Blues-Hungry Fans: Catch the World Famous Boone-Based ‘King Bees’ in Ashe Feb. 27

Published Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 8:47 am

By Bailey Faulkner

Feelin’ the blues? Mark your calendar for Saturday, Feb. 27, because internationally famous blues group The King Bees will perform at the Ashe Civic Center.

Legends of the High Country and beyond, The King Bees center on blues masters:

Rob “Hound Dog” Baskerville (guitar)

Penny “Queen Bee” Zamagni (vocals, bass)

The King Bees

The now internationally revered group was founded in Boone in 1987, a time that favored new wave-influenced acts over older sounding, more traditional blues and rock bands. But that didn’t stop the Hound Dog and Queen Bee from fully immersing themselves in the blues lifestyle.

The King Bees/ReverbNation

The King Bees/ReverbNation

After meeting at ASU’s Sanford Mall after one of Baskerville’s performances, the founding members soon decided that they wanted to take their love of the blues to the next level.

While many of today’s blues musicians are familiar only with the genre’s biggest names, Baskerville and Zamagni set out to learn from their favorite, lesser-known but equally great blues idols. The two founders set out on a blues journey through the South, sitting in and backing up some of the greats like Bo Diddley, Tinsley Ellis, Mojo Buford, Big Jack Johnson and Ronnie Earl along the way.

“We would chase down people we had records from,” Baskerville said.

While these legends certainly influenced the band’s sound, The King Bees likely benefitted most from their years on the road with Jerry McCain and “Chicago” Bob Nelson. McCain and Nelson’s harmonica playing and singing, along with their authentic bluesy lifestyles, gave The King Bees the blues education they needed to craft the “smoldering, rocking, soul-stirring” sound for which they are known today.

Before long, the band began its career of national and international touring. The group’s love of the blues has taken them all over the country, from Mississippi juke joints to New York City’s Lincoln Center.

The band has even been a hit overseas. In 1994, Amsterdam-based Trump Records released The King Bee’s first major recording, Boogie Buzz. The band capitalized on the album’s success, touring Europe twice in 1995. After the very successful tours, the band released its second major album, Pollenatin’, in 1996.

The King Bees were thrilled to be able to record Pollenatin’ with some of their greatest influences and mentors.

Since then, the band has been revitalizing the blues for audiences across the globe. Along with many other blues legends, the band had the unique and fulfilling opportunity to open on B.B. King’s 80th birthday tour. In addition to opening for The King, the group has also shared the stage with superstars James Brown, Buddy Guy, Leon Russell and many others.

The King Bees haven’t forgotten about the High Country. Baskerville and Zamagni founded and currently host the annual New River Blues Festival in not-so-far-away Grassy Creek, North Carolina. The popular event gathered for the 13th time in September.

Ashe Civic Center

The King Bees’ Civic Center show is a must for blues lovers in the area.

“Blues is our passion, and we love bringing it to Ashe County’s blues-hungry audiences,” the Hound Dog said.

The founding Bees will be joined by longtime friends and fellow blues lovers John Ambrose on drums and Phil Stinson on piano.

The King Bees are extremely grateful to Ashe County and the High Country for supporting and joining in on their love of the blues over the years. Needless to say, the band is especially excited to bring the blues to Ashe County once again on Feb. 27.


The show will be $16 for adults and $5 for students and will begin at 7:30 p.m.

For more information on The King Bee’s performance and other events at the Ashe Civic Center, visit the center’s website. You can also call the Civic Center at 336-846-2787.

Don’t miss out on an awesome Saturday night filled with world-famous blues at the Ashe Civic Center!

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