Sometimes things don’t go as planned.
There are times when it takes so much just to take a breath.
This weekend was one of them, as we planned our annual visit to the Riverfront Blues Festival we learned of my brother, Emil’s early passing. All bets were off, and who knew what was in store, most likely it was not gonna be the best of times.
Well family, friends, everyone gathered and we did what we needed to do, be sad, and celebrate his life. It was great too see folks who were not family there to tell us how he touched their lives in a positive way and tome that was one of the high lights of that sad few days, but we decided to scoot down to Delaware for some of Saturday and all of Sunday’s shows.
We got there and was checking in when Gary Allegretto came walking out of the festival to cool down. Gary is an amazing cat, and seeing him and hearing his words of solace and a big ol’ hug, set me up for enjoying some music – didn’t know how long but we were in a good place. Zac Harmon was just finishing his set, his new release is “Music Is The Medicine” seemed so appropriate right now. He spoke of loss of family and of others losses too and it seemed that we were all there at that spot for a reason. It was what I was looking for, some musical medicine.
I said hi to Chris Cain and Steve Evans (killer bassist) and they offered kind words and Chris promised to play something special. To me that is anything this cat plays. But thru the set he would look over and give me that toothy smile and I knew he felt the pain and did his best to offer some medicine of his own mixing. The band never ceases to amaze me, tight, solid, funky and all giving they are just incredible. I did not succumb to “Drinkin’ Straight Tequila” as his tender love song he wrote with a crayon suggests, just took it in aurally.
That was it for Saturday – we were pretty wasted and drained from the previous few days, so off we went to Leslie’s parents home for some comfort and relaxation, oh yeh and a Jimi-Do List ! ! ! !
Sunday was a new dawn and a new day – as the Blues411 buttons were passed out and stockpiled at the gates The Nighthawks took the stage. One solid set folks, these guys have been at it for more years than I can recall and they are always in stride and the vibe is pure party. The two Mark’s plus band whipped up the crowd and got them off their butts to dance.
The Royal Southern Brotherhood were next up. Now I have heard a lot of pub about these cats, all wearing their musical pedigrees and history like a badge or medal (Royalty?) so, as I am want to do, I was real curious about how they would be together. I must say it didn’t take me too long to fall right in line with everyone else – These guys are just flat out freakin’ good!
Featuring Devon Allman, Mike Zito, Cyril Neville, Charlie Wooten, and Yonrico Scott they tore the playhouse down – room by room, note by note! Devon is an amazing guitarist who also knows how to work the stage, pit, crowd and amps for the utmost in performance. Mike Zito seemed to have found his spot with these guys. He adds a swampy touch and his guitar work blends itself nicely with Devon and other cats in the band. Cyril Neville is a master percussionist and singer – when he hits it there ain’t no stopping the feelings. Combine his Afro-Latin mix to the drumming of Yonrico Scott and bass voyages of Charlie Wooten and what comes out of the RSB blender is a purely intoxicating mix of Blues, Rock, Jazz, Afro-Latin, New Orleans, St. Louis amalgam of unlimited possibilities.
Good friends are always welcomed, and the Brooks Family Dynasty are considered good friends. Featuring Ronnie & Wayne (as Father, Lonnie could not fly) it was a slightly different set but a solid one all in all. Was nice to see Wayne being featured some more as his works contain just a little bit more soul R&B feel to them, and as always Ronnie is the Prince of the Blues – always fun and his guitar skills are to of the line.
We were dragging arse by halfway thru the set so we headed over to Harry’s Seafood to meet up with my nephew and his finance’ to relax and just have some quiet time with them. Next year we will have to try to get them to join us at the festival.
Thanks to everyone who offered condolences, prayers, thoughts and everything else to us during these times, thanks to the musicians for their music which truly is a medicine. It was a rough weekend and there are still things to deal with this week but I have to admit it’s getting better, little by little and since I found the Blues I’ve been in the pink. Ok thanks to the Beatles, Junior Wells and Theresa James for these song titles.
Until next time,
Love, Peace & Chicken Grease
Where the Blues Thrives
photos: Leslie K. Joseph, Blues411