July 7, 2016
For Immediate Release
Contact:         Megan Butler (260-427-6446)
                        Mitch Sheppard (260-427-6441)

Botanical Roots Concert Series
Botanical Conservatory, Fridays, July 29 – September 2

Fort Wayne, IN: Botanical Roots, the eclectic downtown concert series featuring music from a wide diversity of regional heritages and cultural backgrounds, begins again Friday, July 29 at the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory:

July 29th: CJ Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band  (Zydeco) 

Local Opener: To be announced

State-of-the-art Zydeco from a masterful musician and performer. Chenier flavors the Red Hot Louisiana Band's bayou beats with elements of funk, blues and ballads, and puts the foot-tapping, can't-stand-still sounds throughout traditional Zydeco.

Clayton Joseph Chenier was born September 28, 1957 - the son of the great King of Zydeco, Clifton Chenier. C.J.'s father was the first Creole musician to win a Grammy Award. C.J. spent his childhood in the tough tenement housing projects of Port Arthur, Texas. His earliest musical influences were an eclectic mix of funk, soul, jazz and Motown, and his first musical instruments were piano, tenor saxophone and flute. It wasn't until his 21st birthday, after winning a scholarship and studying music at Texas Southern University, that C.J. first performed with his famous father and the legendary Red Hot Louisiana band. www.OfficialCJChenier.com

August 5th  Paul Cebar Tomorrow Sound  (Omni-Pop)  

Local Opener: Kitchen Table Players

Paul Cebar Tomorrow Sound are the last word in Tomorrow Sounds. Benefitting from years of unassuming and understated hipness, they bring forth a funky and lyrically charged racket that sits comfortably with soulful sounds the world over. Intricate but free-swinging, explosive yet intimate, and fresh and green as grass.

Tomorrow Sound are an elite crew of offhand adepts who bring plenty of their own wood to the fire. Drummer Reggie Bordeaux, casts his nets with a mystifying subtlety bringing his own fleet-footed refinement and grease. Multi-instrumentalist Bob Jennings lends his bandleader the luxury of implying a much larger ensemble with his multi-hued contributions on keys and reeds. Percussionist Mac Perkins brings his New Orleans childhood and extensive diaspora studies to a whomping boil in good-humored excelsis. Bassist Mike Fredrickson (a distinguished singer-songwriter in his own right) anchors and prods with the best of them. www.PaulCebar.com.

August 12th    Roots Rock Society (Reggae) 

Local Opener: Black Cat Mambo

Roots Rock Society, founded in December of 1986, strongly believes in keeping their heritage and culture alive with their energetic live show and innovative blend of reggae, calypso, soul, zouk and other rhythms of the African Diaspora.

They’re hailed as “Chicago legends” by Tribune’s Metromix TV and “Chicago’s Premier Reggae Band” by WGN Morning News, with their one of a kind sound sometimes being described as tropical soul or “root soul”.

RRS has shared the stage with acts such as L.L. Cool J, Earth, Wind and Fire, K.C. and the Sunshine Band, Dave Matthews collaborator Tim Reynolds, Third World, Burning Spear, Mighty Sparrow, Youssou N’Dour, Ritchie Havens and Toots and the Maytals, to name a few. Wesley Snipes while filming “U.S. Marshals” played congas with the band during a local Chicago performance. Mark Curry (Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper) opened for RRS at a showcase performance for the NACA National Conference for Colleges in Indianapolis. Also, in June of 2001, RRS was selected to perform for Rodger Ebert’s birthday party on Lake Michigan. www.RootsRockSociety.com 

August 19th    Gangstagrass    (Bluegrass/Hip-Hop)

Local Opener: to be announced

Bluegrass/Hip-Hop may sound like an odd combination, but don’t tell that to Producer Rench, who conceived the sound of Gangstagrass in 2006.  Though it began as an isolated experiment, Gangstagrass has since grown into a critically acclaimed success celebrated by The Washington Post,  The Boston Globe, TVGuide, Elmore Leonard, NPR.org,  and more than 50,000 fans who have been entranced by one of the band’s hundreds of performances and have purchased the band’s four official LP’s.

“There are a lot more people out there with Jay-Z and Johnny Cash on their iPod playlists than you think,” says Rench, who had previously made a name for himself as an in-demand Brooklyn country and hip-hop producer, and solo artist.

Gangstagrass has been touring nationally and earning rave reviews of their incendiary live performances at everything from major festivals to highway rest stops.  Expect the influence and stature of these pioneers of a new American sound to continue growing. www.Gangstagrass.com

August 26th  John Primer  (Blues)  

Local Opener: To be announced

As the title of his critically acclaimed Atlantic Records CD suggests, Grammy Award and Blues Music Award Nominee, John Primer is truly “The Real Deal.” At 8 years old, John borrowed his first guitar and started to strum. Before that he played a homemade guitar built on the wall of the house with a broom wire, 2 nails, and 2 rocks to make it tight.

With the sounds of Jimmy Reed, Muddy Waters, Little Milton, Elmore James, BB & Albert King reverberating through his Grandmother Laura Nell’s tube radio, John was instantly hooked. Early inspiration came from his family steeped in spiritual, gospel, blues and R&B tradition. As a young boy John’s mother knew he would be a singer, “he came out singing” she would say. John first appeared on stage at the local Baptist church, in his hometown of Camden Mississippi.

John is a Living Legend and has been given the Lifetime Achievement Award many times. He is a Grammy Nominated Blues Artist and is one of the last Traditional Blues Artists with original Mississippi roots. He was taught by our founding fathers of the Blues, the old way (some say, “the right way”). www.JohnPrimerBlues.com

September 2nd   Zion Lion  (Reggae)

Local Opener: G. Money

Zion Lion is the "baddest” band to hit the Kalamazoo music scene. The members are a combination of several bands from the Kalamazoo area that crossed paths along the way and decided to form what we believe to be the right mix of reggae. African zouk, mucosa, zoukous and some Afro-latin influences. Some of the members have had the honor of opening and sharing the stage with local, national and international reggae artists such as Freddie McGreggor, Pato Batun, Winston Jarrett, Culture, Beenie Man, Lucky Dube, Mikey Dread and the Meditations.

These musicians have played from small clubs to large cultural festivals including, the Kalamazoo Island Festival, Kalamazoo Black arts festival, Grand Rapids Caribbean Festival, Muskegon Summer Festival, Louisville Reggae Festival and Rock Island Caribbean Festival, to name a few.

You can't help but get up and dance and have an "IRIE FEELIN' "  whenever you hear Zion Lion.  www.ZionLionReggaeBand.com

The Botanical Conservatory invites the community to grab a lawn chair, settle in, and enjoy music that’s fun and funky, creative, and upbeat.  Bands are selected from regional and national touring acts with an emphasis on uniqueness, quality and representation of a specific musical style.

Shows are Friday nights through September 2. Local bands will warm up the scene. Food and beverage will be available for purchase from Mad Anthony Brewing; no outside food or beverage allowed. Admission is $6 at the gate. Youth ages 12 and under are admitted free with a parent or guardian. Gates open at 7:30 p.m.; shows start at 8:30 and the events take place outdoors, rain or shine. The Conservatory is located in downtown Fort Wayne at 1100 S. Calhoun Street.

Botanical Roots is sponsored by The Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department, 96.3 XKE Fort Wayne’s Classic Rock, Whatzup, PBS39, Fort Wayne Metals Research, the Downtown Improvement District, Mad Anthony Brewing Company, The Holiday Inn at IPFW, Design Collaborative and the Botanical Conservatory.  For more information phone (260) 427-6446 or go to www.BotanicalConservatory.org

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