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Ellicottville kicks off new year with ‘Winter Blues Weekend’

By Deb Everts

Chase the winter blues away and jumpstart the new year at Ellicottville’s Winter Blues Weekend.

The popular blues and jazz-packed weekend kicks off Friday, Jan. 17 and continues through Sunday, Jan. 19. 

Barb Pump, project development manager for the Chamber, said the “Winter Blues Weekend” event was started in 2001 as a way to bring people to Ellicottville after the holiday season.

People looking for something to do this time of year will find some of the hottest blues musicians performing live at a number of Ellicottville establishments throughout the village all weekend. 

Participating restaurants and bars include Madigans, Public House of Ellicottville, Finnerty’s Taproom, Balloons Restaurant, The Gin Mill and Villaggio.

Presented by the Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Land Rover of Buffalo, the free event will give visitors the opportunity to enjoy great live music performed by over a dozen artists.

Guitarist and singer/songwriter Maria Aurigema will bring her gutsy, hard-driving original blues to The Gin Mill on Saturday night as she takes the stage at 8 p.m.

With devoted fans in Western New York and Canada, Aurigema has performed at a variety of clubs and festivals throughout the region.

Aurigema has performed with national blues artists including Tommy Castro, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Tab Benoit, Elvin Bishop, Popa Chubby, Kelley Hunt, Jeff Healey, Debbie Davies and Jimmy Thackery.

She has opened for Foreigner, Blue Oyster Cult, Edgar Winter, Johnny Winter, Little Feat, Creedence Clearwater Revisited, Foghat, Steppenwolf, Sammy Hagar and Styx.

“Don’t take this the wrong way, but you play like a man,” said blues legend Jimmy Thackery.

Aurigema has recently re-released her debut album, Take Me, which contains mostly original music. Her latest release, “Long Way Home,” is another collection of 12 impressive guitar-driven original songs. 

Born in Buffalo, Aurigema teaches instrumental music in the Ken-Ton School District.

The current line-up of performances is as follows:

FRIDAY, JAN. 17:

Madigans: Tom Maker, 7 p.m.

Public House of Ellicottville: Brother James, 7 p.m.

Finnerty’s Taproom: Brian Ash, 7 p.m.

Balloons Restaurant: Hayden Fogle, 7 p.m.

The Gin Mill: 2 Guys Drinkin’ Beer 8 p.m.

Villaggio: Jony James Blues Band, 8 p.m.

Balloons Restaurant: Jamie Smith, 10 p.m.

SATURDAY, JAN. 18:

The Gin Mill: Terry Savastano, 2 p.m.

Madigans: Mark Winsick, 6 p.m.

Balloons Restaurant: Tommy Z, 6:30 p.m.

Public House of Ellicottville: AJ Tetzlaff, 7 p.m.

The Gin Mill: Maria Aurigema, 8 p.m.

Villaggio: All Star Blues Band, 8 p.m.

Madigans: Karaoke, 10 p.m.

Balloons Restaurant: Qwister, 10 p.m.

SUNDAY, JAN. 19:

The Gin Mill: 2 Guys Drinkin’ Beer, 8 p.m.

Madigans: Karaoke, 10 p.m. 

For more information on this and all events, check the chamber’s website at ellicottvilleny.com or call 699-5046.

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