Concerts and Bluesfests
... by popular demand
(or something like that)

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13th Annual Greeley Blues Jam  -  June, 2017

Year after year, the Greeley Blues Jam seems to get better and better, and 2017's 13th Annual Greeley Blues Jam carried on that tradition, a testament to the hard work and dedication of the event organizers, led by Al Bricker.  From the opening notes of The Grace Kuch Band to the curtain-closing sounds from living-legend Walter Trout, the festival was a success, and with this year's proceeds going to the Blue Star Connection, in memory of the late John Catt, there's simply nothing not to love about the Greeley Blues Jam, arguably the best of its kind in Colorado.  The Grace Kuch Band (Grace Kuch, Laine Ford, Jordan Jamison) will be Memphis bound for the IBC Youth Showcase, courtesy of the Colorado Blues Society, and it's no surprise that Grace would kickstart this year's bluesfest, given her stunning performance a year ago alongside Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars).  Local favorites Kerry Pastine and The Crime Scene made sure the event was in full-tilt boogie mode with their always fun blend of rockabilly, blues and jump/swing.   The band has a loyal following not just in Denver, but across the state of Colorado and beyond, the band earning new fans everywhere they play, with recent tours picking up new fans across America, and with good reason:  they're smokin' hot fun, and make sure their audience is having a blast from beginning to end.  The big-band sound of The Burroughs kept everyone on their feet as well.  Featuring a full horn-section and powerful bass and drums, The Burroughs blend jump/swing with blues and R&B with a touch of soul and a lot of class:  this is yet another Colorado-based musical treasure that seems destined to become known from coast-to-coast before it's all over.  The Movers and Shakers, with special guest Erica Brown (Denver's Queen of the Blues), another horn-enhanced jump/swing blues band, brought their own infectious energy and style to the stage with a breathtaking set that left the crowd wanting much, much more.  It's a tight-knit group that features young (Andy Webber, Ryan Borthick, Dane Vernon) and old alike (Kyle Borthick, Eddie Silk, Scott "Soul" Sessions), and their appeal is to both younger as well as older music fans, anyone who loves jump, swing, blues, soul and a touch of funk.  Denver-based My Blue Sky (David Brandt, John Gallagher, Bob Kalkman, Jamie McGregor, et al), perhaps the world's premier Allman Brothers Tribute Band, provided a delicious and true-to form Gregg Allman tribute set of their own, sounding every bit of the way just as Gregg and Duane might have, had they themselves been at Greeley, and in a sense perhaps they were:  smiling down at all the fabulous music emanating from Greeley's Island Grove Arena.  At the Greeley Blues Jam, the motto is "Ain't Nothin' But A Party" and the party was in full swing but it was far, far from being over


