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Saturday, August 8, 2020
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Boz Scaggs returns to headline festival concert

JD McPherson to open stellar lineup


OKOBOJI, IOWA — The premier clean water event in Iowa this summer will culminate with a prestigious musical act on stage. Boz Scaggs, the legendary singer/songwriter/guitarist with the soulful voice whose career has spanned more than five decades, will headline the Okoboji Blue Water Festival on August 8 in Preservation Plaza at the Arnolds Park Amusement Park. Scaggs will be returning to the stage where he debuted with the festival in 2016. “We are excited to have the great Boz Scaggs back to headline the festival concert,” said event chairman Greg Drees. “People are still talking about his dynamic performance at the inaugural festival in 2016.”


It is appropriate that Scaggs’ new album is “Out of the Blues,” since the blues is what first sparked his longstanding career.


Born William Royce Scaggs in Canton, Ohio on June 8, 1944, he grew up in Oklahoma and Texas, where he spent his teenage years immersed in the blues, R&B and early rock ‘n’ roll. While attending school in Dallas, he played in local combos. After several years as a journeyman musician around Madison, WI and Austin, TX, Scaggs spent time traveling in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, eventually settling in Stockholm where he recorded the album “Boz.”


Returning to the U.S. in 1967, Scaggs joined the Steve Miller Band in San Francisco, performing on two albums before launching his solo career with 1968’s seminal “Boz Scaggs” LP. Scaggs continued to mine a professional mix of rock, blues and R&B influences, along with a signature style of ballads, culminating in the classic “Silk Degrees” in 1976.


Despite his 70s successes, Scaggs took a reprieve in the 1980’s. After an eight-year hiatus he recorded six more LPs and then toured with Donald Fagen’s New York Rock and Soul Review, all the while continuing to maintain a loyal audience in the U.S. and overseas, particularly in Japan.


“Music has been a constant companion and I’m feeling more freedom with it than ever,” Scaggs said. “I feel like I’ve found my voice through all these years, and I’ve gotten closer to where I want to be with my approach.”  




JD McPherson also returns to the festival stage


Drees also announced that JD McPherson, who opened for Chris Isaak at the 2017 festival concert, will return this summer to begin the musical extravaganza. “JD and his band blew concert goers away three years ago,” Drees said, “and we are grateful to have them back in the Iowa Great Lakes to entertain us.”


McPherson’s new album is “Undivided Heart & Soul,” a collection of deeply personal themes. The best rock music has a story to tell. This record chronicles a series of upheavals, frustrations, roadblocks and kismet. “This record was difficult for me to make,” McPherson said, “difficult to write, difficult to record. It took a lot for me to say that I can’t force these songs to be the way people are expecting,” This is a statement record, one that asserts McPherson as he is now, battle-weary but stronger than ever.


Rolling Stone Country magazine said McPherson “plays some fearless and flawless rock and roll.” No Depression – the Journal of Roots Music – said “McPherson seems to pushing himself to the ranks of the greats, getting better and more interesting as he moves himself forward.”  


The Okoboji Blue Water Festival is a partnership with the Okoboji Protective Association and Historic Arnolds Park, Inc. For information: Contact Greg Drees, or 712-320-0610.

Raising public awareness of water quality issues in the Iowa Great Lakes and beyond.

The Okoboji Blue Water Festival was created by the Okoboji Protective Association (OPA) in 2016 to raise public awareness of water quality issues in the Iowa Great Lakes. The OPA, founded in 1905, is a 501(c)-3 non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and enhancement of West Lake Okoboji and the Iowa Great Lakes watershed.