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Sunday, July 13 • 8:30pm - 9:30pm
Johnny Nicholas

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Raised in Rhode Island, during the '60s, Johnny Nicholas began early, singing and playing guitar in R&B bands, including his own The Vikings. He played in blues clubs throughout the Midwest, gaining acceptance and a small but dedicated following. In the mid-'60s he heard Howlin’ Wolf live and the experience turned him more firmly towards the blues. He formed a new group, the Black Cat Blues Band, with guitarist Duke Robillard, drummer Fran Christina, harmonica player Steve Nardella and others. He and Nardella later formed the Boogie Brothers, working mainly in Michigan. Nicholas was then with Commander Cody And His Lost Planet Airmen for a while before forming the Rhythm Rockers in the early '70s. This band included bass player and songwriter Sarah Brown, drummer Terry Bingham, guitarist Ronnie Earland, and saxophonist and RBC Bluesfest "House Horns" leader Mark ‘Kaz’ Kazanoff of the Texas Horns. By the end of the decade Nicholas had settled in Texas where he played in various bands and showed himself to be adept in several genres apart from the blues, including Cajun music and western swing. 

Among leaders and bands with whom Nicholas played in Texas were Asleep At The Wheel and the great Link Davis. He also worked in Chicago with harmonica player Big Walter Horton and slide guitarist Johnny Shines.Nicholas spent most of the '80s working outside music, but during the 90s he re-emerged as a band leader. Playing contemporary blues with fervent enthusiasm, Nicholas also plays piano. His understandable decision to spend a part of his life with his family rather than fully embrace the potentially disruptive lifestyle of the touring musician has kept him from the widespread attention his skilful playing deserves. But those who have caught him perform live will attest to his brilliance - come see for yourself at this year's RBC Bluesfest. 

Sunday July 13, 2014 8:30pm - 9:30pm EDT
Black Sheep Stage

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