Launched in 1999, the Mohican Blues Festival has raised its profile from local band showcase to regional attraction of note. The fifth edition -- there wasn't one in 2001 -- features national talent atop the card and a considerably diverse look at the contemporary blues spectrum.
Returning to the Mohican, this time as headliner, is guitar-wiz Joe Bonamassa. No doubt the multi-influenced upstate New Yorker, as much a rock-bound singer-songwriter as a new-breed blues raver, will showcase material from his forthcoming Had to Cry Today, due out just days after this show. Bonamassa won't be the only certified guitar hotshot to hit the stage; Toronto-born blues/R&B rocker Anthony Gomes precedes him. Now based in Nashville, Gomes has garnered enthusiastic blues press based on his three releases. Also arriving just ahead of his new disc will be deep-voiced New Orleans guitarist-vocalist Mem Shannon. Ohio guitarist Mike Lenz and his band can be expected to serve up originals drawing heavily upon traditional Delta, Piedmont, and the more primitive Chicago blues strains. Regional acts Josh Boyd, Bluemoon Express, Black Cat Monroe, and the Sam Getz Band fill out the bill.