With the Colorado bands having shown their chops, it was time for the "national" acts to prove what they had going, and they took to the collective challenge and left no doubt, with Austin's Guy Forsyth bringing his Texas-based up-tempo, roots-blues-based singing, guitar and harp-playing front and center.  An absolute treat, Forsyth, who's won multiple Austin Music Awards, proved why he might just be the hottest thing in Texas music today.   Ori Naftaly's Southern Avenue (ft Tierinii Jackson, vocals) smoked the stage with their own blend of blues, soul, southern rock, gospel and R&B.  Southern Avenue is as tasty and groovin' good as they come, a treat for the soul as much as the ears.   From the smoky, sexy, soul-filled sounds of Southern Avenue to the infectious, up-beat and never-stop-smiling (or dancing) songs from Chicago's Lil' Ed and The Blues Imperials, and it's readily apparent from beginning to end that this band is more than deserving of their 2017 Blues Music Award nomination.  Lil' Ed is a showman deluxe, and his band is as solid and tight as any in the business.  Ed's gritty-licious guitar playing is as raucously a good time as his ever-present smile, beckoning the crowd to join in having the best of times right along with him.  As Buddy Guy said:  "The blues don't make you sad, they lift you up"  and that's just what The Blues Imperials did in abundance  Thank you.  Kansas City's own Samantha Fish, her band sporting a sassy, spicy, Kansas City BBQ honeysweet'n'sticky horn section (a stylistic change that seems to suit Samantha perfectly) as well as her always spot-on distinctive voice and sizzling guitar magic.  Always a treat before, the Samantha Fish Band was on a new level of blues-ical goodness, and Greeley was better off for it.  As the last stages of the afternoon sunlight slowly gave way to the inevitable cool of the evening, the Honey Island Swamp Band was keeping the heat turned up in their own way, and it might never have been hotter all day than when this incredibly talented powerhouse of a rollicking good time took the stage and got rolling.  Young, vibrant and energetic, The Honey Island Swamp Band is greasy, down-home Cajun sausage-gumbo swamp funk'n'blues jazz that's somewhere beyond "sweet as sin."  How they do it is a mystery, but these guys are just about as blues-soul sanctifying as it gets, with a unique style that draws on their hometown New Orleans musical roots, but incorporates their decade-long stay in San Francisco maturity as musicians and artists.  How does one top off a day and night like that?  Finish the affair with living blues legend Walter Trout, and the big guy didn't disappoint.  He never does, nor does the Greeley Blues Jam.  Ain't Nothin' But A Party.

In Memorium:  John Catt  

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14th Annual Blues From The Top  -  June, 2016
Part bluesfest and part love-fest, the 14th Annual Blues From The Top was more than a mere concert, it was also a fitting tribute to the man who's been putting it together for all these years:  John Catt, and a remarkable journey it's been.  Not only has the festival itself grown become one of the most wildly popular (and best) of its kind in Colorado, Catt also started the Blue Star Connection, a charity dedicated to giving the gift of music (both instruments and therapy) to children with debilitating illnesses across the country.  The setting for the event, nestled amid the Rocky Mountains in Winter Park, Colorado, is nothing short of spectacular, with panoramic mountain views extending in all directions, adding to the sense that the event is something more than the run-of-the-mill gathering of music lovers, and more of a getaway destination in and of itself.  With music and festivities beginning two days before the first notes ring thru the mountain air, and continuing in the evenings after the show (did I mention that this a two day event?) there's simply no better place to be than Grand County, Colorado in June, and this year was no different, and with John Catt himself fighting his own illness, artists came from near (Denver) and far (Hawaii) and beyond (Canada, Australia, Poland) to play, to listen to others play, to meet and make new friends, renew old friendships and soak in the warmth of the love and respect for the man who started it all.

In keeping with BFTT tradition, the event kicked off day one with a "younger generation" act, in this case the remarkable talents of Austin Young and Michaela Rae, both of whom have been frequent performers on the "Future of the Blues" side stage, both showing not just incredible talent, but remarkable growth in their playing skills the last few years (Austin has been on the main stage himself more than a few times already, and he's just 20 years young, Michaela is 21, and the future of the blues is in good hands with those two and others, including Grace Kuch, an incredible 13 year old guitarist from Ft Collins, CO).  Austin & Friends got the crowd going early, a wake-up call before the incredible Josh Hoyer took the stage.  Hoyer & Soul Collective infuse blues with R&B in a way that few others can do, and Hoyer himself is one of the most energetic performers I've seen, belting out vocals with a passion that gets the blood pumping and the body in motion, his own as well as the listener, and an absolute joy it was to see the man and his band deliver the goods.  By the end of his set, there weren't a lot of people still sitting, because his music and energy WILL get you on your feet to dance. 

