SLO Blues Society welcomes Valerie Johnson, Al B. Blue, Karen Tyler and more! Ten Show Summer Series to Highlight the Arroyo Grande Centennial and the last 100 Years of Music


The Arroyo Grande Village Summer Concert Series kicks off on Sunday, June 12th, with a history of the blues show. This Summer's Series will feature an historical theme in keeping with the Arroyo Grande Centennial Celebration and will feature a different decade of music and culture from the past 100 years. Join your friends at 1:00pm at the Rotary Bandstand in the Arroyo Grande Village to enjoy these charming historical shows. This free Series is presented by the Arroyo Grande Village Improvement Association and the City of Arroyo Grande Recreation & Maintenance Services Department. Rabobank again joins these organizations as the Featured Series Sponsor. The 2011 Series will feature a wide variety of musical genres as well as special dance performances, theatrical pieces, a Classic Car Gathering and other surprises at most shows. Ten worthy regional nonprofit organizations and concert sponsors will also be featured.


The San Luis Obispo Blues Society presents the history of the blues featuring Valerie Johnson, Al B. Blue, Karen Tyler and other special guests on the Series' first concert on Sunday, June 12th. Hear the blues as it was played in 1910, featuring piano, guitar, banjo, washboard and other primitive percussion. The first half of the program will showcase music from that era, accompanied by stories about the songs, songwriters, and instruments that created it. The second half of the program will trace the progression of the blues from 1910 to the present.

Valerie Johnson is an earthy lady with unearthly silk-and-steel vocal chords, who also plays ukulele, washboard, guitar and various rhythm instruments. Born in the Bay area, Valerie spent eight years polishing her voice as she toured Europe with the Bitburg Gospel Messengers and sang gospel and blues in the Far East. Johnson has also toured as the vocalist with Big Brother and the Holding Company, the band made famous by Janis Joplin, and has sung with the Holmes Brothers. Often compared to Etta James, Valerie is a genuinely original talent with a direct line into the spirit of the blues. Al B. Blue dishes up hypnotic, funky, driving rhythms on his guitar. Al also plays slide dobro and banjo. Al B. Blue is a classically trained pianist, and back in the 50's, formed a street corner doo-wop group in Camden, NJ, where he and his buds took street-corner crooning all the way to the radio. Later in California, he joined Big Black and the Congregation, an Afro-funk band, and toured the with Curtis Mayfield, followed by a stint playing blues on the legendary Chitlin' Circuit. Karen Tyler is a multi-talented vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter. A blues historian, Tyler has mastered the Piedmont, Memphis and Texas styles of acoustic blues. She was the winner of the Monterey Bay Blues Festival's Battle of the Bands competition in 2003, and has won the honor of competing at the International Blues competition in Memphis twice. Karen has played music festivals in California, Texas, and throughout the south.

All three of the featured performers are arts educators. Valerie Johnson and Al B. Blue teach both Blues for Kids and California Music History, while Karen Tyler, in Blues 101, presents the history of the blues from the 1920s to the present. Tyler and Johnson have been featured in various Women in the Blues Workshops over the years, along with Janiva Magness, Deanna Bogart, and other female blues performers.

The performers for this show were assembled by the San Luis Obispo Blues Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing the Central Coast with high quality Blues music performances at reasonable prices. Its dance-concerts provide an opportunity for people to get close to the performers and move with the music. The Society typically produces 8 shows per year. It also distributes a newsletter that includes show announcements, artist bios, a calendar of other local Blues events and CD reviews. It is an all volunteer organization founded in 1980 and is the second oldest Blues Society in the country. Club show and volunteer information is available at 541-7930 or

The Featured Nonprofit organization for this show is the 2011 California International Choral Festival & Competition. This popular Festival returns to SLO County for a third time with much excitement and new categories for choirs. The festival and competition was established in 2006 by Gary Lamprecht with performances taking place in the summer of 2007. It was decided that the event would take place every other year so that the hosts, the Vocal Arts Ensemble, could travel in even years to competitions and festivals in the US and abroad. The late June Festival will feature choirs from the Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Uganda and several California cities.

