Photo courtesy of the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art | Tiffany Wilson & Friends and will perform at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 11 in the Frank Buxton Auditorium at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, part of the first-ever Mojo Rhythm & Blues Festival, a four-day extravaganza of live music, film, lectures and more.

Photo courtesy of the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art | Tiffany Wilson & Friends and will perform at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 11 in the Frank Buxton Auditorium at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, part of the first-ever Mojo Rhythm & Blues Festival, a four-day extravaganza of live music, film, lectures and more.

Rhythm & blues festival set to rock the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art in July

The Bainbridge Island Museum of Art is highlighting creative creations of a musical nature in July with the first-ever Mojo Rhythm & Blues Festival, a four-day extravaganza of live music, film, lectures and more events, both free and ticketed, like nothing yet seen round the Rock.

“A lot of people think that they know what the blues are but they don’t really know what the blues are,” said Jesse Ziebart, BIMA cultural programs manager.

“We’re going to have listening parties where they can come in and somebody will say, ‘Hey this is why this song matters,’ or why this artist is really cool and we’ll play the song for them.”

Also playing some songs are more well-known, less academic experts.

The festival takes place in the BIMA auditorium and several galleries Thursday, July 11 through Sunday, July 14, and will feature three nights of headlining musical acts including Tiffany Wilson & Friends, Stephanie Anne Johnson (of NBC’s “The Voice”) and a double-bill with guitar phenom Ian Moore & The Mescal 4 and Mark Pickerel & the Peyote 3.

And, in addition to the ticketed concerts, the galleries will host free informal performances by Tina Dietz and Chebon Tiger.

Rounding out the festival are free screenings of blues documentary films “And This Is Free” and “The Howlin’ Wolf Story”; a panel discussion on blues with Mark Hoffman, Jim Basnight and Steve Franz; and a lecture on the life and work of musician Sonny Boy Williamson II.

“It’s free during the day so people can go in and say, ‘Oh, I don’t know what this is but I like it and I want to know more about it,’” Ziebart said. “We’ll give them a list that they can take with them; they can go do the research if they want to. There are free documentaries, free panels, so it’s going to be about preserving this amazing American art form that is like the foundation of modern American music, but also making it fun.”

Sprinkled throughout the weekend are listening parties with rhythm-and-blues aficionados in the auditorium, as well.

All daytime events are free, and seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Evening concert tickets are on sale now and the cost of admission is between $22 and $29.

For a complete list of events and the schedule, visit www.biartmuseum.org/mojo.

For Ziebart, who joined the BIMA staff in December, assembling Mojo was a melding her two true loves.

“I have a music background and a performing arts background, so I’m drawn to try and utilize the auditorium space and to bring in music,” she said. “I studied jazz and I have friends in the community who are blues enthusiasts, and one who’s a member of the Blues Hall of Fame, and so I just kind of talked with them about what would it be like to have an R&B or a blues festival here?

“It just seemed like Seattle is rich in amazing soul musicians, blues musicians and so it was kind of an easy thing to put together and also just a fun way to get people involved with the museum in the summer.”

EVENING PERFORMANCE DETAILS

Tiffany Wilson & Friends

7 p.m. Thursday, July 11

Frank Buxton Auditorium

$22 for members and $26 for non-members

Wilson is a musician and songwriter whose voice speaks to something real and soulful. Not content with writing only standard love songs, her latest album “#SeeSharp” also speaks of inner and outer change, politics, and vision of a brighter future. The production is a conscious blend of the sounds of the past and the future. It is a mix of classic live soul and funk music filtered through her contemporary R&B roots and sensibilities.

Eschewing the retro soul fad and moving towards a unique combination of past, present, and future, Wilson is a true original.

Seattle Magazine said of her, “In the case of vocalist Tiffany Wilson — whose recent KEXP performance stopped me in my tracks when I heard it two rooms away streaming from my husband’s phone — there’s no denying the power and passion of her voice.

Stephanie Anne Johnson

7 p.m. Friday, July 12

Frank Buxton Auditorium

$22 for members and $26 for non-members

Inspired by her life in the Pacific Northwest and the strong women that raised her, Johnson writes and sings the way she lives: loud and full of emotion. From national television to intimate house concerts, she can rock your night, make you fall in love, bring you to tears, and empower you. Though classically trained, Johnson’s repertoire covers Americana and R&B to arias and rock and roll. She brings real life to every performance and takes the audience on an unforgettable ride.

“She’s remarkably talented,” said none other than Cee Lo Green, on “The Voice.”

Ian Moore & the Mescal 4, with Mark Pickerel & the Peyote 3

7 p.m. Saturday, July 13

Frank Buxton Auditorium

$25 for members and $29 for non-members

Pickerel has quite the backstory, which started as playing drums for seminal grunge faves The Screaming Trees. He has since played on albums with Mark Lanegan, The Dusty 45s, Brandi Carlile, Neko Case and Nirvana and then stepped out as a frontman for various groups including Mark Pickerel and His Praying Hands and now The Peyote 3.

Austin-based blues-rocker Moore first gained experience touring as a guitarist with Joe Ely, which led the way to a solo tour opening for the Rolling Stones and ZZ Top, later signing with Capricorn; three records followed from 1993-1995: “Ian Moore,” “Live from Austin EP,” and” Modernday Folklore.”

His musical journey has been vast and ambitious. His first two records pushed the envelope of the blues/rock genre, including psychedelic, power-pop, and heavy art influences. His mid-period, coinciding with a move to the Pacific Northwest, found him exploring psychedelic folk on records such as his YepRoc records, “Luminaria,” which No Depression said belonged alongside Grant Lee Phillips and Wilco, channeling Scott Walker and the Beach Boys.

Pop Matters put it succinctly as they summed up his career to date: “Sure, he’s got his peers, but he’s ballsier than Josh Rouse, bluesier than Josh Ritter, grittier than Matthew Sweet, brainier than Ryan Adams, and more muscular than Grant-Lee Phillips. Moore’s transformation from trade bluesman to restless pop chameleon may be most closely echoed by Chris Whitley” — which is short form of saying that Moore is not easily tagged by genre and comparison, and in his diversity and understanding of form, he is unique in his time.

FREE DAYTIME EVENT DETAILS

Friday, July 12

11 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Acoustic blues in the galleries with Tina Dietz

1 to 3 p.m. – Acoustic blues in the galleries with Chebon Tiger

3 to 5 p.m. – Screening of documentary “And This Is Free” in the auditorium

Saturday, July 13

1 to 2 p.m. – “Blues Listening Party” with Steve Franz and Mark Hoffman in the auditorium

1 to 3 p.m. – Acoustic blues in the galleries with Chebon Tiger

2 to 4 p.m. – Screening of documentary “The Howlin’ Wolf Story” in the auditorium

Sunday, July 14

Noon to 1 p.m. – Panel discussion with Mark Hoffman, Jim Basnight and Steve Franz in the auditorium

1 to 2 p.m. – “Blues Listening Party” with Steve Franz, Mark Hoffman and Jim Basnight in the auditorium

2 to 3 p.m. – Lecture on the life and work of Sonny Boy Williamson II by Jim Basnight in the auditorium

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