The blues are back in town

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NOW A mainstay of the live music calendar on the north coast, the Valentine’s Weekend Rhythm & Blues Hop returns to Portrush Town Hall this Saturday (February 11) with a performance from the Ronnie Greer Almost Big Band, promoted by Coleraine Borough Arts Committee.

The show is always a blast, with the famous Ronnie Greer two-guitars-bass-drums quartet augmented by keyboards and horns for a swinging big blues band feel, namely the prodigiously talented John McCullough on piano and Hammond organ, Linley Hamilton on trumpet and David Howell on saxophone.

Special guest for this performance is the rising star of the blues Grainne Duffy, currently touring in support of her brand new album, Test of Time.

Grainne is a hugely talented performer, blessed with a wonderfully smoky blues voice, reminiscent of Bonnie Raitt at her best, and a great blues guitar style. She’s been performing as special guest of Ronnie’s band for some time now, and the results have been spectacular.

Because of the layout of the hall for this event, only 100 tickets will be available. Tickets are priced at £12, and they’re sure to go fast (the last two shows have been sold out in advance) – they’re available from Flowerfield Arts Centre in Portstewart. You can book with a credit card on (028) 7083 1400.

A superb blues and jazz guitarist, Ronnie’s fingers have added passion and fire to some of the greatest blues bands in the country, including for a time the legendary Jim Daly Blues Band and a host of others. Ronnie never fails to wring the last drop of emotion out of a solo, while still keeping the toes tapping.

As a sideman and frontman, Ronnie has shared the stage with some of the biggest names in the business - including the likes of Dr. John, Lowell Fulson, Phil Guy, Johnny Mars and many more.

For this trip to the north coast, Ronnie has augmented his usual quartet to make the big swinging sound of an octet – The Ronnie Greer Almost Big Band.

The full line up is Ronnie on guitar and vocals, Anthony Toner on guitar and vocals, Alan Hunter on bass and Colm Fitzpatrick on drums, John McCullough on Hammond organ and piano, Linley Hamilton on trumpet and David Howell on saxophone.

Watch out for classics from Muddy Waters, JJ Cale, Jimmy Reed, Steely Dan, Ray Charles, Big Joe Turner and many more.

For this event, supported by Coleraine Borough Arts Committee, Portrush Town Hall will be laid out in cabaret style, with tables and chairs – and even some room at the front for dancing, for those who can’t sit still when the band starts swinging.

Patrons will receive a glass of wine on arrival – and another at the interval, courtesy of Fairley’s House of Wines, Coleraine. For more information, get in touch with Flowerfield Arts Centre on (028) 7083 1400.