Black History Month Blues Series

The Monroe County Library System’s award-winning history lesson with a backbeat.

With awards from the Public and Michigan Library Associations, the Rhythm & Blues Foundation and The Blues Foundation’s 2009 Keeping the Blues Alive Award for Education (the blues world’s most prestigious honor available to non-musicians), the series is now the state’s longest running annual blues celebration.

Rev. Robert Jones presents: The Evolution of African American Traditional Music

Tuesday, January 30, 2024 at 7:00 p.m.

Dorsch Memorial Branch Library |  18 E. First Street, Monroe MI

Rev. Robert Jones gives an updated version of a humanities program on blues history that he presented thirty years ago. “The Evolution of African American Traditional Music” covers one hundred years of black music in an interactive program including lecture and live music. The program is funded by the Michigan Humanities Council.

The Jones Trio

Tuesday, February 6, 2024 at 7:00 p.m.

Carleton Branch Library | 1444 Kent Street, Carleton MI

The Jones Trio takes traditional gospel and rhythm & blues in new directions. The group includes Robert Jones II, Rosa Warner-Jones, and Arnesia Jones. Opening for the trio is Detroit performance poet and singer One Single Rose.

Ramona Collins

Tuesday, February 13, 2024 at 7:00 p.m.

Bedford Branch Library | 8575 Jackman Road, Temperance MI

Toledo’s acclaimed singer Ramona Collins explores the roots of American music with a performance called “When Jazz and Blues Come Together.” She is joined by her all-star band including pianist Cliff Monear, bassist Dave Stearns, and drummer Sean Dobbins.

Danny Kroha

Tuesday, February 20, 2024 at 7:00 p.m.

Ida Branch Library | 3016 Lewis Avenue, Ida MI

Acoustic county blues singer and guitarist Danny Kroha takes early blues, folk and country and creates a new sound from old styles.

The Big Gig!

Saturday, February 24, 2024 at 7:00 p.m.

Monroe County Community College, La-Z-Boy Center, Meyer Theater | 1555 S. Raisinville Road, Monroe MI

This year’s edition of The Big Gig! is heavy on vocals and guitar. In traditional form, Rev. Robert B. Jones, Sr. opens the show and serves as master of ceremonies. Ann Arbor’s acclaimed singer and guitarist Laith Al-Saadi gives a solo performance of his high energy blues and soul. Metro Detroit guitarist Bobby Murray and his band are joined by some of the area’s finest singers including Lenny Watkins, Tosha Owens, Smoke Jones, and Greg Nagy.

Rev. Jones is a nationally known multi-instrumentalist and storyteller preserving the roots of the blues. Laith Al-Saadi gained national attention with his performance in the finale of NBC’s “The Voice” in 2016 and is renowned for his high energy shows. Bobby Murray served as the longtime guitarist for the legendary Etta James and leads a band of veteran Detroit area musicians.

Seating for the Big Gig is general admission, first-come, first-served until the Meyer Theater capacity is reached. Doors to the theater will open at 6:00 p.m.

Zoom and Her Band

Tuesday, February 27, 2024 at 7:00 p.m.

Ellis Library & Reference Center | 3700 S. Custer Road, Monroe MI

Dynamic Detroit singer Zoom features a high energy show in the tradition of classic women blues artists like Koko Taylor. Special guest Chris Canas will join the band on guitar.

Howard Glazer and Harmonica Shah

Tuesday, March 5, 2024 at 7:00 p.m.

South Rockwood Branch Library | 5676 Carleton Rockwood Road, South Rockwood MI

Blues veterans Glazer and Shah are Detroit’s own version of the classic guitar and harmonica duo. Both artists have played the Detroit circuit for decades and toured nationally and internationally.

Blues Series Sponsors

Monroe County’s 37th Annual Black History Month Blues Series is presented by the Monroe County Library System, Monroe County Community College, and the 2024 Blues Coalition of community partners: DTE Foundation, Monroe NAACP, Friends of South Rockwood, Friends of Carleton, Friends of Dorsch, Friends of Ellis, Friends of Ida, and Friends of Bedford.

This project is funded in part by Michigan Humanities, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Michigan Arts and Culture Council.


MCCC, DTE, and Michigan Arts and Humanities logos
Collage of Blues artists, with text "Black History Month Blues Series"

Highlights from the 2024 Blues Series