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The Mill hosts benefit for local musician

BY JORDAN MONTGOMERY | AUGUST 18, 2011 7:20 AM

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For 40 years, Sonny Lott has enriched the Iowa City music scene, and this weekend, the Iowa City music scene will give back to him.

Today, Lott is living with cancer. And at 6 p.m. Aug. 21, a benefit will be held for him to assist him with the cost of treatment. The benefit will be at the Mill, 120 E. Burlington St., and will feature local artists and close friends of his.

In some circles, Lott is a legend, revered by many as Iowa City's best blues drummer. He has performed with a host of local acts for almost 40 years, including Divin' Duck, Mother Blues Band, Party Guise, Bo Ramsey & the Sliders, and the Rocket 88s.

Sunday night's bill will include Joe and Vicki Price. Joe Price, dubbed "the godfather of blues in Iowa City" by event organizer Scotty Hayward, is a longtime friend and former bandmate of Lott. Price and Lott met in Iowa City in 1972.

"I had a band called the Rocket 88s," Price said, "We had drums set up on the stage but no drummer. I said, 'Do we have a drummer in the house?' "

Lott emerged from the crowd and played with the band that night, and he continued to play with Price whenever he came to Iowa City.

"Sonny is the heaviest drummer I've ever played with," Price said. "He played the Delta blues, and he played it better than anybody I've ever heard."

The benefit will also feature blues artist Dustin Busch, reggae artist Tony Brown, and Kalimba Man, the stage name of event organizer Scotty Hayward, who plays music with instruments of his own creation.


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