Taste of Tippecanoe, 2014

by Carl Abernathy on June 21, 2014

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Jennie DeVoe at Taste of Tippecanoe (Click to enlarge)
Jennie DeVoe at Taste of Tippecanoe (Click to enlarge)

I’m bummed. Local officials postponed the Taste of Tippecanoe just a couple songs into Jennie DeVoe’s set because of a big storm headed our way. I don’t blame them. You don’t mess with public safety. But damn.

The Indianapolis-based singer, who delivers blues and a bit of country with a sweet rasp, was making tons of news fans and then breaking their hearts with her songs. I know mine broke when the set got canceled.

Check out her latest album, “Radiator: The Bristol Sessions.” It’s great. And if you need a ride to see DeVoe in Indianapolis later this summer, let me know. Guess I’ll have to make a trip south on I-65 now.

Sharon Koltick of Kink Ador
Sharon Koltick of Kink Ador (Click to enlarge)

Sharon Koltick and her Nashville-based band, Kink Ador, rocked their set, too. Koltick, a Lafayette native, funks up her punk and pop songs with her bass, trumpet, vocals and sassy stage presence.

Bobby Egan and White Vinyl Sky (Click to enlarge)
Bobby Egan and White Vinyl Sky (Click to enlarge)
I’m also glad I got to see the set by White Vinyl Sky featuring Bobby Egan, one of my students. I think they were even better than when I saw them at a Record Store Day show. I wouldn’t be surprised if these guys make it big with their poppy indie rock.

I’d planned to split my time at 9 p.m. between the sets by The Green Room Rockers and by Michael Kelsey and L.D. Miller. Then I was going to close the evening with The Mixtapes (the drummer is the husband of one of my former students). I’d also planned to sampled some more food. If the rest of the culinary treats were as good as the beef brisket I had from the West Point Steak House I’d have been a happy boy.

They reopened the Taste after an hour-long delay, but I’m cozy at home with my pup. No matter; I had a great time and am looking forward to the event next year.

mightysam
Soul and bluesman Mighty Sam McClain’s voice floats. Iranian singer Mahsa Vahdat’s voice soars.

Together, their tunes — rooted in the sounds of traditional R&B and traditional Persian music — are almost other-worldy in their beauty. I’m partial to “Scent of Reunion: Love Duets Across Civilizations,” but everything they’ve recorded is worth acquiring.

2014 Chicago Blues Festival photos

by Carl Abernathy on June 16, 2014

(Click to enlarge)
(Click to enlarge)

I made it to the Chicago Blues Festival only on Saturday this year. Work intervened Friday and I wanted to beat the storm home Sunday.

I’m not complaining. I heard a bunch of great blueswomen. I also took my friend Diana to her first blues fest and the weather was almost perfect.

Meredith Hairston (Click to enlarge)
Meredith Hairston (Click to enlarge)

We started the day with a set by Chris Gill and the Sole Shakers at the Jackson, Mississippi, Rhythm & Blues Stage. Gill’s an excellent blues guitarist and a fine singer with a mirth-filled, slightly raspy voice. Meredith Hairston, credited on his website as Meredith Michelle, was the reason we stuck around for most of the set, though. Her voice is soft and sensuous when she sings ballads, but it’s big and bold when she’s wailing the blues.

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(Click to enlarge)

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(Click to enlarge)
I always like watching the dancers at blues fest. This year’s dancers were more fun than ever, ranging from a young couple dancing with their toddler to an elderly couple spinning in front of the Jackson, Mississippi, stage before a set.

(Click to enlarge)
Delores Scott (Click to enlarge)

Dario Lombardo (Click to enlarge)
Dario Lombardo (Click to enlarge)

I adore Delores Scott. She’s funny and saucy and she has a classic Chicago blues voice. Scott, Italian bluesman Dario Lombardo and a variety of guests paid tribute to the late, great Phil Guy during their set.

I’d hoped to get some photos of young bluesman Selwyn Birchwood, but the line for food and drink tickets was really long, and the Bud Light Crossroads Stage was swamped when we got there. No wonder. Birchwood rocked the crowd with the most dynamic set I heard all day.

Southern Komfort Brass Band (Click to enlarge)
Southern Komfort Brass Band (Click to enlarge)

Diana and I just returned a few weeks ago from the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, where we heard many of the best brass bands on Earth. Southern Komfort, a brass band from Jackson, Mississippi, would have fit in just fine. They blended soul and New Orleans jazz in a mix that had just about everyone in the crowd dancing.