It's not easy to follow Josh Hoyer, but Kara Grainger (with Josh Smith and others) did just that, with a set that was deliciously smooth and yet powerful, with Grainger's voice and "down-under" attitude shining thru, people moving and dancing and swaying and simply having a party, and what a party it was.  Josh Smith himself is a fabulous guitarist, and the interplay between Smith and Grainger was a thing of musical beauty.  Steve Marriner and Monkeyjunk followed, and Marriner proved that he's one of the best in the business while keeping the festival in high gear, and if Marriner had it in high gear, Albert Castiglia (with some help from Josh Smith and Kate Moss) pushed it to overdrive, with a set that was incredibly passionate and stirring from beginning to end (I can state with complete confidence and personal knowledge that no matter how tired or worn or aged you are, Albert Castiglia WILL get you out of your seat and on the dance floor - as one of the festival volunteers, I didn't make it to the party area directly in front of the stage, but I *was* moving, shaking whatever I have with energy that came from Castiglia's guitar).  The afternoon ended with a much-anticipated Trampled Under Foot reunion:  Danielle, Kris and Nick Schnebelen getting together again for the first time in a couple of years, and they didn't disappoint.  Nick is a wizard on guitar, and Danielle's rich, bluesy vocals were better than ever, polishing off an incredible day of music and fun, sunshine in abundance and good vibes all around.

So, how do you top a day like that?  Start off with another BFTT tradition:  begin the Sunday part of the event with some down-home gospel and blues, and make sure the stage is packed with a star-studded lineup of artists that included Ori Naftaly and Southern Avenue, Renee Austin, Tempa Singer Nave, Deanna Bogart, Jimmy Carpenter, Sadie Johnson, Bart Szop (The Boogie Boys), Mer Sal and Jasco (The Symbols) and more ... if you can't say "HALLELUJAH" to that you're clinically dead.  Billed as The High Mountain Gospel Choir, it was a testament to the origins of the blues and an affirmation of life itself (and my own testifyin' here:  Tierinii Jackson gives the bestest hugs, thank you!).  John Nemeth followed, and just as Josh Hoyer did the day before, Nemeth cranked it up and churned out a remarkable set (with a little help from the likes of Bogart and Carpenter) that got the crowd going, pumped and ready for more.  Flying in from Hawaii was Willie K and The Warehouse Blues Band, a treat if ever there was one.  My first time to hear this amazing musician, he showed a diverse range of abilities and talents, including a song in his native Hawaiian tongue that sounded almost like an amped-up Italian Opera:  delicious stuff. 

Jimmy Hall with My Blue Sky, perhaps the best Allman Brothers tribute band to ever assemble, did their thing as only they can do it (thank you, David Brandt, for all you and the band do for others).  With the afternoon getting late, it was time to bring out the "big guns" and the final stamp of "specialness" that permeated the entire weekend.  Samantha Fish (with Mike Zito) delivered a powerful and emotional set (something that regulars of BFTT are used to by now), and one that had this music lover wishing it would never end.  It did, but only to give way to one Eric Gales, who also made sure the event was as memorable as possible.  Gales is an astoundingly talented artist, one who does things with his 6-string that perhaps nobody else can do, and near the end he was was joined by Marriner and Castiglia for a "power trio" of guitar wizardry that left everyone amazed and fulfilled, the perfect ending to the perfect weekend, in a perfect setting in the Rockies.

Again, one can't say enough good things about John Catt and all he's done for the blues and for those in need.  Hats off to the everyone with the Grand County Blues Society, thank you for allowing me to be a small part of it for the last 6 years, and a huge THANK YOU to John Catt for all he's done over the years.  Many thanks also to the friendly vendors for their kindness, helping me to make it thru a couple of long (but wonderfully fun) afternoons.  Thanks to Gary Eckhart for the photos, and to John Hammer for his seemingly infinite patience.  BFTT 2016 - one of the most memorable weekends I've ever had.

