The Bush League
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The Bush League

Richmond, Virginia, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014

Richmond, Virginia, United States
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Blues Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Natchel Blues Network Send Seth Stainback And The Bush League Off To Memphis In Style"

By Roger Underhill January 25, 2012

The good folks at the Natchel Blues Network put together quite an event as a final fundraiser to assist two blues acts, Roosterfoot (Seth Stainback and Keith Stainback) and The Bush League, with the expenses of their trip to the International Blues Challenge (IBC) that is being held in Memphis, TN from Jan 31 to Feb 4, 2012. For those of you who may be unaware, the IBC is an international competition where all of the Blues Foundation affiliates are encouraged to stage a regional preliminary IBC competition, with the winner of that competition representing the organization in the Memphis international competition. I have never been there, but I hear that it is one of those mountaintop experiences for any blues music lover and based on what I heard and experienced at Mojo Bones on this day, I can only imagine what a whole week of this kind of talented musicianship and the blues can do to a person’s soul.

The day started with a nice 2 hour drive through the countryside, to get from Colonial Heights, VA to the Ocean View area of Norfolk, VA with my daughter and son-in-law taking the two front seat positions and my wife and I riding as passengers. I am not really to used to being a passenger, but I would have to say it wasn’t too bad. I just wish I could sleep in a moving vehicle, but maybe that’s why I drive most of the time. We arrived at Mojo Bones and stepped in just prior to Seth hitting the stage. The word had definitely gotten out about this event as the place was packed but I was able to immediately recognize some faces that I have gotten to know recently. Seth and Bobby Blackhat Walters walked over to greet me and I saw and spoke to folks affiliated with the Natchel Blues Network along with many other newly acquired friends and acquaintances. The anticipation and excitement of this day was beginning to build.

Roosterfoot hits the stage and, to my surprise, they have added Larry Berwald on the electric guitar and man is that a nice fill-in. I have only recently seen Larry play as a part of Bobby Blackhat Walter’s band and was really pleasantly surprised to see him playing with Roosterfoot. Seth comes at you with some blazing acoustic slide playing and raw, down to earth vocals that he seems to summon from deep down in his being. Especially at the end of songs like “Love You Down”, where he pleads and pours his heart out to the one who has left him brokenhearted, to come back home. This is the blues folks, as real and raw as it gets and Larry fills in the missing gaps with some nice guitar work. Seth brouht Bobby Blackhat Walters, who is also making the trip to Memphis representing the River City Blues Society out of Richmond, up on the stage for a couple of tunes and closed out by inviting a local harp player, Art Kohn of WAVY TV in Hampton Roads, for a couple more songs. This was a very upbeat set and hopefully gives Seth and company a little extra boost at the IBC in Memphis.

As Roosterfoot was playing, I began to notice all the folks showing up with guitars and other instruments in hand. First was Anthony Rosano, who was so impressive on his cigar box guitar at the last jam and not far behind him members of The Bush League started showing up. I knew that they were driving in from Lynchburg and it was good to see Royce, Shane and Kenya, who seemed a little nervous while waiting on John Jay Cecil to make it in time for their set. In addition to those fine folks, a couple other oddities caught my eye. The first was a small, young girl along with what looked to be her mother, they were carrying a bass guitar case. The other being a young fellow with wispy blonde hair falling from underneath a Fedora hat. I made a mindful note and went back to enjoying the last bit of the Roosterfoot set.

The Bush League

Next up was a short set with The Bush League doing a couple of their favorite tunes with Shane showing some of his slide prowess, power chords and picking. Royce on the bass is as steady as a rock and worked well with Keith Stainback setting in on percussion, in place of an injured Gwen Frederick and, well, John Jay being John Jay. This guy is one of a kind with a personality that grabs a room and the hi-jinx to match. Good fun is always had from this group and it happened once again today with Jackie Merritt joining them late in the set on harmonica.

