I took a little different approach to this year's show, hiring a couple of young gun Seattle harp players (Sheldon Ziro and Bubba "The Unreal" McCoy), plus two players from Portland (Johnny Ward and LynnAnn Hyde). All players were backed up by the mighty Midnight Movers, including Kirk "KT" Tuttle on drums, Patty "Mighty Mite" Mey on electric bass, and Tim "Stoop Down" Sherman and Steve The Kid" Yonck on guitars. The Midnight Movers did their usual sterling job - they had never even met some of the harp players until showtime, but you never would have guessed it from the sympathetic backup they consistantly provided for all of the artists.
Lesson learned - If I do any more of these shows, I believe that I will limit them to one night only. This year we saw the same pattern as the last three years - about a three quarters-full house on Friday night, and a very good full house on Saturday night (nothing like the mob scene at last year's show, though!). It's probably unrealistic to expect Seattle Blues fans to turn out in force two nights in a row these days, and there are a lot of musicians to pay at these shows.
I played the first set both nights, and received the usual fan adoration that happens at all of my gigs (oh yeah, baby!). Sheldon Ziro played a mess of amplified and acoustic harp on the second set Friday night. Is it just me, or is Sheldon one of the fastest improving harp player/vocalists on the Seattle scene? Dave Prez, Seattle's Little Walter specialist (and one of my favorite players), rocked the third set, and Portland's Johnnie Ward wrapped up the show with some memorable no-nonsense diatonic and chromatic harp playing that had the house rockin', brothers and sisters!
I must admit, though, that Saturday night was the killer for this show. After my first set, Bubba "The Unreal" McCoy (left - photo by Stephanie McCoy) played and sang a righteous set of down home blues. Bubba plays with Seattle's Broomdust Blues Band, and he's been threatening to visit us at the Blue Monday gig at the Highway 99 Blues Club for a while now (hey Bubba, where you been, man?).
Next up was Brian Lee, frontman for Seattle's Blues Orbiters. Brian is a super talented guy that sings, and plays harp, lead guitar and slide guitar. If you haven't seen his band, I don't know what you're waiting for! Brian blew up a storm on the harp, plus played some finger lickin' good slide guitar with the band too.
Finally, Portalnd's LynnAnn Hyde played the final set on Saturday, with her husband, Stu Kinzel, sitting in on guitar. We heard a ton of positive comments about LynnAnn's great harp playing, super fat tone, and terrific vocals. And hubby Stu was "floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee" on the guitar too - thanks Stu! Check out these guys in the Kinzel & Hyde Band the next time you're down in the Rose City.
Here's a few more photos from the show:
Kirk Tuttle, LynnAnn Hyde, Bubba McCoy, and Brian Lee (Photo by Tom Hunnewell)
Brian Lee, Mike Lynch, Bubba McCoy, and Stephanie McCoy (photo by Phil Chesnut)
As usual, our thanks go out to the owner of the New Orleans Creole Restaurant, Gaye Anderson, and her staff for helping to make this a great event. See you next year!
Note: The poster that appears in this article was created by Phil Chesnut.