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Carolina Blues Festival announces lineup for May 15 event
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Carolina Blues Festival announces lineup for May 15 event

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Darryl Johnson

Darryl Johnson, who started out with The Original Drifters and later worked with the likes of The Neville Brothers and Bob Dylan, will perform at the May 15 Carolina Blues Festival in downtown Greensboro.

GREENSBORO — Next month’s Carolina Blues Festival includes acts from near and far.

Blues legend Johnny Rawls from Mississippi and Darryl Johnson from Detroit join N.C. acts The Phoebes and Roy Roberts, along with Brendan Hinch, a 14-year-old Grimsley High School student and junior bluesmen who won a Piedmont Blues Preservation Society contest, the preservation society announced Tuesday.

The festival’s theme this year is “Carolina Soul.”

“Carolina Soul is a reminder of who we are as Carolinians and that the soul of a people united are at the center of everything we do,” Atiba Berkley, president of the Piedmont Blues Preservation Society, said in an announcement.

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The one-day festival, which went virtual in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, will return live to LeBauer Park on May 15.

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The festival will be limited to 500 people attending in person to meet the state’s capacity limitations due to the pandemic. Masks will be required.

Here’s who is scheduled to perform:

Johnny Rawls of Purvis, Mississippi, is an internationally recognized recording artist, music producer and songwriter whose career has spanned more than 50 years, according to Piedmont Blues Preservation Society. Among his many awards are Soul Blues Album of the Year and Soul Blues Artist of the Year.

Roy Roberts of Greensboro started his long music career at age 14. He has toured with such greats as Eddie Floyd, “Little” Stevie Wonder, Dee Clark, and Otis Redding, with his band, The Roy Roberts Experience, according to the Piedmont Blues Preservation Society. Roberts also released multiple country records and a gospel record, along with producing records by regional gospel artists.

The Phoebes from Research Triangle Park are one of the newest bands in the Southeast. The group gained attention after their cover of Kingfish’s 2019 Grammy-nominated version of the classic, “Hey Joe,” according to the Piedmont Blues Preservation Society.

Darryl Johnson, a Marshville, N.C., native now living in Detroit started with The Original Drifters but also played with The Neville Brothers and Bob Dylan, according to the Piedmont Blues Preservation Society. He is a bass player, singer, songwriter, composer, and producer whose credits include songs in film and TV.

Brendan Hinch, a 14-year-old student at Grimsley High School, has a four-piece blues band. He was one of the junior bluesmen who won a Piedmont Blues Preservation Society contest, the organization said.

Find more information at piedmontblues.org.

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