The King Bees – the High Country’s premier blues ambassadors – are known for rocking the local festivals and parks with a big sound. You might have even seen guitarist Rob Baskerville walking through the crowds, playing slide guitar with water bottles, umbrellas, and lawn chairs of wide-eyed onlookers. This Friday, February 16, the Bees are released indoors, as The King Bees perform a special indoor concert at the Jones House Cultural and Community Center in downtown Boone.
“We will play our stuff,” Baskerville says. “But, the close environment will give us the chance to talk a little more about some of our experiences on the road and playing with blues greats from across the south.”
Rob “Hound Dog” Baskerville and Penny “Queen Bee” Zamagni have been playing blues and American roots music together for more than 30 years as The King Bees. The duo travel the country and the world playing music, and they make the mountains of North Carolina their home.
Over the years, the King Bees have become the unofficial blues ambassadors of the High Country, by championing many of the older blues greats from across the region and showcasing them in their annual New River Blues Festival, held in Ashe County each September. This year will mark the 16th year of the festival.
“The New River Blues Festival is one of the treasures of the High Country,” says Jones House concerts organizer, Mark Freed. “There is nothing like it in the surrounding area, and Rob and Penny have a huge network of musicians who rarely perform in the northwest corner of the state.”
Baskerville and Zamagni began traveling the South searching for blues mentors in the mid-1980s, and they managed to collaborate with some of the genre icons over the years.
“Many blues greats took us under their wing and nurtured and guided us,” Baskerville says. “They helped guide our music towards the sound of authenticity.”
The King Bees honed their craft touring and recording with a roster of blues greats, including Carey Bell, Jerry McCain, Nappy Brown, and Bo Diddley, with whom they collaborated for the B.B. King Birthday Tour. The King Bees have shared billings with Dr. John, Buddy Guy, James Brown, Leon Russell, and a host of other legends.
“These two have so many wonderful stories and songs from their time on the road, and this is a special chance for people in the area to hear and see what they do in a close and intimate performance space.”
The concert is produced by the Town of Boone’s Cultural Resources Department and takes place Friday, February 16, starting at 7:30 p.m. at the Jones House Cultural and Community Center in downtown Boone. Doors open at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $20, and they can be purchased at the Jones House. Advanced reservation is recommended because the venue has a maximum capacity of 40 seats.
To make reservations for the concert, more information, or a complete schedule of indoor concerts, please visit www.joneshouse.org or call 828.268.6280.