We are a volunteer-driven, non-profit organization of blues music supporters celebrating 27 years in Boise, Idaho. (1992-2019)

We have a strong commitment to using the power of music to inspire and educate local youth. We bring musicians into schools to introduce blues music and engage students in making music. Our Blues in the Schools (BITS) program began in 2006 and is free to schools.

Boise Blues Society ensures an active social calendar for local blues fans, organizing or co-sponsoring dozens of blues-focused events every year. We showcase local acts and bring in out-of-town musicians for performances and workshops.

Have a question? Contact us. Want to get involved? Join us as a member, help us expand our reach with a tax-deductible contribution, sign up on our mailing list, or lend your skills and energy as a volunteer.

Boise Blues Society Board of Directors:

David Light | President, Treasurer

E: dlight0245@gmail.com

Although Dave Light started playing harmonica at the age of four, it wasn’t until living in Louisiana that he became immersed in the blues. Dave spent his spare time in the French Quarter of New Orleans listening to street bands play the highly emotional sound of the music called “blues.” Hooked on the blues, Dave went back to California where he befriended David Barrett of the School of Blues. Barrett is a great harp teacher and player as well as the most prolific writer of harmonica teaching books in the world today. It was then Dave started learning how to play blues on the harp. In 1991 Dave and fellow musicians formed the blues band Trials and Tribulations. They played most of the major blues venues in the bay area for more than five years. In 1994 David Barrett started the Harmonica Masterclass and Dave Light helped teach enthusiastic harmonica players all over the US including New York, Austin, Chicago, Long Beach and San Jose. “I believe over the five year span we must have taught over 1500 professional, intermediate and beginning harp players.” Dave was raised in Idaho and after being gone for 25 years is living back in Boise helping promote the appreciation of the “Blues.”

Ken Harris | Vice-President,  Festival Coordinator; Blues in the School Coordinator

(208) 440-4590
E: kjharris1925@yahoo.com
Ken has been a professional musician for 53 years and got his start playing in high school rock ‘n roll bands in Boise in the mid-60’s. He graduated from St. Joseph’s Elementary in 1963 and Boise High in 1967.  After college at the University of Colorado and Portland State, he moved to Boston for 22 years where he led his own bands and also played with such artists as Junior Walker and The All Stars, Chuck Berry, Luther “Guitar Jr.” Johnson, Johnny Adams, James Montgomery and Michelle Willson.  In 1993 Ken returned to Boise to help start the Blues Bouquet, Idaho’s first Blues nightclub. He is the keyboardist with The Hoochie Coochie Men, and that band was the house band of the Blues Bouquet and backed such artists as Pinetop Perkins, Carey Bell, Coco Montoya, AC Reed, and Billy Boy Arnold. Ken also plays with The Blues Directors and Carmel and The Closers and plays music gigs several times a week in a variety of formats.  During the day he is a part-time wheelchair van driver for a local elder care facility.

Bill Arnold | Vice President for Communications & Marketing

Two of Bill’s life passions have been his profession and his music.  His interest in music fully erupted when the Beatles began their tour on the Ed Sullivan Show in the early 1960’s.  He mowed lawns to earn enough money to purchase a Gibson SG, and has been in love with guitars ever since.  He played in an ill-fated garage band in high school that went nowhere…but it was fun, and then devoted his time to earning a PhD, becoming a board certified licensed psychologist, tenured full professor of psychology with the University of Texas System, and running a successful private practice for 40 years–most recently in criminal forensic psychology in the Boise area where he retired.  His career included an appointment by the governor and 8 years of service on the Idaho Board of Psychologist Examiners and has been President of the Idaho Psychological Association.  In the area of music, in 1978, he met his musical soulmate, and played a number of clubs over the next 12 years, ending with two bands in South Texas on the US-Mexico Border, with the most successful being “Los Blues Guys.”  Over the past 10 years he has played guitar on 3 church worship teams in the Boise area.  Most recently, he has served on the City of Eagle’s Arts Commission. He established his local band in 2016, the Billy Blues Band featuring Michele Eastland and Becky Blake.  His band has been successfully playing various venues in the Treasure Valley and McCall focusing on upscale clubs, festivals, private parties and weddings.

