Free Show – All Ages
Iowa’s premier water quality event this summer in the Iowa Great Lakes will culminate with a prestigious musical act on stage. Genre-busting singer, songwriter and rising star Elle King will headline the evening concert of the Okoboji Blue Water Festival. King’s rise in popularity is due in part to her versatility as a musician and her bold forays into several different genres.
King’s musical style is influenced by country, rock and blues, a diversity that has endeared her to fans. Her notoriety as a recording artist is maturing, and she slays a live show. A CMA and ACM Award winner and four-time Grammy Award nominee, King’s music is steeped in every genre of vintage Americana, grown from her hardscrabble upbringing in Oklahoma. With famous parents – superstar actor and comedian Rob Schneider and international model London King – Elle fought early to forge her own identity through her music. The release of her debut album, Love Stuff, in 2015, sent her on the way.
King became obsessed early in life by Otis Redding and Hank Williams, among others, and launched a youthful songwriting resume’ at the tender age of 13. She learned how to play the banjo and began to shape the raucous power delivery of her vocals that today make her live performances so dynamic.
Collaborations with various artists ensued. A highly successful duet with Miranda Lambert became a number one country hit, “Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home)”. King moved firmly into the genre with her 2023 album, Come Get Your Wife. She once said “I say that I sing a little bit of country blues, but it changes from song to song, but it changes from song to song, whatever I’m feeling or listening to.” But as soon as you try to classify her as country, she’ll rock your brains out or wail you with the blues. That’s what makes King’s journey so fascinating.
“One of the trademarks of the festival is to end the daylong water quality activities with a celebratory big-name concert,” said co-chair Greg Drees. “Elle King will carry on that tradition.”
Co-chair Julie Peterson agreed. “We were elated when Elle pledged to play our event,” Peterson said. “We anticipate a capacity crowd to rock the green space.”
AJ Croce – Special Guest
Master pianist, songwriter and singer AJ Croce will take the stage at the eighth annual Okoboji Blue Water Festival on August 12 as the prelude to headliner Elle King. “What a coup for the festival,” said co-chair Julie Peterson. “AJ Croce has performed his beautiful music for more that three decades, and we are thrilled that he is on the card for our evening concert.”
Croce draws from a myriad of musical traditions and anti-heroes – part New Orleans, part juke joint and part soul. The author of ten charted studio albums, Croce has illustrated through the years his love and appreciation of several musical genres, including blues, soul, pop, jazz and rock. Early in his career he toured with Ray Charles and B.B. King, and the list of musicians he has played with is lengthy with such names as Willie Nelson, the Neville Brothers and Ry Cooder.
AJ’s love for the music of his late father, the prolific songwriter Jim Croce, has strengthened through the years, and his live concerts are embellished with those lovely renditions.
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