By Robert Horn
"I was a late bloomer in terms of music," said Kevin,. "I didn't start getting interested in music until I was about 16. My dad got me my first guitar when I was 18. It was a cheap junker like one every dad should get his kid just to see if they really liked playing it after trying it a while."
I was listening to AC/DC with Angus Young on guitar, "he continued in between the drum beats. "They did a rendition of 'Baby Please Don't Go' and I wondered who wrote that song because I knew that they didn't. I researched it and it lead to Big Joe Williams and the blues. Then, when I was in college, my roommate who was a bass player and listened to all kinds of music pulled out Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, ...and when I heard 'Smokestack Lightning' a light went on in my head. That was it for me."
Kevin described his first band. "I was coaching high school football after college and some guys who were about 16 years old formed a band. They got in a little over their heads. They booked a gig at a bar. They played songs like those of Pearl Jam. The band entered a contest, and one of the prizes was studio time. They won. Then, a local blues band heard me on guitar, and they were looking for a guitar player. I auditioned and got the gig. I was 22 and opened for The Fabulous Thunderbirds before 10,000 people. It was the first time I met Jimmy Vaughn."
It was a pleasure to hear and see Cedric Burnside and Lightning Malcolm perform this year. The two of them seem to carry the spirit of Cedric's grandfather, R.L. Burnside. Cedric received the Handy statuette for Blues Drummer at this year's Blues Music Awards, and last year, their Delta Groove Debut, 2 Man Wrecking Crew received the Best New Artist Debut Blues Music Award. On the Waterfront, these guys were indeed a two-man wrecking crew on guitar and drums.
Thanks to Tim and Michelle Burge, I had the opportunity to talk with Chris Thomas King. He isn't a tall guy, but he is a giant. He was polite, but he also seemed to be analyzing me as much as I was analyzing him. I saw the wheels turning in his head and they were big fast wheels underneath a completely calm face and body.
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the great sets from Karen Lovely, Bill Rhodes, David Vest, Son Jack Jr and Michael Wild, Paris Slim, Gary Farmer, The Twisters, Cyril Neville, Duffy Bishop, Kolvane, Little Feat, Kim Field, Nicole Fournier, Terry Robb, and hundreds of others.
As the music wound down on Monday, I caught up with Cascade Blues Association President Greg Johnson. I thought it first, but he said it first.
"I don't want it to end," said Greg
I agreed. Living life at the 2010 Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival for eternity is my idea of heaven.