Willie K and the Warehouse Blues Band

Willie K Uncle Willie K headlines the event, and fans can look forward to another impressive performance of impassioned playing from the uncle they know and love. Joined by the Warehouse Blues Band, fans will be treated to a round of blissful blues.

As always, Willie K will welcome a few special guests to the stage to join him. The special guest list grows as the event draws nearer, so check this section often for updates.

Special Guest Appearances

Alice Cooper

Alice CooperAlice Cooper pioneered a grandly theatrical brand of hard rock that was designed to shock. Drawing equally from horror movies, vaudeville, and garage rock, the group created a stage show that featured electric chairs, guillotines, fake blood and boa constrictors. He continues to tour regularly, performing shows worldwide with the dark and horror-themed theatrics that he’s best known for.

With a schedule that includes six months each year on the road, Alice Cooper brings his own brand of rock psycho-drama to fans both old and new, enjoying it as much as the audience does. Known as the architect of shock-rock, Cooper (in both the original Alice Cooper band and as a solo artist) has rattled the cages and undermined the authority of generations of guardians of the status quo, continuing to surprise fans and exude danger at every turn, like a great horror movie, even in an era where CNN can present real life shocking images.

Dave Mason

Dave MasonDave Mason's career spans over 50 years and encompasses producing, performing and song writing, He is best known for his soulful voice and unsurpassed guitar playing. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004 as a founding member of the group Traffic, and has enjoyed a lengthy solo career and continues to play to sold-out audiences.

At 19, Mason wrote the song "Feelin' Alright". First performed by Dave while he was with Traffic, this song has since become a rock and roll anthem. A prolific artist, Mason has penned over 100 songs and recorded hit singles We Just Disagree, Only You Know And I Know, among others.

Mason is a true classic rocker, whose brilliant solo career has collaborated with numerous members of rock and roll elite, including Jimi Hendrix, George Harrison, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Graham Nash, Stephen Stills, Cass Elliot, Rita Coolidge, Delaney & Bonnie, Leon Russell, Ron Wood, Phoebe Snow, Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton, and Jim Capaldi.

When Dave is not touring you can find him writing and producing new music in his home studio, as well as tirelessly supporting philanthropic causes near to his heart, including co-founding Rock Our Vets in 2015. Dave’s a great cook, has a keen sense of humor, and enjoys the mountains of Northern Nevada and the beaches of the Hawaiian Islands, both of which he calls home.

Mick Fleetwood

Mick FleetwoodMick Fleetwood has been an ongoing special guest here at Willie K’s Bluesfest for the past seven years. Mick is one of the founding members of Fleetwood Mac and has a long deep history here on Maui. When Mick is on island you can find him jamming at his restaurant in Lahaina playing the blues as well as performing Fleetwood Mac tunes with the Island Rumours band, which Willie K is a member of. Fleetwood Mac has sold more than 100 million records worldwide and the GRAMMY-award winning band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.

Pat Simmons

Pat SimmonsWe are excited to have our good friend and Maui resident, Patrick Simmons join us again for Willie K and Friends Bluesest. Patrick Simmons is one of the founding members of the rock band The Doobie Brothers. Simmons wrote many songs for the Doobie Brothers, including “South City Midnight Lady”, “Dependin’ On You”, “Echoes of Love”, and “Black Water,” the group’s first #1 record.

Alto Reed

Alto Reed
Alto is the saxophonist and long-time member of Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band. His most recognizable performances include the saxophone introduction to “Turn the Page”[1] and the saxophone solo in “Old Time Rock and Roll”. Reed has also recorded the soundtracks for two of Jeff Daniels’ films, and has performed with many bands and musicians, such as Foghat, Grand Funk Railroad, Little Feat, Otis Rush, Enchantment, Jamie Oldaker, George Terry, Dave Mason, Spencer Davis, Tico Torres, Dan Aykroyd, James Belushi, The Blues Brothers, The Ventures, George Thorogood, Robin Gibb and in Romania with the band Holograf.

Ray Benson

Ray BensonRay Benson is the founding front man of Asleep at the Wheel.

Asleep at the Wheel landed a gig opening for Alice Cooper and Hot Tuna in Washington, DC in 1970. At the height of Vietnam, many Americans were using their choice of music to express their stance on the conflict in southeast Asia. "We wanted to break that mold," said Benson. "We were concerned more with this amazing roots music, which we felt was being lost amid the politics. We were too country for the rock folks and we were too long-haired for the country folks. But everybody got over it once the music started playing."

