Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Adam Gussow visits Seattle.

As we mentioned here recently, blues harpist Adam Gussow was visiting the Jet City last week to deliver a paper at the EMP Pop Conference. After he wrapped up his visit at the EMP, I picked Adam up and we drove out to the north end to the SCAN TV studios where he was interviewed by Marlee Walker on her Blues-To-Do TV show.

Adam Gussow and Marlee Walker at the SCAN TV studio.

Marlee and Adam talked about Adam's forthcoming book, "Journeyman's Road: Modern Blues Lives From Faulkner's Mississippi to Post-9/11 New York (scheduled for release this June), and his new web page where students of the harmonica can download inexpensive harp lessons. Adam also sat in on a couple of songs with the Giddens School Kids choir. All of the seats in the studio were occupied by the kids' proud parents, so I watched the show from the lobby

The Giddens School childrens' choir (Director Kent Stevenson on piano and Jeff “Bongo” Busch on drums).

Then we went downtown to the Highway 99 Blues Club to see the Crossroads Band. We had some dinner and drinks during the band's first set, and were joined by several Seattle harp players, including Kim Field, Bubba McCoy, and Jeff Herzog. The band was kind enough to invite some of us up to sit in with them as you can see from the photos below.

Left to right: Steve Bailey, Hwy 99 owner Ed Maloney, Adam Gussow, and Kim Field.

Left to right: Kim Field, Bubba "The Unreal" McCoy, and Adam Gussow.

Adam Gussow with the Crossroads Band - left to right: Dan Newton, John Lee, Adam Gussow, and Steve Bailey.

Kim Field with the Crossroads Band - John Rockwell (drums) and Dennis Ellis (sax).

It was great to meet and hang out with Adam, and I hope we get to see him again in the Northwest sometime soon. Our thanks to the Crossroads Band for their hospitality!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Some deLay memorial concert snapshots.

I attended the recent Paul deLay memorial concert in Portland, OR, and took the snapshots seen below with my trusty Canon. Ironically, I was given an all access pass to this show (thanks, Megan!), but didn't realize that I could go backstage until the show was over. DOH!!
So, these photos were created in the venue's lobby or in the downstairs bar. The show was being simulcasted on a big screen in the bar and the sound was pretty good in that room, so a lot of the participating musicians were hanging out there between sets. Oh yeah, there was beer there too.
Here ya go:
Guitarist Chris Carlson and vocalist Duffy Bishop

Bassist Don Campbell and pianist/vocalist DK Stewart

Harp maestro/vocalist Mark Dufresne and friend

Pam Kelley-Elend, Susan Waterworth, and Megan deLay

Harp maestro Bill Rhoades and his wife Cindy

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Ahem...let's talk about the Bluestars, OK?

In my travels throughout the Internet musical wilderness, I have discovered some disinformation associated with my old band, the Bluestars. I dunno why this sticks in my craw, but I'm going to take a minute to set the record straight...

The Bluestars were a rockin' little blues band that played a lot in the Seattle area in the late '80s. The band was a four piece, and consisted of Leslie Milton or Kirk Tuttle on drums, Mark Dalton on bass, Jeff Ziontz on guitar, and yours truly on harp and vocals. Occasionally, other players such as Jack Cook (guitar), John Lee (bass), or Jim Mesi (guitar) would also play with the band.

Jeff Ziontz and Mark Dalton - Bluestars gig at the Old Timer's Cafe (Seattle)

Leslie "Star Drums" Milton

So, the other day I was looking at Kate (formerly Kathy) Hart's web page, and in her bio, she informs us that, shortly after arriving in Seattle from Detroit, she "...put together a band called the Bluestars." Then, on the site's Photo page, there appears this photograph of the "Original Bluestars."

Back: Kathy Hart

Front, left to right: John Lee (bass), Jim Mesi (guitar), Dave Freeblen (keyboards), Leslie Milton (drums), Robbie Jordan (sax), and Doug Canning (trumpet). Photo created by Mike Lynch

I took this photograph with my trusty Yashica after I finished playing this date (at a Bellevue, WA office plaza) with the band. I don't know why it's so out of focus - a screwed up scan, maybe? Anyway, below is another photograph from my vault created at this same gig, this time by an innocent bystander using my camera again. Hey, there's the missing band member! This was a pick-up gig, and I believe that this might have been the only time that this particular configuration of musicians played with Kathy.

