ARTISTS

GRAMMY award-winner Jonny Lang and Jon Batiste & the Dap Kings will headline the Indian Wells Music Festival, a newly-expanded two-day music concert event to be held April 6-7, 2018 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. The popular music event that has taken place in the Coachella Valley for the past two decades has been expanded into a two-day festival, incorporating more musical styles than before.

See below for the full line-up and click on the artist pics for bios.

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Jonny Lang

It is hard to believe that at 36 years old Jonny Lang has already had a successful career for two decades.  Easier to believe when you learn he released his first platinum record at 15 when many young people are just beginning to play music.  Lie to Me revealed a talent that transcended the crop of blues prodigies floating around in the late nineties. Even at that early age Lang was a full-blown artist with a style of his own and further setting him apart was a 15-year-old voice that sounded like a weathered soul shouter.

Actual life experience was yet to come, and has been subsequently chronicled in a series of five uniformly excellent recordings. What began as a bluesy sound, influenced by electric pioneers like Albert Collins, B. B. King, and Buddy Guy, evolved over those recordings into a modern R&B style closer to Stevie Wonder and contemporary gospel music. Lang's distinctive, blues-inflected licks appeared on every album, but became one element in a sea of passionately sung and tightly arranged songs.

 

Since the release of his debut album, Grammy Award winning Jonny Lang has built a reputation as one of the best live performers and guitarists of his generation. The path Lang has been on has brought him the opportunity to support or perform with some of the most respected legends in music. He has shared the stage with everyone from The Rolling Stones, B.B. King, Aerosmith and Buddy Guy, who he continues to tour with today.

His latest release Signs reaffirms his commitment to the blues and the guitar without sacrificing the modern approach that has made him such a singular artist.

The record, which features funk, rock, and blues elements, is held together by Lang's distinctive playing and singing, and the lyrics, which center on themes of embattlement and self-empowerment.

 

"A lot of my earlier influences have been coming to the surface, like Robert Johnson, and Howlin' Wolf," he reports. "I have been appreciating how raw and unrefined that stuff is. I had an itch to emulate some of that and I think it shows in the songs.  Still, I let the writing be what it was and that was sometimes not necessarily the blues."

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jon batiste & the dap kings

Jon Batiste is a globally celebrated musician, educator, bandleader and television personality whose musical skill, artistic vision and exuberant charisma make him a triple threat.  Recognized for his originality, jaw-dropping talent and dapper sense of style, Jon transitions from commanding the piano with virtuosic skill, to soulfully crooning, to wailing on the “harmonaboard” (a kind of harmonica and keyboard), to curating unique "social music" experiences all over the world. Born into a long lineage of Louisiana musicians, Batiste received both his undergraduate and master’s degrees in piano from the Juilliard School.  

The Forbes 30 under 30 honoree balances a demanding performance schedule with his role as bandleader for the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Artistic Director At Large of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, public speaking engagements, master classes and occasional acting gigs as well as his signature impromptu ‘love riot’ street parade.

The New York City-based musician has released several self produced independent albums, including "MY N.Y." which was recorded entirely on the street corners and subways of NYC and "Jazz is Now" featuring his singular approach to jazz standards and jazz composition in the classic piano trio format.   In 2013 he released "Social Music" which spent over a month atop both Billboard Jazz charts and iTunes Jazz charts as the #1 jazz album in the world.  His recent release “The Music of John Lewis."  with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra led by Wynton Marsalis features material written by John Lewis, best known as the pianist and musical director of the Modern Jazz Quartet.

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the dap kingS

The Dap Kings recently joined forces with Jon Batiste after years of performing with the late Sharon Jones. The soulful retro sound of The Kings played on Amy Winehouse’s album “Back to Black” and the band toured with her throughout the US.

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the fabulous thunderbirds

For over 30 years, The Fabulous Thunderbirds have been the quintessential American band. The group's distinctive and powerful sound, influenced by a diversity of musical styles, manifested itself into a unique musical hybrid via such barnburners as "Tuff Enuff" and "Wrap It Up." Co-founder Kim Wilson, still spearheads the group as it evolves into its newest incarnation.  "We started as a straight blues band," vocalist and harmonica player Wilson says. "We now incorporate a mixture of a lot of different styles. We're an American music band and we're much higher energy than we were before."

Throughout the T-Birds career has been the respect for its peerless musicianship and devotion to the sounds of blues, R & B and rock 'n roll. In fact, Muddy Waters called Wilson his favorite harmonica player and vocalist.

During the burgeoning music scene of Austin, Texas the T-Birds were founded in 1974. The band developed a reputation as a compelling live act and in 1979 The Fabulous Thunderbirds released their first self-titled album.  Primarily blues influenced, it became a cult classic. In subsequent releases, the band started to incorporate more Cajun, rock 'n roll and soul influences. In 1986 they reached a commercial peak with the album, "Tuff Enuff." The single of the same title as well as the singles "Wrap It Up" and "Look At That," all went top 40.

