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Bluzapalooza IV
Rusty Wright Band
Bluzapalooza IV and Armed Forces Entertainment tap blues act to entertain US troops stationed in the Pacific

When Rusty Wright and Laurie LaCross-Wright of the Rusty Wright Band learned US soldiers stationed in the Middle East were requesting their music from pod casters, they immediately began searching for a way to take their music directly to the troops. In July the band learned their Armed Forces Entertainment application had been approved and less than 10 days later the band received an invitation to tour military installations in South Korea and Japan. On September 1st the Rusty Wright Band will hoist the Bluzapalooza banner and depart on a 14-day, nine-base tour to entertain US military personnel stationed in the Pacific.

"The Armed Forces Entertainment process is pretty rigorous so it was an honor to be accepted," said Rusty Wright, namesake and band leader of the Michigan-based group. "We started looking for information about entertaining US troops after California pod caster Mike Yusi relayed a message that an Army company in Fallujah was using one of our songs (Hell on my Heels) to get pumped up for missions. This is something we all wanted to do. The thought of a soldier asking for some of our music to listen to while working KP duty or while preparing for a mission in the Middle East really got to us. "

"We learned about Armed Forces Entertainment through our friend and mentor, Steve Simon,” said Wright’s wife, Laurie LaCross-Wright, vocalist/guitarist for the band. “Steve is the founder of the St. John Blues Festival in the Virgin Islands and also serves on the board of the Blues Foundation in Memphis, TN. We have the highest respect for his outstanding efforts in recruiting some of the biggest names in blues music to join him on several successful "Bluzapalooza" tours into Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Egypt last year, and we are thrilled to be following his example. When he learned our application had been approved he invited us to tour under the Bluzapalooza banner. It’s an honor we accepted gratefully.”

The band is slated to perform six shows all across South Korea, including a blues festival at Osan Air Force Base. The group will then wrap up the tour with three shows in Japan, including the Camp Fuji Festival in Tokyo. The group’s live show consists primarily of original music from the band’s two Sadson Music releases “Ain’t No Good Life” (2006) and “Playin’ with Fire” (2009). Both cds have enjoyed airplay in more than 100 countries.

While on tour, the group plans to blog, post photos and video clips of their adventures. You can follow their trip by visiting the official Bluzapalooza website www.bluzapalooza.com and/or the band’s website www.rustywrightband.com.

“The tour schedule will be grueling,” admitted Laurie LaCross-Wright. “But everyone in the band views this tour as a potentially life-changing event and we can’t wait to throw down some rockin’ blues for our troops.”

The five-piece act includes guitarists Rusty Wright, his wife, Laurie LaCross-Wright, drummer Peter Haist, keyboardist Dave Brahce, and bassist Andrew Barancik. While the band entertains US troops overseas Barancik’s son Jonathon will be completing Army Basic Training in South Carolina.

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