A year later, they were coaxed into moving to California by Commander Cody, leader of Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen. But, the band’s big break came when Van Morrison mentioned them in an interview with Rolling Stone "there's some relatively unknown group around that I really dig. Asleep at the Wheel, they play great country music." Van Morrison Rolling Stone Interview (1973). The record offers started coming in and The Wheel got rolling.

The musicianship of Asleep at the Wheel has become the stuff of legends. Reuter’s pegged The Wheel as "one of the best live acts in the business." Taking a page from Bob Wills’ book, the band has constantly toured at a national level throughout its history; with anywhere from 7-15 of the finest players Ray Benson could talk into jumping in the bus to play a string of dates. The alumni roster is well over 80+ members, and includes an impressive list of musicians who have gone on to perform with artists such as Bob Dylan, George Strait, Van Morrison, Lyle Lovett, Ryan Adams, and many more. A quick scan of awards, such as "Touring Band of the Year" (CMAs, 1976) and "Lifetime Achievement in Performance" (Americana Music Awards 2009), not to mention near dominance of the GRAMMY "Country Instrumental" category over the years, reflects the reputation of the band’s musicianship. Ray Benson fell in love with western swing because of its unique combination of elements of American blues, swing and traditional fiddling but also for its demanding musical chops. Western swing is what Benson calls "jazz with a cowboy hat," is a thrill to hear live, and thanks in large part to the Wheel’s 40+ years of promotion, is a living and creative genre of music today.

On the Records:

"Everything this act has ever released is simply spectacular."

Billboard Magazine (2010)

Over their history, Asleep at The Wheel has garnered ten GRAMMY Awards and released more than 25 studio and live albums, and there is no sign of slowing down any time soon.

Katie Shore

Katie Shore
We are excited to welcome fiddler and vocalist Katie Shore to the Willie K and Friends Bluefest - 2020!!! She’ll be joining her bandmate Ray Benson for some songs. We are thrilled about this.

Like many fiddlers, Katie was inspired at a young age by her Grandfather. At six years old she told her parents she wanted to “play music you can clap your hands and stomp your feet to”. Hailing from Ft. Worth “Cowtown”, Tx, Katie grew up playing in a world of strong fiddle traditions, attending fiddle contests, music camps such as Mark O’Connor’s and Johnny Gimble’s, and with some classical training, was part of the Ft Worth Youth Orchestra. After receiving an Associates Degree in Commercial Music in 2008, Katie moved to Austin, Tx. In addition to becoming a luthier and teacher, Katie leads her own project and has performed and collaborated with musicians including The Jitterbug Vipers, Continental Graffiti, Ghosts Along the Brazos, Willie Nelson and George Strait. Inspired by many styles and cultures, Katie’s voice and fiddle have taken her around the country and abroad. Currently the female vocalist and fiddle player for 9-time Grammy Award winning band, Asleep at the Wheel, Katie looks forward to every new adventure and opportunity to sing and play! Katie Shore Music

Gretchen Rhodes

Gretchen RhodesAmerican singer/songwriter Gretchen Rhodes has long been a fan favorite – and it’s easy to see why. Rhodes’ unique, soulful blend of blues and rock always gets audiences on their feet, singing, dancing and joining in the fun. While trained in the classical tradition, Rhodes has found her passion fronting rock and blues bands.

“Playing in front of a live audience is what I live for. The transference of energy is incredible…and to be able to express my Soul and touch the souls of others is unlike anything I can describe. It’s a palpable rush…”

Rhodes has collaborated on stage with an impressive list of music industry heavies, including recording, performing and music video appearances with Kenny Chesney in his ‘Life on a Rock’ album and ‘Wild Child’ music video.

Always looking for directions to grow musically, Gretchen has a side electronica project with the Embassy of Joy. Embassy of Joy produced the track “Addiction” (a remake of Jane’s Addiction’s “Jane Says”) which was the #1 Deep House track in the world for three months.

“I love making music because, aside from my family, music is my Life. It always has been. It is the most basic expression of myself and if I weren’t able to do so a huge part of my life force would fade away.”

Rhodes spent the last year and a half touring with Rock N’ Roll Hall of Famer and founding member of Traffic, Dave Mason along with the founder of ‘the Blues Brothers’ and Rolling Stone’s 39th greatest guitar player of all time, Steve Cropper. When not touring, Rhodes fronts Mick Fleetwood’s Band with the legendary Fleetwood Mac drummer.

