The King Bees, Rob "Hound Dog" Baskerville and Penny "Queen Bee" Zamagni call the mountains of North Carolina home, but travel the world with their Blues and American Roots music. This year marks the 33nd anniversary of the band and also the 18th year of New River Blues Festival (held annually in their home, Ashe County) which they created and produce.
The King Bees have performed on festival stages in European capitals including Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, Stockholm, and London and have taken their internationally-acclaimed show across numerous countries. Their love of American Roots music has carried them to shows in Mississippi jukes joints as well as to several performances at Lincoln Center.
In the mid-1980's Baskerville and Zamagni began traveling the deep-South searching for and mentoring under Blues artists of historical, cultural, and musical significance. Many blues greats took them under their wing and nurtured and guided The King Bees toward the sound of authenticity. With Baskerville on guitar and keys and Zamagni on vocals, bass, and as song smith, The King Bees honed their art with many Blues masters. By 1990 they had been touring and recording with some of the most culturally important of Blues artists. In the early 1990's they were signed to a European label and began touring internationally.
The King Bees have toured and recorded with Carey Bell, Jerry McCain, Nappy Brown and many other lions and legends. They collaborated with Rock n' Roll Hall-of-Fame member Bo Diddley and were featured on The B.B. King Birthday Tour. The King Bees have shared the bill with Dr. John, Buddy Guy, James Brown, Leon Russell and a host of other legends.
Known for their professionalism, and exuberant, soulful performances, the King Bees take the stage and touch hearts and mightily move spirits.
*"Queen Bee Zamagni belts it out with the best, backed by a superb band highlighted by the burning riffs of Hound Dog Baskerville." The Charlotte Observer.
*"On Beale Street Zamagni sang like Bonnie Raitt on steroids."
Memphis Commercial Appeal
*"Legendary Blues stylists..."
The Knoxville Journal.
*"Excellent...Queen Bee Zamagni has a strong, swinging, slinky voice used to good effect on every number. Fine straight blues all the way..Tasty!" Blues & Rhythm, England
"I was quite taken with Hound Dog's guitar playing..Good slide!" Bruce Iglaur, Alligator Records
"Blues royalty.." Blues Revue
"That's some mighty fine slide, son!" Friend and mentor, Doc Watson
B.B. King Birthday Tour~ OH, PA, NY
Lincoln Center, Roots Of American Music~ NYC (Multiple years)
Memphis In May~ Memphis, TN
Gexto Blues Festival~ Spain
The Rhythm Riot~ England
Waterlands Blues Fest~ Netherlands
Quai de Blues~ Paris, France
The Folk Club~ Milan, Italy
Spatzia Muzica~ Rome, Italy
Carl Sandburg Nat'l Historic Site Folk Festival~ Flat Rock, NC (Multiple years)
Birmingham City Stages, Birmingham~ AL (Multiple years)
Jazz Club~Stockholm, Sweden
Waterlands Blues Fest, Netherlands
Carolina Downhome Blues Festival~ Camden, SC (Multiple years)
Big Mama~ Rome, Italy
Chunky Rhythm & Blues Fest~ Chunky, Miss.
Buddy Guy's Legends~ Chicago, Il
Zoo Bar~ Lincoln, Neb.
Castile Forli~ Forli, Italy
Spoleto Intern'l Arts & Music Festival~ Charleston, SC (Multiple years)
Piedmont Blues Fest~ Greensboro, NC (Multiple years)
W.C. Handy Homeplace Blues Festival~ Muscle Shoals, AL
Bridging The Blues~ West Memphis, AK
LowCountry Blues Bash~ Charleston, SC (Multiple years)
Screven R & B Festival~ Savannah, GA
Jazz Charlotte~ Charlotte, NC
Bele Chere~ Asheville, NC (Multiple years)
Carolina Lite Blues Fest ~ NC
Bull Durham Blues Fest~ Durham, NC
National Black Arts Festival~ Atlanta, GA
Hambone Blues Festival~ Rochester, MN
Blues Aosta~ Aosta, Italy
Bluesin Lanakin~ Lanakin, Belgium
New River Blues Festival~ Grassy Creek, NC 2003-2018 Producers, Performers
King Bees at New River Blues Festival, "Work With It".
The King Bees at New River Blues Festival, "Hamhock Stew".
The King Bees at Waterlands Blues Festival, The Netherlands, "King Bee".
The King Bees at New River Blues festival, "Evilena".
Hound Dog Baskerville wows crowd at New River Blues festival.
