The West Kortright Centre, at 49 W. Kortright Church Road in West Kortright, will launch its 39th season with a performance by the Heritage Blues Trio at 8 p.m. Sunday, May 25.
The members of Heritage Blues Trio form the core of a new ensemble of rotating musicians called Heritage Blues Orchestra. At the musical heart of the group is a broad spectrum of the blues and the longstanding mingling of American and European influences that brings together African-American music, modern jazz, and western European harmonies, according to a media release. Heritage Blues Orchestra’s debut album, "And Still I Rise," received a 2013 Grammy Award nomination in the Best Blues Album Category. It was also nominated for two 2013 Blues Music Awards in the Best Album and Best Traditional Blues Album categories and won the 2013 Living Blues magazine's Critics Poll Award for Best Blues Album. The group has joined forces with Lincoln Center Institute, will tour in Finland and across the U.K. this summer, and will release a second album this year.
Born into and raised by a sharecropping family in rural Georgia, Bill Sims Jr., on vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, piano and handclaps, is an internationally respected blues master. He began playing piano at age 4, and by 14 he was playing professionally in a rhythm and blues group.
A native New Yorker and the descendant of music makers from Georgia, Florida and Ohio, Chaney Sims on vocals and handclaps, has a voice is steeped in field hollers, work songs, spirituals, blues, soul and R&B, presenters said in a media release. The daughter of Bill Sims Jr., she shares the significance of these unique art forms, exploring their influence on her voice as a gay woman of color, and revealing a broad spectrum of the blues, roots music and the American songbook.