North Liberty, Iowa, May 1, 2018 —Fantastic Negrito, 2017 Grammy winner of Best Contemporary Blues Album, will headline North Liberty Blues & BBQ presented by Veridian Credit Union on July 14, 2018, organizers announced today.
Negrito will perform on the University of Iowa Community Credit Union stage at 9 p.m., capping a lineup of exciting live blues and blues-inspired music in Centennial Park, 1565 St. Andrews Drive in North Liberty. Entry to the festival, including live music, remains free.
Born Xavier Dphrepaulezz and raised in an orthodox Muslim household, Negrito writes songs that are real stories about a musician from Oakland who experienced the highs of a million-dollar record deal, the lows of a near-fatal car accident that left him in a coma and is now in the phase of rebirth — despite his mangled playing hand.
After taking a long break, Negrito returned to music in 2014, performing in front of subway stations in Oakland and San Francisco to test his songs in front of “people who didn’t want to hear them.” He realized if he could connect with them and get them to stop, he was on to something.
From there things started to move — he won NPR’s inaugural Tiny Desk Contest in 2015; performed with Sturgill Simpson, Solange, Chris Cornell and Temple of the Dog. His debut full-length album, The Last Days of Oakland, ultimately won the Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album in 2017. He’s “reimagining the blues for a new age — and audience,” wrote the Los Angeles Times. His new album, Please Don’t Be Dead, will be released June 15.
Also playing at this year’s festival are The Diplomats of Solid Sound, Kevin Burt, who won the International Blues Challenge earlier this year and will be joined by Iowa Rock & Roll and Iowa Blues Hall of Famers, the Avey/Grouws Band and the Tanya English Band.
North Liberty Blues & BBQ wouldn’t be possible without its wonderful community sponsors including Veridian Credit Union, Adam Schechinger State Farm, University of Iowa Community Credit Union, Junge Ford North Liberty, South Slope Cooperative Communications, JCI Johnson County, MidWestOne Bank, North Liberty Optimists, Shive-Hattery, AW Welt, FOX Engineering, Great Western Bank, JM Swank, Rockwell Collins, Mike Bails at Urban Acres Real Estate, US Bank, Hills Bank, Casey’s General Store, Port O Jonny, City of North Liberty, KCRG, KZIA, Locals Love Us, and the North Liberty Leader.