Ivas John Brings His Own Style to Kenlake’s Hot August Blues Festival

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(Aurora, KY) Kenlake Hot August Blues Festival is proud to be bringing critically acclaimed guitar player and singer/songwriter Ivas John to the festival for the first time! For the complete lineup of the Hot August Blues Fest and information on tickets, click over to KenlakeBlues.com.

Born in Chicago as a first generation Lithuanian American, Ivas John’s self made career stems from the musicality of his family. His working class father, who Ivas credits as his biggest influence, appeared in productions for the local opera company and was a regular fixture on the vibrant folk and blues scene in Chicago during the late 60’s. Ivas picked up a guitar at sixteen and hasn’t put it down. At first focusing on the instrument, and later adopting his father’s short and sweet “three verses and a chorus” theory of songwriting.

Together, between Ivas’ ability with the guitar and the songwriting assistance from his father, Ivas John’s sound is a blend equal parts Ry Cooder, Mose Allison, Robert Cray, Van Morrison, Keb Mo, and Delbert McClinton. The music pleases the casual bar patron and the scrutinizing critic alike. Though he is an artist who understands the debt that is owed to his predecessors, and how important it is to honorably carry traditional music on, Ivas John is no copycat. As such, fans may have a hard time pinpointing exactly in what blues style Ivas is playing, but none will question that it is the genuine article.

While still in his teens, he moved to Southern Illinois and backed Snooky Pryor’s son, Rip Lee Pryor with his in demand guitar work, and also began a long standing relationship with soul singer Martin Albritton, an Alligator recording artist and former mellow fellow frontman. After years of precious experience as a sideman, Ivas got the itch, like so many young and hungry artists, to pursue a solo career. 1,000+ shows later, the Ivas John Band has grown into one of the regions busiest and most beloved blues and roots acts. In addition to holding down residence at his ever popular standing gigs, the IJB has appeared on tour at many of the Midwest’s noteworthy venues and festivals. He has shared stages with top-shelfers like Leon Russell, W.C. Clark, Lil’ Ed, Guitar Shorty, Nick Moss, Rockin’ Dopsy, Michael Burks, Jason Ricci, Billy Flynn, Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne, The Steeldrivers, Jonny Neel and more.

Their debut album “Street Music” was welcomed with great anticipation from their fan base, sold 5,000 copies in its first year, and was followed by a filming for PBS’ American Roots program shining a spotlight on the “next generation of the blues”. In 2009, they released a second album “Live From St. Louis” recorded from the main stage of the Big Muddy Blues Festival. This further expanded the bands reach and caught the attention of the BBs Jazz, Blues and Soups label in St. Louis, who got behind the band and promptly put out a double disc album and DVD “Look Who’s Cryin’ Now” in 2010.

In other areas, Ivas helped establish the Southern Illinois Blues Society as well as the Cross Rivers Blues Festival in historic Cape Girardeau, MO, where he currently resides. In early 2012, confident in his ability to succeed as an independent, Ivas released his fourth full-length album “Doin What’s Natural”. This was the realized vision of a desire to stretch out even further into a greater range of styles and collaborate with fellow musicians he so admired.

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