2017 Willie K BBQ Bluesfest Lineup


Featured Artists for the 2017 Uncle Willie K BBQ Bluesfest

We have been very fortunate over the last four years to feature some of the greatest blues talent on stage with Uncle Willie K “The Hawaiian Bluesman”, for Hawaii’s only true Blues Festival. Below are the musicians that are joining us this year.

We are expecting more special guests and will announce as soon as they are confirmed


“Phenomenal and funky…soulful vocals and inspired blues-rock guitar.” –Washington Post

Tommy Castro and the Painkillers

Night after night, Tommy Castro, a fierce and fiery road warrior, fervently delivers his driving, blues-soaked, soul-baring music to fans all over the world. The road is where he honed his guitar playing to a razor’s edge. It’s where he learned how to captivate an audience with his intensely passionate vocals and his memorable songs, licks and grooves. It’s where he learned to turn his band into a dynamic, high-performance engine, able to bring down the house with a soulful ballad and then bring fans to their feet with a blistering blues rocker. In the words of Blues Revue, “Tommy Castro can do no wrong.”

Over the course of his four-decade career, Castro has played thousands of shows to hundreds of thousands of fans, packing dance floors, always leaving them screaming for more. He has released 14 albums filled with original blues, soul and West Coast rock, each one standing alone. Hailing from the San Francisco area, Castro, along with his band, The Painkillers (currently featuring bassist Randy McDonald, keyboardist Michael Emerson and drummer Bowen Brown), play music that is guaranteed to fire up fans and leave critics searching for new words of praise. Billboard says the band plays “irresistible contemporary blues-rock” with “street-level grit and soul.” Now, with Method To My Madness, the group turns the intensity up another notch.

Eric Sardinas and Big Motor

Slide guitarist and singer-songwriter Eric Sardinas has a reputation for packing intensity into his live performances. Since the late-90s’ Sardinas has taken the stage thousands of times across the globe, with audiences growing exponentially each passing year. His six albums have displayed a distinct style that musically pushes the boundaries of rock and blues, and the world has taken notice.

Now Sardinas has put his onstage lighting in a bottle for the new album Sticks & Stones, an 11-song powerhouse of his trademark slide guitar that is a vehicle to drive his inspiration from the roadhouse in to mainstream music. Sardinas’ unique mixture weaves his heavy blues and rock threads in to a flamethrower to the listener and takes them on a ride encompassing the past, present and future of what music is meant to be.

“Playing with intensity all over the world non-stop and loving every minute of it has been my inspiration,” Sardinas explains. “That’s why I get up in the morning and what I live for. Making music keeps me in the moment, allowing my heart to speak to people.”

More fans have heard that voice with each tour Sardinas and his band Big Motor have made, and with each of the previous six albums he’s recorded. Those discs include 2003’s live-in-the-studio Black Pearls, which was produced by Jimi Hendrix’s engineer Eddie Kramer, and 2009’s Eric Sardinas and Big Motor, helmed by Matt Gruber.

His instrument of choice is his signature electrified resonator guitar (pictured above). Sardinas modernized an instrument made famous by traditional Blues artists in electrifying the instrument, and expanding the usual spectrum of what these guitars historically deliver musically. It is Eric’s connection and homage to his roots, and in finding his own voice, comes the electrified resonator. His trademark expression and words to live by are “Respect Tradition,” and the resonator is a deep part of this.

Mick Fleetwood

Co-founder of the enormously successful band Fleetwood Mac, Mick Fleetwood has played on some of the most successful rock albums of all time.

Fleetwood started as a drummer in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. In 1967, with fellow Bluesbreakers John McVie and Peter Green, he formed Fleetwood Mac, who gained a reputation as one of England’s finest blues groups.

They won acclaim for their raw blues numbers and songs such as ‘Black Magic Woman’. In 1969, they reached number 1 with their instrumental ‘Albatross’. In 1974 Fleetwood hired English singer Christine Perfect and Californian singer-songwriters (and couple) Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. Soon, they were back on form, with a more commercial sound.

Their 1975 album, ‘Fleetwood Mac’ was big, but nothing compared to its 1977 follow-up, ‘Rumours’.

Containing the classics ‘Don’t Stop’, ‘Go Your Own Way’ and ‘Dreams’, it shot the band into superstardom. His band’s record became, and remained, one of the biggest albums ever.

Davell Crawford

The genius of Davell Crawford arises from his ability to play and sing the music of his passion—the music of his life. The New Orleans keyboardist, vocalist, composer and arranger soaked up the surrounding rhythms and harmonies that were his deep musical roots and nurtured his natural talent.  ​ Acclaimed as the “Piano Prince of New Orleans,” Crawford brings equal exuberance to both modern and classic jazz, rhythm and blues, funk, blues, gospel, soul, pop, American folk and touches of country-western. Growing up in New Orleans and presently residing there and in New York City plus spending many youthful days in Southwest Louisiana, Crawford’s influences run the gamut from Fats Domino to Sarah Vaughan, to Patsy Cline and even Liberace. In the tradition of those from the Crescent City who came before him, Crawford also believes in the art of entertainment. He’ll get up from the piano, move to the apron of a stage, prance, joke and make folks feel at home.