Concert Sponsors for this show are local realtors Narlene Carter-Keenan and Dick Keenan of the Keenan Carter Group. Dick and Narlene have sponsored the Village Summer Concert Series since its inception in 2006. Not only are they well known as extremely effective and highly regarded realtors on the Central Coast but are also recognized as major supporters of community events and activities.

Major media sponsors for the series are KSBY-TV, KSMX - 1240 AM, the New Times and the Santa Maria SUN.

These free summer concerts are held at the Rotary Bandstand in Heritage Square Park from June through September. The South County Historical Society's famous all beef hot dogs, Doc Burnstein's ice cream, popcorn, drinks and more are available at the shows. Special raffles benefitting the Featured Nonprofit Organizations, classic autos and various displays will further enliven the concerts. Music fans can also explore Heritage Square Museums, antique shops and restaurants in the historic Arroyo Grande Village. Attendees are asked to bring lawn chairs, blankets and their friends and neighbors to enjoy the afternoons of exciting and varied music! Refer to or call 805-473-2250 or 805-474-6646 for more information on the Village Summer Concert Series. See for information on the many other Centennial summer activities in the AG Village including the Historical Society's "100 Years of People" free theatre shows on Saturday afternoons.2011 Arroyo Grande Village Summer Concert Series

Series Sponsor: Rabobank
Media Sponsors: KSBY, New Times, Santa Maria Sun, KSMX

June 12th: (the 1910's)
Musical Groups: The San Luis Obispo Blues Society presents the History of the Blues
with Valerie Johnson, Al B. Blue, Karen Tyler & special guests
Concert Sponsor: Keenan-Carter Group
Featured Nonprofit: California International Choral Fest

June 26th: (the 1920's)
Musical Groups: San Luis Obispo County Band & Featured Vocalists
Concert Sponsor: Wyndham Residence & Ventana Grill
Featured Nonprofit: San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society
NOTE: 2:00pm Community Photo for Time Capsule

July 4th: (Monday) (1930's)
Musical Groups: The Village Band and the Central Coast Celebration Chorus
Concert Sponsor: CEC Electronic Waste Recycling
Featured Nonprofit: Arroyo Grande in Bloom

July 9th: (Saturday) (1940's)
Musical Groups: Bluegrass Music Society of the Central Coast presents
the Birth of Bluegrass in the United States
Concert Sponsor: Central Coast Industries
Featured Nonprofit: Bluegrass Music Society of the Central Coast

July 10th
: (1950's)
Musical Groups : 50's Sock Hop with the Mighty Croon Dogs
Centennial Day! Music & historical events throughout the Village, 4pm Block Party, 6pm Parade & 9pm Fireworks!
Concert Sponsor: ConocoPhillips
Featured Nonprofit: San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum

July 24th: (1960's)
Musical Groups: Merrell Fankhauser and Friends' Surf Party "Wipe Out!"
Concert Sponsor: Arroyo Grande Rotary Club
Featured Nonprofit: Assistance League of San Luis Obispo County

August 7th: (1970's)
Musical Group: SLOfolks welcomes the Sherry Austin Band with opener Richard Green
Featuring Kate Wolf & Townes Van Zandt songs and more....
Concert Sponsor: Café Andreini
Featured Nonprofit: San Luis Obispo Folk Music Society

August 21st: (1980's)
Musical Groups: "The Great American Songbook" with Human Nation, Steve McAndrew and Judy Philbin
Songs from Frank, Dean, Sammy, Rosemary, Bing & Gershwin
Concert Sponsor: Brezden Pest Control
Featured Nonprofit: United Blood Services

September 4th: (1990's) (Labor Day Weekend)
Musical Groups: Dave Aguallo: Country Hits & More!
Concert Sponsor: BMW of Santa Maria
Featured Nonprofit: Arroyo Grande Valley Harvest Festival

September 18th: (2000's)
Musical Groups: Inga Swearingen & Guy Budd and the Gypsy Souls
Contemporary Songwriter Showcase
Dance/ Misc: Dellos Dance
Concert Sponsor: Kendra Kimlinger and Blakeslee & Blakeslee
Featured Nonprofit: Toys for Tots

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