Fri, February 16, 2018
Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pmThe Cotillion Ballroom
$18 Advance - $20 Day of Show
This event is all ages
All seating is general admission. Table reservations are available at The Cotillion or by calling 316-722-4201. Drink Local! Now Serving Hand-Crafted Beers from Wichita Brewing Company. Nancy's A-Maize-N Sandwiches will be here serving her Famous #8 and more! Check Room is open during events to check your merchandise purchases, coats, hats and purses.
Text BLUES to 49798 for concert updates and chances at FREE tickets.
No Refunds or Exchanges.
Support acts subject to change.https://www.thecotillion.com/event/1610974/
The industry agrees on all fronts. Watermelon Slim & The Workers have garnered 17 Blues Music Award nominations in four years including a record-tying six in both 2007 & 2008. Only the likes of B.B. King, Buddy Guy and Robert Cray have landed six in a year and Slim is the only blues artist in history with twelve in two consecutive years. In Spring 2009 he was the cover story of Blues Revue magazine. Now, Watermelon Slim is making more waves with Escape From the Chicken Coop, his first-person account of the days he spent driving a truck. It is just one of many instances of a life spent changing gears.
Two of Slim's records were ranked #1 in MOJO Magazine's annual Top Blues CD rankings. Industry awards include The Independent Music Award for Blues Album of the Year, The Blues Critic Award and Canada's Maple Blues Award for International Artist of the Year among others. Slim has hit #1 on the Living Blues Charts, top five on the Roots Music Report and debuted in the top ten in Billboard. One of Slim's most impressive industry accolades may be the liner notes of The Wheel Man eagerly written by the late legendary Jerry Wexler who called him a "one-of-a-kind pickin' n singing Okie dynamo." Slim has been embraced for his music, performances, backstory and persona. He has appeared on NPR's All Things Considered, The BBC's World Service and has been featured in publications like Harp, Relix, Paste, MOJO, Oklahoma Magazine and Truckers News as well as newspapers like The London Times, Toronto Star, Chicago Sun-Times, The Village Voice, Kansas City Star, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Michelle Shocked's JAMS Magazine.
The Memphis Flyer led its terrific CD review with the question "Does anyone in modern pop music have a more intriguing biography than Bill "Watermelon Slim" Homans?"
Slim was born in Boston, his father was a progressive attorney and freedom rider and his brother is a classical musician. He was raised in North Carolina listening to the housekeeper sing John Lee Hooker songs. Slim attended Middlebury on a fencing scholarship but left early to enlist for Vietnam. While laid up in a Vietnam hospital bed he taught himself upside-down left-handed slide guitar on a $5 balsawood model using a triangle pick cut from a rusty coffee can top and his Army issued Zippo lighter as the slide.
Slim first appeared on the music scene with the release of the only known protest record by a veteran during the Vietnam War. The project was Merry Airbrakes, a 1973 protest tinged LP with tracks Country Joe McDonald later covered. In the following 30 plus years Slim has been a truck driver, forklift operator, sawmiller (where he lost a partial finger), firewood salesman, collection agent, funeral officiator and at times a small time criminal. Due to aforementioned criminality, Slim was forced to flee Boston where he had played peace rallies, sit-ins and rabbleroused musically with the likes of Bonnie Raitt. Recently Raitt singled out Slim to her audience as a living blues legend during a summer 2009 performance.
From Boston Slim landed in his current home state of Oklahoma farming watermelons - hence his stage name. Somewhere in those decades since Vietnam Slim completed two undergrad and a master's degree, started a family, painted art and joined Mensa, the social networking group reserved for members with certified genius IQs. When he's not on tour Slim loves to fish and at the age of 60 bowls a steady 240 in his local league.
The big turning point was 2002 when Slim suffered a near fatal heart attack. His brush with death gave him a new perspective on mortality, direction and life ambitions and thus his second emergence as a performing musician. Five albums later he says, "Everything I do now has a sharper pleasure to it. I've lived a fuller life than most people could in two. If I go now, I've got a good education, I've lived on three continents, and I've played music with a bunch of immortal blues players. I've fought in a war and against a war. I've seen an awful lot and I've done an awful lot. If my plane went down tomorrow, I'd go out on top." And when you watch him perform, you know every word is true.
Throughout his storied past, it has always been truck driving that Slim returned to. While trucking and hauling industrial waste for thankless bosses at hourly wages to support himself and his family, his id yearned for release of the musician inside. In fact, many of Slim's current songs began a cappella in his rig keeping him awake and entertained.
Rachelle Coba was born in Fon du Lac, Wisconsin to an American mother from Kansas and a Cuban father born in Havana. Music was a constant presence in the house, loved and danced to by everyone, everyday. Rachelle carried that love of music into learning violin in school and eventually to studying the guitar. She got her first guitar on her 15th birthday and her mom took her to see Lonnie Mack and Stevie Ray Vaughan that same night. Rachelle went on to college to study violin. It was about this time she met Buddy Guy. They became friends, so Rachelle decided she better learn the blues.
While going to blues shows, jamming at Miami’s famous Tobacco Road on Monday nights, and sitting in with numerous blues legends (including Buddy), Rachelle switched instruments from violin to guitar in college and earned a bachelors degree in classical guitar performance from the University of Miami, Florida. With all of these influences, Rachelle developed her own unique finger-style approach to blues rhythm and lead guitar playing.
Her style eventually brought her to the attention of many blues artists. She has worked with and toured as a guitarist with artists like Super Chikan, Albert Castiglia, Grady Champion and Ray Drew. In this role, she played countless clubs and festivals, including: Buddy Guy’s Legends, B.B. Kings in NYC, and the Chicago Blues Festival. She was also a part of extended tours with artists Johnny Winter and Coco Montoya.
After years of this experience, Rachelle decided to play her own style and front her own band. Since then, she has represented the Wichita and Topeka, Kansas Blues Societies in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee both as a solo act and with a band becoming a semi-finalist in 2013.
More recently, she has toured extensively in Queensland Australia, the United States Midwest and the Mississippi Delta and she has been a surprise special guest on the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise. Rachelle has played many festivals including Juke Joint, King Biscuit, Riverwalk, and Chautauqua Hills Blues Festivals. She was a featured performer in the Blessissippi Blues film in Clarksdale, Mississippi. She has opened for and jammed with notable blues artists including: Dr. John, A.C. Reed,The Cate Brothers, Karen Lovely, Candye Kane, Earl and Them, Hadden Sayers, Hamilton Loomis, Maria Muldaur, Marcia Ball, TUF, Bobby Keys, Eddie Turner, Iko-Iko, Joe Pitts, Albert Castiglia and Stacy Mitchheart.