Event Production, Artist Representation, World Class Blues
MellowDown Music Productions creates inspired music events and festivals presenting premier, internationally-touring Blues artists. They are originators of NEW RIVER BLUES FESTIVAL~ THE NORTH CAROLINA MOUNTAINS BLUES FEST, now in its 16th season. They have also produced THE SUNRISE BLUES CRAWL FESTIVAL in Southern Pines, NC, WinterBlues Fests, in Blowing Rock & Boone, NC, Shriners' Happy Daze Blues Festival, Betsey's Blues Festival and many others.
MellowDown Music Productions is also proud to offer for booking the legends, lions, & lifeblood of the blues. These world class artists are available for performances in the US and internationally.
Sandra Hall Empress Of The Blues. As a teenager in the 1960's, Sandra led The Exotics. People thought they were the Supremes, they were that good! They opened for Otis Redding, Joe Tex, Johnny Taylor, B.B. King, Jerry Butler, the Temptations, and the O’Jays at the legendary Royal Peacock on Auburn Avenue in Atlanta. She soon went solo and immersed herself in the Blues. . Sandra has performed all over the world. This dazzling singer has been the featured artist at the world's most prestigious venues including the MONTREAUX JAZZ FESTIVAL. She has performed in the capitals of Europe --London, Paris, Rome--and taken her soul stirring show from country juke joints to Russia, always to wild acclaim. Ms. Hall takes the Blues from rightious to raunchy, soulful to sassy....she makes damn sure her audience has a grand time.
Ike and Val Woods..Grammy nominated, soulful and joyous. Mojo Ike and Val have brought their musical celebration throughout the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. Veterans of the deep-South music scene, their roots are profoundly planted in the bedrock of gospel and blues. Ike's smoldering guitar, Val's passionate vocals, and their sparkling showmanship all combine to raise blues to new levels of exuberance. Living Blues Magazine: "..uplifting..refreshing and genuine.. ..a remarkable guitarist.. ..top notch..".
From Mississippi to the world stage. Multiple-award winning singer, songwriter, guitarist, arranger and producer, JOHNNY RAWLS draws on the 1950s' and '60s' soul-blues tradition in his guitar playing, yet his lyrics and singing are timeless. Rawls got his early musical education from his grandfather, John Paul Newson, a blind guitarist who played all over the Hattiesburg, MS area. Johnny has been the leader of some of the most eminent musical groups, directing the bands of legends Joe Tex, Z.Z. Hill and Little Johnny Taylor. Fronting his own phenomenal groups, he has traveled the world headlining major festivals and thrilling audiences in the U.S and abroad. He has been featured multiple times at the Chicago Blues Festival, The King Biscuit Festival and festivals all over Europe, as well as in Russia.
BIG RON HUNTER travels the world as Ambasador Of The Good Time Blues. Big Ron has acquired the nick-name, The World's Happiest Bluesman, inspired by his sunny performing style, wonderful sense of humor, and song writing that always uncovers the silver lining. Belying his positive attitude, his background was rough hewn and arduous. The son of a share cropper, Ron grew up near Winston-Salem in a cabin without electricity. But there was love and Ron was encouraged from an early age to develop his prodigious musical talent. As a youngster Ron garnered the attention of the legendary Guitar Gabriel who mentored the eager musician to develop his own voice and approach. Ron is equally talented on electric and acoustic guitars, possesses a one-of-a-kind voice full of passion, honesty and optimism and wins hearts the world over.
Donald Ceasar, The Blues Emperor is an artist of exceptional versatility, performing on drums, harmonica, and keyboards while singing lead vocals and laying down high-spirited dance steps. Ceasar hales from the bayous of Louisiana, in the heart of Creole and Cajun country where his grandfather, Alphonse “Bois Sec” Ardoin and other family members were pioneers and founding fathers of Cajun Zydeco music. Ceasar has been entertaining audiences since childhood with his Cajun family band and opening for and sharing the stage with legendary artists such as Rocking Sidney, Fats Domino, Dr. John, The Nevilles, B.B. King, Allen Toussaint, and James Brown. Ceasar delivers a sizzling musical-gumbo full of the succulent flavors of Louisiana. "..possibly the hippest entertainer in the Carolinas.” Jim Otis, The State, Columbia,SC.
-FRI. AUG 14. WILLIE BROOKS BBQ BOONE, NC BEES DUO 6-8PM
~SUN. AUGUST 16, BEECH ALPEN INN CONCERT ON THE LAWN, BEECH MOUNTAIN NC, 5PM
A Mountain Meadow, A Sparkling River, World-Class Blues! Our State Magazine: "A Top Ten Way to spend Labor Day"! An intimate celebration in natural beauty with world-renowned Blues Artists.