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Howard and the Whiteboys coming to NIU Convo Center

Published: Thursday, June 20, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

Blues mixes with bicycling in the name of a vital national organization when longtime Chicago blues stalwarts Howard and the White Boys perform in concert at Bike MS: Tour De Farms, benefiting the Greater Illinois Chapter of the Mutiple Sclerosis Society, at 7 p.m. Saturday, at the Northern Illinois Convocation Center in DeKalb.

Known for a long time as “Chicago’s Hardest-Working Blues Band,” the veteran blues quartet continue to perform throughout the U.S., bringing audiences to their feet and out onto the dance floor – much as they have done for more than 20 years – while getting ready to record the follow-up to their critically-acclaimed most recent recording, “Made In Chicago” (Evidence Records).

Most recently, band member Rocco Calipari has branched out with his side project, “Head Honchos,” who have released a well-received debut CD.

“Made In Chicago” represents the zenith of the group’s recorded output, and it’s certainly the disc of which Howard and the White Boys are most proud. While the band hadn’t recorded in six years, they’ve been gigging continuously throughout the U.S. and Europe; this, in turn, has lent their trademark brand of contemporary blues an indomitable tightness brimming with raw power.

All of this comes through on the new disc, proving that the wait was well worth it.

The members of Howard and the White Boys first met at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb in 1988 and began jamming together just for fun, but their fast-growing popularity soon convinced them they could make a career of it. After only a few months, they got their first big break by opening for blues legend B.B. King.

The band soon made the move to Chicago and began performing with the biggest names in Blues: Koko Taylor, Albert King, Junior Wells, Lonnie Brooks, Luther Allison, Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry (the latter they were the backing band for in a headlining capacity at the 2002 Long Beach Blues Festival in Long Beach, Calif.).

For more information on Bike MS: Tour de Farms, call 312-421-4500 or visit www.bikeild.nationalmssociety.org.

For information on Howard and the White Boys, visit www.howardandthewhiteboys.net.

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