Saturday, December 24, 2005

TWIB - This Week In Blues

Tuesday, December 20th @ The Mojo Lounge

R.J. Mischo was still on hiatus in Mexico at the Blue Mamou. In his absence, the NC Blues Connection featuring Wild Bill Pruitt and Jesse Brown were holding down the fort with their special guest, Artie Chavez.

Jesse Brown is a fabulous singer. There were a whole host of guest artists in the house. It was a fun evening. There were several people in attendance that hadn't been down there in a while. Overall, the quality of the music was good with the exception of a horrible cover of "Play That Funky Music White Boy", which has no place in a blues jam, proving once again that some people have absolutely no taste.

The highlight of the evening was that I got to play a really bizarre version of "Play That Funky Music White Boy" with Don Yonder and Freddie Roulette.

Friday, December 23rd @ JJ's Blues Lounge

I had hoped to make it down to the Poor House Bistro to catch the exciting duo of Bob Welsh and Hans Bosse, but the weeks of procrastination finally caught up me. I was running late doing some last minute shopping and Christmas wrapping. Just as I was becoming resigned to watching some incredibly crappy two hour movie stretched into a three hour long debacle on Lifetime, I saw Stan Erhart's message reminding people that he was appearing at JJ's and that Cathy Lemons/Johnny Ace/Steve Freund would be there, too. I was out the door.

Fortunately, the traffic wasn't too bad. When I arrived, Stan had just begun a very nice set. I had never seen Stan with his band before. My awareness of his tasteful guitar playing has come at the Tuesday night Mojo Lounge blues jam.

I grabbed a table with Artie and Gail near the front of the club. Stan was settling into a group of very nicely done Albert King tunes. I really liked his cover of Laundromat Blues. His guitar playing was very soulful and the rhythm section was spot on. He followed that up with very good version of Oh, Pretty Woman. It was a very enjoyable set. I look forward to seeing him again.

The second set was also great. Cathy Lemons and Johnny Ace with Steve Freund and the human Rolex watch on drums, Robi Bean. It had been a long time, since the last time that I had seen Cathy Lemons and Johnny Ace. It was actually too long. She's a really good singer that always puts on an enjoyable show. Johnny Ace is an ball of human energy and an entertaining guy. He is constantly in motion, but never misses a beat. Steve sounded great as always. Seeing him back other singers is always a treat because he is such a great rhythm player. He always does an incredible job of filling holes but he leaves enough open space to allow his playing to breathe and sink in.

Unfortunately, I couldn't hang out to catch the last set with Sammy Varela. The only down side of the whole evening was one set for two bands made everything feel rushed. I guess it was in keeping with the holiday activities.

It was nice to get back to JJ's. The club has nice vibe. The new owner seems to be a pretty nice guy. I'll be returning, especially if they have more shows like Friday evening's performance.

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