The Jam

These blues jams can get a little confusing as different players start unloading their cases, pedals, chords and instruments while folks are setting up additional mics and getting everyone plugged in. I do notice though, that the small girl now has the bass strapped over her shoulder. The bass is practically as tall as she is. The mother that walked in with her was now sitting at the set with sticks in hand and warming up and to the left of her was a young man on the guitar. Then JD Silvia stepped to the front of the stage and I am thinking, “Man, he has a young backing crew”, but then they strike up version of Stevie Ray’s “Pride and Joy” with the little girl taking the vocals and the whole place was like HOLY COW, she is for real! Come to find out she is all of 11 years old, her brother on lead guitar is 14 and it is their mom on the drums. JD was just setting in with them. The trio of Sandy, Cole and Logan plays together as In Layman Terms and are playing in the Williamsburg area in March and May. It is refreshing to see such young kids really enjoying what they do and that is playing the blues.

After squeezing in an original tune “Daughter of Blues”, the stage was shared like a tag team match in the WWF. Players were swapping in and out and around and included great guitarists like Sean Parker, JD Silvia and Anthony Rosano along with bassists Brian “Boogie” Thomas and Paul Warren. They were also joined by a few harmonica players, one being Jeremy JB Bustillos who ended up sharing his rig with a couple of other harp players that stood in from time to time. There was also a fiddle player in the group but unfortunately, I didn’t get his name. This jam was very guitar heavy and ended up leaning towards a more blues influenced rock-n-roll feel. This was a bit of a change from the last one, held at the old JM Randalls in Williamsburg. That jam was heavy on the vocals of John Jay, Jackie Scott, Seth Stainback and Resa Gibbs. Two blues jams and two distinctly different experiences even though some of the same players were involved. That is what I have come to like about these type of get-togethers, you may think you have an idea of what might be coming your way and then all of a sudden the music takes a path that was unpredictable but everybody goes with it and ends up, like Bobby Blue Bland put it, “Further On Up the Road”!

The end of the road, and the day, was coming for my crew and it was just about time for us to head out. I was in the back of the club, opposite the stage area having a conversation with Jeremy about his gear, when my ear caught an incredibly crisp and clean note that was struck just a half-beat after the first notes of the rest of the band had been hit. I was in the middle of a conversation and it just rang through me. I look up and, lo and behold, it was the kid in the Fedora hat! I immediately excused myself, I think, and headed back to the stage area. This kid, who I had never had the pleasure of seeing perform, was as cool as a cucumber. I whispered that to my daughter who was standing to my side and she nodded in agreement. Both of us were mesmerized by his poise, stature and the incredible licks that seem to come, like most people breath, with no effort whatsoever. I have seen many shows and many players and this kid is different. He is 16 year old Grant Austin Taylor and a quick read of his bio when I got home proved that what I had seen was true. There are certain people that I come across that jump out at me. It is not always an up-in-my-face moment, but a presence that transcends the place you’re in. I relish these moments in life and it makes going to each one of these shows very well worth it. It doesn’t happen all the time, but this is two for two, actually, if I include the 2011 Blues at the Beach, it is three for three for events put on by the Natchel Blues Network. Thanks to all who participated, you made a lot of people in that part of the world very happy on this day and it is appreciated by all of us. - 01.25.12

"Blues in the Bottom"

Blues in the Bottom

By Correspondent: Sarah Freiseis Sat, Jan 07, 2012

Local artists stake their claim in the International Blues Challenge. Photos by Chandler Moulton.

Big ups to our local musicians putting this fine city on the music map. Richmonders are shouting out and showing up when it comes to live and local. Supporting local acts is easy when you genuinely enjoy what you are hearing, seeing, and above all, experiencing.

The Blues in the Bottom event at The Canal Club was a fundraiser to help two acts – The Bush League (Richmond) and Rooster Foot (Virginia Beach) – get to the 2012 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee. The competition is in its twenty-eighth year and will be held January 31 – February 4 in the Beale Street entertainment district. The Bush League will participate in the group category and Rooster Foot will perform as a duo in the upcoming IBC. The groups were eligible to move on because of a win in a regional competition; both, in this instance, from the one hosted by the Natchel Blues Network, which has been promoting the blues as a 501c3 non-profit organization since 1984 in the Hampton Roads area.

