On the heels of last year's capacity crowd for Ludacris, officials announce completion of 2011's Ground Music Festival Main Stage line-up with rap and television star, LL Cool J. Top-40 chart toppers; southern rock and blues; as well as modern rock and country, further enhance the Common Ground Music Festival's twelfth year. All tickets are on sale now.
LL Cool J (Saturday, July 16): Two-time Grammy winner and NCIS: LA star, LL Cool J, continues to rock the mic more than two decades after his trailblazing career began. Notorious for in-your-face, explosive beats as much as he is for smooth and sensual hip hop, LL's newest studio album, "EXIT 13," includes collaborations with superstars 50 Cent, Wyclef Jean and Richie Sambora. Best known for hits such as "Around the Way Girl," "Mama Said Knock You Out," "Doin It," and "Goin Back to Cali," LL also devotes time to a clothing line, a musician-supportive social media network and promotions for his New York Times best-selling fitness book.
Blackberry Smoke (Thursday, July 14): Atlanta-based Blackberry Smoke is Southern Rock's preeminent name these days. Having shared the stage with ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Shooter Jennings, the quintet easily channels 70s rock while distancing themselves from overplayed Country Pop. Their second full-length album, "Little Piece of Dixie," is out now.
Larry McCray (Sunday, July 17): Blues lovers will delight when one of the best performers on the scene brings his warm, soulful vocals ad savage blues-rock to Lansing. National attention has been focused on McCray since his gut-wrenching rendition of Warren Haynes' power ballad, "Soul Shine," opened ears to McCray's talent and diversity. Fans will enjoy understated funk rhythms and crunchy rock riffs alongside searing, slow blues and booty-bumping shuffles.
Peter Rivera- Lead Singer of Rare Earth (Monday, July 11): Any connoisseur of 70s rock knows Peter Rivera. His hits are still belted out across classic rock stations across the country. With Peter on drums and lead vocals, Rare Earth sold more than 25 million records. Peter recorded in excess of 17 albums and had Top 10 hits with "Get Ready," "I'm Losing You," "Born to Wander," "Hey Big Brother" and "I Just Want to Celebrate."
The Verve Pipe (Tuesday, July 12): Michigan natives The Verve Pipe re-invent themselves with "Underneath," the band's newest RCA album. "Happiness Is" features an irresistible Beatlesque chorus while ballads like "Colorful" and "Underneath" provide glimpses of love's redemption. The Verve Pipe can trace their roots back to the early 90s when platinum-certified album "Villians" propelled Top 10 singles "Photograph" and "The Freshmen" to multi-format gold status.
Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights (Tuesday, July 12: Hendrix-laced adrenaline meets rock with a hefty dose of blues and soul as Jonathan Tyler and company give a wake-up call to America on "Pardon Me." The thumping hits include: "Gypsy Woman," "She Wears a Smile," "Devil's Basement" and the album's namesake.
David Nail (Wednesday, July 13): Midwest singer-songwriter Nail lays claim to hometown roots through a unique mix of modern country and soulful styling reminiscent of Lionel Richie and Ray Charles. "Let It Rain" is Nail's current single.
Duke Tumatoe (Thursday, July 14): Chicago-born Duke Tumatoe fuses gritty R&B, rock, blues and funk with humor and sincerity. A founding member of what went on to become REO Speedwagon; Tumatoe's illustrious career has spanned decades and allowed him to play alongside greats such as Muddy Waters, BB King, Buddy Guy and John Fogerty. With 14 albums, including his newest, "I Just Want to Be Rich," under his belt, Tumatoe is a long standing performer on radio's Bob & Tom Show.
Don Middlebrook & Living Soul (Thursday, July 14): Take a trip down to the tropics as Don Middlebrook & Living Soul transport fans to an island getaway by music. Influences of Jimmy Buffet reign supreme but have modern-day flair.
Downplay (Friday, July 15): Downplay's hard rock melodies and love-struck lyrics capture sounds similar to that of rockers Three Days Grace.  Album, "A Day Without Gravity," creates an angst-to-pop ratio that equals nothing but success. "Queen of New York City,"  "The Stain," and "Edge of the Universe" are strong highlights that position Downplay to capture the mainstream market.
Tonic (Saturday, July 16): Six Top 10 singles and four million records sold only add to the list of Grammy nominations and platinum albums for iconic 90s rockers Tonic. "If You Could Only See," was 1998's the most-played rock song while singles "Open Up Your Eyes," "Soldier's Daughter" and "You Wanted More," propelled the band to international fame.
Hot Chelle Rae (Sunday, July 17): Explosive dance-rock with monster sing-along choruses are Hot Chelle Rae's signature moves. Praises for both "Lovesick Electric" and "Tonight Tonight" cement the group's natural ability to dominate Top 40 radio. Currently blowing up iTunes with tens of thousands of downloads per day!
Locksley (Sunday, July 17): Indie rockers Locksley produce power pop ballads heavily influenced by early British invasion bands. National television and press coverage helped them license three songs for commercial use prior to even signing with a label. A tour supporting Rooney and The Hives soon followed. Songs include the rip-roaring first single "The Whip", and the anthem "Oh! Wisconsin" which deftly threads the needle between pure pop perfection and punk's raw power, with crunchy riffs, call-and-response choruses, and snug harmonies. Crackling with energy and ingenuity, Locksley reveals a marvelously gifted band that has only just begun rocking to the peak of their powers.
For more information including tickets, directions, parking, maps and more... visit http://www.commongroundfest.com/.