On a blues note

The classic cars and rock ’n’ roll of Hot August Nights make way for the cool blues of the Reno-Tahoe Blues Fest this week. The second annual event kicks off 1 p.m. Aug. 12 with the Louisiana swamp blues of singer-guitarist Kenny Neal. The Chicago Tribune called Neal, “[O]ne of a mere handful of truly inventive young contemporary guitarists.” Mississippi blues guitarist Eddie Cotton follows Neal’s performance at 2:30 p.m. Cotton was named 2004 Entertainer of the Year by Real Blues magazine and has also been hailed as another great artist in the making. R&B singer Millie Jackson, best known for her version of “If Loving You Is Wrong I Don’t Want to Be Right,” heats up the stage at 4 p.m. Her latest album is titled Not for Church Folk. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Buddy Guy (pictured) follows at 5:30 p.m. Guy is regarded as a pioneer of Chicago’s West Side blues sound and an influence on rock guitarists such as Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. Grammy Award-winning singer Patti LaBelle closes the night’s entertainment starting at 7 p.m. LaBelle’s best known for hits like 1975’s “Lady Marmalade,” 1985’s “New Attitude” and her 1986 duet with Michael McDonald “On My Own.” The festival continues 1 p.m. Aug. 13 with the rocking blues of Larry McCray, followed by the soulful sounds of Shemekia Copeland at 2:30 p.m. Bobby Rush performs his tongue-in-cheek “folk funk” music at 4 p.m. Grammy Award-winning singer-guitarist Keb’ Mo’ gives audience members a taste of the Delta Blues when he plays at 5:30 p.m. Finally, R&B chanteuse Chaka Khan concludes the festival when she performs at 7 p.m. Tickets for the Reno-Tahoe Blues Fest are $55-$200. The event takes place at Rancho San Rafael Regional Park, 1595 N. Sierra St. A portion of the proceeds from the festival will go to music education programs for Washoe County School District students and scholarships for graduating high school seniors who intend to study music at the University of Nevada, Reno. Call 857-3378 or visit www.renotahoebluesfest.com.