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Lowertown BluesFest at the Black Dog

Howard 'Guitar' Luedtke

with Steve Kamanski

Howard Luedtke and Steve Kamanski play from 6:00-8:00 PM

Howard Luedtke and Steve Kamanski play from 6:00-8:00 PM

Say the name Howard “Guitar” Luedtke, and little more needs to be said. Howard is a staple in the Blues scene and with good reason. He has 40 plus years of playing guitar in both the Midwest and on the international stage.

In 1964 he got his first guitar and today, when he picks up his Les Paul, he will transport you into the world of the blues. He in incredibly talented and his passion and love for what he does shows.

He can also be seen performing solo, as a duo with his wife Deb Klossner on bass, or with his full band Blue Max, that also includes a talented line up of drummers.

Howard’s guitar playing is hard, fast and immaculate. He’s truly one of those players who lives in harmony with his instrument. That connection only comes with experience and an undying need to share this sound, which runs deep in your soul.

Wilbur and Johnny

Wilbur Cole was born in Silver Creek, Mississippi. His father was a schoolteacher. His mother stayed home to raise Wilbur and his brother and sister.

A self-taught musician, Wilbur started playing the trumpet at the age of 8. By age 10 he was playing keyboards. His musical background originated in church where he played spiritual and gospel music. Other instruments include the harmonica and juice harp.

Wilbur attended the Prentiss Institute in Prentiss, Mississippi, and served six years in the Army with the 82nd Airborne. Family ties brought him to Minneapolis.

Wilbur's extensive career, which began professionally in 1960, includes backing up such performers as Diana Ross & The Supremes, Sam & Dave, Leon Hayward, Band of Thieves and Maurice & Mac, in addition to playing with some local Minneapolis-based blues groups--Maurice McKennis, The Blazers and the Excitors.

His music has been influenced by Ray Charles, Jimmy Smith and Fats domino.

When he's not behind the keyboards, you'll likely find Wilbur behind a rod and reel on a lake, or at a table playing dominos.

"I would like for my music to expand in a way that I may be able to help my family, the elderly and handicapped," he says, "and become a good person through all my relations with my friends."

Johnny O. Was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota; the oldest of a four children born to his Irish politician father and his Yugoslavian and Czech mother.

At age 6 he began playing the coronet and then at 8, encouraged by his grandmother, he began to play the accordion. At age 10 he was giving lessons to others.

He attended Hopkins Eisenhower high school and the University of Minnesota, all the time performing with various musical groups in the Twin Cities. When he was 15, he switched to the guitar and played with Loaded Dice, 4 for Rent, the George Kent Show, the Jim Calvin Show, the Monarch band, The Wanderers, the Scott and John Duo, and the Transport band. As a studio musician, he has some commercial and album credits.

He plans to make music his life. "It is touching people with emotion, communicating with them. There is no other place I would rather be than on stage with a guitar."

"Music is instant gratification," he says. "It is bringing pleasure to people. For me, it is feeling in its purest form. Each note or chord expresses a whole range of emotions. I play from my heart--that is the only way I know how."

He credits the late Jimi Hendrix with inspiring him to play the guitar. These days he listens to many artists including Stevie Ray Vaughan and Robert Cray. "There is fire in their playing. They can make a guitar talk," he says.

Earlier Event: July 19
Jen Bluhm: Waltzing on Waves