Beyond the IBC bound, the lineup for Blues in the Bottom also featured the Mike Lucci Band and Pigfoot Riot who got the night started off right, each bringing a unique energy to the stage through vivacious female vocalists. The Richmond-based Mike Lucci Band is a self-proclaimed Chicago style variety of the genre with added emphasis on rockin’ rhythm and blues (and even known to throw in some rumba) that features Mike Lucci on the bass. Pigfoot Riot is comprised of members of the River City Blues Society, a six-person ensemble with a raw edge that gets the audience movin’ off the bat.

Next came Rooster Foot, aka the Stainback duo. Singer, songwriter, and guitarist Seth was joined by his father Keith to complete the sound. “I grew up around music. I’ve been playing since I was a kid,” said Seth. “I moved out to Norfolk about three years ago – I’m a welder, I moved out there to work – and my dad moved out like two years after me because he just liked it there, and I started playing music again. Someone said, ’Hey, you need to enter this competition, it will help you out,’ so I did, and I got my dad to come with me ’cause he plays percussion. I was filling out the form, and we needed a band name, so I put down Rooster Foot.” He said there isn’t a particular process for him in writing and creating music. “Words hit me, or a melody will hit me, sometimes I’ll write a song in ten minutes, and sometimes pieces of it will lay around for months. It’s always different, but all my life anything that has to do with music has never been something contrived. It’s always just been in me, it definitely comes from my heart, I can say that, it comes from my heart and soul.” He went on to say he is currently working on an album due out in or around February. “Recording over at Soul Haven Studios in Virginia Beach, so we’re about three quarters of the way done, so hopefully it’ll be out soon.”

Headliners the Bush League have often referred to their sound as FuB&RR, standing for Funk, Blues & Rock and Roll. Guitarist Shane Porch (aka Chicago Slim) said, “I think our sound is different because it’s not textbook, it’s projecting the feelings inside of you, we are ourselves in the music, and I think that’s what we have to bring to the table.” Royce Folks (bass) added, “We play off of each other, it’s all organic, and we play off the crowds also. Even if we played the same setlist, it would be different every time.” The band took a moment before going on stage to talk to Magazine33 about that night’s event as well as the upcoming Memphis competition. Folks explained that the Blues in the Bottom event was the second of its kind, “We’re just trying to get more blues acts, and to have more blues related things here in the area. This time we’re using it as a fundraiser to get down to the International Blues Challenge.” Vocalist JohnJason “Sleepy Eyed Jay” Cecil, who also happens to be co-founder of the band (the other being Folks), said they have had the opportunity to attend this esteemed event before. “There has been some iteration of this band going to the International Blues Challenge for three years in a row. Shane and myself went first as a solo/duo category winner, and then the band won at the Sedalia Blues Festival, and now we just won again for the Natchel Blues Network, so what it’s become now is … a whole lot of fun.” He said because acts come from all over the globe, it has almost become like a homecoming of sorts, “because we’ve made friends now, it’s like, ‘See you in Memphis.’”

The band has released two self-produced live albums since forming in early 2007. Porch said, “I think the next move after Memphis is probably going to be towards a full-length studio album.” Gwen “Platinum Plaque” Frederick played drums on their latest album which included songs “Mexico”, “Gotta Women”, and “Don’t Touch My Liquor” they also played at the 2011 International Blues Challenge. On the night of the Blues in the Bottom event, the guys were joined on stage by double duty drummer Rod Hyner of Pigfoot Riot. In terms of live music, Porch added, “Simply put, our songs have a framework, and we play with that framework every night, but as long as we get from point A topoint B, and we know the general path to get there, we make it, and that’s how we do our music. It works … and people like it.” When asked about the future of the blues, JohnJason said, “The blues isn’t going anywhere. People have their interpretations or perceptions of what it is, but the fact of the matter is, blues as a genre of music is just as varied as any other sort of music, and since blues is the progenitor of all American music, it just stands to reason it won’t going away. We’re not going to let it go anywhere.”