Alto Reed

Alto Reed (born in Detroit, Michigan) is the long-time saxophonist with Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band. His most recognizable performances include the soulful introduction to “Turn the Page” and the saxophone solo in “Old Time Rock and Roll”. Alto has also done the soundtracks for two of Jeff Daniels films and has performed with many bands and music artists, Ormandy (early mid-Michigan band), Foghat, Grand Funk, Little Feat, Otis Rush, Alan Anthony, Enchantment, Jamie Oldaker, George Terry, Dave Mason, Spencer Davis, Tico Torres, Dan Aykroyd, Jim Belushi, The Blues Brothers, The Ventures and most recently in Romania with the Super Star band Holograf.

Having been to a “Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony” once already with Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band in 2004, Alto met and performed with “Rock & Roll’s Greatest Guitar Band” The Ventures in 2008 and found himself once again at the Waldorf Astoria when The Ventures invited him to perform with them on one of TV’s Greatest Theme Songs, “Hawaii 50”, for their induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.


Kapena, considered to be one of Hawaii’s premier island bands has more than 20 Island Music CD’s to their credit. Although the band has been through some changes, its founding member, Kelly Boy De Lima is still the band leader. Kapena continues to be an institution that embraces what islanders fell in love with when fans first heard the unique sound of their “electrifying” Kapena music. In the early 2000’s, Kelly Boy introduced Hawaii to the next generation of Kapena, his three children—Kapena, Kalena and Lilo. With the next generation came a new, fresh Kapena sound. Kelly Boy’s three children have gained success of their own, writing new original music and being nominated and winning multiple Na Hoku Hanohano awards. This new Kapena band offers a diverse new package for the old diehard Kapena fans as well as a new generation of Kapena fans.

Kings of Spade

KINGS OF SPADE are a high-energy, shameless dancing, foot-stomping brand of Blues Rock’N’Roll.  Fronting Kings of Spade is florescent-mohawked, Kasi Nunes, who’s fiery vocals recall a hybrid of soul queens Janis Joplin and Aretha Franklin.  Always wanting to push the bar at live shows KOS is in constant collaboration with other performers including dancers, musicians, or niche visual artists.  They won 1st Place in the 2014 & 2015 Honolulu Pulse Awards “Best Local Rock Band” category, but have always set their sights on National touring.

With music conceived in their hometown in Honolulu, Hawaii, KOS jumped at the opportunity to record in Nashville, TN with 2016 Grammy-winning producer, Dave Cobb (Sturgill Simpson, Chris Stapleton, Rival Sons). With the help of a successfully over-funded Kickstarter project to raise funds to record with Cobb, KOS finished their 2nd self-titled album which has since been nominated for a 2015 Hoku award for Best Rock Album. In 2016 they completed multiple US mainland tours cris-crossing the country several times with prog icons King’s X.

The KINGS are no strangers to big audiences. Their energetic live show beat out 50 other competing bands to win the opening slot for Bon Jovi’s Circle Tour and has also landed them as the openers for other world-famous acts like King’s X, Deftones, Everclear, Pepper, and Mutemath. Their song “Boys In The Band” is featured on the film soundtrack for the Warner Brothers released Utopian Society.


Tavana is a multi-instrumentalist from Honolulu,HI with a bit more up his sleeve than your average one man band. Using electronic drum triggers, Tavana lays down a variety of grooves with his feet to accompany himself while playing and singing. This self-built pedal board looks like something out of Mad Max, and sounds as big as a stadium. Watching his feet is quite mesmerizing in and of itself. He switches between acoustic guitar, electric guitar, lapsteel, ukulele, banjo and a variety of effects and other gadgets with his hands. As if all of this wasn’t already enough to have you completely enthralled, he begins to sing. His voice is deep and smooth with rough edges in all the right places. The music is very bluesy with a hefty dose of rock but still somehow reminds you of Hawaii. He will often build the song to such a climax the terms “goosebumps” and “chicken skin” are often used to describe watching Tavana. To watch so expressively all these musical parts being played by one entity is what makes a Tavana show so different and so entertaining. Tavana has been the supporting act for artists like, Alabama Shakes, Shakey Graves, Xavier Rudd, Jenny Lewis, Julian Marley, Collie Buddz, Dead Prez, just to name a few. In 2009 Eddie Vedder, beloved front man of Pearl Jam, invited Tavana to sing “Hawaii 78”, a Hawaii anthem of sorts, with him at Eddie’s show at the Hawaii Theatre. “He’s more the exception than the rule, he is a great human and I’m glad to know him” says Vedder while introducing him to his audience. Eddie was so moved by their performance together he put it on a limited vinyl record given to 10,000 Pearl Jam fans. Tavana currently plays regularly at Hawaiian Brians and The Blue Note Hawaii while home in the islands. Tavana’s latest release “Kicking and Screaming” in 2014 is Tavana’s first release as a one man band/multi-instrumentalist. It was very well received in Hawaii garnering a “Nahoku Hano Hano Award” (Hawaii’s version of the Grammy’s)nomination for best Rock album of the year. Tavana is gearing up to release his upcoming album “Tavana live at Hawaiian Brian’s” by December 2016. “It’s definitely time to take the show abroad” says Tavana. “I just really enjoy what I do and I feel so lucky that I can feed my kids doing what I love and I think that sharing it will inspire other people to do what they love”.

