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Michael “Iron Man” Burks, Shemekia Copeland and other blues stars to tour Iraq and Kuwait for second leg of BLUZAPALOOZA 2008


Beginning October 26, 2008, guitarist/vocalist Michael “Iron Man” Burks and powerhouse blues singer Shemekia Copeland will perform for U.S. troops in Iraq and Kuwait as part of the second Bluzapalooza tour this year. During the 12-day tour, they will join blues artists Deanna Bogart, Zac Harmon, Moreland & Arbuckle and Tony Braunagel and The Bluzapalooza All-Star Band.

The tour was created by blues producers Steve Simon and John Hahn and is presented by Armed Forces Entertainment. The first tour, featuring blues/soul vocalist Janiva Magness, legendary R&B singer Bobby Rush and harmonicist Billy Gibson, began on April 1, 2008.

michael-burksBurks feels privileged to be making the trip. “I’m happy for the chance to show my appreciation for what the troops are doing. For me to play for them is a small gesture compared to the sacrifices they make every day.”

 Copeland agrees. “I am deeply honored to be going over there to entertain our troops -- and Lord knows I love to hang out with men in uniforms.”

Bluzapalooza founder and producer Simon states, “We are thrilled to be going back to Iraq and to have so many great blues artists volunteering to go to a war zone. This is certainly an historic event for the blues and for our men and women who so proudly serve our country.”

Co-producer Hahn adds, “Our October tour’s lineup would sell out any blues festival in the country. It's an honor to be able to bring it to our troops.”

Renowned New York photographer, Joseph A. Rosen, a recipient of the “Keeping The Blues Alive” Award from The Blues Foundation, will document this historic tour.

A free limited edition 14-track blues sampler CD will be distributed to the troops, featuring songs from artists on the upcoming tour, the previous tour, as well as other blues stars. All the recorded performances and all the costs involved with the CD, from manufacturing and printing to song publishing and artwork, were donated free of charge.

Artists on the CD, simply titled BLUZAPALOOZA, are from the first tour: Janiva Magness, Bobby Rush, and Billy Gibson; from the upcoming tour: Michael “Iron Man” Burks, Shemekia Copeland, Moreland & Arbuckle, Zac Harmon and Deanna Bogart; and also The Homemade Jamz Blues Band, Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials, Tinsley Ellis, Watermelon Slim & The Workers, Smokin’ Joe Kubek & Bnois King, and The JW-Jones Blues Band.

The Bluzapalooza tour is made possible with the help of Armed Forces Entertainment, The Blues Foundation, Blues Revue, Alligator Records, NorthernBlues Music, Blind Raccoon, Delta Groove Records, Blind Pig Records, Hohner Harmonicas, Telarc Records, Sony Corporation, Ruf Records and Entertainment Support Systems, LLC.

Armed Forces Entertainment (AFE) is the lead Department of Defense agency for providing entertainment to U.S. military personnel serving overseas. Founded in 1951, AFE brings entertainment to more than 500,000 troops each year.

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