The Quad Cities is known for its thriving live music scene partially made possible by the many bars, restaurants and breweries that host performers year-round. Many local acts earn a living performing locally thanks to these establishments. However, few are as dynamic as Crawford Brew Works on Devils Glen Road in Bettendorf. The brewery has an amazing indoor and outdoor space that has been used to feature bands of all genres since their opening in May of 2018.
Crawford has been hosting a “Blues & Brews” series featuring live blues bands who will be playing on the weekends through the end of April, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Mississippi Valley Blues Society’s “Blues in the Schools” programming. Along with the bands, on selected nights, guest bartenders from the music community and beyond are jumping in to serve while the music plays.
“We are excited to explore this new approach to fundraising,” Bob Clevenstine, Fundraising Chairman for the Mississippi Valley Blues Society, said.
The “Blues N’ Brews” series kicked off with a live performance by Hector Anchondo on Mar. 4. The 2020 International Blues Challenge winner hails from Omaha, NE and is the founder of the “In the Market for Blues Festival”. Being a winner in the International Blues Challenge is an unbelievable honor. For Anchondo, it came after over two decades of work.
“Winning this feels like a reward for having stuck with music for 24 years,” Anchondo says. “I had flashbacks of all the journeys, sleeping on floors, years of sleeping in the van, overnight drives, no pay, credit card debt for the cause, broken-down vans, the list goes on.”
Crawford hosted the Bruce Katz Band with guest bartender Donovan Gustafson. Bruce Katz is a legendary keyboardist who has appeared on tracks with the likes of John Hammond, Delbert McClinton, Ronnie Earl, Little Milton, Butch Trucks, Duke Robillard, David “Fathead” Newman, and many, many others. He has also had a strong musical connection with the Allman Brothers Band, a member of several associated bands and occasionally toured with the Allman Brothers as well. Gustafson is a blues guitarist himself and slung craft brews while the band played. Learn more about the Bruce Katz Band on their website.
Shawn Holt & the Teardrops brought down the house. Holt, son of legendary blues great Magic Slim brings high energy to the stage, Crawford Brew Works being no exception! Shawn began his blues career at just 17 years old when he began touring alongside his father. In 2013 Shawn took leadership of the band when his father became ill and they have been tearing up the stage since. Keep up with Shawn and the Teardrops by following them on Facebook.
Legendary blues guitarist Jon McDonald took the stage while Crawford General Manager Tom Taylor stepped in as guest bartender. Jon is one degree of separation away from blues legends like Muddy Waters. He is an incredible musician who has helped bring the art of the blues all over the world. If you’d like to learn more about Jon, check out this amazing profile written by John Wolfe in Salt Magazine.
Crawford welcomed the Mercury Brothers. This local band is made up of some fantastic musicians from both sides of the river. Be sure to follow them on Facebook.
Doktu Rhute Muuzic played for a packed house with Chris Ryan from John Resch & Doggin’ Out as guest bartender. Doktu, a rhythm and blues musician who tours all over the world also does theater, movie and television appearances. Learn more about the entertainer and blues musician on his website.
The Brandon Santini Band played an amazing show to a lively crowd. International touring vocalist and harmonica player Brandon Santini is a powerhouse musician we should all keep an eye on. You can keep on top of Brandon’s newest releases and latest tour dates on his website.
The Good, The Bad, and The Blues were scheduled to play but had to cancel due to a family emergency. The rich sound this band is known for comes from a mixture of gospel, blues, soul and funk. The Good, The Bad, and the Blues is a full-time, hardworking, blues band. Learn more on their website.
International Blues Challenge Winner in three categories and 2019 Blues Music Award Nominee (for Best Emerging Artist Album) Kevin Burt played live from the brew deck. For more than 25 years, Kevin Burt has been delighting audiences throughout the Midwest.
Eddie Turner played at Crawford. Eddie “Devil Boy” Turner is a blues guitarist who was born in Cuba and raised in Chicago. Turner began playing the guitar at just twelve years old. Learn more about Eddie on his website.
Ivy Ford will grace the stage. Ivy Ford is a versatile and talented old soul. From singing the blues to being sultry, she is an indigo artist whose gifts connect all those who listen. Whether leading a full band or serenading a small audience solo on stage, Ivy Ford commands an energy that is most impressive. Learn more about Ivy on her website.
Mississippi Heat is scheduled to play. Led by harmonica player and songwriter Pierre Lacocque, Mississippi Heat is a world-class Chicago Blues Band. Their motto is “Traditional Blues With A Unique Sound” as they present a fresh yet vintage sound. Mississippi Heat is known internationally for their passionate blues performances. Overseas and national touring have been an integral part of their work for decades. The band has appeared at many world-famous festivals including many in the US (like the Pocono’s and the Chicago Blues Festivals), Scandinavia, Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Canada, Tunisia, Finland, Venezuela, Mexico and Dubai. Learn more on their website.
Crawford Brew Works offers a number of flagship beers and seasonal options. They also offer some local favorites found throughout the Quad Cities. Crawford strives to tap new and unique beers that may be off the radar so check their beer list to see what is on tap, or drink socially with the Untappd app. Crawford Brew Works is a member of the Iowa Brewers Guild and the Brewers Association. The brewery occupies 3500-sq. ft. of inviting space, perfect for enjoying a few brews while listening to live music. Located just south of the intersection of Devils Glen Road and Tanglefoot Lane they are easily accessible from the Devil’s Glen bike path, which makes it perfect for bikers. Crawford offers the people of the Quad Cities a casual drinking experience that’s away from the hustle of downtown. They’ve also partnered with Healthy Habits to bring bicyclists a one-of-a-kind brewery attached to one of our area’s premier bike shops.
Current taproom hours are Mon. – Thurs. 2-11 pm, Fri. 2 pm – 12 am, Sat. 12 pm – 12 am and Sun. 12 pm – 9 pm and they have a rotating list of food trucks that serve on the weekends.
Founded in 1984, the Mississippi Valley Blues Society was formed to ensure the future of a unique American art form by creating greater public appreciation through education, preservation and performance of blues history. The first MVBS meeting was a bright April morning, although quite informal, and happened at RIBCO (Rock Island Brewing Company). The group included Ross and Doris Haecker, Gene and Nancy Morgan, Steve Brundies, Terry O’Brien, Frank Holst, Nathaniel Hawker and Dana Taylor. That following July, MVBS was recognized as a non-profit organization. The MVBS has one of the most dynamic blues education programs in the United States. Each year, MVBS coordinates up to nine weeks of “Blues in the Schools”. Learn more about the Mississippi Valley Blues Society on their website.