Hall of fame bluesman to play at Three Rivers

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WALLA WALLA ­— The name sounds familiar, but you just can’t seem to put a face with it. Maybe that’s because not much shows between the brim of his fedora and his copious beard. The phrase “Legendary Performer” is loosely thrown about much too often, but in the case of Jimmy Lloyd Rea, history backs up the brag. JLR is a Blues Hall of Fame celebrity and is respected by blues fans and players worldwide.

If you go

You can experience the legend for yourself on July 5 at Three Rivers Winery. Music begins at 6:30. Lawn seating in this beautiful setting is only $5. Reserved seating on the deck is $30 for a table for four and $40 for a table for six. Deck seating is limited. West Of The Blues catering truck will be on site. For reservations and information, phone 509.526.9463.

You can experience the legend for yourself on July 5 at Three Rivers Winery, 5641 U.S. Highway 12. Music begins at 6:30 p.m. Lawn seating is $5.

Reserved seating on the deck is $30 for a table for four and $40 for a table for six. Deck seating is limited. The West Of The Blues catering truck will be on site. For reservations and information, call 509-526-9463.

At age 9 Rea started playing bass and hasn’t stopped. At 15 he started his first band, The Perils. During high school he played with Paul Revere of Paul Revere & The Raiders.

His early years touring and playing with many blues greats shaped his drive and passion to keep that kind of blues music alive.

He spent the early years listening to a long list of great musicians talk about life and music. During that time he said, “I just shut up and listened.”

In 1973 he joined Canned Heat, where he met and played with some of the world’s greatest blues artists, according to his website. The music being played during those years had more emotion than he had ever heard.

Then, after years of living with a freestyle, grooving, fiery blues lurking in his heart, mind and soul, he finally met the right musicians to start Jimmy Lloyd Rea & The Switchmasters.

The band is named after his father’s Gibson Switchmaster guitar.

In 1981 at Blues Hat Studio in Walla Walla, Rea first recorded his new band with Vince Hozier, famed member of the Sunrays, on lead guitar.

During the coming years JLR & the SwitchMasters recorded some of the best original power blues which are included in his latest amazing 2 CD set “American Boogie Man.”

JLR’s band, The Switchmasters, have been playing together for more than 25 years, and personify the expression “tight.” Band member “The Rev. Danny G” is Walla Walla’s own rockin’ guitarist and Blazing Guitars owner Dan Goodall. Baker City master guitarist Ron Karnes and gifted drummer Tim Erikson round out the band.

Not only is Rea a member of The Official Blues Hall Of Fame, but also now holds a director position at the Hall of Fame. He has also been elected to the Hall Of Fame of several Blues Societies across the nation.

He has played his brand of blues all over the world for more than 46 years and has played with the best of the best including BB, Albert and Freddie King, Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Big Walter Horton, Pete Karnes, Otis Rush, John Lee Hooker and many more. In October 1976, John Lee Hooker dubbed Jimmy the “New Boogieman.”

Now confined to a wheelchair, Rea’s spirit will not be caged. Soft spoken, without a trace of bitterness, he continues to crank out his personal brand of the Blues with the same amazing energy that brought him to prominence. That’s just the way he rolls.

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