Blues legend at North Columbia Schoolhouse |

Blues legend at North Columbia Schoolhouse


WHO: North Columbia Schoolhouse Cultural Center presents

WHAT: Blues concert with legend Fillmore Slim and the up-and-coming Kyle Rowland Blues Band. Ike’s Quarter Café will be serving food beginning at 5 p.m.

WHEN: Saturday, June 22. Grounds open at 5 p.m. Show begins at 7 p.m.

WHERE: The North Columbia Schoolhouse Cultural Center on the San Juan Ridge, 17894 Tyler Foote Road, Nevada City

TICKETS: $15 members/advance. $18 at the door. Tickets available at BriarPatch Co-op, Mother Truckers, and the Ridge Café, and online at

INFO: Call 265-2826, email

He refers to himself as the “O.G.” and has been associated with great California blues artists such as Rick Estrin of Rick Estrin and the Night Cats, Joe Louis Walker, JJ Malone and Troyce Key of Eli’s Mile High House. Guitarist and vocalist Fillmore Slim loves to get funky and lowdown but can also turn a blues ballad just as easily.

On Saturday, Fillmore Slim — backed by the Kyle Rowland Blues Band — brings his blues-funk artistry to the North Columbia Schoolhouse Cultural Center in an evening amphitheater performance.

A living legend, Fillmore Slim (born Clarence Sims) was born and raised in New Orleans in 1935. Fillmore says, “I lived in the country. I picked cotton. I plowed with a mule. I don’t sing like no city bluesman. If you have really got the blues, you’ll give your audience the blues.”

He moved to Southern California in the mid-1950s where cats like Johnny Otis, Big Joe Turner, Johnny Guitar Watson and Floyd Dixon plied their trade in Watts and the jukes of the West Coast. During this time Fillmore made a few recordings with “You Got the Nerve of a Brass Monkey” being his most successful. He met Etta James before she became the great blues diva in L.A., and they had a brief relationship (check out his fine, touching “I’d Rather Go Blind” on “The Blues Playa’s Ball,” a dedication to Etta after she had been diagnosed with Alzheimers and other ailments).

During the late 1960s into the ’70s Fillmore Slim befriended budding teenager bluesmen Rick Estrin (Little Charlie and the Nightcats) and Joe Louis Walker (Joe Louis Walker and the Bosstalkers). He encouraged, mentored and supported these young aspiring blues lovers and is credited with being a major influence on their pursuit to become great blues artists.

Fillmore Slim met the late Troyce Key, owner of Eli’s Mile High Club in Oakland, in the late 1980s. Key was impressed by Fillmore Slim’s unique take on his music and recorded Fillmore’s first album, “Born To Sing The Blues.”

Since, then Fillmore Slim has continued to record and perform in Europe and the U.S. He has eight albums to his credit. Additionally, he has appeared in the documentary “The Godfather: The Real Fillmore Slim Documentary” (2012). Additionally, a movie about the life and times of Fillmore, “The Legend of Fillmore Slim,” starring Snoop Dogg, who bears an uncanny resemblance to a younger Fillmore, is in the making.

In May of 2004, Rowland was sitting in front of a stage during the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee, listening to “Mick Martin and The Blues Rockers.” The interested young man quietly played along on his harmonica, and when Mick heard Rowland playing, he asked him to join the band on stage. This was the beginning of Rowland’s venture with the blues. Shortly after the festival, he began taking lessons from Mick Martin.

Since that day in 2004, Rowland has played with blues greats such as James Cotton, Hubert Sumlin, Norton Buffalo, Roy Rogers, Tommy Castro and many others. He has performed at the Sacramento Jazz Jubliee since 2004, at the California State Fair since 2005 and at various other festivals in California and Nevada, including the popular Monterey Blues Festival.

He released his first CD in October 2009, titled, “Kyle Rowland, Messin’ with the Kid: A Tribute to my Blues Heroes.” That same year, he also received the Blues Harmonica Player of the Year Award and Blues New Artist of the Year Award from the West Coast Blues Hall of Fame.

To enhance this blues extravaganza, Ike’s Quarter Café will serve food prior to and during the show.

Tickets to the 7 p.m. show are $15 for members of the cultural center or in advance and $18 at the door. They are avialable at BriarPatch Co-op, Mother Truckers, the Ridge Café and online at

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