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John-Alex Mason Tribute (Soiled Dove Underground, Winter 2015)
There are shows, there are concerts and blues festivals and CD release parties, but sometimes ... it's just so different, so special, so magical and unique that it's truly an EVENT, and that's just what it was for the Tribute to John-Alex Mason at The Soiled Dove in Denver.  Thanks to Kyle Deibler of the Colorado Blues Society, this tribute was above and beyond a mere "Sunday afternoon blues show" ... it was truly a one-of-a-kind special event.  Some of the "best of the best" of Denver's blues scene came and sang and played on a blisteringly cold and snowy afternoon, highlighted by the final act:  The Cedric Burnside Project.  Until that point, it was a deliciously mellow and warming afternoon of acoustic sets (no percussion, and relatively few electric guitars, and those were mellow and understated when used) starting off with the Dr Izzy Band.  A relative newcomer to the stage, Dr Izzy (who really is a practicing doctor) started off the event with a collection of songs from her self-titled issue, and from the opening lines of Mama Said it was clear that magic was in the air. Trouble With My Old Man and Your Redeemer followed, and by the time Dr Izzy got around to singing Dirt Bed, there may well have been a few moist eyes in the crowd.

Dan Treanor and Randall Dubis followed with a fabulous set of City Jail Blues, the Sonny Boy Williamson Nine Below Zero, John Lee Hooker's I Love The Way and Bukka White's Good Gin Blues, ending their terrific part of the show with You Got Me Running and a Jimmy Reed Medley, before giving way to Eef's deliciously understated guitar and the incredible voice of Stacey Turpenoff.  They started off with Lucinda WIlliams' Can't Let Go, and followed with with Eef's Blues Express and a yummy rendition of Crossroads, before doing a fabulous version of John Alex Mason's Wildflower.  The two had fun with the Muddy Waters standard, Got My Mojo Working, and the always breathtaking Eef original:  All Rivers Run To The Sea (check the CD Archives for last month's review of Eef's latest release of the same name) before closing out with Midnight in Harlem.  What a wonderful set, but the evening was just really getting started, as Andy Sydow, Nic Clark and Curtis Hawkins took the stage for their own set of original songs, some penned by Nic and others by Andy, and their opener was Music Brings Me Home, written by both.  It's Alright and New Orleans followed, and Nic, who plays guitar as well as harmonica, really lit it up with his composition I'm Not Alone.  Andy's If I Grew A Violet was plain truth fun.  They finished their set with Movin' Out Of My Head and Tail Lights, another Nic Clark tune. (Congratulations to Nic Clark, who's been invited to open for the Big Head Todd Cruise tour!) ... both Nic and Andy arre incredibly talented young artists, and both have proven an ability to write and compose new music.  Both will have new CD's out soon, and I'm looking forward to hearing them both.

Austin Young, who might be the most talented young guitarist around, paired up with the delightful Jessica Rogalski (of Mojomama) for an incredible acoustic set of their own, including their own version of Midnight In Harlem, I Can't Be Satisfied and others.  Jessica's amazing voice and Austin's fine finger-pickin' made for a terrific set, before giving way to Jack Hadley and Rex Peoples, who covered the Robert Johnson song Walking Blues and Curtis Mayfield's People Get Ready, with an "improv" tune in between for good measure, as only Jack and Rex could do.  Michael Hossler, Erica Brown, MJ (Merrian Johnson) and, eventually, Dan Treanor finished out the "local" part of the evening with a fabulous set of their own:  You're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone, A House is Not A Home, the Peppermint Harris tune I Got Loaded, and finished with a terrific and soaring version of the Emile Sande song Next To Me ...  an upbeat, fun and funky to the bone set, and it really doesn't get much better than Erica and MJ.  Michael's guitar and Dan's harmonica made the set complete, and by the time they were finished the crowd was ready for Cedric Burnside, who didn't disappoint.

