Prairie Crossroads Blues Society

Champaign-Urbana IL

Blues Happenings

Shows of interest
Johnny Rawls - Saturday November 16 - Iron Post
Johnny won a BMA in 2019 and has released a brand new CD "I Miss Otis Clay"

[Kilborn Alley promo]

PCBS Monthly Meeting/Juke Joint Show
5:30 pm Thursday November 14
Po' Boys, 202 East University Ave., Urbana
Kilborn Alley plays 6:30 - 9:30

We combined our monthly meetings with the Kilborn Alley Juke Joint shows at Po' Boys! It's a chance to enjoy some delicious Po' Boys food, some beverages from local craft brewer's Triptych Brewing with great blues music and lively conversation. The joint's been packed with blues fans, friends and family enjoying the party atmosphere!

We're always open to suggestions about artists for our blues jams, artists and schools who want to get involved with our Blues In The Schools programs and suggestions for next years Fest. Consider becoming a PCBS Member and help us reach out to other blues lovers in our communities.

[Johnny Rawls - I Miss Otis Clay]

Johnny Rawls
9:00 Saturday November 16
The Iron Post
120 S. Race St. Urbana

Johnny Rawls newest release on Third Street Cigar Records "I Miss Otis Clay" is both a tribute to his long time friend Otis Clay and is also dedicated to the memory of WEFT 90.1 FM Blues Airshifter Dave Wright, "a true blues warrior"

Johnny Rawls is a soul blues legend. In fact, the term “soul blues” was invented to describe his music. With a career spanning more than 50 years, he’s done it all. He’s an internationally recognized recording artist, music producer, and songwriter who tours extensively throughout North America and overseas.

The Blues Music Awards, Blues Blast Awards, Living Blues Awards, and the W. C. Handy Awards have all acknowledged Johnny with multiple awards and nominations, including Soul Blues Album of the Year and Soul Blues Artist of the Year. Living Blues Magazine described him as a “soul-blues renaissance man” when he was featured on the cover in 2002. Johnny is honored to be mentioned on two markers along the Mississippi Blues Trail – one in Hattiesburg, MS marking the Hi-Hat Club, and another in Rocklin ME marking the migration of blues from Mississippi to Maine.

BMA Winner - Johnny Rawls - 2019 Soul Blues Album of the Year "I'm Still Around"

Born in Columbia, Mississippi in 1951, Johnny grew up in Purvis (near Hattiesburg) and Gulfport. Johnny’s interest in music began in early childhood. He started out playing clarinet in the school band when he was in 5th grade. Over the next couple of years, he graduated to saxophone, trumpet and other instruments. Johnny became interested in guitar when he heard his grandfather playing one Christmas morning and by age 13 was playing guitar seriously. Johnny’s high school band teacher had a professional band that backed touring soul artists and asked Johnny to join his band as a saxophone player. This began Johnny’s professional career, and at age 15, he was backing artists including ZZ Hill, Little Johnny Taylor, Joe Tex, and The Sweet Inspirations on their tours in the Southeast. In the mid-1970s, Johnny became the band director for soul singer O.V. Wright, and toured with O.V. until his death in 1980. Wright’s band, under Johnny’s leadership, continued to perform as the Ace of Spades band for several years. Then, Johnny became the band director for Little Johnny Taylor.

In 1985, Johnny began touring as a solo artist and made his first solo recording. A prolific songwriter, hundreds of Johnny’s songs have been recorded, He has released more than 15 albums since his debut solo album, Here We Go, in 1996 on JSP Records. In the late 1990’s Johnny worked as an arranger and record producer for JSP. Johnny has released albums under various labels, including JSP, Catfood Records, Third Street Cigar Records, and his own label Deep South Soul, which he created in 2002.

Check out Johnny Rawls


Dave Wright
10/13/53 - 5/26/19
WEFT Blues Airshifter
Supporter of Blues Music and Blues Musicians everywhere!

