North Central Florida Blues Society Presents:

2018 Downtown BLUES Concert With funding in part through VisitGainesville, Alachua County

2018 Downtown BLUES Concert Presented by the NCFBS

This year’s headliner, Lauren Mitchell, will take the stage at 9 p.m. Lauren, a Sarasota-based blues and soul vocalist, doesn’t just sing Blues and soul, but she transforms difficult experiences into deeply moving music. As a student of the genre, Lauren has learned and mastered the art of presenting her songs in a way that allows listeners to identify with the emotions and meanings of her songs. Lauren, along with her Grammy Award winning guitarist and producer Josh Sklair, create soulful music charged with her passion for Blues and soul.

First on stage, Palatka native acoustic Blues and Country singer “Sweet William,” Billy Ellis. A U.S. Army Veteran, Sweet William performs a broad range of ballads, blues, country and island flavors with topics from love to war, and everything in between. Sweet William’s musical career has included playing the bass guitar for several bands including the Doo-Wop group Deuce Fifty and Blue Smoke and the Smokin’ Blue Horns. Most recently, Sweet William is the solo/duo winner of the 2018 North Central Florida Blues Society Regional Blues Challenge.

On stage after Sweet Willam is Sheba the Mississippi Queen and the Bluesmen. Born in the Mississippi Delta, Sheba got her start like so many of history’s greatest blues artists, singing gospel in her church. Her career has taken her to New York City and Miami, where she gained fame as a uniquely talented singer and performer. She, along with her powerful band, bring old school style and approach to North Florida audiences by creating original music that blends Blues, Jazz, R&B and Soul. Her audiences are always entranced by her heart-felt lyrics matched with her powerful and passionate voice. A celebrated Blues singer, Sheba has taken her musical career to the next level with the release of her self-produced album, as well as being named band winner of the 2018 North Central Florida Blues Society’s Regional Blues Challenge.