With Cedric on drums, and his partner Trenton Ayers on guitar, the Soiled Dove show went from tribute to party, as Burnside kicked things into high gear with his distinctive, Mississippi sound.  Doing Wash My Hands and Mean Queen,off his new release, Hear Me When I Say, as well as others, the duo had people up and dancing.  Shake 'Em On Down and Firemen Ring The Bell kept the party going, and you can believe it when Burnside says, in song, I Don't Just Sing About The Blues.  Miss Mae Bell, Muddy Waters and Mercury Blues and a few others were all winners with the crowd, most of whom didn't want to leave at the end of one of the most magical nights of music this reviewer has had the pleasure of being part of.  Thanks Again to Kyle Deibler and the Colorado Blues Society, as well as Cedric Burnside and everyone else who made the event so very, very special. More than "just" a tribute, the event was the kickoff for the CBS John-Alex Mason Scholarship Fund, an annual John-Alex Mason Scholarship to honor his memory and help continue the educational work he felt was so important. John-Alex took high school students from Colorado Springs to Mississippi on more than one occasion for an extended field trip that sometimes included visiting Memphis and New Orleans. This scholarship will help send student-aged musicians from Colorado to workshops and seminars that will further their blues music (and cultural) education, and this year's scholarship recipient is Grace Kuch.  Grace, who is all of 11 years young, is a 5th Grader at Laurel Elementary School of Arts and Technology in Fort Collins, CO.  She's loved music since she was a toddler, and began learning piano at the tender age of 4, and at age 7 she began playing mandolin as part of the school's bluegrass music program.  She also played acoustic guitar, and just a year ago received an electric guitar as a gift.  Picking up 12-bar blues immediately, a new passion was born, and Grace has made the most of it, already having appeared at the Winter Park Blues From The Top festival's Future of the Blues stage.  To top it all off, she's been given a very special gift as well:  a John-Alex Mason guitar, courtesy of John Catt (Grand County Blues Society and founder of Blue Star Connection).  Congratulations to Grace, and good luck in all of your future endeavors.  In memory of John-Alex, and a very, very special thank you to Andy Shaffner, my guardian angel.  Love you, Brother! 

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  Blue Star Fundraiser at Rusty Bucket (Fall 2014)
Blues people are the best people.  You already knew that, of course, but still ... it bears repeating.  I know this because I see it in action, I see it happening right before my eyes, something here and there and a little more and the next thing you know, you've got yourself a 5 hour benefit concert.  Nothing new or different there, right?  Except when every one of the artists plays for FREE then yeah, it's something special, something heartwarming, something really, really awesome ... and so it was at the Rusty Bucket in Denver recently (ok, the Rusty Bucket is actually in Lakewood) when some of the best blues artists (and best blues PEOPLE!) united for the Blue Star Connection.  Most likely many of you know about Blue Star, but for those of you who don't:  Blue Star helps kids, kids in hospitals (mostly) across the country.  Blue Star benefits kids in ways that, often, traditional medicince can't.  Music, and the gift of music, is powerful (just ask any music therapist, or better yet, ask any of the kids who've been touched by music and its healing powers).  And so, I'd like to say THANK YOU to John Catt of the Grand County (CO) Blues Society for all he's done and continues to do for kids across the nation, and an even bigger THANK YOU to John Weeks for getting people together for one of the most memorable concerts I've been to in a long, long time ... and all for a good cause.  Oh, did I mention that ALL of the artists played for free?  That, my friends, is love ... and that exemplifies the blues, maybe more than anything else:  heart and soul that never ends.  And so it was that the Rusty Bucket was host to a fabulous party, and I was blessed to be able to attend. 

The young blues harp prodigy, Nic Clark (not yet 20 years old) got it all started in style Back Scratcher.  Nic, who is also becoming adept at guitar as well as turning into a fine singer, got the crowd energized and toes tapping.  Frankie & Johnny as well as other deep blues songs followed, and Nic (who has just finished a CD:  Another Shade of Blue) proved why he is a strong part of "The Future of the Blues" here in Colorado.  I first had the pleasure of hearing Nic about 4 years ago when he was with a band called Another Kind of Magick.  At the time he was just 15, yet I couldn't help thinking that he sounded as if he'd been playing harmonica for 50 years ... with a style and flair and depth of feeling that goes to the deepest of the blues roots, Nic is definitely worth listening to over and over again.  On top of all that, he's one of the nicest, most unassuming and friendly person one could ever meet.  He's been raised well, this young'un ... heart, soul and character, a true bluesman in the making, and one to watch for if you ever get the chance. 