Photo: Amorphia Photography

Gretchen Rhodes

Gretchen Rhodes has been singing for her entire life. The daughter of parents who both have their Masters in music, Gretchen grew up classically trained. Most of Rhodes’ adult life she has fronted Rock and Blues bands. Gretchen has been a part of Mick Fleetwoods Island Rumours Band for the last 12 years. Within that time the singer/songwriter has shared the stage with the likes of Blues Phenom Jonny Lang, hard rocker James Hetfield and legendary musician Steven Tyler to name a few. Recently Gretchen was featured on the song “Happy on the Hey Now” with Kenny Chesney on Chesney’s album “Life on a Rock” which she performed with him for a sold out 65,000 person show at Patriots Stadium in Boston. She also starred in Chesney’s  “Wild Child” video which has been viewed over 10 million times. Rhodes performs around the world but lives on Maui and together with Pio Marasco, producer and partner of their Embassy of Joy project, they continue to make Deep House Music. Collaboratively and separately Marasco and Rhodes have 65 tracks that have been released.

“Lightning” Larry Dupio

Larry grew up in Kailua and Kalihi on Oahu, graduated from Farrington High School, served honorably in the Navy during the Vietnam era and later got his music degree from Leeward Community College.   He married a Kalihi girl, sweet Caroline Subia, moved to Hilo on the Big Island and together raised three beautiful children  ~ Anthony (Tony), Athena and Andrew.   Tony and Rhea Sandico Dupio have two awesome sons, Kainalu and Ali’imalu.

The Big Island of Hawaii holds a special place in his heart because he was able to nurture his talent and won the support of a loyal following.   A crowning event was when he earned the ‘Keepin the Blues Alive’ award from the Hawaiian Blues Society.  In Hawaii, Larry had the awesome opportunity to play music alongside these giants in the industry ~ Charlie Musselwhite, Johnnie Johnson, Canned Heat, John Mayall, Ford Brothers, Davy Jones, Johnny Lang, Jessie Collin Young, Commander Cody, Ziggy Marley, David Lindley, Radiators, Papa Michigan and Jimmy Cliff.

The Dupio family also lived in the Pacific Northwest for ten years.  Larry was fortunate to be a part of the prestigious Portland music scene and during that time, he won Guitar Center’s “King of the Blues’ contest.  He was  nominated as ‘Best Guitar Player’ in the Cascade Blues Association’s ‘Muddy Waters’ contest in Portland, Oregon.

The sound of the surf, the smell of the fragrant flowers and the radiant rainbows of Hawaii were beckoning the Dupios back home to Hawaii.  Larry is back on the Big Island of Hawaii and his incredible music journey continues.

Larry has recorded four albums thus far ~ LOCAL BOY LARRY DUPIO, ALL FIRED UP, LIGHTNING LARRY DUPIO and his most recent album, ELIMA.  LIGHTNING was a finalist in Hawaii’s Na Hoku Hanohano awards in the R&B category.   Seven of his songs from the
LIGHTNING album were chosen entries by the different Grammy committees  and were placed in six different categories.  These seven
songs made it in the first round of voting but not on the final ballot.  Go to ‘Music” to listen to each entry.  ELIMA was again recognized by
the Grammy committees and was placed in eight different categories on the first ballot.  Go to https://soundcloud.com/larry-dupio.com to
listen to ELIMA.

Deborah Vial Band

Deborah Vial is a Dallas transplant living full time on Maui for the last 10 plus years with her wife/guitar player/music producer, Caron Barrett.  After spending many years abroad performing in every manner of venue-from tents in Macedonia to a Tex-Mex restaurant in Helsinki, the girls settled on Maui to sit back and stay awhile.

We released “Stages and Stones” in August 2011. Produced by Jeff Halbert with additional production input by Caron, recorded at Dave Bianco’s studio in North Hollywood. The CD rocks. A complete portrayal of honest human emotion. I could not have asked for better performers. Kenny Aronoff on drums, Chris Chaney on bass, Kevin Savigar on keys, Caron Barrett on guitar. Jeff Halbert pulled it all together with his mantra “now…THAT sounds like a record”.

Deborah Vial has had the privilege of opening for outstanding artists including Chicago, Concrete Blonde, Beth Hart, Ryan Adams, Dan Fogelberg, Heart, and Melissa Etheridge, as well as performing at Lilith Fair and Europe’s largest women’s festival L-Beach. The Deborah Vial Band just performed January 9th at the Uncle Willie K Bluesfest with Taj Mahal and Willie K.