Deitra Farr and Mike Wheeler (Click to enlarge)
Deitra Farr and Mike Wheeler (Click to enlarge)

Peaches Staten (Click to enlarge)
Peaches Staten (Click to enlarge)

Nellie "Tiger" Travis (Click to enlarge)
Nellie “Tiger” Travis (Click to enlarge)

Bassist with the Chicago Blues Divas (Click to enlarge)
Bassist with the Chicago Blues Divas
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The highlight of the day, at least for us, was the Chicago Blues Divas set featuring Peaches Staten, Deitra Farr and Nellie “Tiger” Travis. The three blues singer performed separately (all were fabulous) and then together. Their rendition of “Wang Dang Doodle” was especially memorable.

(Click to enlarge)
(Click to enlarge)

We’d hoped to stay for the evening shows, too — Diana even wore her Bettye Lavette shirt — but the sun and the crowds eventually wore us down. I’ve seen Bettye LaVette perform five times, so I wasn’t too disappointed. I’m really hoping the New Orleans jazz fest folks book her for their festival next spring, though.

Sam Morrow: ‘Ephemeral’

May 30, 2014

John Steinbeck would love Sam Morrow. The young musician, still in his early 20s, writes about addiction, love and heartache with a photographer’s eye for detail. His musical tales are nuanced and tragic, vivid and hopeful. Morrow knows the subject matter intimately; he’s been drinking since his early teens, and a few years ago his […]

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Cahl’s Jukebox, 5-29-14

May 29, 2014

Thursday morning blues: 1) Percy Strother: “Love is Growing Cold” 2) Jimmy Witherspoon: “Early Morning Blues” 3) Jimmy Rushing: “Blues in the Dark” 4) Eddie Boyd: “What Makes These Things Happen to Me” 5) Otis Spann: “Trouble in Mind” 6) Michael Burks: “Salty Tears” 7) Calvin Leavy: “Brought You to the City” 8) Preston Shannon: […]

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Chicago Blues Festival preview: Diamond Jim Greene

May 27, 2014

Diamond Jim Green coaxed a variety of sounds, a lifetime of emotions, out of the guitars he used on his 2012 release, “Surrounded.” On the opening track, “Shake ‘em on Down,” Greene’s guitar riffs are as jaunty as his vocals and the horns. Greene and his guitar sound as if they’re creeping down an old […]

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Cahl’s Jukebox, 5-26-14

May 26, 2014

Today’s mix: 1) Shouting Matches: “Gallup, NM” 2) Thad Cockrell: “My Favorite Memory” 3) Halleyanna: “Out of the Blue” 4) Toni Price: “Lonesome Wind” 5) Todd Farrell Jr. and the Dirty Birds: “Liner Notes” 6) Matt Hannah: “Sweet Sweet Time” 7) Peter Bruntnell: “Handful of Stars” 8) Beachwood Sparks: “Forget the Song” 9) Eilen Jewell: […]

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The Fast Romantics: ‘Afterlife Blues’

May 26, 2014

The lyrics to the songs on The Fast Romantics’ “Afterlife Blues,” the latest album by the group of Canadian indie pop rockers, cover some dark topics. The album’s far from a downer, though … even as they sing about breakups and death. The Fast Romantics love life. You can tell with every happy pulse from […]

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Cahl’s Jukebox, 5-25-14

May 25, 2014

Today’s mix: 1) The Coasters: “Shopping for Clothes” 2) The Treniers: “Good Rockin’ Tonight” 3) Roy Brown: “Mighty Mighty Man” 4) Ruth Brown: “Daddy Daddy” 5) Annisteen Allen: “Fujiyama Mama” 6) Wynonie Harris: “Bad News Baby” 7) Amos Milburn: “Thinking and Drinking” 8) Pee Wee Crayton: “Blues After Hours” 9) The 5 Royals: “Baby Don’t […]

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Frank Lacy and the Smalls Legacy Band: ‘Live at Smalls’

May 24, 2014

A couple of weeks ago while in New Orleans for jazz fest I bounced from stage to stage and club to club listening to some of the best trombonists in the world. They were amazing, particularly the ones in the many brass bands I heard. Many times, I found myself thinking how cool it would […]

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Cahl’s Jukebox, 5-24-14

May 24, 2014

Saturday morning jazz: 1) Johnny Hodges: “A Flower is a Lovesome Thing” 2) Oliver Nelson: “Passion Flower” 3) Ahmad Jamal Trio: “Spring Will Be a Little Late This Year” 4) Jimmy Ponder: “A Tribute to a Rose” 5) Kenny Burrell: “Soul Lament” 6) Wynton Marsalis Quintet and Richard Galliano: “La Vie en Rose” 7) Kenny […]

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