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Blues blowout to Martha Davis & The Motels

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Blues blowout to Martha Davis & The Motels

Mark Hummel

Photo contributed/

POSTED January 14, 2012 2:14 a.m.

MODESTO - The State Theatre in downtown Modesto is rolling out four concerts over the next eight weeks.

The venue is at 1307 J St.

CONCERT: Blues Harmonica Blowout

WHEN: Thursday, Jan 26

TIME: Doors at 7; show at 8 p.m.

COST: Tickets are $28, $38 and $45

Mark Hummel, one of the most talented harmonica blowers on the planet, is returning to The State with a new lineup in a Little Walter Tribute guaranteed to, well, blow you away:  Joining Mark on stage will be none other than Charlie Musselwhite, Billy Boy Arnold, Little Charlie, Curtis Salgado and Sugar Ray Norcia -- and all backed by The Blues Survivors, a virtual who’s who of top blues players in the U.S. This legendary line-up will pack a lot heat into this harp-heavy night as they pay tribute to Little Walter, the fiery wizard who altered expectations about what’s possible on a humble harmonica.  Every time Mark brings a new show to the theater, it’s even better than the last (If that’s possible!), and this show’s going to be no exception. Opening for Mark is local favorite and 2009 MAMA (Modesto Area Music Association) winner for Best Jazz and Blues, Band Big Earl and the Cryin’ Shame. The blues band is made up of guitarists Eli Lester and Jason Finley, Randall Niemann on bass, Ian Stambaugh on drums, and vocalist and front man “Big Earl” Matthews. The band infuses their ‘50s Chicago-style blues with infectious funk rhythms. Big Earl and the boys independently released their first CD, “Low Cash Blues,” in October.

CONCERT: An evening with Eric Johnson

WHEN: Friday, Jan. 27

TIME: Doors at 7; show at 8 p.m.

COST: Tickets are $25, $28 and $38

Guitar Player magazine called Eric Johnson “one of the most respected guitarists on the planet.” Indeed, the Grammy-winning guitarist is also a gifted singer, songwriter, composer and accomplished pianist, but he’s best known for what only he can coax out of a stock Fender Stratocaster. In addition to his Grammy win, Johnson has five nominations, a platinum album, Top 10 hits like “Cliffs Of Dover,” praise from critics and the esteem of his peers. His success has come from instrumental rock, but he regularly incorporates, jazz, fusion, gospel and country and western music into his recordings. But the full hand of his talents marks him as the creator of a rich and diverse musical legacy. His myriad and distinctive musical gifts are vividly evident on Johnson’s aptly titled new album, Up Close. His many achievements include being enshrined in Guitar Player’s Gallery of Greats and named one of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of the 20th Century by Musician magazine.

CONCERT: Ronnie Montrose

WHEN: Saturday, Feb. 4

TIME: Doors at 7; show at 8 p.m.

COST: Tickets are $25, $28 and $38

The writer who taught you to “Rock the Nation” and then burned down the house with “I Got The Fire,” the sonic adventurer who shot “Rock Candy” into orbit on “Space Station #5,” the guitar guru whose eponymous band practically invented American heavy metal, Ronnie Montrose, is returning to The State to rock your world.  Ronnie -- with lead vocalist Keith St. John, bass guitarist Dan McNay and drummer Steve Brown -- is coming back to show why he earned the title of “Rock and Roll Guitar Legend” and influenced a generation of rockers -- and rock guitarists.

Buy a ticket and you’re automatically eligible to win a custom Montrose guitar!

CONCERT: Martha Davis & The Motels

WHEN: Friday, March 9

TIME: Doors at 7; show at 8 p.m.

COST: Admission: $30, $26 and $22

Multi-platinum artist, lead singer and guitarist Martha Davis is bringing The Motels to Modesto to revisit some of the band’s New Wave-era smash hits  --  “Only the Lonely” and “Suddenly Last Summer,” each of which peaked at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1982 and 1983, respectively -- and to introduce the music from the band’s latest incarnation as they tour as Martha Davis & The Motels. If you grew up in the ‘80s, or just enjoyed the music, here’s a chance to return to some of the best vocals to come out of the era, and to revisit the days of Big hair and Mullets, moussed and gelled to new heights, Ray-Ban aviators, Swatch watches, Slap bracelets, ripped jeans and off-the-shoulder shirts. Come dressed as you were!

For online ticket sales go to To purchase your tickets by phone call The State Box Office at 209-527-4697 from noon to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. If still available, tickets may also be purchased the night of the event up to the start of the presentation.

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