It is incredible that in just a matter of weeks these guys will be playing the clubs of Beale Street, an infamous stretch of town where so many music greats have graced. In addition to evenings filled with playing music, the days will provide seminars and workshops, closing by paying homage to the blues community with the Keeping the Blues Alive (KBA) awards ceremony. Rooster Foot and the Bush League will participate in a “Battle of the Bands” style competition for a panel of judges, and not that they need it, but we wish them luck and look forward to hearing more about their incredible adventure. - Magazine 33 01.07.12

"Rooster Foot duo, Bush League band take top prizes at Virginia Beach blues showdown"

Rooster Foot duo, Bush League band take top prizes at Virginia Beach blues showdown

By Sam McDonald,

11:50 a.m. EDT, August 2, 2011

Virginia Beach duo Rooster Foot and Richmond-based Bush League band impressed judges and won the right to represent our region at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in early 2012.

The local round of blues battle of the bands took place Sunday, July 31, at the new Hilltop location of the Jewish Mother. It was sponsored and presented by the Natchel Blues Network.

Peninsula residents Tim Morgan and Tom Dikon were part of the competition but did not prevail.

Judges were Paul Shugrue, host of “A Shot Of The Blues” and “Out Of The Box” on WHRV-FM (89.5), Jackie Scott, blues singer and leader of Jackie Scott and The Housewreckers, and Jerry Carter, host of the weekday “Blues Traffic Jam” that airs during afternoon drive time on WFOS-FM (88.7).

Overall, though, the event was a smashing success, according to organizer Mike Hilton.

“We packed that place — standing room only,” Hilton said. “Everybody said it was just fantastic. I’m still getting e-mails and Facebook messages.”

Hilton said that Rooster Foot — a duo made up of singer, songwriter and guitarist Seth Stainback and his dad — made a big splash at the event.

“They just tore everybody up,” Hilton said, admiringly. “Just leveled it. It was swampy Texas blues, slide Dobro, acoustic. The dad was on a cajone, one of those drum boxes … The kid’s got all original material, and it’s not just simple stuff … His slidework was just great. I’m so impressed with this guy. He has everything going for him.”

Hilton said the competition in the full band category was particularly fierce. Judges awarded a maximum of 140 points. Winners Bush League received 129 points. Only 12 points separated the No. 1 band from the No. 4.

The final rounds of the International Blues Challenge will take place in Memphis Jan. 31-Feb. 4, 2012.

Copyright © 2011, Newport News, Va., Daily - Daily Press 08.02.11

"The Bush League perform an acoustic version of 'Mexico' on CBS!"

Recorded on November 29, 2010! - WTVR's 'Virginia This Morning' on Richmond, VA's CBS 6 11.29.10

"'Sedalia Blues Festival’s top performer says genre’s draw is its room for variation'"

'Sedalia Blues Festival’s top performer says genre’s draw is its room for variation'

By: Dave Thompson
Published: July 11, 2010
Wailing harmonicas, thudding bass, melancholy guitar riffs and, of course, sunglasses.

The Sedalia Blues Society’s 13th annual Blues Festival brought a few hundred spectators to Big Island on Saturday.

Some danced or swayed to the tunes as eight bands competed for two spots at the 2011 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, in February.

Tom Hunter, of Minneapolis, who played the event’s second set with his partner Jon Gunvaldson, said for him the festival was a way to get back on the road after taking a break from touring while his kids were in school.

“I was talking with one of the organizers, and he said ‘Why don’t you come down and play this thing? It’ll be good for you.’”

Hunter said win or lose the competition, just throwing himself into the music was the best part.

“I love the blues, so it’s nice … to go to a place where you can just play the blues.”

