Pair a passionate, no-holds-barred vocalist with a roots-driven yet fiercely original guitarist, and you’ve got unmissable blues alchemy. You’re sure to witness an Upriver Blues Festival highlight when the blisteringly authentic Karen Lovely and the earnestly visionary Ben Rice join forces for a set of blues, soul and Americana that will electrify the stage.
Karen Lovely consistently delivers soul-baring performances both live and in the studio, garnering awards and critical acclaim worldwide. Her recordings have topped blues and roots charts nationally and worldwide, and appeared on “Best of the Year” blues album lists for noted publications such as Downbeat, Roots Music Report, Living Blues and Blues Blast. Karen has received six prestigious Blues Music Award nominations from the Blues Foundation for Best Contemporary Blues Album and Best Contemporary Blues Female Artist.
Ben Rice’s guitar artistry earns accolades like “fearless,” “inventive” and “powerful,” and he routinely brings audiences to their feet with his stunning and emotionally honest vocal delivery. At the 2015 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Ben was named Best Guitarist of the entire competition. In addition to his three Blues Music Award nominations, Ben received Blues Blast’s Sean Costello Rising Star Award for 2019. Blues Blast calls Ben “a young man whose star is starting to soar,” while Portland’s own blues patriarch Lloyd Jones says simply, “He gets it.”
With a generous selection of original songs by both artists, plus well-loved chestnuts crying out for their unique touch, the Lovely-Rice combination is sure to deliver one memorable moment after another.