We are proud to announce the 24th Annual Grand Nationals Weekend Celebration August 17th & 18th at the Peoria Riverfront! Friday, August 17th we’ll be joined by Blackberry Smoke, JJ Grey & Mofro, Thomas Wynn & The Believers, and more artists to be announced soon!
“We just want the sound of the band to continue to grow and broaden. We’re not trying to make a hip-hop record,” Starr said with a laugh. “But there’s so many elements to what people call rock. There’s gospel and country and swing and blues. We’re just trying to write songs that include all those different types of elements. It keeps it interesting for musicians and songwriters. You think, ‘Well, I don’t have a straitjacket on, I haven’t painted myself into a corner, so I can try and just make the most of this art form.’”
That’s what Starr (lead vocals, guitar), Paul Jackson (guitar, vocals), Brandon Still (keyboards), Brit Turner (leads drums) and Richard Turner (bass, vocals) have been doing for 16 years now after forming in 2001. The quintet’s blue-collar work ethic, road-dog attitude – the band averages 250 shows a year – and willingness to jam all night long have left Blackberry Smoke with a grassroots fan base that continues to grow show by show.
Watch Blackberry Smoke’s video for “Sunrise in Texas”:
JJ GREY & MOFRO
From the days of playing greasy local juke joints to headlining major festivals, JJ Grey remains an unfettered, blissful performer, singing with a blue-collared spirit over the bone-deep grooves of his compositions. His presence before an audience is something startling and immediate, at times a funk rave-up, other times a sort of mass-absolution for the mortal weaknesses that make him and his audience human. When you see JJ Grey and his band Mofro live—and you truly, absolutely must—the man is fearless.
Onstage, Grey delivers his songs with compassion and a relentless honesty, but perhaps not until Ol’ Glory has a studio record captured the fierceness and intimacy that defines a Grey live performance. “I wanted that crucial lived-in feel,” Grey says of Ol’ Glory, and here he hits his mark. On the new album, Grey and his current Mofro lineup offer grace and groove in equal measure, with an easygoing quality to the production that makes those beautiful muscular drum-breaks sound as though the band has set up in your living room.
Watch JJ Grey & Mofro’s video for “Brave Lil’ FIghter”:
THOMAS WYNN & THE BELIEVERS
Thomas Wynn & The Believers personifies rugged, yet uplifting spirited rock, sprinkled with southern soul R&B. Tunes brutally honest & heartfelt, the themes go beyond years of drugs, heartbreaks & hypocrisy to deliver a message of hope. “Soulful, gritty tunes, some as sweet as honeysuckle and others ferociously jagged …reminiscent of Levon Helm, Neil Young and the Allman Brothers, but they still boldly radiate a sound and southern charm all their own.” Metromix
A combination of blistering rock and southern soul, this fiery ensemble has been playing the Orlando, Florida original music circuit for the last three-plus years and have quickly garnered local celebrity status. Hailing from a musical family, the band is heavily influenced by Thomas and Olivia’s father, Tom Wynn, who was the drummer for Cowboy. Through out the 70’s, Cowboy toured with the Allman Brothers Band, and released four albums on the legendary Capricorn Records.Thomas’ spirit-moving vocals are uniquely supported by sister Olivia Wynn’s engaging and captivating voice and presence. Her strong vocal harmonies and wide-eyed response is the perfect companion to his yearning banshee cries.
Watch Thomas Wynn & The Belivers’ video for “Burn As One”: