May 19, 2010
Author: Washboard Pat
Last Thursday night was the second of 6 preliminaries of the Connecticut Blues Challenge at Black-Eyed Sally’s in Hartford. Tomorrow (May 20th) the party continues with performances by EZ Street, The Tones, Peter King & the Wildcards, ShooFly Blues, and the Cobalt Rhythm Kings. Last week folks who made it out to Black-Eyed Sally’s were treated to another great evening of blues put on by the Connecticut Blues Society.
The evening kicked off with a really fun performance by The Network. Now, lots of people ask me what makes music the blues; does it have to be sad? Is it the 12-bar structure? Shuffle? Maybe it’s songs about loss and pain (they ask this one about country too)? If you’ve ever wondered what the blues is then I’d say you have to go check out The Network. Last year I watched as their front man got bit hard by the blues bug and when these guys take the stage it shows. They just love the music, love being up on stage performing, and they play straight from their hearts. They did have some nice showmanship-but it wasn’t about being flashy for The Network. This band is all about loving the blues and there couldn’t have been a better way to kick off the night.
The Mojomatics picked right up on the vibe turning in a solid performance that won the night to advance to the finals September 11, despite the absence of a couple band mates. The highlight of the night was their performance of an original tune called “What I Got Is Good”. Manny had the kind of joy we normally only see in a little kid as he threw himself full on into the music, feelin’ it, and having a great time. One reasons the Mojomatics really grab me, is that they are all really good instrumentalists, but they don’t feel the need to prove it by cluttering up the music. They keep a nice groove and play with both intensity and style.
Next was a band I never heard called Fingersleeves. They did a rockin’ blues rockabilly thing that could turn any party into a legendary evening. The frontman was the drummer who stood up front playing a modified kit that used the floor tom for the bass drum, with the pedal striking the bottom head of the tom.
When TC & Company took the stage I had to do a double take because the front man looks a lot like Muddy Waters. Well, not Muddy, but they didn’t disappoint doing a soulful blues that made me think of some old Sam & Dave tunes. The highlight of their set was a nicegroovin’ version of Big Legged Woman. I’ve often thought about doing an hour of my show with nothing but different versions of that song.
The Mix was next up also picking up on the soul vibe and they were followed by Red Rooster who brought awesome energy to a very tight set. Their fans were out in force and once again the dance floor at Black-Eyed Sally’s was full to close out a great night of the blues.
The challenge continues tomorrow (May 20) at Black-Eyed Sally’s and I’m hoping to see you out there. Tonight at 8 on WHUS I’ll be playing some great Connecticut blues and talking to the Beehive Queen-Christine Ohlman. So tune in tonight and get ready to step out for some great blues tomorrow. And of course remember to get out and catch the blues, before the blues catch you.
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