The event was headlined by country blues singer Rory Block and William “Big Bill” Morganfield, son of blues legend Muddy Waters.

Dave Richardson, of Bedford County, said he’s been into blues music since he was a kid.

“I’m a big blues fan,” Richardson said. “My mom grew up in Memphis. I kind of got exposed to that stuff at an early age.”

He said Block was a big draw for him, citing her rendition of the gospel hymn “Ain’t No Grave” among his favorite songs.

“That’ll just grab you by the heart strings,” he said.

Though many of the songs Saturday were melancholy or downright mournful, with plenty of string-bending and wailing, Hunter, who sings and plays keyboard, said part of the draw of blues music is that there’s plenty of room for variation, lyrically and musically.

“It’s really just expressive as heck. You can play happy, funny. It just doesn’t matter. The blues covers a lot of things,” he said.

“It’s just a really broad umbrella.”

Judges announced the competition’s winners after the last set, before Morganfield took the stage.

First place among the full bands went to Richmond-based band “The Bush League.”

Hunter and Gunvaldson won the duo artists competition. Hunter also won the Ree Breeden Outstanding Performer award, said organizer Harry Turner, who sits on the Sedalia Center’s board.

Turner also noted that nearly 1,000 people showed up for Block and Morganfield’s performances.

“Everybody’s very excited. We had another very successful event,” he said.

Click Link To Watch Video Connected With This Article!!! - The News & Advance 07.11.10

"‘The 24th Annual PBPS Blues Challenge - Solo/Duo Competition’"

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The 24th Annual PBPS Blues Challenge - Solo/Duo Competition

The 24th Annual PBPS Blues Challenge - Solo/Duo Competition at Zion Bar & Grille Sunday was another success.

Twelve acts competed in the Solo/Duo Competition portion of the 24th Annual PBPS Blues Challenge.

Congratulations to our Winners - Richmond VA´s Sleepy- Eyed Jay and Chicago Slim. They will represent the PBPS in the Solo/Duo competion of the International Blues Challenge to be held January 20-23, 2010 in Memphis.

Rick Tobey´s Chickenhead Blues from Wilmington, NC came in Second Place and Danny Wicker of Stony Point, NC took Third.

Thanks to: all at Zion for being wonderful hosts, Shiela and her crew for sacrificing a Jam, our Judges for their taking the job so seriously, Trustees and volunteers for all the help, and of course the Competitors for putting on a great show and the fans for supporting it.

Sleepy-Eyed Jay and Chicago Slim also receive bookings at the Carolina Blues Festival presented by YES! Weekly to be held May 8, 2010 In Greensboro´s Festival Park, The Asheboro Fall Festival, October 3-4, 2009 and will open for Blues Legend Duke Robillard at the Garage in Winston-Salem on October 21. Also a special Shout out to our dedicated timekeeper JoAnn and the Lady in charge of this shootin’ match Chris Roulhac.
- 09.23.09

"'Blues On A Saturday: Carolina Blues Festival Shines On’ by Ryan Snyder"

Wednesday May 12, 2010
Blues on a Saturday: Carolina Blues Festival shines on

By Ryan Snyder

For the past two years, torrential rains have cast a rather ironic damper onto the Carolina Blues Festival. Ultimately, what’s more conducive to a chronic case of the blues than an ugly, weatherwrecked day? There were no weather-related worries for the 24 th installment of the Carolina Blues Festival, hosted by the Piedmont Blues Preservation Society in downtown Greensboro on Saturday, as hundreds came out for the near-perfect weekend weather and a full day of blues.

The music kicked off at 1 p.m. with the placid acoustic duo of Sleepy-Eyed Jay and Chicago Slim to an even slimmer crowd, as too many missed out on the PBPS Solo/Duo Challenge winners’ from Richmond plaintive ode to the early Delta sound on songs like their original “Gotta Woman.” Numbers started to roll through the gate for Full Band Challenge winner, Greensboro’s own Charlley Ward Band. The performance itinerary moved forward through the history of blues itself, with Ward’s band representing the genre’s early popularization through the same shimmering vibrato that would usurp the lonely Delta tone.

