Iowa Blues Hall of Fame Induction Celebration

  • Overview

    Five individuals have been selected for induction into the Iowa Blues Hall of Fame in the Class of 2019: Jeff Banks, Kevin Burt, Janey Hooper, Frank Strong and, Greg Sutherland.

    The induction ceremony for the Class of 2019 will take place on Sunday, April 7, at the River Center Eventorium, 330 SW 3rd Street, Des Moines. The event will begin with dinner provided by Flying Mango & a performance by Sumpin’ Doo, featuring IBHOF members, brothers George & Gil Davis. After the award presentation & individual performances by the current inductees, the night will end with a jam session for any attending IBHOF members and friends.

    TICKETS will become available to the public on February 1 & can be purchased by going to website. Last year’s event was sold out in advance so don’t delay! There are a limited number of V.I.P. tickets available at $50 each. V.I.P. perks include early event entry & premium reserved seating. Please contact Bryan Church to purchase V.I.P. tickets (515) 577-7749,

    Jeff Banks– Des Moines guitarist Jeff Banks has been playing the Blues for more than 40 years. As a constantly working musician, Jeff figures he has been a member of more than 60 musical acts in the rock & blues genres over the years by constantly juggling multiple projects. Five times, Jeff has been an Iowa Blues Challenge champion & represented the state at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis: 1998 – Fat Package, 2012 – Pain Killers, 2013 – Rock Island Rollers, 2015 – Mother Ship Blues Band, 2016 – Jeff Banks Band. In 2002 Jeff moved to Austin, Texas, where as a member of the George Devore Four, he performed at the Annual Nelson Family Christmas Party for 5 years & was nominated as best guitarist in the Austin Chronicle’s Best of voting, before eventually returning to Iowa. He currently keeps busy leading the Jeff Banks Band as well as performing with the Shannon Curfman Band.

    Kevin Burt– Coralville resident & Waterloo native Kevin B.F. Burt needed a job to finance his intended graduate degree at University of Iowa, but after receiving 5 job offers chose work over school. After his boss invited him to a dinner that, in fact, turned out to be an audition for the blues band her son was forming, Kevin ended up getting the gig & that group, the Blues Instigators, later went on to win the 1995 Iowa Blues Challenge, which provided Kevin his first opportunity to perform in Memphis. 22 years later, Kevin returned to Memphis as the 2017 Iowa Blues Challenge Solo/Duo champion, where he took Beale Street by storm, winning the Solo/Duo category at the International Blues Challenge, as well as being the recipient of the Cigar Box Guitar award & Lee Oskar Harmonica award.  As a dedicated family man, Kevin has focused on being a prolific blues educator, including currently serving as master clinician for Central Iowa Blues Society’s Blues in the Schools program.


    Janey Hooper– Singer/keyboardist Janey Hooper was one of Central Iowa’s most versatile musicians, performing not only in the blues genre, but also rock, gospel, R&B, funk & jazz. Whatever the genre, her blues influences were always evident. She first gained prominence with the Cavaliers, with whom she played at various times during the 70’s, 80’s & 90’s. Over the years she fronted several primarily blues-oriented groups, including the Janey Hooper Trio, Janey Hooper & the Drive and Janey Hooper & the Soul Shakers.  She was the “Keys” in Fat Tuesday & the Greasefire Keys. During her later years, Janey enjoyed hosting the Fat Tuesday Jam at Carl’s Place, as well as her association with the non-profit Merry Makers, performing at senior living centers. Janey was a three-time inductee into the Iowa Rock & Roll Hall of Fame & a 2015 inductee into the Iowa Jazz Hall of Fame. Jane Ann (Hooper) Hernandez lost her battle with pancreatic cancer on October 15, 2016.

    Frank Strong– “Freight Train” Frank Strong was born in Council Bluffs, which was the eastern terminus of the Union Pacific Railroad.  Frank began to play the guitar & harmonica at age 18, and for his entire career his music has been influenced by the trains. As a VSA Arts of Iowa artist, Frank has developed a residence & performance program around the historical, economic & cultural impacts of the building & operation of the railroads, including the development of “railroad songs”.  Frank & his wife, Jeanette, operate Southside Music Studio where he teaches harmonica. He has also served as a clinician for CIBS’ Blues in the Schools program. Since 2007, Frank has produced the Botanical Blues series at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Gardens, which has expanded to a 13 week run for 2019.


    Greg Sutherland– Ellston resident Greg Sutherland began singing & playing guitar & keyboards in his hometown, Detroit, in 1964.  During high school he sang & played keyboards for Kross of the Moon, during which time he had the opportunity to play a gig with Motown vocal group the Sweet Inspirations, which included Cissy Houston (mother of Whitney). Graduation brought Greg to southern Iowa, where he attended Graceland College. There he began playing bass & spent 8 years with the successful band, Zini. In 1981, Greg joined his former Zini bandmate, Jono Smith, in the Des Moines-based Alien Corn. Greg participated in the first Iowa Blues Challenge in 1994 with the Heaters & in 1999 he joined Fat Tuesday & the Greasefire Horns, which won the 2000 IABC. Since that time he has continued to perform with Fat Tuesday, as well as provide sound engineering for Fat Tuesday Productions. He has gained a reputation as an extraordinary jam master, hosting the Fat Tuesday Jam at Carl’s Place since 2014.

    About the Iowa Blues Hall of Fame: The IBHOF was established in 1999 by Des Moines blues singer, keyboardist and historian Tom Gary.  Tom’s Masters dissertation was focused on Des Moines’ Center Street blues scene in the 1960’s and he was inspired to gain recognition for the musicians of that time.  After inducting the first two classes, Ton handed the administration of the IBHOF over to the Central Iowa Blues Society.  Tom continued to serve as IBHOF co-chair for several years, along with Don “T-Bone” Erickson.  In 2016 Don was succeeded by current IBHOF chair Bryan Church.  With the induction of this year’s 20thanniversary class, 74 individuals have been honored with induction.  Photos and biographies of all IBHOF members can be viewed by clicking the IBHOF logo at