Mike Zito, Ally Venable and Bernard Allison
Mike Zito, Ally Venable and Bernard Allison

SHIRLEY -- The celebrated Blues Caravan 2018 Tour, featuring stellar Ruf Records' guitarists Mike Zito, Ally Venable and Bernard Allison, makes a stop at The Bull Run Restaurant on Thursday, Oct. 11.

The Blues Caravan assembles three artists on one bill, then lets their combined musical chemistry do the rest.

Traditionally, the lineup has showcased the label's breaking talent -- from Ansyley Lister to Samantha Fish -- while giving fans a chance to catch the blues titans of tomorrow before they make it big. This year, however, Ruf Records shook up the formula a bit, with not only one young gun with a dazzling career ahead of her (in this case, Ally Venable), alongside two guitar heavyweights (Mike Zito and Bernard Allison) with sky-high reputations.

Ally Venable started singing at an early age in church, and in recent years picked up the guitar and found her passion, establishing herself as a Texas guitar blues slinger, all by the age of 19. Guitar Player magazine says, "Venable pulls off a stunner of gritty and/or sultry blues-rock tunes embellished with lots of tasty guitar solos."

Son of the mighty Luther Allison -- the late Chicago blues titan who was Ruf Records' first signing in 1994, Bernard Allison has added to the family legend while carving out his own mythology as a world-class songwriter and performer.


He'll be drawing from an acclaimed catalog that includes his 1997 U.S. debut "Keepin' the Blues Alive" all the way up to 2018's "Let It Go," while slipping between genres as only a guitar master can. Fans of the Lowell Folk Festival may have seen Allison's scorching performances this past July.

Zito, a Missouri-born bandleader, overcame early addictions to become one of modern America's sharpest songwriters. He was named Blues Rock Artist of the Year this year at the Blues Music Awards in Memphis with his album "First Class Life." He played for a time alongside Devon Allman and Cyril Neville in the blues "super-group" Royal Southern Brotherhood.

Tickets for the Blues Caravan's stop at The Bull Run are $28. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. The Bull Run is at 215 Great Road, Shirley.