2012 Performers List

Update: You can get more information from the convention schedule and program book on our Convention Info page!

The Sgro Brothers (Saturday night headliners) Last year the Sgros were scheduled but had to cancel due to illness. This year our fingers are crossed for a fabulous show from this dynamic duo.

The great Stan Harper (Saturday night cameo) Stan is a legend and a peerless musical magician, still going strong in his 90s. Video

Jia-Yi He (Saturday night) Jia-Yi plays classical chromatic in addition to stacking four diatonics to play both classical and traditional Chinese music. He was featured on America's Got Talent in 2010. Video

Youth cameos (every night) Youth is critical to SPAH’s future, and SPAH is asking for donations to the William Rosebush Youth Fund to support youth at SPAH. Each evening, one or two young performers will be featured in a cameo performance as part of the fundraising effort for the Rosebush Fund. Please give generously to help fulfill SPAH’s youth mission.

Chris Bauer/Phil Caltabellotta/George Miklas trio (Thursday evening) You may know Phil as a fine chromatic player, but he'll be playing chord to Chris' marvelous chromatic lead, supported by emeritus Harmonicat George Miklas on bass harmonica. The trio tradition lives on in fine style! Video

Joe Powers (Friday evening) Known in tango circles internationally as both musician and dancer, Joe Powers brings his prodigious chromatic chops to bear on classical and jazz as well. His SPAH performance with piano accompaniment makes good on the promise shown in his brief cameo at SPAH 2009. Website

Cheryl Arena (Thursday afternoon) A longtime stalwart on the Dallas blues scene, Cheryl originally hails from Massachusetts. A regular teacher at Jon Gindick’s Harmonica Jam Camp, Cheryl was slated to perform at SPAH 2009 but was forced to cut her visit short. Now, finally, we get to hear her full force on her own turf. Website

Michael Rubin (Friday afternoon) Long known for his deep and thorough teaching and sometime madcap antics, Michael plays harmonica in one of the most popular rock bands from Austin, TX. The Kalu James band features original music from a great Nigerian born singer. Website

Grant Dermody, Jelly Roll Johnson, and David Barrett (Friday afternoon) The Friday acoustic blues hour features three great players. Kirk “Jelly Roll” Johnson is a quiet, unassuming SPAH regular who just happens to be one of Nashville’s top session musicians. David Barrett is known for his large library of excellent instructional books San Jose-based School of the Blues, and content-rich teaching website, bluesharmonica.com. David backs all that teaching with deeply informed and tasteful playing. Grant Dermody graces the Pacific Northwest with his soulful yet precise acoustic playing, often in the company of such luminaries as Eric Bibb.

Filip Jers (Thursday afternoon) Filip, already a YouTube sensation, is an exciting young player from Sweden who’s going solo after a stint as part of the Stockholm Lisboa Project and has already released two excellent solo and small group CDs (Spiro and Primus Motor). Fluent on both chromatic and diatonic harmonicas (as well as chromatic button accordion and guitar), Filip will present an exciting and varied show. Website

Jerry Devillier (Friday evening) Jerry's Cajun harmonica stylings are the authentic article from a man who grew up in rural Louisiana emulating his father's accordion playing. He later worked and recorded with the legendary Isom Fontenot, and was part of a Cajun group that performed alongside Peter, Paul and Mary at the Newport Folk Festival. Jerry will team up with Cajun fiddler Brandon Moreau, accompanied by Joe Filisko on guitar.

James Conway and Jean Sabot (Thursday evening) This duo will present Celtic music from both the Irish angle (James) and the French angle (Jean). James Conway plays diatonic and chromatic harmonicas, sometimes in special tunings that create bagpipe drones, as well as pennywhistle, bodhran (Irish frame drum) and guitar. James has a knack for pulling in other musicians to create dazzling and varied performances, and this time he has Jean Sabot, visiting from Brittany in France, to lend a fresh view of Celtic musical traditions. But don't be surprised if this is only the first thread in the rich tapestry that James will weave. Website

Rupert Oysler (Thursday night) You may know Rupert as the soft-spoken Seydel USA rep, but Rupert has a gift for excellent acoustic blues playing that’s unassuming yet powerful, like the man himself. Rupert kicks off the Thursday evening blues show with his rarely displayed talent. Website

Tom Ball (Thursday night) Tom Ball’s intellectual curiosity and cheeky, sometimes bizarre wit have earned him almost as much attention (at times) as his excellent acoustic blues and ragtime harmonica playing (and his instructional books). Tom returns to SPAH to light up the blues stage in duo with guitarist Eric Noden. Website

Mitch Kashmar (Thursday night) The blues world has long known of Mitch’s tasty playing and his fine third-position chromatic work. Mitch has also spent several years on the road with legendary R&B band WAR, continuing the harmonica chair created by Lee Oskar. SPAH attendees can now bask in Mitch’s fine stylings, supported by Cheryl Arena’s trio. Website

Texas Tribute (Friday night – and all week) On Friday night, club President Jerl Welch will lead Dallas Hoot in a Tribute to Texas. But in fact, we're doing all we can to present Texas musicians and music during the entire week.

Last-minute surprises: Some legendary players have informed us that they’d love to take a few hours off from their busy summer touring schedules to drop by for a visit. We can’t name any names for certain, but keep an eye out...