PUTNEY, VT—5/17/2022—The Next Stage Bandwagon Summer Series presents a twin bill pairing Marquise Knox and Seth Walker.
“Marquise Knox is a featured artist at this summer’s Burlington Jazz Fest, and we’re thrilled to present him in Windham County in collaboration with the festival,” says Keith Marks, Executive Director of Next Stage Arts. “The twin bill pairing Knox and Seth Walker is a double dose of deep blues, roots, and rhythm.”
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Marquise Knox hails from a musical family deeply rooted in the Blues. He learned to play guitar from his grandmother Lillie, and also played with his uncle Clifford, who was a major influence in Marquise’s life. For Marquise, Blues is his heritage and a way of life. He spent his early teenage years in St. Louis mentoring under the late great Blues legend, NEA Heritage Fellowship recipient, and Grammy Award winner Henry James Townsend. Marquise’s talents have earned him performing rights with some of America’s most notable blues performers, including blues legends B.B. King, Pinetop Perkins, and David “Honeyboy” Edwards (the latter two also NEA Heritage Fellows). He has performed at dozens of festivals, and toured throughout Europe.
During a visit to Clarksdale, Mississippi, Marquise was introduced to Sam Lay. Like many other statesmen of the Blues, Sam took an immediate liking to Marquise, and took it upon himself to help boost Marquise’s career by insisting that Chad Kassem book him on the celebrated Blues series “Bluesmasters at the Crossroads,” which over the years has showcased a virtual Who’s-Who of the Blues at Blue Heaven Studios in Salina, Kansas. Marquise was a crowd favorite, and was adopted by all of the elders of the Blues in attendance that year. His evident talent, along with his deep knowledge of the Blues and vast respect for his elders, made it clear that Marquise had something special, and Kassem signed him to a three-album deal.
Knox’s debut album MANCHILD was nominated for a Blues Music Award for Best New Artist Debut. The album was recorded when he was 16, with world-renowned guitarist Michael Burks and his band. The release received worldwide acclaim, receiving a Living Blues’ Best Debut Artist Award and a Blues Music Award nomination for Best Debut Artist. Marquise subsequently recorded a direct-to-disc album while in town for the next year’s Crossroads. His second album, Here I Am, was once again recorded at the legendary Blue Heaven Studios in Salina, Kansas. It features Marquise and his band, with a little help from Wayne Sharp of Michael Burk’s band sitting in on B-3 and piano. The tracks include nine originals and three reverent covers of Marquise’s favorite Muddy Waters tunes.
Seth Walker is often cited as one of the most prolific contemporary Americana artists on the scene today. He’s a multi-dimensional talent who combines a gift for melody and lyric alongside a rich, Gospel-drenched, Southern-inflected voice with a true blue knack for getting around on the guitar. His new studio album, I Hope I Know, produced by Jano Rix of The Wood Brothers, and a string of singles, including “We Got This,” “Spirits Moving” and a cover of Van Morrison’s classic “Warm Love” further build upon this reputation.
In 2021, Walker added published author to his oeuvre with his first memoir, ‘Your Van Is On Fire.’ A riotous and charming melange of a touring musician’s life, the book is comprised of many short essays, poems and paintings he’d accumulated over a near 30-year career. Written during the pandemic lockdown, Walker offers a first hand account of an artist in perpetual motion who’s dedicated his life to chasing the muse wherever it may lead.
Growing up on a commune in rural North Carolina, the son of classically trained musicians, Seth Walker played cello long before discovering the guitar in his 20s. When his introduction to the blues came via his Uncle Landon Walker, who was both a musician and disc jockey, his fate was forever sealed. Instantaneously, Seth was looking to artists like T-Bone Walker, Snooks Eaglin, and B.B. King as a wellspring of endless inspiration. The rest is history. He’s released ten albums, broken into the Top 20 of the Americana Radio Charts, reached No. 2 on the Billboard Blues Album Chart and received praise from NPR, American Songwriter, No Depression and Relix, among others.
In addition to extensive recording and songwriting pursuits, Seth is consistently touring and performing at venues and festivals around the world. Along with headline shows, he’s been invited to open for The Mavericks, The Wood Brothers, Raul Malo, Paul Thorn and Ruthie Foster, among others.
Seth Walker is currently based in Asheville, NC after previously residing in Austin, New Orleans and Nashville. He’s used those experiences wisely, soaking up the sounds and absorbing the musical lineage of these varied places. With a bluesman’s respect for roots and tradition, coupled with an appreciation for—and successful melding of—contemporary songwriting, Seth sublimely incorporates a range of styles with warmth and grace. Perhaps Country Standard Time said it best: “If you subscribe to the Big Tent theory of Americana, then Seth Walker –with his blend of blues, gospel, pop, R&B, rock, and a dash country—just might be your poster boy.”
The Bandwagon Summer Series is a family-friendly outdoor cultural performance series running from early May through mid-October. More than 20 performances ranging from a diverse group of musical styles, circus arts, dance, and theater will take place at ballfields, farms, and parks throughout Windham County. Kids under 12 always get in for free, and a dedicated play area will be available at all shows. Refreshments are sold onsite.
Support for the Bandwagon Summer Series is provided by VTDigger, the Brattleboro Reformer, Oak Meadow, Whetstone Craft Beers, Barr Hill, Mad River Distillers, The Porch Café & Catering, and Halyard Brewing Co.
Next Stage serves southeastern Vermont as a regional cultural hub, arts producer, and instigator of meaningful cultural experiences. Founded in 2010 as a nonprofit organization, Next Stage Arts is a transformative, community-centered project dedicated to revitalizing Putney’s cultural and economic village center through excellence in arts programming valuing diversity as a springboard for nurturing community.
For more information and updates please go to: nextstagearts.org