The mid-afternoon draw of the Matt Walsh Blues Band seemed to confirm it, as his snarling, 1950s Chicago style was almost a little too abrasive for the gray-haired sea of onlookers to fully appreciate. Walsh is quite a blues anomaly in that, he’s almost a little too hip for this crowd. His tall throwback coiffeur, near-perfect Howlin’ Wolf imitation and all-around dirty sound are far from the middling, unobjectionable and gentrified brand of blues that this crowd typically gulps down. That said, he’s really good.

As was mentioned in last week’s preview of the blues festival, the headliner designation for Debbie Davies and Robin Rogers appeared to be completely arbitrary, since a) Davies is a little too obscure for practical marketing purposes, Rogers even more so; and b) the more widely recognized Tinsley Ellis was scheduled to perform immediately after. Even the “ladies’ turn” angle that the festival adopted to promote them came off as passively sexist, as if last year’s 6 p.m. performer Diunna Greenleaf was somehow irrelevant because she didn’t play guitar.
Ellis took the lower billing in stride, however, and praised his friend Davies as the right choice for this particular festival.

“The next-to-last slot at a blues festival is a very sought-after slot and always has the biggest attendance due to the fact that blues fans are much older now and want to get home early,” Ellis said via e-mail. “I love and really respect Debbie. Known her since the ’80’s and really enjoyed jamming with her again that night.”

Ellis’ words also provided a tacit explanation as to why it gets easier every year to navigate the 30 feet immediately in front of the stage.

More of the nearly comatose, second-wave baby boomers that compose the festival’s primary audience resign themselves to the comfort afforded by the sea of foldout lawn chairs under the stage’s canopy. It gives the appearance that there’s a full crowd witnessing the shows, when in actuality three or four standing listeners could occupy the space of one languorous age casualty.

It’s not a very enthusiastic or energetic crowd by any standards, as Ellis’ comments suggested, and the headliner booking this year reflected that. Davies is an extremely talented guitarist with little to no appeal to an audience below 40. She’s certainly technically gifted, but her style is almost too clean to be truly compelling and interesting to a discerning listener.

Ellis, on the other hand, was fiercely aggressive, almost dangerous as the closing act. It’s only too bad that over half of the audience had dispersed by the time he took the stage, because his gut-wrenching axe wielding defined the evening and left promise for the festival’s 25th installment. His rhythm section of the masterful drummer Jeff Burch and the intimidating bassist known as the Evil One sent his show precariously into metal territory, which may also serve to explain why many in the crowd were long gone by the time Davies reemerged to help Tinsley on “Key to the Highway” and “Shake It for Me.” The Piedmont Blues Preservation Society does a commendable job of keeping the blues alive in a region with one of the richest relevant musical traditions in the country, but without a little bit of imaginative and adventurous thinking, nothing will preserve its audience the long run.
- 05.12.10

"The Bush League Continues a Winning Streak at the National"

by Cesca Janece Waterfield | Twitter @cescasings

Fresh from playing the 27th Annual International Blues Festival in Memphis, the world’s largest gathering of blues bands, Richmond’s own “The Bush League” will appear April 9 at the National Theater. With original songs like “Don’t Touch My Liquor” and “38 Special Blues,” The Bush League sends the message that audiences are in for fun.

But they’re serious, too. Co-founders JohnJay Cecil and Royce Folks first met at Morehouse College in 1991. After JohnJay graduated, they eventually became roommates in Richmond. Four years ago, they formed The Bush League. Today’s lineup also features Shane Parch on guitar and Gwen Frederick on drums. They pay homage to artists who have inspired them including blues icons Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. Mixing cover songs and memorable originals, they call their style, “FuBaR” which Gwen explains stands for “funk, blues and rock and roll.” They’ve performed on WTVR CBS 6 and recorded a CD during their first appearance at the National. They earned the coveted gig in Memphis by taking first place at the Blues Talent Competition at the Sedalia Blues Festival in Big Island, Virginia.