PCBS Remembers Dave Wright

David Lumsden Blues Band/Toronzo Cannon
7:00 pm Friday Nov. 15
Casey's Pub
West Iles & Meadowbrook, Springfield, IL

[Lumsden/Cannon poster]

Congratulations to the Winners of the local IBC Challenges
these acts are headed to Memphis in January 2020 to compete

IBC Fundraisers

[Smokers win IBC Challenge]


Prairie Crossroads Blues Society
hosted the area's IBC Band Challenge
WHEN: 4:00 pm Sunday August 25
WHERE: Neil St. Blues, 301 N. Neil St.
Chamapign, IL

Smokers Blues Band won the PCBS IBC Band Challenge

[Black Eyed Lillies win IBC Challenge]


Illinois Central Blues Club
hosted the Solo/Duo Challenge
WHEN: 1:00 pm Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019
WHERE: Craft Beer Bar, Fifth and Monroe Streets
Springfield, IL

Black Eyed Lillies won the ICBC IBC Solo/Duo Challenge

thanks also to our partners - The Decatur Blues Society


Alex Jenkins & The Bombers won the River City Blues Society (Peoria) IBC Band Challenge on Saturday August 31. It was held as part of the Peoria Blues & Heritage Festival.

[Blues Jam]

PCBS Blues Jams!
Pipa's Pub, 604 S. Country Fair Dr., Champaign
2nd Sunday of each month, 4:00 - 7:00 pm
4th Wednesday of each month, 7:00 - 10:00 pm

Prairie Crossroads Blues Society holds two jams each month. The 2nd Sunday of each month from 4:00 to 7:00 pm and the 4th Wednesday of each month from 7:00 to 10:00 pm. Both jams are held at Pipa's Pub, 604 S. Country Fair Dr., Champaign.

The host band typically plays the first set, then we open it up to all the jammers in the house. Bring your instrument and plan on sitting in!

Thanks to our friend and PCBS member Mike Feldman for these excellent videos of some of our recent jams PCBS Blues Jams.

Grab your instrument and join in the fun!

Google map to Pipa's Pub, 604 S. Country Fair Dr. Champaign.

Prairie Crossroads Blues Society is happy to help revive the tradition of a blues jam in the C-U area!

[Joyce Volkmann Benefit Poster]

Joyce Volkmann Benefit
2:00 to 9:00 pm Sunday November 3rd
Kilborn Alley Blues Band
The Majestic
150 N. Schuyler, Kankakee, IL

Joyce Volkmann - Friend, PCBS Member, Super Volunteer and Huge Blues Fan

What a wonderful event Joyce Volkmann's friends and family held Sunday November 3 as a Benefit to raise money for her medical bills and her Children's Education.

Her favorite band, The Kilborn Alley Blues Band played and were joined on stage for their 2 sets by Noah Williams of the William Marsala Band. Lisa Jackson joined them on stage for a couple tunes and did an outstanding version of Jackie Scott's "Been Tring To Figure Out". Abraham Johnson's nephew Dwight also sang vocals on a couple classic blues tunes in the 2nd set.

If you couldn't make it to the event you can still support the Education of Joyce's Children by donating online at the: Go Fund Me page

There were a bunch of raffles, plenty of good food and mostly just a bunch of good people coming together to celebrate Joyce's life and her positive influence and supportive attitude.

Joyce was a blues lover and tireless promoter of blues music and musicians. Besides her volunteer efforts with PCBS she also volunteered with WEFT 90.1 FM as a Blues and World Music Airshifter and as a volunteer on the Programming Committee.

[BluesCentral Monday Dance Poster]

Blues Dancing every Monday
BluesCentral hosts Lessons and Dancing
6:00 Free Lessons
7:00 - 9:00 Free Dancing
Guido's, 2 E. Main St. Champaign

BluesCENTRAL Dancers sponsor lessons & dances, 6:00 pm every Monday night. Lessons and Dances take place at Guido's

Don't know how to dance to the blues? Don't worry! Beginner lessons at 6:00 pm will get you started. Or just come socialize with us and enjoy Guido's great selection of beers and wines.

Don't have a partner to dance with? No problem! We are friendly and love to dance with everyone!

Check out the BluesCENTRAL Dancers Facebook Page

The 2019 Blues Blast Magazine Awards ceremonies were held at
The Tebala Event Center in Rockford, Illinois
on September 13th, 2019

Brandon Santini, recent headliner at our Blues Fest won the award for Contemporary Blues Album. Bob Corritore & Friends won for Traditional Blues Album. John Primer and Magic Slim were double winners.

Check out all the winners Here!

Blues Fest is Back, Baby!

email from a fest attendee ... "Saturday's festival was an 11 out of ten!"

Facebook posts
Great festival, thanks to the organizers, volunteers and performers.

