Sunday, August 28, 2011

"Imitate the Sun" - Chris Bergson Band

Upon first hearing guitar man Chris Bergson and his gravely southern drawl, which is a combination of Levon Helm and Greg Allman, you can hardly believe this guy is from New York City.

His sixth album the self produced Imitate the Sun, displays and artist dedicated to bringing blues and classic R&B into the future while honoring the past. The collection of six originals and four covers begins with the lazy shuffle “Goin Home,” which sounds like a long lost tune from “Songs from Big Pink,” and appropriately ends with a thoughtful reading of “Standing in the Doorway,” from Bob Dylan, who was backed by “The Band,” for many years.

On the eight tracks in between Bergson is joined by his stellar band in doing as the title tracks says, “I’m gonna please myself, and shine.” The groovin’ rhythm section deftly moves from soul of “Mr. Jackson,” to Delta blues of “Down in the Bottom,” to the rolling barrelhouse of “Good old Wagon,” setting up the tasty solos from Bergson and Jay Collins on fiery tenor sax. Keyboardist Bruce Katz is the perfect right hand man to Bergson throughout the album, providing the glue that holds it all together. Imitate the Sun, is a fine addition to admirable body of work from a veteran band.


Friday, August 26, 2011

A Taste of Music

By Rodney Dranfield (White Rock Blues Society)
Tony Fredrickson on the Taste of Music stage
Just back from Snohomish, Washington to help judge the Band and Solo Duo acts for the Washington Blues Society’s 2012 International Blues Challenge participants. Wow, is there ever a lot of talent in the Pacific Northwest.

I was most honored to receive the invitation from their President Eric Steiner to go down to their three day outdoor festival titled “Taste Of Music." Eric told me that Tony Fredrickson, was the major force behind this initiative along with a number of enthusiastic volunteers. During the day three stages were going and at night six local clubs had blues music going into the wee hours of night.

The two judges I worked with and had the pleasure to meet were both blues radio DJs. Ted Todd from KKZX FM 98.9 Sundays 7pm to 10pm Blowtorch Blues, streaming at seen here with Eric Steiner and Robin K of KSER FM also with Eric.

The Band that was selected to represent the Washington Blues Society was the Wired! Band a three piece band that kicked the audience into high gear with the lead singer and guitarist getting into the crowd encouraging group participation. The Duo act selected was Randy Norris and Jeff Nicely. They put on a fine display of classic blues numbers and will be fine representatives of the talent in the region. Best of wishes goes out to both as the prepare to go to Beale Street in Memphis next February competing with acts from around the world.

Hats off to the Washington Blues Society and all their hard work and commitment keeping the blues alive and growing.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Washington Blues Society Hall of Fame in Monroe, Saturday, August 27th

The Washington Blues Society (WBS) and the Slaughter House Lounge proudly present: Somethin’ New; Somethin’ Old; Somethin’ Borrowed; Somethin’ Definitely The Blues A celebration of some of our Best New Band nominees, a showcase of the extremely talented members of the Washington Blues Society’s Hall of Fame, and a few of our Best Blues Band nominees.

When: August 27, 2011 Noon to 10pm
Where: Monroe River Valley Farm (19829 168th St SE, Monroe, WA 98272)

CLICK HERE for ticket information, directions, the music line up and more!

Opening the show will be Hot Rod’s Blues Revue, a band that has garnered several nominations in the WBS’s most recent Best of Blues Awards for both the band and many of the individual musicians in the band. They will bring a mixture of rockin’ rhythm & blues, gritty Chicago blues and uptown swing tunes that are sure to get this party started off and fill the dance floor right from the start. With a solid backline lead by Steve Sarkowsky on drums and Tommy Wall on bass, tasty guitar licks from Greg Timmons, Hot Rod Holman trickling the keys of the B3, classic harp from Joe “Blue” Giorella and a horn section featuring Ron Hendee and Joey “The Saint” St. John-Ryan this band will not disappoint.

Next up is a new band called the T-Town Aces and recently nominated in the Best New Band category of the BB Awards. If you look closely you will see that this band is fronted by Steve Bailey and Dennis Ellis from the old Crossroads Band, who have both received many nominations in BB Awards over their long careers here in the Northwest. Joining them on guitar is Curtis Smith a new addition to the Northwest music scene, but who has a resume that includes playing with Mark Hummel, Johnny Dyer, Junior Watson and Janiva Magness to name a few. Joining them are David Hudson on drums and Al Cantey on bass, both Northwest veterans who know the Blues and who have been laying down top notch rhythm for more than twenty years each. With outstanding cover choices and clever originals this band will amp the party up just a little higher.

The featured attraction of the day will be a Showcase of all of the Hall of Fame members. With a line-up that includes Dick Powell, Little Bill Engelhart, Buck England, Leslie Milton, Patti Allen, Kathi McDonald, Nick Vigarino, Mark Dufresne, Randy Oxford, Mark Whitman, Alice Stuart, Jack Cook, David Brewer, Paul Green, and Chris Leighton you know you are in for some great music. But throw in their special guests Raven Humphres, John Lee, Howard Hopper, Ron Hendee, Rod Cook, and Tommy Morgan and you’re headed for something spectacular. This kind of talent all together on the same stage only happens once in a lifetime. Every Hall of Famer will be featured in a tightly packed, high energy, blues driven show that will leave you all “Ate up with the Blues”. Like I said the don’t miss event of the summer!

You would think that after all that we would be done, but we have Brian Lee and The Orbiters. This band has received several nominations over the years for both its individual members and the band. Featuring Brian Lee on vocals, guitar, and harp , the distinctive style of Steve Yonck on guitar and a backline consisting of long time pros Russ Kammerer on drums and Hank Yanda on bass, this band has crafted a long list of original tunes that keep dance floors full and clubs at capacity. They will take you on “A Broad Orbit Through The Blues Universe”.

Closing out the day will be the Stacy Jones Band. With multiple nominations over the last three years of BB Awards for both its members and the band they have become one of the favorites of the WBS membership. Fronted by the talented Stacy Jones on keys, guitar, harp and vocals with Jeff Menteer as a sideman on guitar and vocals this band plays a set list of originals that always get the audience’s attention and with “Blind” Tommy Jones on bass and Rick Bowen on drums the backline keeps them dancing.

Not a bad day of music, but there’s more! At the low cost of $25.00 advance purchase/$30.00 day of show this will be a great value. Multiple food venders will supply tasty cuisine, Paula’s “Wine Knot” Tasting Room and Paula’s Pepper Jelly will host a beer garden with select choices of beer and wine, and plenty of parking is available on site for only $5.00. Who could ask for more! But wait there is more and if you’ve read this far you deserve the reward. All Washington Blues Society members with their membership dues current can buy tickets to this event for themselves at the incredibly low price of only $15.00! Another great reason to join the Washington Blues Society!