Keb' Mo' to Headline Opening Night, July 2, of 2009 Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival -- Etta James Cancels West Coast Tour due to Illness

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The 2009 Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival is pleased to announce that Grammy Award-winning bluesman Keb' Mo' will headline opening night, Thursday, July 2, of the 2009 Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival, presented by First Tech Credit Union. He will replace Etta James, who has canceled her entire West Coast tour due to illness.

The 2009 Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival is pleased to announce that Grammy Award-winning bluesman Keb' Mo' will headline opening night, Thursday, July 2, of the 2009 Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival, presented by First Tech Credit Union. He will replace Etta James, who has canceled her entire West Coast tour due to illness.

"Keb' Mo' packed the festival bowl and was a huge hit when he headlined the Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival in 2004," said Peter Dammann, talent coordinator. "We're fortunate to welcome this extraordinary talent back to the 2009 festival."

Singer-songwriter and guitarist Keb' Mo is the winner of three Grammy Awards for Best Contemporary Blues Albums: 2005 for "Keep it Simple," 1999 for "Slow Down," and 1997 for "Just Like You." And in 2006, he received a Grammy Award Nomination for Best Country Song of the Year for "I Hope." In addition, Keb' Mo' is recipient of multiple W.C. Handy Awards and has received a Gold Record for "Keb' Mo'." He released his most recent album, "Suitcase," in 2008.

Born in South Los Angeles to parents from the deep South, Keb' Mo's music is a living link to the seminal Delta blues while expressing the post-modern artistic journey that has transformed the blues over time. His distinctive sound embraces multiple eras and genres; the common bond is "the power of song to convey human experience and emotional weight."

Keb' Mo's unvarnished vocals have been described as "bell-like in clarity through frank delivery and emotional constancy" and "his acoustic slide guitar mastery ring just as true."

The Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival runs Thursday, July 2, through Sunday, July 5. Music begins at 3 p.m. on July 2 and at noon on July 3, 4 and 5. Keb' Mo' will perform on the Miller South Stage, Thursday, July 2, at 9 p.m. First Tech Credit Union will present his performance.

The festival includes more than 100 stellar performances on four stages including Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Ryan Shaw, Johnny Winter, Magic Slim and the Teardrops, Sonny Landreth, Robben Ford, Rick Estrin and the Nightcats, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe ... and more, plus workshops, Delta Music Experience Blues Cruises on the Willamette River, activities for kids, Louisiana Pavilion, after-hour events, Wildhorse Resort and Casino Super Jams at the Marriott Hotel and Wildhorse Resort and Casino Fireworks on July 4.

Entry is a suggested donation of $10 plus two cans of food. In addition, the festival offers optional four-day passes are available with special benefits. For details, visit http://www.waterfrontbluesfest.com.

Now in its 22nd year, the Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival is the largest blues festival west of the Mississippi and the second-largest blues festival in the nation. The festival annually attracts more than 100,000 blues fans from throughout the world and has been selected as one of the 15 Greatest Outdoor Music Festivals in North America by Outside magazine. For more information, visit http://www.waterfrontbluesfest.com.

About Oregon Food Bank: Oregon Food Bank is a nonprofit, charitable organization. It is the hub of a the Oregon Food Bank Network, a statewide network of 20 regional food banks and 915 hunger-relief agencies serving Oregon and Clark County, Wash.

About festival sponsors: The Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival is presented by First Tech Credit Union.

Major sponsors include FedEx Corporation, iQ Credit Union, The Oregonian A&E, KINK.fm, Good Neighbor Pharmacy, Wildhorse Resort and Casino, and Travel Portland.

Supporting sponsors include Mission Foods, Deschutes Brewery, Henry's, Beringer Wine, Snapple, Earth2o Water, Pepsi, Frito Lay Snacks, Yoshida Sauce, Dave's Killer Bread, Eggland's Best, Dreyer's Ice Cream, Burt's Bees, NW Natural, The Boeing Company, PacificSource Health Plans, OregonLive.com, Blues Revue, Music Millennium, True Tone Audio, Karolyn March, Lions Foundation, Cascade Blues Association, Oregon State Fair, Winthrop Music Association, Oregon Potters Association, Cascade Zydeco Association, Delta Music Experience, University Place Hotel, Marriott Hotel, RiverPlace Hotel, Hotel Fifty, travelportland.com.

Note to reporters and editors: Coincidentally, Sonny Landreth, who will perform at the 2009 festival on Friday, July 3, was on the same lineup with Keb' Mo' in 2004.

A Blues Blog, music samples by festival artists on our Jukebox, video links and downloadable, high-resolution photos are available at http://www.waterfrontbluesfest.com.

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