Matty "Soul Man" O'Brien is the lead singer for Memphis Crawl,...

Matty "Soul Man" O'Brien is the lead singer for Memphis Crawl, performing at the Blues on the Beach Festival. Credit: Danielle Filasky

Got the blues? Head to the beach — Long Beach in Nissequogue, that is — for the Blues on the Beach Festival Sept. 22-23. Formerly known as the Cedar Beach Blues Festival, the event returns for its 28th year with 28 acts playing on two stages for two days.

“I want to provide Long Island with the kind of blues festival that it deserves,” organizer Mark “Doc Blues” Gresser says. “Blues is the roots of all rock music and it’s important to keep those roots alive.”

Here are some blues styles that will be sounding from the sand:


Lex Grey & the Urban Pioneers: Since 1995, Lex Grey has been pushing the boundaries of traditional blues. “I like to incorporate aspects of vaudeville, country, R&B and jazz into the blues as well as a healthy dose of rock,” she says. The band will play originals from its albums “Usual Suspects” and “Heal My Soul,” plus some covers like Three Dog Night’s “Mama Told Me Not to Come” and “I'd Rather Go Blind” by Etta James. “We want to deliver a spiritual, emotional and dramatic experience,” Grey says.

SET TIME 4 p.m. Sept. 22 


Jane Lee Hooker: This quintet, hailing from Manhattan and Brooklyn, is a female firestorm of aggressive blues-flavored music. “We are five strong women that get along well,” says guitarist Tracy Hightop. “It’s like a gang empowered by this chemistry we have.” Currently promoting its second album, “Spiritus,” the group is on a roll with hit cuts like “Mama Said” and “How Ya Doin’?”

“There’s a lot of good energy around us right now,” Hightop says. “We're all about sexy, sweaty ’70s rock and roll fun.”

Memphis Crawl will perform at the 2018 Blues on the...

Memphis Crawl will perform at the 2018 Blues on the Beach Festival Sept. 22 on Long Beach in Nissequogue. Credit: Danielle Filasky

SET TIME 6 p.m. Sept. 22


Memphis Crawl: Scraggly beards, bare feet and long hair is the early ’70s vibe Memphis Crawl gives off. Inspired by Led Zeppelin, the Doors and the Black Crowes, this furious foursome has been making waves on Long Island since 2009. “For us, it’s all about freedom and self-expression,” says lead singer Matty O’Brien. “We spread music to make people happy.” Look out for hot singles “Revelations” and “Haunted Hearts” in the set along with covers of The Beatles’ “Don’t Let Me Down” and The Doors’ “Five to One.”

SET TIME 5 p.m. Sept. 22

Stanton Anderson Band: This band is a Long Island institution that's been playing the local circuit for more than 40 years. Today, the nine-piece unit blends rock, R&B, soul and blues with its three-piece horn section mixing original compositions and covers. “There’s always a lot happening onstage,” says trumpeter Peter Tursi.

Lex Grey and her band The Urban Pioneers will bring their...

Lex Grey and her band The Urban Pioneers will bring their brand of blues to Blues on the Beach. Credit: Neil Segal

SET TIME 3 p.m. Sept. 23


Johnny in the Basement: Named after a Bob Dylan lyric from “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” vocalist-guitarist Will Bart is moonlighting from his gig with the blues fusion band Carrie and the Cats with this new side project. “Our music stems from the hill country — North Mississippi style,” Bart says. “It’s very down and dirty.” The band’s debut EP, “Chasing the Feeling,” was out last winter, spawning concert favorites like “Welcome to the Show” and “One Way or Another.”

“Music is a language that we can all speak,” Bart says. “I want to take people to an electric church.”

SET TIME 2 p.m. Sept. 23


Shecky & the Twangtones: For nearly 20 years, singer-guitarist Shecky Davis has performed with incarnations of the Twangtones all around Long Island with a sound that is a macramé of styles. “We blend several genres of music and we try to make them our own,” Davis says. “We will play old surf instrumentals from the ’60s to Joy Division’s ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart.’ "

SET TIME 4 p.m. Sept. 23


WHEN | WHERE Noon-7 p.m. Sept. 22 and 23, Long Beach Town Park, East Long Beach Road in Nissequogue



Top Stories