Dan Treanor, who's been around seemingly forever, came through with his usual flair for fun and a rollicking good time.  Dan, who also plays harmonica, kicked it with guitar (along with some help from John "My Hero" Weeks). Crawling Kingsnake, Missing and Three O'Clock in the Morning done in vibrant Dan Treanor style.  Dan also treated the audience to some kicking it licks on ... whatever this is, it sounds amazing!  (It's called a Khalam:  the predecessor to the American banjo.  Dan's own handiwork, and based on African traditional instruments, "Black Hanna" is an iincredible sounding example of the very roots of music).  Dan is an ever-present and ever-helpful musician who's not only performing at shows, but also acting as ambassodor of the blues at most events in Denver and along the front range of Colorado.  Often playing with his Afrosippi Band and the amazing Erica Brown, there aren't many nights in Denver when Dan isn't lighting it up somewhere.  Thank you, Dan, for all you do!

John "My Hero" Weeks, the man who really put the day together, showed off his ability along with his own great band, and Mother Earth sounded so good, as did Devil in My House.  When the band covered JJ Cale's The Breeze, at least half the crowd was singing or dancing or both.  John's band ended their set with Them Changes, gritty and rocking and bad to the bone good.  A shout-out here as well to keyboardist Danny Haynes (who graced me with a copy of his Austrailian-produced CD:  Built for Comfort) and was onstage nearly as much as John himself.  Danny's yet another shining example of the best the human experience. 

Eef & The Blues Express, this year's Colorado Blues Society IBC Finalist Band (and on the way to Memphis soon!) kept things going with JD Kelly and the rest of her band, grooving us with her IBC set of Leave Me Alone, Give Her All She Wants, Dynamite and more ... the "dance floor" section was filled, the Bucket was overfilled and overflowing with fun music and lots of happy blues fanatics, and the party was going strong.  Good luck to EBE in Memphis, along with Cary Morin, Erik Boa and the rest of the Blues Crew from Colorado, and Eef:  thank you for all you do, from Blue Star to Habitat and then some.    

Austin Young polished off the event in his usual style, which is generally close to having your head spin off from his axe work about every other song ... Austin did Whipping Post and one of my favorites that he's adopted recently, Doing Pretty Good (For The Shape I'm In) ... with "help" along the way from the talented Michaela Rae (who had injured her right hand the night before but STILL came ready to kick some axe!) and John "My Hero" Weeks, there wasn't a soul who wasn't rocking and dancing, moving and grooving and loving every second of it ... the "Grand Jam Finale" with Austin, John (My Hero!), Danny and Dan was nothing short of the most awesome fun a listenter can have and still be legal, or something along those lines.  Thank you, Austin, yet another caring blues artist who gives and gives and bives some more.  To EVERYONE who played, and to EVERYONE who attended:  THANK YOU!  And to all the Blue Stars out there:  shine on and on and on and on ...

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Blues and BBQ for Better Housing (Summer 2014)
I am blessed.  For the last few years, I've been allowed to be a part of many Colorado blues festivals, but few that have the impact of the annual Blues & BBQ for Better Housing Block Party.  For 17 years, The Duke Street Kings have been putting together a benefit concert with all proceeds going to Habitat for Humanity.  All bands are local, and over the years this charity event has raised over $100,000 for Habitat, and I'm honored to be a small part of something so great.  Of course, as a dedicated blues freak, nothing beats the music on festival day, and it's non-stop music on 3 different stages all day long.  Local and state youngsters, our "Future of the Blues" kick the middle stage, and at either end is a "headliner" stage for the local big-name bands, and the Denver area has great music in abundance.  Fun venders all along, smiling people and yes, excellent BBQ, never out of range of someone playing delicious tunes and all for only $10.  The Kings have this festival down to a fine art, and in 2013 alone they were able to raise $25,000 for the charity.  Oh, but the music!  

