Beacon Hill Blues Festival
How does an 8-year-old kid get the blues? Blues guitarist Ryan Perry laughs at the notion.
"We haven't had any bad experiences as a family," Perry says. He and his younger brother and sister are the Homemade Jamz Blues Band, a trio that emulates the music of B.B. King, Albert King and Stevie Ray Vaughn.
Homemade Jamz will headline the 6th annual Beacon Hill Blues Festival on Sunday, June 29.
Perry says he understands the irony of a world-weary anklebiter, but more importantly the simple, youthful concept of doing what comes naturally.
The band began to take shape when Perry was 8 and discovered a replica of a Stratocaster in his father's things. A week later, he had composed a short tune and was playing along to commercial jingles.
At home in Mississippi, Perry dived head-first into the blues. A couple of years later, his brother, Kyle Perry, joined him on bass, and little sister Taya, just 7, was not about to be left out. She quickly took to a drumkit and soon held down the beats behind her brothers.
Homemade Jamz saturated local media before making appearances on NPR, CBS' "Sunday Morning," NBC's "Today Show" and internationally distributed blues magazines, among others.
In 2007, the band won second place at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tenn. It went on to record "Pay Me No Mind" in 2009 at home, and was nominated for Best New Artist Debut in 2009 by the Blues Foundation.
Now, Ryan Perry, 21, Kyle Perry, 19, and Taya Perry, 14, exude confidence and attitude as they sing of betrayal, love and hard times as if they've lived a life rich in strife.
Which raises the question: How do an 8-year-old and his younger siblings get the blues? The answer is that it is hard-wired into them.
"We just connect with the music," Ryan Perry says. "We love the blues. For some reason, it just comes naturally to us."
Regional blues bands will lead up to the Homemade Jamz Blues Band's show. In the Pocket — Leonard Griffie on guitars, Billy Rock on vocals, Mark Cunningham on bass, David Bolen on drums and Patrick McDougal on keys — will play old-school R&B and Chicago-style blues.
The Muskadine Blues Quartet — Mark Adams on harmonica, Justin Wade on guitar, Jeff Addicott on bass and Tom Stamper on drums — will play "Chicago-style blues that meets San Francisco psychedelia." Look for music that was popular in the '60s when many Chicago and San Francisco blues musicians performed together at such venues as the Fillmore. Muskadine's new album, "Gypsy Good Time," recorded at Thomas Hartkop Studios in Central Point and released in May, is available at www.ashlandblues.org.
Portland-based blues artist Ben Rice and his band the iLLamatics bring vintage blues into contemporary times, twisting soul, roots blues and West Coast blues with rockabilly, funk and rock. Rice and his band represented the Cascade Blues Association at the 2014 International Blues Challenge.
The blues festival starts at 1:30 p.m. Tickets cost $25, $20 for ages 12 through 21, and can be purchased at www.ashlandblues.org or at Music Coop, 268 E. Main St., Ashland. Kids 11 and younger get in free.