Governor’s Inaugural Ball; sharing bills with Enrique Iglesias, David Crosby, Erykah Badu, and other top talents; and five years closing out the Viva Big Bend Festival in Alpine, Texas, to which Donovan will return in 2018.
A shift was underway with STM’s third album, Unbreakable (2014), on which Donovan began to assert his creative presence with more complex lyrics and themes closer to his heart and experiences. The album served as Donovan’s catharsis from a dark night of the soul and also as the impetus to launch the next era of his career.
Now this red-haired, soul-singing dynamo has a brand-new project all his own. Combining the voice and moves that fans have grown to crave with fresh new songs and piano skills you never knew he had, Donovan Keith is inviting you along for his next (r)evolution.
SOLD OUT! REGISTRATION HAS CLOSED!
MID MAIN MICRO MARATHON to benefit Barrio Dogs
Sunday, September 30, 2018 Noon to 3pm.
Take the Run out of Running!
Lace up your sneakers or slip on the flip flops – we’ve finally found a Marathon for everyone! We’ve taken the “run” out of running and left little more than the start and finish. Going a full 0.26 miles can be hard on the system, so we’re building some rest stops (for fried pickles, coffee and more) to fuel you up as you make your way around the MidMain complex.
Finishers along with family and friends will be treated to cold beer and hot music in the back yard of the Continental Club. Allen Oldies Band will be on hand for the festivities.
Entry fee is $25. You’ll get a sweet race day t-shirt, a car decal for your 0.26 mile effort, a cold one from Oasis Brewing Co. (if you’re over 21) and a raffle ticket!
Youth entry fee (10 and under) is $15 (link available on ticketlagoon.com), and will receive a smaller sweet race day t-shirt. Four-legged racers are welcome, too.
Additional raffle tickets will be available for purchase on site. Prizes will be donated by local merchants.
Plenty more surprises and fun in store! We welcome teams, costumes, whatever you got….
Race day check-in begins at noon, and the starting tuba sounds at 1:00pm. All the restaurants and shops on MidMain will be open all day.
Proceeds from the event will benefit Barrio Dogs. Barrio Dogs has been working in Houston’s Greater East End since 2010 with the mission of raising awareness about proper animal care and the importance of spaying and neutering pets. We are thrilled to be working with such a great group! Learn more about them at www.barriodogs.org
PICTURE BOOK celebrates the music of the British Invasion with a vast repertoire of songs by The Who, The Beatles, The Kinks, The Rolling Stones, and many more classic groups from the 60’s and early 70’s. PICTURE BOOK is equally adept at playing American Rock & Roll by the likes of ZZ Top, Creedence Clearwater Revival.