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robert cray band

Five Grammys, a suitcase full of W.C. Handy blues awards and an induction into the Blues Hall of Fame, singer, guitarist and songwriter Robert Cray has created a sound that rises from American roots and arrives today both fresh and familiar.  It is extraordinary for musicians to thrive over four decades, and the Robert Cray Band is just that, an extraordinary story of success.  His voice has grown richer and wiser yet remains sweet.  Texas blues and R&B artist Jimmie Vaughan simply sums up Cray’s success when he says, “He’s got one foot in the future and one foot in the old stuff.”

Growing up in the Northwest, Robert Cray listened to the gospel of the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi, Bobby Bland’s soul, Jimi Hendrix’s rock guitar and the Beatles pop sounds.  He would bring all of the influences into play throughout his career starting with his teenage band that was captivated by southern soul and the blues.  With fans whose tastes in music ranged from blues, soul and rock to funk and jazz, Cray became a sensation leading his band in concerts at large arenas and rock festivals.  He was the first African American artist since Jimi Hendrix to rise to such fame in rock music.  

It was the sounds of the blues and soul that first drew attention from artists in the rock arena.  Eric Clapton’s initial response to Robert Cray stated, “As a blues fan, we’re saved.”  The Cray band has been featured in concert with artists like Clapton, the Stones, John Lee Hooker, BB King and Bonnie Raitt, who declares the band leader is “an original; he’s passionate, he’ a bad ass and puts on one of the best shows you’ll ever see.”

Cray’s live performances at recent concerts capture seasoned musicians bringing a vivid, illustrative past into the moment.  His Stratocaster solos sing, cry and take on the funk!

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mindi abair & the boneshakers

“Capturing raw emotion, power and synergy, Mindi Abair and The Boneshakers rock” - examiner.com

In a career that spans seven solo albums and countless collaborations, saxophonists and two-time GRAMMY nominee Mindi Abair continues to electrifiy audiences with her dynamic live performances and sax prowess.  No one since Junior Walker has brought saxophone and vocals in one package to the forefront of modern music, with a raucous tone and abandon.

The daughter and granddaughter of working musicians, Abair continues to captivate fans while evolving her sound. In 2014, after two seasons as the featured saxophonist on the hit series American Idol, Abair released Grammy nominated Wild Heart. This LP showcased a compilation of grittier rock and soul tracks featuring some of the biggest names in music (the late Gregg Allman, Joe Perry, Trombone Shorty, Booker T. Jones, Keb’ Mo’, and Max Weinberg).

To help translate this sound to her live shows, Mindi enlisted longtime friend and The Boneshakers founder Randy Jacobs (Bonnie Raitt, Was Not Was, Willie Nelson) to inject his brand of Detroit Rock/Funk. The collaboration was undeniable, and it lead to an almost immediate decision to join forces creatively. Mindi Abair and The Boneshakers features Mindi (Saxophone, Vocals), Randy Jacobs (Guitar, Vocals), Sweet Pea Atkinson (Vocals), Rodney Lee (Keys), Derek Frank (Bass, Vocals), and Third Richardson (Drums, Vocals).  Their first record together Mindi Abair and The Boneshakers LIVE in Seattle was recorded at their first official show together in Seattle February 2015.

Almost two years later, the band has their first studio release. The EastWest Sessions was recorded over five days at legendary Hollywood recording studio EastWest Studios with renowned rock/blues producer Kevin Shirley (Led Zepplin, Joe Bonamassa, The Black Crowes, Aerosmith). The album features a track with iconic blues guitarist Joe Bonamassa and 2017 GRAMMY® winner in the Best Contemporary Blues Album category, Fantastic Negrito.

When she’s not touring as Mindi Abair and The Boneshakers, the Berklee graduate can often be found recording and touring with a wide array of legendary peers: Joe Perry, Trombone Shorty, Booker T. Jones, Aerosmith, Bobby Rush, Keb’ Mo’, Adam Sandler, Duran Duran, Lalah Hathaway and the Backstreet Boys.

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sandra lynn

A California girl with a Nashville heart, Sandra Lynn is one of country music’s sweetest rising voices. After releasing a pair of upbeat singles — “Afterparty” and “Bar Hoppin’” — in 2015, Lynn returns with the playful, flirty “Hey California,” which she co-wrote with producer Dave Brainard (Brandy Clark). “I feel like this song is such a strong identity piece for me,” she says. “It represents some of my earliest influences, like the Beach Boys and Sheryl Crow, and captures my love for country music and my roots as a California girl.”

Traveling between Los Angeles and Nashville to work with some of Nashville’s hottest songwriters, hit-makers and performers and after wrapping her last tour in the summer of 2015, Lynn decided to take some time to take her songwriting to a deeper place than she had gone previously.  The result is Lynn’s upcoming debut album which allowed her to reveal deeply felt emotions and experiences and put them all into the music.

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