Duo blues act to perform at RJ’s Grill

Johnie B and Queen Iretta Sanders will perform in Pine Bluff on Dec. 2. (Special to The Commercial/Chrisophe Losberger)

The Blues By Budweiser concert series will feature the Johnie B and Queen Iretta Sanders Blues Review at 8 p.m. Dec. 2 at RJ's Grill & Bar, 128 S. Main St.

The doors will open at 7 p.m. Port City Blues Society members are admitted free. Admission is $5 for others. The concert series is being sponsored by MK Distributors, according to a news release.

"Johnie B. and Queen Iretta Sanders are a power Blues duo -- on and off stage -- who have been wowing audiences for more than 25 years. Longtime headliner festival favorites across the United States, their European fan base is blooming after their renowned 2019 European debut at the Blues Rules Crissier Festival in Switzerland followed by a tour of Italy that included enthusiastic welcomes at the DiaDia Club, the Rabbit Club and more," according to the release.

When they're not traveling, they frequent Morgan Freeman's Ground Zero Club in Clarksdale, Miss.

"From the moment they hit the stage, their energies ignite and you'll be up on your feet feeling the intoxicating soulful intensity of Johnie's exquisite, tasteful guitar playing beautifully intertwining with Iretta's passionate, dynamic voice. They dish up a delicious gumbo of favorite Blues traditional standards alongside their original Blues that will leave you feeling both satisfied and wanting more," according to the release.

Both are experienced musicians. Johnie B received his musical education in his native Chicago where he played throughout the area.

"He honed his skills as the choice guitarist for many bands, including Mary Lane. He was band leader for another Chicago great, West Side Willie D. He's also been a guest guitarist on many stages including John Primer, Jimmy Dawkins and Magic Slim, to name a few," according to the release.

Sanders, a native of Tunica, Miss., began singing in church.

"With influences of everyone from Koko Taylor to The Supremes, Iretta's Blues performance evolved after meeting Johnie B in 1986. They married, started a family and she began to tag along to his gigs. After singing a song or two, it was clear that she had a special voice to share and soon became an integral part of the show. She's been a celebrated artist as part of the Florida Women in Blues Showcase, and enjoys many invitations as a guest vocalist with greats such as Chicago's Brenda Taylor Ricci and Memphis, Tennessee's Barbara Blue," according to the release.

The Blues series is promoted by Port City Blues Society, an affiliated member of The Blues Foundation, which seeks to preserve and promote blues music, the culture of Delta blues, and educate the public about the history of the blues in the region.

Port City hosts a free weekly blues jam at RJ's Grill & Bar where area musicians converge to play live blues from 8-11 p.m. Wednesdays. Details: pc-blues.com or facebook.com/PCBluesSociety.