Category Archives for "performing arts"

REMEMBERING THE HAYWARD/RUSSELL CITY BLUES FESTIVAL

We truly understand the importance of looking back. To continue that from last month’s post, today we’ll be looking back at the Hayward/Russell City Blues Festival. With the tagline of “The Tradition Continues” this event truly aimed to embody the need to persist and support the Blues culture.

It was held in the Hayward City Hall Plaza. A two-day event, it sought to bring together a historic bunch of individuals.

Performers

Lenny Williams
Rod Piazza & the Mighty Flyers
Johnny Rawls
Taildragger
Russell City Memorial Blues Band
Ernie Johnson
The Queens of Chicago Blues: Deitra Farr and Demetris Taylor
Caravan of Allstars
Lester Chambers
Artwork Jamal
Blues Harp Explosion ft. Darrell Mansfield
Sean McGroarty
Martin Lane, Finnie Flores & Junior Boogie
Mike Hammer & the Nails
Delta Wires
Alabama Mike
Stars of Glory
Leonard Lothien Gospel
Bobby Joe Neeley
…and so many, many more stellar performers.

This event was part of Blues Week (July 5th to 10th). The aim was to provide a solid support resource for all blues enthusiasts. So there were lectures, performances, and art displays that all celebrated the Blues, its roots, and its movers and shakers.

A closer look at some Artists

Deitra Farr

Deitra Kimberly Farr was born on August 1st, 1957. To this day, she is a much celebrated American blues and gospel singer/songwriter. She was only eighteen years old when she recorded her first lead vocal feature. This song went on to Top 100 R&B list.

It was in 1997 that she launched her first solo album entitled “The Search is over”. It took over eight years before she released another album: “Let it Go”. What makes this woman so amazing is that she helped blaze the trail for other women in the Blues scene. It was an accomplishment like no other and it was something so many were thankful for.

As such, in October 2015, she was inducted into the Chicago Blues Hall of Fame. She earned the title of “Legendary Blues Artist”.

Lester Chambers

Born in April 13th, 1940, he is the lead singer of the group The Chambers Brothers. This talented individual has led a rather challenging life. He has suffered through the injustice of not receiving royalty payments for his hit “Time Has Come Today”. His home was burgled and the physical records of his songs and albums were all stolen. His health was poor as he and his family could not afford medical treatments.

He had ended up homeless and in dire straits. Still this not in any way diminish his contributions to the world of Blues and Soul.

Notes

If there was anything any true Blues lover needed to remember, it was that adversity lent more power to the formation of any Blues performance. Blues was birthed by the collective hard experiences of the African-American community. This is why it is important to honor and remember those that laid down the path for more Blues artists to practice their craft.

Blues is a proud tradition that must be carried on to the future.

TOP THREE BEST BLUES GUITAR PERFORMANCES

There is just something about an extraordinary blues guitar performance that speaks to your soul. We scrounge up what we believe are the top three blues guitar performances ever. Arguably, one of the best things that blues is known for are the incredible guitar players that show off their prowess during live performances. In light of that, we banded together and tried to determine our picks for the top three best blues guitar performances.

Remember, this is just our humble opinion. You’re more than welcome to create your own top three list and send it our way. Without further ado, let’s go on to our list:

Number 3: “Crossroads” by Eric Clapton

1 - TOP THREE BEST BLUES GUITAR PERFORMANCES
This song is no doubt one of his best known songs. However, did you know that it is this song that is regaled as his best guitar performance as well?

If you aren’t at all familiar with whom this guitar legend is, Eric Clapton is a blues guitarist. He is, by far, the only person who has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame more than twice in his career.

When he performed Crossroads, he made use of his 1964 Gibson SG Standard. Clapton delivered a truly powerful performance which fired off a spark in the hearts and minds of many. To this day, the riff from this song is the go-to must learn riff for the new generation of budding blues guitar players.

Number 2:  “All Along the Watchtower” by Jimi Hendrix

2 - TOP THREE BEST BLUES GUITAR PERFORMANCES
If you’re a fan of the modern Battlestar Galactica series, you are sure to know this world famous song and performance. While not a Hendrix original, his rendition is now the better known one. Even the original creator, Bob Dylan, has preferred to use this version when he used to perform it at his shows.

What was so intrinsically seductive about this blues guitar performance was the way that he stretched the notes and brought an unearthly wane to the chords. The changing tempo of the chords all the while sustaining the overall beat was a great showcase of his talents as a guitarist. It also didn’t hurt that he delivers a great vocal rendition to the song.

Number 1: “The Thrill is Gone” by B.B. King

3 - TOP THREE BEST BLUES GUITAR PERFORMANCES
Was there ever any doubt as to what our number one pick would be? If you were ever going to find a sample of the true soul and feel of blues guitar, this is where you need to go. The way that King strums his guitar touches the gentle nuance that is indicative of the blues genre.

His simple sounding notes but exceptional deliver provided viewers and listeners an uncomplicated serving of the depth of emotion that can be conveyed by blues. When he sings “All I can do is wish you well”, our hearts break along with him. King’s performance here is one of the greatest evidences we have that Blues is well and alive and will continue to endure.

May Blues live on forever!