Back: Kathy Hart and Mike Lynch

Here's the 411 on Kathy Hart's relationship with the Bluestars. Kathy had decided that she wanted to focus on doing blues material, and we discussed having the Bluestars back her up on a few gigs. She was the bomb at booking gigs, and it seemed like a good idea at the time (to me, anyway), but immediately after our first gig with her, both Dalton and Ziontz quit the band. If I recall correctly, their spots were filled by Patty Mey and Jim Mesi respectively, and Leslie Milton hung in with us for a while. We played quite a few gigs with Kathy and various other keyboardists, horn players, and drummers, including opening for Roy Orbison at the Bumbershoot festival (he was really short), and the first Seattle Women in Blues show at the Backstage in Ballard. By the way, both of those gigs were total trainwrecks, but the crowds didn't seem to notice. Go figure.

I eventually decided to call it quits on the gig with Kathy, and we agreed that she could continue to use the Bluestars band name. Various versions of her "Bluestars" band soldiered on until she finally moved back to Detroit.

Unfortunately, I don't have any more photos of the real "original Bluestars" (all together, anyway), but I do have a few more of the AKH (After Kathy Hart) versions of the band, including this one that I took at the West Seattle Street Fair. That's my Fender amp next to Patty Mey.

Left to right: Dave Freeblen, Jim Mesi, Kathy Hart, Leslie Milton, and Patty Mey . July 1987

Speaking of Jim Mesi - the last time I cruised by his web site, I noticed this link on the News page to an article written about Jim by Greg Johnson for the Cascade Blues Association's Blues Notes. In this article, we're told that, during Jim's stay in Seattle in the late '80s, he fronted his own band called Little Jimmy & the Blues Stars.

Krikey!!! Jim played with the Bluestars many times, both with and without Kathy Hart, but I don't recall him ever fronting his own band in Seattle, by that or any other name. Someone correct me if I'm wrong about this, please?

OK, I feel better now. Thanks, I needed that...

Monday, April 09, 2007

Paul deLay Memorial Concert

By Phil Chesnut

Last Sunday, April 1st, I was among the privileged few who were witness to a truly spiritual event, the memorial concert, celebrating the life and music of our beloved blues giant, Paul deLay. Held on two floors of the Portland Art Museum, the 5 hour, sold out show was a first class operation, thanks in great part to longtime deLay bandmates, Peter Dammann and Dave Kahl. Originally devised as a benefit for Paul's widow, Megan, and immediate family, the show was a huge success, even though a much larger venue would have easily sold out too. Hosted by the deLay band and it's many current and former members and featuring a multitude of fantastic blues talent, all paying their own personal respects, this special evening was truly memorable.

The evening's theme, "Remember Me," came from the title of one of Paul's many original songs. A heartfelt reflection on love and loss, Paul's song certainly helped set the mood for the night. With Paul's special harmonica case and his familiar bullet microphone resting on his trusty stool on the front, center of the stage, the evening's performances were all just a backdrop for this stunning image, reminding all of our great loss. Setting up each set and the various player's historical significance to Paul, was the night's MC, the renowned blues scholar, Ray Varner. "Uncle Ray" also helped set the tone by reminding us just how fortunate we were to have had this great bluesman with us at all.

Considering the huge list of musicians eager to pay their on homage to Paul, the concert ran smoothly and efficiently throughout the program. With the sound dialed in, a multi camera, large screen, video simulcast to the first floor lounge, a true photo pit for the pro shooters and a well catered green room, it was obviously run by someone with experience in important blues events. Of course, Dammann, the deLay guitarist for the past 2 decades, is also the man behind the gigantic, Waterfront Blues Festival and thus the reason for the high quality of this event.

This glorious night offered volumes of deLay songs and stories, interpreted by the fine talent that were all influenced by this hugely talented man. Long known for his great insights on human nature and his wry sense of humor, the savvy Portland crowd showed a festive feel for the majority of the night. The concert opened with a raucous set by Brown Sugar, the very first band to feature Paul. With old friend and fellow Portland harp ace, Bill Rhoades, taking Paul's parts and original band members Jim Mesi tearin' it up on guitar and a very rare performance by Lloyd Jones on drums, this opening set offered a good example of things to come.

With a rotating cast of deLay band members and alumni taking on the house band chores, the quality of the night's music was superb. Other deLay members that enhanced the night's show included keyboard masters, DK Stewart, David Vest and Louis Pain, with Don Campbell and John Mazzocco on bass, and drummers, Mike Klobas, Jeff Minnick and Kelly Dunn. Although the house band's personnel was in continual rotation, the love and appreciation for Paul was apparent all night. Highlights of this multi set memorial came from such NW blues greats as Terry Robb, from No deLay Band front person Linda Hornbuckle, blues belter Lily Wilde and Seattle's own writer, vocalist, and harp master Mark Dufresne. Certainly a high point of this massive showcase was a brilliant duet by Portland blues legends, Curtis Salgado and Lloyd Jones.

