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Lifetime Honorary Members

JC Smith   J.C. Smith - Website Link!

J. C. Smith is an outstanding performer noted for his energy and charisma. Prior to playing guitar, he was the drummer for the Back-to-Back Blues Band. In 2000, he emerged from behind his drums, armed with a Gibson 335.  J. C. attacks the Blues as if he is being guided by the masters like T-Bone Walker, Albert King, and Johnnie Guitar Watson. 

Smith has toured throughout the United States, Eastern Europe, Mexico, South America, and Russia, to sellout crowds. Smith has work with and shared the stage with notable artist suchas Hubert Sumlin, B,B, King, Buddy Guy, Buddy Miles, Son Seals Willie Big eyes Smith, Pinetop Perkins and many more. He is also known as radio personality Johnnie Cozmik on KKUP F.M. J. C. feels that his goal in life is “To keep the Blues alive and take the message to the people.”

Lifetime Honorary Members

Gary Smitn honorary member   Gary Smith - Website Link!

Gary Smith is an influential figure in the Bay Area Blues Scene. His band was the first to grace the stage at the inaugural S.F. Blues Festival way back in 1973. He has long been regarded as the Godfather of San Jose Blues Harmonica, with his harp playing prowess.

He started as a drummer -- after having been raised on a diet of Ray Charles records -- but in 1967 he heard an album that changed his life: ''The Paul Butterfield Blues Band.'' And, in 1968, he saw his first real blues show -- Muddy Waters at the Monterey Jazz Festival, with George Smith on harmonica. Gary switched to harmonica and since then he has influenced many, many players and been one of the most significant members of the Blues Scene in Silicon Valley for over 40 years.

 
Ron Thompson Honorary Member   Ron Thompson Lind - Website Link!
Not many living blues musicians can say they have performed with and recorded for legends like Big Mama Thornton, Tina Turner, Bruce Willis, Luther Tucker, Jimmy McCracklin, Pee Wee Crayton, Carla Thomas, Booker T. Jones, Percy Mayfield, Etta James, B.B. King, and Jimmy Reed. Ron Thompson can, and that's just the beginning! 

Ron Thompson is a legendary rhythm and blues guitarist and master keyboardist whose career began in the rough and tumble world of East San Francisco Bay nightclubs and bars in the early 1970's. During many years of touring coast to coast with John Lee Hooker, Hooker was quoted as saying, "Ron Thompson, he's my main man!" 
 
Chris Cain honoary member   Chris Cain - Website Link!
Chris Cain's jazz-tinged, blues soaked guitar and deep, warm vocals have the maturity and authenticity of bluesmen many years his senior. His expressive style is the result of a lifetime of study and the relentless pursuit of music mastery. His passion and intensity are a blend of his mother's Greek ancestry and his father's soulful black heritage. 

Cain was raised on stories of his father's childhood upbringing on Memphis' Historic Beale Street and attended his first B.B King concert at the tender age of three. Blues music played continuously on the home stereo and family outings were often trips to concerts. Cain recalls, "I remember when I was a kid, my Dad would be mowing the lawn with the stereo blasting Muddy Waters. When I look back, that was pretty cool! There was always music playing at our house, Ray Charles, B.B. King, Freddie King, Albert King, all the greats." 
 
Kenny Neal honorary member   Kenny Neal - Website Link!
Kenny Neal is an acclaimed multi-instrumentalist and is widely renowned as a modern swamp-blues master. His new release, Hooked On Your Love, follows the triumph of his multi-award winning 2008 comeback album, Let Life Flow. An outstanding success, the CD raked in the accolades: three prestigious Album Of The Year awards, two Song of The Year awards for the title track, and Kenny himself garnered two Artist of the Year honors.

It was clear that Kenny touched something deep in the blues community with his soulful guitar playing and uplifting songwriting, and his hot streak continues with a batch of new songs. Hooked On Your Love covers the plethora of accomplished roots styles Kenny has become known for. The tasty musical gumbo of swamp-boogie, jazz, R&B, and straight-ahead blues all swirl together on this new CD.
 
Kenny Neal honorary member   Alvin Draper- Website Link!

Alvin Draper was born in Lubbock, Texas, raised in Goree Texas. Lightin’ Hopkins was his grandmother’s nephew and Alvin’s dad, Richard, taught music to many of the greats. Alvin moved to Palo Alto, CA. in 1968 and has played for decades all over the Bay Area beginning with his first band, Alvin and the Challengers. Alvin is one of the great, original Blues Men in our area and many remember watching him perform at JJs. Alvin played with many well-known legendary musicians, to mention a few: Sam Cook, Little Willie John, T-Bone Walker, Bobby Bland, Etta James.  

In 2004 Alvin began to lose his voice, and by late 2005 it was completely gone. A tumor had been discovered in his left vocal chord, and he had to undergo chemotherapy and radiation. He was healed and told his fans and friends “I almost died 3 times, but I feel good.” Mr. Blues Man keeps on with his music. He speaks, lives and plays the Blues.  

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