Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Hello friends of the Central Virginia Blues Society

Hello friends of the Central Virginia Blues Society, I hope you are having a great bluesy 2011 so far - I know I am!

Well we have kicked off the year with a bang. After the fabulous Batesville blues jam that we had on February 26th, we followed it up with a spectacular fund raiser last Saturday night. We held the first of hopefully many “Dance Your Winter Blues Away” events to benefit Nelson County SPCA Almost Home pet adoption. It was incredible to say the least. It was at the Rockfish Valley Community Center in Afton, featuring 4 stellar bands - Lisa Miller and Friends, Bluzonia, Mississippi Conjure, and Fatty Lumpkin and the Love Hogs, who so generously donated their time and hard work to make this a great success. This event raised over $3500 for the cats and dogs of the Almost Home “no kill” shelter in Lovingston.

To start the evening, Lisa Miller played a super set of wonderful acoustic blues, and I’m sure you all have heard this woman sing before. If you haven’t, she can flat out sing. Along with her on the set was Jack Roy on guitar, and Kevin Chisnell on the harmonica. Both those guys can play the blues like no one’s business. Kevin’s vocals ain’t too shabby either, and Jack’s slide and leads were the perfect start to some great music.

We then had the boys from Bluzonia come out and kick out some bluesy/swing tunes. With Doug Hedstrum doing the leads and slide and Dave Connelly blowing the harp, we knew we were in for a great treat. I must say that with Arin Bennett and John Stubblefield playing rhythm it sure complimented this band to a tee.

I was fortunate enough to be able to play with the next two bands on this glorious night, with the next band being Mississippi Conjure, featuring Waverly Milor on harp and vocals. If there is a better front man that can really rev up a crowd, I surely haven’t played with him. Jack Roy wailed out some super leads and you know Jack’s slide playing - it is quite enjoyable to listen to. Jason Ward was banging on the skins, and I think it fell right into what I wanted to hear as I tried to keep up with the Mississippi soulful sound. I think at this point we got some of the audience off their seats and onto the dance floor.

The last band of the night was Fatty Lumpkin and the Love Hogs, a band that has been around for a long time from the Lexington area. I was fortunate enough to be asked to play with them when their bass player left a few years back, and I so much appreciate the opportunity to do so.

Fatty played a dancing, boogie set that got the room dancing their winter blues away. Michael George, the lead vocalist is an incredible singer, the man is truly gifted, what a voice. John Vita played some smoking leads, as David Bernard was tickling the ivory on the piano. Ray Cohen was blowing a mean harp and smacking the skins of his congas. The man who really brought me into Fatty, Lance Foster was rolling all over his drum kit, and it made my life very easy on the bass.

That ended the 4 sets from the 4 bands, but there was more music to come. We had an incredible Jam at the end of the night featuring members from all the groups, and some other members from CVBS. We had Mark Jackson on the bass, and Mark is a super player. We had Robert Ballard playing double drums with Lance, and we had Chris Yung join in on guitar, along with Karl Stoll, and both those guys can wail. They did 5 great blues tunes, and with 4 harp players, 3 guitar players and 2 drummers, it was an awesome sound, I loved it.

I have to say, that I have never shared the stage with a more unselfish and talented group of musicians in my 35 years of playing. It was a real privilege, and I thank everyone with all my heart.

This event could not have been done without the help of many people, especially Robert Ballard, who so generously supplied the PA system. It was great Robert, you are tops. I also want to thank Waverly Milor and Mark Jackson, who manned the sound board all night. And putting the icing on the cake, snapping literally hundreds of photos, were Jason and Wendy Ward and Alan Grossman. These folks have incredible eyes for the rights shot – And adding just the right mood, we had stage lighting courtesy of Stuart Berr. Many thanks to all of our volunteers - you gave us one incredible evening!

I know there were people who missed this great fundraiser, but we plan to have many more coming up in the future, and we will get the word out to as many as possible when we know about the next one.

Coming up! Next for Central Virginia Blues Society is the Batesville Store Jam on April 9th. This will be another 5 hour night, and those who’ve been before know there’s no better place to be on a Saturday night. The Batesville Store always puts on a sumptuous spread, so bring your appetite too. We’re signing up players and bands, so get your requests in as soon as possible. As a common courtesy to our fellow players, please “leave all egos at the door” and stick around and support your fellow blues players. Don’t just get your 30 minutes in and leave, we all share a common bond, and that’s the blues.

Each group will get 30 minutes to play, including setup time, so efficient change-out is important. When it’s your time to get up on stage, be tuned up and ready to go. It’s a real good idea to share equipment with other players, as it just takes too long for everyone to bring their own amp and equipment and then have to tear down and the next act do the same. We always solicit volunteers for some shared equipment to simplify change-out between bands

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Here are some YouTube video’s that Robert Ballard was so nice to record!

Here are a few photos!

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