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Biography

“If California could hook up to Liz, there wouldn’t be any power shortage!”
- Richard Benson, Blues On Stage

Liz Mandeville won the Windy City Blues Society’s “2011 Blues Challenge.” Liz’s high energy shows often end in standing ovations; at the 2011 Lansing Blues Fest they were dancing in the street, they were on their feet in South Carolina, in Florida, and at WCBS’s show at Buddy Guy’s Legends in Chicago.

Multi-talented Liz Mandeville is no stranger to hard work! Not content to be “just a singer,” Liz taught herself to play guitar, washboard and porch-board. She has written and produced over 80 original songs, resulting in 5 critically acclaimed CD’s. She earned a BA in music, writes a column for ChicagoBluesGuide.com, she gives fun, interactive Blues Music Workshops and she also is a blues DJ for WNUR-FM. She has logged thousands of road miles; since 1983, she’s played hundreds of gigs and people say she just keeps getting better!

Clarksdale, her first release for the new Blue Kitty Music label, an idea fostered by Grammy winner, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, dropped May of 2012. Smith, best known for his work with the late Muddy Waters, contributed 5 tracks to the new disc. Clarksdale also features a riotous performance by long time friend and Howlin’ Wolf alum, the Legendary Eddie Shaw and tracks with Nick Moss and Donna Herula.

Liz also produced 4 critically lauded CD’s for the Earwig Label, showcasing her powerful, rich, versatile voice and her creativity as a producer, arranger, guitarist, and song crafter. Her 2008 CD, RED TOP, shot to #3 in the Roots Time Radio Charts, and stayed in the top 20 for weeks. Amazingly, “Scratch the Kitty”, one of that CD’s tunes, took the #1 spot for 22 weeks on the Cashbox Charts in 2010, making it one of the most downloaded blues songs ever! RED TOP, like Liz’s other CD’s, has been included in numerous “Best Of” lists. Chicago’s Tom Marker, (a popular DJ in the nation’s 3rd largest commercial radio market) named Liz’s “Illinois National Guard Blues” #5 in his list of the “WXRT-10 best of 2008.”

“Liz Mandeville’s music gets me hard!” - Legendary Blues DJ, octagenarian “Sunshine” Sonny Payne said as he hosted Liz at his historic 50th anniversary broadcast during the King Biscuit Fest, 2011.

Liz has been described as a “smart, sassy songwriter” with an ability to “build sensitive snapshots….” The petite redhead was nominated “Songwriter of the Year 2008” by the American Roots Music Assn. She won the 2005 USA Songwriting Contest for her “He Left It in His Other Pants” and was a finalist in the American Songwriting Contest for her deep blues song “Juice Head Man”.

Liz has led her own band for longer than any other female musician in Chicago. The Blue Points sound will get you grooving! Their repertoire runs the gamut of blues styles, from traditional to swing to rock. They’ve wowed crowds with long-running house gigs at Chicago’s oldest blues venues, including BLUES, The Kingston Mines, Bill’s Blues, and Blue Chicago, to name a few.

Based in Chicago, Liz has led her Band through countless tours, playing venues and fests from New York to Seattle, St. Paul to Key West. She has toured Canada, Mexico, Latvia, France, Belgium, Holland and South Africa. Liz and her band toured Germany several times with label mates Honeyboy Edwards and Louisiana Red, and with Robert Cray. Germany’s ARD TV features Liz in a “Chicago Must See” travel show. Liz set a festival record at the Chicago Blues Festival, for the most CD’s sold by a single artist.

Liz Mandeville grew up with the arts. Liz’s dad played and sang folk music for his family while taking classes at the Chicago Art Institute on the GI Bill after serving in Korea. He taught his daughter to paint and to sing. His work, always art-related, exposed Liz to galleries, gardens and museums. Her mother, an actress who taught, took young Liz to musicals, plays and concerts, insisting her daughter get music and dance lessons, even if it meant the family went without. Their Hi-Fi was always playing, sometimes Stravinsky or Mahalia Jackson, sometimes Ledbelly, Lightnin’ Hopkins, or Hank Williams.

Liz’s dad’s basic training in Louisiana led to lifelong love of New Orleans, so the family took many auto trips through the South, always ending in dad’s favorite city. Those trips exposed young Liz to the many flavors of American Roots music from Appalachian Bluegrass to New Orleans Jazz, Southern Gospel music and all points in between. Liz plays the washboard in a style first made popular in Louisiana and employed in many traditional blues settings, adding that Creole rhythm to her music.

Liz got her first guitar at 16 and started playing professionally soon after. Her guitar style tips its hat to her oldest influences: Mississippi John Hurt, Lightnin’ Hopkins and Muddy Waters mixed with T-Bone’s swing, soul from Curtis Mayfield and the Chicago blues of Jimmy Reed. With a sense of humor that shines through her impassioned performance, Liz is a polished, professional, and consummate entertainer, not to be missed!

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