Demonstrating his own love and respect for Paul was the legendary Pinetop Perkins. The 93 year-old, former Muddy Waters pianist, not only left his scheduled tour to perform at this concert, he also broke his own long standing rule by playing the blues on Sunday. Probably the most memorable portion of this blues marathon came when NW blues darling, Duffy Bishop took the stage. Singing her own special dedication the big guy, which included a "duet for one," Duffy was the only one to use the sacred stool and play to the tools he left, that had decorated the stage all night. Upon receiving a framed, Duffy/Paul photo, late in her set, Duffy's true emotions surfaced, reminding all of our great loss. At that point, there wasn't a dry eye in the house.

The final 90 minutes, or so, became an ever evolving, star studded, jam. With multiple mini sets from an outstanding list of even more worthy blues folk, including soulman, JC Ricco, Harpdog Brown from Canada, and So-Cal guitarist Frank Goldwasser. Along with the earlier headliners and numerous other artists not mentioned here, they continued to share anecdotes of Paul and tunes by Paul. The midnight, grand finale was an all artist, final collaboration, expressing their final gratitude for a man who touched so many.

Brown Sugar Band

Left to right: Jim Mesi, Mark Dufresne, D.K. Stewart, and Don Campbell

Curtis Salgado and Lloyd Jones

Left to right: Peter Dammann, Dave Kahl, and Pinetop Perkins

Duffy Bishop

Paul deLay's Space Case

Note: All of the photos in this article were created by Phil Chesnut.

Down to the nightclub...

Man, I've got nightclub photos piled up everywhere around here at the tastefully appointed World Headquarters of the Jet City Blues blog. Here, take a look:

Left to right: Garrett Smith, John Widell, David Hudson, Bubba McCoy, and Greg Roberts. Photo by Phil Chesnut.

Photo by Phil Chesnut.

Jeff Herzog sittin' in. Photo by Phil Chesnut.

Photo by Phil Chesnut.

Left to right: Ron Weinstein, David Brewer, Raven, Bill Freckleton, and Chris Leighton. Photo by Phil Chesnut.

Photo by Phil Chesnut.

Photo by Phil Chesnut.

The Blue Healers at the Conor Byrne Pub

Left to right: Diane Forsyth, Greg Roberts (sitting in), Don Forsyth, and Billy Spaulding back there on the drums.

Blues From the Past Jam at the Conor Byrne Pub

The day Paul deLay died. Left to right: Kim Field, Mark Dufresne, Pam Kelley-Elend, Susan Waterworth, and Mark Dalton. Photo created by Chris Stevens and contributed by Susan Waterworth.

Washington Blues Society Mardi Gras Party

John Marshall's Mardi Gras Band. Left to right: John Marshall, John Stephan, Kirk Tuttle, Charlene Grant, and Steve Flynn.

Rocky and Eric

WBS President Rhea Rolfe

Mardi Gras fans Isis, John Marshall, and Sandy

Little Bill & the Blue Notes at the Salmon Bay Eagles

Left to right: Dick Powell, Chris Leighton, Little Bill, Rod Cook, and Paul Green (sitting in).

Jeff & the Jet City Fliers at the Corner Inn

Left to right: Bill Lovey, Jeff Herzog, Les Merrihew, Brady Millard-Kish, and Steve Flynn

Dave Prez & the Combo Nation at the Highway 99 Blues Club

Left to right: Billy Reed, Eric Daw, Dave Prez, Billy Spaulding, Jack Cook, and Mark Dalton

Dave Prez - the Man, the Myth, the Legend!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Adam Gussow will be visiting the Jet City.

Adam Gussow (left), the well-known harp player with Satan and Adam, will be visiting Seattle this month (4/19-21) to deliver a paper at this years EMP Pop Conference. Adam is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English and Program in Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi.

Adam has a lot of blues-related stuff going on, including a series of excellent free harp lessons that can be seen on YouTube, as well as some never before seen videos of Satan and Adam performing. You can check these videos out at Adam's YouTube "channel" here:

AND, Adam has a new book coming out in June, entitled "Journeyman's Road: Modern Blues Lives From Faulkner's Mississippi to Post-9/11 New York."

I am hoping to hook up with Adam when he hits town, so keep an eye out for us in the nightclubs that weekend. I understand that he is scheduled to do a taping for Marlee Walker's Blues-To-Do TV show while in town, so keep an eye out for that show in the near future also.