Road to Memphis
Every July, the Blue Ridge foothills fill with the blues at the Sedalia Blues Festival. In 2010, The Bush League placed near the top of the band competition and earned a slot playing at this year’s International Blues Festival in Memphis. The honor meant they got to play on famed Beale Street. But it represented even more.

“We’ve been at this for a minute and it’s nice to be recognized by people in the industry,” Shane says. “We knew we were on to something good when we started and what the contest did for us was confirm that.”

The road to Memphis began long before that afternoon last February, however. In this case, it all started at an open mic in Church Hill where JohnJay and Royce met Shane.

“In what can only be seen as advantageous irony,” JohnJay remembers, “it was a white guy who ended up teaching two black guys about the music that spawned American music, which was originally done by black guys. Go figure. The boy does play a mean slide guitar, though.”

Working Musicians
Putting the “work” in the term “working musician,” The Bush League doesn’t shy from playing overtime: On May 14, they will play on Brown’s Island at 1 pm. Then just a few hours later, they’ll load in at McCook’s Lakeside Sports Grill in Henrico for a show at 9 pm.

In addition to gigs with the whole band, JohnJay and Shane began appearing last year as a duo dubbed “Sleepy Eyed Jay and Chicago Slim”. In 2009, they won a blues society’s competition in North Carolina, earning the opportunity to open for legend Duke Robillard in Memphis. The duo has received write-ups in Greensboro, North Carolina papers.

But even after sharing stages with greats and getting kudos – or more precisely, getting “mojoed” – by Big Bill Morganfield, The Bush League loves playing in Richmond.

“Playing for a hometown audience is really cool, especially at a venue like [the National],” Royce says.

Secret Weapon of The League
Richmond resident Kenya Watkins is a familiar sight at shows. As the band’s manager, she keeps busy promoting and booking the band.

“Without Kenya, a fair amount of the opportunities we have gotten would most likely not have been possible,” JohnJay says. “Her business sense has served The Bush League well and her forethought has kept us away from more than a few of the sticky widgets that usually trip up other bands.”

For Kenya, working for The Bush League is “a labor of love,” she says. “Seeing them play on Beale Street made all of the hard work worth it, as I knew how much it meant to them. Knowing that motivates me to work harder and dream bigger. I couldn’t be prouder.”

‘Further on Up the Road’
As summer approaches, the band looks to a season of gigs around Virginia, Washington D.C. and North Carolina. They’re hopeful about the future.

“Our fans responded very well to the first recording,” Gwen says. “Since the recording came out, for me, it’s great to see people out in the audience singing and mouthing the original songs. We’re doing this with all our heart and soul. As long as people keep coming out, we’re gonna keep doing this.”

“The main goal is to keep plugging away at this,” Shane says. “Unfortunately for a viable blues scene, Richmond bands have to go elsewhere like DC or Maryland or even North Carolina. I would love to see that turned around and have people coming here, but we shall see. I guess that will be The Bush League’s job!”

“We’re trying to sustain ourselves,” JohnJay says, “or in my case, my family, because I’ve got a wife and three kids, one of them two years away from going to college. But I’m gonna tell you: I feel nothing but joy when I hit that stage. This is what I would like to do. If a little fame and notoriety come my way, I’m not gonna be the one to turn it down.”

Want to go? The Bush League will appear with the Lost Vagabonds, Every Other Weekend, Whisper to Baxwell and Burnside, Sat, Apr 9, 6:30 pm, the National, 708 E. Broad St. - Urban Views Weekly 04.06.11

"Sedalia Blues Festival and Blues Talent Competition - 2010"

The Sedalia Blues Festival returns July 10th with its sanctioned Blues Competition in the afternoon, followed by performances by headliners Big Bill Morganfield and Rory Block.