Dale K Wilson | Fundraising; Education

Dale Wilson began playing harmonica in 1973 at age of twelve after receiving a harmonica and the John Mayall album “The Turning Point” as a gift from a family friend. In his teen years Dale picked up the guitar and added it to his arsenal. Dale began performing in clubs in and around Portland Oregon at age of twenty-one. While in Portland, Dale was a forming member of “The Lost Leggos”, was a member of “The Fat Cats” and performed in duos and house bands in clubs. Dale began moving back and forth between Portland and Boise in 1998 and finally settled in Boise for good in 2001. After the birth of his son in 2002, Dale took a hiatus from performing on a regular basis. During this break Dale began a career in social work and now works as a clinical social worker and uses his music to promote social and personal change. In the last few years Dale has returned to performing more often and can be seen at venues around the Treasure Valley with “Brooke Nicole and the Jake Leg Band” and “Blind Harpdog’s Blues Allstars”.

Audra Kerby | Merchandising

Audra has been a music fan as long as she can remember.  Raised in Wichita, Kansas, she graduated from Wichita State University in 1994 with a degree in paralegal studies.  She also spent a lot of time at the Grand Emporium, her dad’s former blues club in Kansas City, and now works with him on the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise twice a year and attends various blues festivals doing promotional work for the Blues Cruise.  She moved to Boise in 1998 and eventually became involved with the Boise Blues Society by volunteering her time helping with merchandise and working the door at events.   When she isn’t working full time as a litigation paralegal at a Boise law firm, she is a mom to three children, adoption reunion search consultant and genealogy research buff.

John Rumel | Event Production/Fundraising

John Rumel is a professor at the University of Idaho College of Law and a long-time fan of blues music. He moved to Boise from the Bay Area over twenty-five years ago and remembers being delighted to hear Norman Davis’s voice on the radio (Norman had been a deejay in San Francisco when John lived there), attend shows at the old Blues Bouquet, and join the BBS. John was a frequent volunteer at BBS events prior to joining the Board, but will not be a member of the Board’s Blues Directors band since the only instrument he professes to play is the stereo. His work on the Board has focused on event production – primarily at the Riverside Hotel’s Sapphire Room and Sandbar – and fundraising. Prior to joining the Board, John was extensively involved in the production of a 4-CD tribute album to legendary Idaho folksinger Rosalie Sorrels. He also recently was honored as one of several Volunteers of the Decade, based on his work with the Extreme Team, a group that has worked together for many years producing the Extreme Extravaganza, a holiday benefit show for Boise’s Interfaith Sanctuary.

Ed Simon

Music is one of Ed’s passions, writing and interviewing many classic rock, rock and blues musicians. Getting the great stories of road experiences from them is a particular delight. Blues artists he’s interviewed and gotten to know include Booker T, Coco Montoya, Guitar Shorty, Gary ‘US’ Bonds, Gary Tackett, Tim ‘TooSlim’ Langford, Fito de la Parra (Canned Heat), Eric Sardinas and many more. He writes about blues for the Boise Bet and the Los Angeles Beat and takes an active role in writing about and seeing many local blues acts. As a member of the Boise Blues society, he’s passionate about keeping the blues alive.

Jay Longwell | Marketing and Communications

Jay’s had two passions in his professional life: music and technology marketing. At 14, Jay bought a guitar and joined a band — then learned how to play the instrument. After playing semi-pro through his teens, he dropped out of college and went on the road with the band Snowblind for 4 years. After the band’s breakup (and realization he wasn’t going to be the next Eddie Van Halen) Jay went back to school and embarked on an over 30 year career in marketing. As the CEO of Creative Source International, he led the company to national and international acclaim, eventually earning America’s #1 Technology Agency in Promo Magazine’s Top 100 list. Today, as the Managing Partner at Stratus Global Partners, he creates marketing and advertising programs for companies worldwide. Jay is also a former Adjunct Professor of Marketing at Boise State University where he established the Longwell Endowment for Advertising, a key funding channel for BSU’s National Student Advertising Competition team. In 2017, Jay re-connected with his musical roots and, after over 30 years, started playing guitar again. Now he plays guitar almost every weekend the RJ McGinnis Band and is a fixture at the weekly Jam Sessions around Boise. Amazing how life comes full circle.