Just a couple blocks from where the Cotton Club once hosted musical greats such as Count Basie, Billie Holiday and Muddy Waters, Colorado Springs carries on its blues-loving legacy. KRCC’s 13th annual Blues Under the Bridge festival takes place July 13 under the Colorado Avenue Bridge, alongside the Union Pacific railway. This year promises to be one of the best yet.
“The first year  we had Robert Belfour and local bluesman John-Alex Mason. … Nearly 600 fans gathered under the bridge for the evening’s entertainment,” says Jeff Bieri, program manager at KRCC and host of its show Blue Plate Special. “The concert was an overwhelming success. Don Goede and I decided that the need was there to continue the series in our community.”
This year boasts an outstanding lineup. “We showcase artists who have national and international reputations as premier blues musicians,” Bieri says. Headlining is the award-winning Louisiana bluesman Tab Benoit. “Opening for Benoit is powerhouse vocalist Nikki Hill, who offers a vintage throwback to acts like Etta James or Ruth Brown with a rockabilly twist,” Bieri says. “Selwyn Birchwood Band [pictured] will provide a soulful, electric blues set, and Hector Anchondo is known for his versatility on guitar.”
Blues Under the Bridge always features local and regional acts as well, and this year, local artist Crystal Bliss will kick off the day with Crystal and the Curious.
For tickets and info: bluesunderthebridge.org