Charlie Musselwhite, Joe Louis Walker, Johnnie Johnson, Duke Robillard, Little Milton, and Trudy Lynn will be the first to share the stage under the W.C. Handy All Stars banner. The tour and series showcases artists who have been chosen by their peers and fans as the best in blues.

All of the featured artists are nominees or winners of the W.C. Handy Blues Awards, which are given out annually in Memphis by The Blues Foundation.

The tour will kick off November 8 at the Garde Arts Center in New London, Conn., and makes stops in New York City, Morristown, N.J., and Atlantic City. More dates are expected to be announced soon, and a tour spokesman told Pollstar it should extend into 2001.

The roster brings together some of the highest-regarded artists across several styles of blues.

Harmonica virtuoso Charlie Musselwhite is a nine-time Handy winner, having been honored with the best harmonica player award eight times in the last 10 years.

San Francisco native son Joe Louis Walker has received three of the awards, twice earning accolades as contemporary blues artist of the year.

Perennial Handy award nominee Johnnie Johnson is better known as an early collaborator with rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Chuck Berry. Legend has it that “Johnnie B. Goode” is about piano-playing Johnson.

Duke Robillard was named blues guitarist of the year in 2000. The former Roomful of Blues guitarist will lead the back-up band on the W.C. Handy All Stars tour.

Little Milton had several R&B hits in the 1960s, and has won two Handy awards. Trudy Lynn is the newcomer in the group, garnering her first of two Handy nominations in 1996.