Sounded great. Awesome festival

def AWESOME to see this years blues fest come together the way it did. Prairie Crossroads Blues Society truly did a phenomenal job

Beautiful Day...Beautiful Blues Festival...Beautiful Crowd!!! Thank you PCBS!!

Dave Bartholomew
12/24/18 - 6/23/19

Paul Alton 'Lil Buck' Sinegal
1/14/44 - 6/10/19

Dr. John
Born Malcolm John Rebennack
11/20/41 - 6/6/19

Cash McCall
(born Morris Dollison Jr.)
1/28/40 - 4/20/19
Nola Blue Records on Facebook

Michael Ledbetter
Mike passed 1/21/2019
he was only 33 years old
Truly, that brother was the future of the blues
- Andy Duncanson

The Blues Foundation presented the
Blues Music Awards
in Memphis, TN on Thursday May 9

Visit to find out all the winners!

Mike Ledbetter won 3 Awards posthumously including the prestigious
B.B. King Entertainer of the Year Award

Double winners included Shemekia Copeland and Danielle Nicole. Our friend Johnny Rawls won the BMA for the Soul Blues Album of the Year for his "I'm Still Around" CD. Here's a heads up that Johnny will be at The Iron Post Saturday Nov.16. Other winners included Nick Moss, Dennis Gruenling, Monster Mike Welch, Marcia Ball and Samantha Fish who'll be here during the Ellnora Fest this Fall.

For a quick story and list of the winners visit American Blues Scene for their article on the Blues Music Awards.

[Prairie Crossroads Blues Society Jack Davis Logo]


Want to become part of the growing community of Blues lovers in the Champaign-Urbana and East Central Illinois area? Sign up to become a member of Prairie Crossroads Blues Society. We are a 501(c)3 non-profit organized to Preserve, Promote and Educate about the Blues.

Since we were formed in 2010 we've been supporting local blues artists share their music with a wider audience. We consistently look to bring new blues artists to our area so fans get a chance to see the huge amount of talent touring on a regional and national basis. We also have a strong BITS - Blues In The Schools program.

Whether you enjoy our jams and shows, or support our efforts to teach youngsters the history and basics of blues music, now is the right time to become a PCBS Member

Membership Options:
Student = $10 per year
Individual = $20 per year
Family = $25 per year
Band = $50 per year
Corporate = $100 per year

For Family, Band and Corporate memberships, we'll contact you for the names of additional members or you can send us that information via email:

Please select your type of Membership
Name on membership

Blues In The Schools - BITS

In the Spring of 2019 PCBS presented a couple more in our series of educational programs in area schools. We had a 6-week program at Wiley School in Urbana in April and May. There were also two blues assemblies in Champaign, one at South Side School, and another at Bottenfield School Wednesday May 15. Thanks to our instructors, Gus Wood, David Adcock and Andrew Duncanson. Thanks to Krannert Center for the Performing Arts and Hohner Harmonica for their support.

In cunjunction with our Prairie Crossroads Blues Fest in August 2019 we had Mississippi bluesman Lucious Spiller do two assemblies at Kenwood Elementary School in Champaign.

Check out the awesome Thank You notes from the South Side Elementary School students after the PCBS Spring 2015 BITS program. Thank You Page

Visit our Education Page for details about many of the educational programs PCBS has put on. If you'd like PCBS to conduct a Blues In The Schools program at your school contact us at:

You can now earmark your donations specifically for our Education programs. It's a great way to help us achieve our mission of educating about the blues and be a part of bringing up the next generation of blues musicians and fans.

Your tax deductable donation to our Education Fund helps to keep these programs alive

This PayPal link will direct your donation in any amount directly to our educational efforts, including our "Blues In The Schools" (BITS) program.


Jody Williams
2/3/1935 - 12/1/2018

Eddie C. Campbell
5/6/1939 - 11/20/2018

Otis Rush
4/29/1935 - 9/29/2018

Lazy Lester
(born Leslie Carswell Johnson)
6/20/1933 - 8/22/2018

Matt "Guitar" Murphy
(born Matthew Tyler Murphy)
12/29/1929 - 6/15/2018

Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater
(born Edward Harrington)
1/10/1935 - 6/1/2018

Deborah Coleman
10/03/1956 - 4/12/2018

Blues Hall of Famer
Eddie Shaw

3/20/1937 - 1/29/2018

Denise LaSalle
(born as Ora Denise Allen)
7/16/1939 - 1/8/2018