William Morganfield is the son of McKinley Morganfield (Muddy Waters) and has emerged in the past few years as one of the top young blues talents in America. Bill has played all over the world in the past 11 years, bringing pure joy to those who have had the pleasure of seeing his live performance.

Many men try to fill their father’s shoes when they join the family business. Few, however, must prove they are up to the task in front of an audience as large as the one that watched Big Bill Morganfield.

Morganfield didn’t take up the challenge until several years after his dad passed away in 1983. The blues world mourned the passing of Muddy. Muddy leaves not only a gaping hole on the blues scene but also a grief-stricken son who is contemplating how to handle the loss. Bill buys himself a guitar and retreats into a private world, intending to teach himself how to play and then pay homage to his famous father. Indeed, this was the beginning of Big Bill Morganfield as a Bluesman and the start of his blues journey. Click here to read more about the evolution of the great blues talent of Big Bill Morganfield.

Aurora “Rory” Block has staked her claim as one of America’s top acoustic blues women, an interpreter of the great Delta blues singers, a slide guitarist par excellence, and also a talented songwriter.

The Sedalia Blues Society will sponsor the 13th Annual Blues Talent Competition as part of the Sedalia Blues Festival. Entries are no longer being accepted and the competing performers have been announced:


(Order of appearance will be determined on the day of the event.)

Definitely the hottest blues ticket in Virginia, this is a must on your summer calendar! Beer, wine, and food available.

Admission: $15 in Advance, $20 at the gate, children under 12 free

Advance tickets are available through Friday, July 9, on this web site or by calling our office. Event takes place rain or shine. No pets, no coolers!

13th Annual Blues Talent Competition
The 13th Annual Blues Talent Competition will kick off at 1pm. Winners will be named in both the Solo/Duo Category and the Bands Category, and both winners will receive cash prizes. Both winners will also go on to represent the Sedalia Blues Society at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee, in 2011.
- The Sedalia Center Online:


"The Bush League Live" - Released December 2010
"The Bush League Rocks" - Released December 20111
"Can Of Gas & A Match" - Release date December 2012



Based in Richmond, VA,  The Bush League began in March 2007 as a sonic stew one part cigarette smoke, one part cheap beer and a healthy dollop of laughter through the tears.  The soul filled voice of co-founder JohnJason Sleepy Eyed Jay Cecil is both sin and salvation while the guitar licks of Shane Chicago Slim Parch paint a picture of Mississippi shotgun houses against the backdrop of the Windy City skyline.  Brought together by the bass lines of co-founder Royce Folks, the cornerstone of The Bush League's rhythm section accompanied by a storied list of drummers!

Since its inception, The Bush League has been rockin the Blues from Maryland to Mississippi!  Memphis in particular is familiar with the sound of The Bush League as the band has been a presence at the International Blues Challenge in every category of competition. Jay and Slim competed in the solo/duo category in 2010, the band competed in 2011, made the semifinals in 2012 and its first studio CD Can of Gas & a Match was selected for consideration in the Best Self Produced CD category for the 2014 competition.

Can of Gas & a Match was recorded at Young Avenue Sound in Memphis in one 14 hour session.  Released in December 2012, this gutsy and ballsy CD has been played and downloaded worldwide with positive reviews from such storied Blues publications as Blues Blast Magazine, "Living Blues" and highly regarded Blues blogs like Bmans Blues Report.  The Bush League has had the pleasure of sharing the stage with such luminaries as Michael Burks, Big Bill Moganfield, Jimmy Duck Holmes, Terry 'Harmonica' Bean and bands such as JJ Grey & Mofro, Galactic and Robert Randolph and the Family Band.

While paying homage to those who have inspired them such as Robert Johnson, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf, R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough and Theodore Hound Dog Taylor, The Bush League imbues traditional blues with a modern flair.

Rock tinged, raucous, and at times raunchy, The Bush League always puts on a show that is in a word, FUN.  The interaction between the band mates is infectious, and the audience cant help but to enjoy themselves!  The Bush League; you will like what you hear and love what youve never heardget some