Joe & Vicki Price at the Uptown Theatre in Mount Vernon, Iowa - a benefit for LilFest
In a world where words like legend get thrown around entirely too lightly, it's good to know that there are a few people still worthy of the word's original intent. And when it comes to music in Iowa, Joe Price stands as one of the art's legendary practitioners.
Armed with a joyous, disarming demeanor and the ability to play the doors off most anyone else in the room, Price has opened for the likes of Iris Dement and John Lee Hooker, while Iowa's own Greg Brown calls Price the Buddha. Brown isn't alone in his praise, as a litany of Iowa musicians list Price as one of their influences.
Price's reputation was cemented in the 1970's, when he spent the latter half of the decade as part of Mother Blues, one of the greatest and most influential Iowa blues bands of all time. It was a time when Price was playing nearly non-stop, and developed the style that has made him such a memorable performer.
And make no mistake, Price certainly is memorable. Head down while he plays, big ball cap covering his eyes from the crowd while he plies his trade, feet tapping out the time as his hands work those six strings like their on autopilot. Price isn't the kind of artist you think you've seen play; once you've been taken to church by that slide, it stays with you.
But no man lives by bread alone, and Price has two great loves in his life. It's the rare man that gets to mix two passions together and make a life out of it, but Vicki Price makes that easy. The pair married in 1987, but Vicki had been holding her own in the wilds of small-town Iowa before then. Her guitar playing has more structure to it than Joe's, while her voice provides a good deal of their songs fire.
Bold and brassy when she wants to be, Vicki's voice has elicited visions of Loretta Lynn or June Carter, but she's able to get far bluesier than any of her most obvious comparisons. This duo is far more than the sum of their impressive parts: it is when these two take the stage together that the genuine magic happens.
Joe's deep love and admiration for his wife is obvious from the moment she joins him on stagesomething that can happen at any point during a set; he beckons her with You Are My Sunshineand the amount of fun they clearly have performing with one another elevates their performances, transforming them from something that blues purists and guitar fans can appreciate, into something that everyone with ears and a love of life can understand and tap along to.
Joe and Vicki are both members of the Iowa Blues Hall of Fame. Their 2009 album "Rain or Shine" won the Independent Music Award for best Blues CD of the year. Joe is also a member of the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and was a finalist in the International Blues Challenge.
The LilFest Series brings world quality performances to intimate concert settings, which are best for both the audience and the performer. LilFest was originally developed in the Chicago area by Nancy Emrich Freeman, now a resident of Mount Vernon, and she continues the tradition of bringing the finest musicians to play in the places that are the best for both the person onstage and the fan in the nearby seat. The Prices follow in the footsteps of performers like Freebo, Chad and Jeremy, Ellis Paul, Tim Grimm, Phil Heywood, Kevin Burt, Radoslav Lorkovic, Claudia Nygaard, Chuck Mitchell, George Winston, Dave Moore, and Suzie Vinnick and many more. The Price's have been presented by LilFest before when Nancy's series was a feature at Bill's Blues in Evanston, IL.
Extraordinary music in an intimate setting, with an opportunity to meet the musicians, hear a great performance, listen, laugh, have a memorably musical evening. That's a LilFest Concert.
Uptown Theatre of the First Street Community Center (View)
221 1st St. NE
Mount Vernon, IA 52314
|Kid Friendly: Yes!|
|Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!|