At my end of the event, Strange Radio kicked things off with a bang, with a hard-hitting blend of blues-rock and a little bit of rhythm'n'blues soul that made for a non-stop fun time.  Those in attendence were dancing from the outset, and the band didn't disappoint, keeping the music lively and the volume pumped.  The Dale Cisek Band took over from there, a longtime local favorite band who always keep it real.  Dale's been playing along the Front Range of Colorado for a long time, and has a good following of fans, and well deserved, as he and his accomplished band members play some of the best blues in town.  Teledonna, a band that I'd never heard before, was up next.  Featuring Nancy Hubanks on lead vocals, Teledonna covers music going back a few generations, yet always true to a traditional funky, blues sound.  Sometimes the best part of a music festival lies in "discovering" a new artist, hearing something old that's done in a new and fresh way, and Teledonna does just thatL  it's a 5-piece that has a lot of raw emotion, powr and vibrant energy ... and yes, more happy people dancing in the street,  Hey, it's a blues festival! 

It's not easy to follow a band like Teledonna, but with the crowd pumped and ready for more sweet sounds, Eef and The Blues Express took their turn and did their thing, and what a thing it was.  Eef has to be the hardest working musician in Colorado, being involved with not only The Blues Express but also a 6-piece soulful R&B all female band called SheGroovez, another all female show Women Rock The Night, and the occasional gig as a duet:  Eef of Destruction.  Eef, the tall Dutch girl with the red guitar, has been in the Colorado Blues Society's IBC finals for 3 years running, and is the 2014 band that CBS will be sending on to Memphis.  As of this writing, Eef is returning from a 2-week tour of her homeland, and will be one of the featured artists at the "Going Away Party" for the Boulder Outlook Hotel, one of the oldest and longest running blues venues in the Denver area.  (Look for a review of her CD on the Blues Reviews page).  Eef and her band kicked the crowd into high gear with her blend of blues, jazz, up-tempo swing and fun. 

My Blue Sky followed, perhaps the best Allman Brothers cover band in the country.  Of course, they did covers of other bands as well, but their "calling card" is bringing the Allman sound to life, and they do it so well that if you close your eyes you can almost feel the original band members sound pulsing thru the speakers.  Somehow, there's just nothing quite like Southbound.  (Major props and many thanks to My Blue Sky and Jimmy Hall for their pair of charity concerts to benefit Blue Star Connection).  Good music.  Good fun.  Good people. Sadly, all good things must come to an end, but not before an amazing final performance by the high energy, multi-talented Emilio Emilio (Emilio Roberto Dominguez).  All the Denver native does is play guitar, as well as drums, timbales, congas, bongo, and bass.  Inspired and mentored by the late Tommy Bolin, as well as much inspiration from the early Carlos Santana sound, Emilio has been sharing his talents with Denver (and the world) for many years, and he never disappoints.  He also never stops smiling, and maybe that's the thing:  a blues festival does that, it makes you smile, it makes you feel good inside and out.  And that good feeling is even better when you know you're doing something to help those less fortunate.  Yeah, all that and music, too.    

Meanwhile, down at the "Main Stage" people were dancing and grooving to "local legends" like Jack Hadley, Catfish Cray, Wild Love Tigress, The Duke Street Kings (my heroes!) and one of the best young guitarists in the country:  The Austin Young Band (see the CD Review archives for this reviewer's Austin Young CD Review:  Blue As Blue Can Be) ... many thanks to "Ranger" Miller and The Duke Street Kings for putting together one of the best bluesfests around, year after year, and all for a terrific cause.

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