Davell Crawford

Davell CrawfordSinger and pianist Davell Crawford continues the New Orleans piano tradition begun by musicians like Professor Longhair and James Booker. Crawford is the grandson of 1950s R&B star James “Sugar Boy” Crawford. His debut record, Let Them Talk (1995, Rounder Records), amply demonstrates his gospel, R&B and jazz influences. His gift for ballad singing is on display in full force, and he’s accompanied by some of the Crescent City’s top musicians, including drummer Herman Ernest III and saxophonist Alvin “Red” Tyler.

Crawford has been playing piano since he was seven and first toured Europe in his early teens. Although Crawford didn’t know his grandfather was a musician, the elder Crawford did give a set of keyboards to him when he was 11. Like other young New Orleans musicians, Crawford brings a synthesis of styles (i.e., funk, gospel, and R&B) to his piano playing, songwriting and singing. His recordings include 1995’s Let Them Talk, 1996’s Just Friends, 1998’s B-3 and Me and 1999’s Love Like Yours and Mine.


Red Dirt

Red DirtRed Dirt hails from the island of Maui and is a talented power trio that covers all styles of music from jazz, rock and especially the blues. Red Dirt is Avi Ronen on guitar, Indio Kualii on drums and Jason Ganis on Bass.

John Akapo

John AkapoJohn Akapo is a nomad that followed the music. From his early days as a kid growing up in Alaska where he fell in love with the guitar, to his youth spent in American Samoa singing Acapella and learning how to loop, John Akapo has been magnetically connected to a path of musical discovery.

John's family heritage runs deep into the music. As a kid, John was constantly surrounded by music and his uncles were touring musicians that played guitar. His parents had watched family members succumb to addiction from the rock-and-roll lifestyle, so they did their best to keep John and his brothers away from the same pitfalls.

"My parents were firmly against the idea of me taking up the guitar," said John. I would have to hide my interest in singing and especially playing the guitar. I looked to my brother's friend for guitar lessons and quietly dove into a wormhole of music that I have never climbed back out of. I would learn to play songs from watching VHS tapes or whatever I could get my hands on. That was how I discovered Eric Clapton performing his MTV Unplugged set and my whole world changed. I was still too young to have known who he was or that he was even part of the British revival of the Blues. All I knew was I wanted more."

John dove head first into the origins of the blues and never looked back. Taking a cue from the legends like Robert Johnson, Tommy Johnson, Blind Lemon, Son House, Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf, Buddy Guy, and B.B. King, John began to explore and absorb as much as he could from recordings, movies, books, and magazines. Blues had become his solace.

Recording his own original works, John began a professional career as a luau musician, bandleader, solo entertainer, and more recently, a hip-hop producer and vocalist for 13 years, when he sits down to write music he always ends up with a blues song. It's only fitting that he has finally decided to release his first debut album, "Paradise Blues,” as a Blues artist bringing him right back home.

"I think my music is like a tree rooted in traditional blues but sprinkled with Pacific salt water," added John. "I’m merely telling a story of where I’m from, and how I got here set to a mellow acoustic blues soundtrack.I play the blues because it feels familiar to me. I feel a connection to the story behind the blues and I’m just trying to continue the story from another perspective. Give me a try and see if I cant make you feel good about being blue."

Akapo's eclectic style has won over fans across the globe including the likes of comedians J. Anthony Brown and Russell Peters who was signing John's praises on his Instagram feed.

On his musical journey, John Akapo never turned his back on his Samoan heritage or his Hawaiian roots and his experiences on the Island have helped shape him as a person, as well as a guitarist. John embodies the spirit, beauty, sadness, and struggle of the Islands with every guitar lick.

"The blues fans that have seen me play, appreciate the fact that I’m from Hawaii yet I make them feel like they're at home in the mainland. The blues is at home here in the islands, and its nothing new. I think the entire blues scene could use some of this 'Paradise Blues'."

The Deborah Vial Band

Deborah VialFresh from winning a 2019 Na Hoku Award for Rock Album of the Year, the Deborah Vial Band has been electrifying audiences across the state and beyond. Led by dynamic, powerhouse singer Deborah Vial and her partner, guitarist Caron Barrett. The Maui based group also includes Paul Marchetti on drums, Justin Morris on guitar and Lenny Castellenos on bass.