The annual New Year’s Eve Blues Party is set for Thursday evening, Dec. 31, beginning 7 p.m. at the Trade Winds Inn, downtown on Park Drive.

The festivities will begin with dinner (prime rib, salmon, lobster stew or vegetarian lasagna), followed by dancing, party favors, a champagne toast at midnight and a room. The tab of $229 plus tax per couple includes all of the above plus use of the pool and hot tub; and a full New Year’s Day breakfast buffet (8 to 10:30 a.m. Jan. 1). Space is limited; to reserve, call North Atlantic Blues Festival co-founder Paul Benjamin at 596-6055.

New Year’s Eve will mark the fourth time Allen has played Rockland this year. He popped into the Monday night blues series at Time Out Pub in March and November; and helmed the band for the great James Cotton to cap this summer’s North Atlantic Blues Festival in Harbor Park. Allen has been entertaining audiences with his rockin’ blend of soul and blues, playing the famous Chitlin' Circuit, as well as performing around the world, for years. For almost a decade, he was lead singer, guitarist and co-songwriter in the legendary James Cotton Band. Two of the songs on the Grammy-nominated “Giant” CD by Cotton were co-written by Allen.

"It's one of the highlights and privileges of my life to play with Cotton" said Allen. "He is one of the last living legends, and there's so much history there.

Cotton is directly connected to Muddy Waters, one of Allen’s all-time favorites. He said “there are things you can learn from him that you can't learn from any school. It's a great honor."

Allen got his start from his father and uncles, known as the Allen Brothers Band, and carries on the family legacy wherever he goes. From B.B. King to Otis Redding, he has a way of making listeners feel the soul of the blues. Known as the Soul Working Man, he is working the club circuit this year with his latest album, “Feel These Blues.”

The lineup for the North Atlantic Blues Festival has been announced and tickets are available online; visit The weekly series will resume later this winter.