Mama Rue’s Blues Garden, the juke joint/Jamaican restaurant in Pawleys Island, S.C. has announced its November lineup of
entertainment. Anticipating a chilly month, Marrue Bleau – who owns the club along with chef Eric Sutherland – says the acts will be playing their original music indoors on the dining room stage.
On Wednesday, Nov. 2, Jeff Liberty, blues guitarist and vocalist from Columbia, S.C. will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. Liberty’s scorching guitar and vocals have earned him numerous awards and fans from New Orleans to Columbia.
Thursday night, Nov. 3 is open mic blues jam at Mama Rue’s. Singer/songwriter Jennifer Price will be bringing her outlaw blues to town for the event.
Husband and wife duo Pastor Pastor are on the roster for Friday, Nov. 4. They start at 8 p.m. Their religion is the blues.
Popular local guitarist and vocalist George Davis is booked for Wed. Nov. 9. Start time is 7:30 p.m.
On Friday night, Nov. 11 at 8 p.m., it’s piano man Shrimp City Slim. AKA Gary Erwin, he’s known throughout the Carolinas for his lowcountry blues and original tunes. His latest recording (August 2011) is Highway 77: Lowcountry Blues Live (Vol. 2).
Jazz jam band Spontaneous Combustion will be firing up Mama Rue’s on Saturday, Nov. 12. They start at 8 p.m.
Back by popular demand on Wednesday, Nov. 16 will be singer/songwriter Drew Baldwinwith his 100-year-old Larson made Dyer
harp guitar and Juke Joint Johnny on blues harp. They start at 7:30 p.m.
Guitarist Jeff Liberty is set to be back at Mama Rue’s again on Friday, Nov. 18 starting at 8 p.m. If you missed him earlier in the month, you have another chance to hear this Columbia boy.
If rockin’ blues is your thing, mark your calendar for Saturday, Nov. 19 when The Strays hit the stage at 8 p.m.
On Wednesday, Nov. 23, at 7:30 p.m. Jerry “Cool” Edwards is back at Mama Rue’s for a night of sweet and jazzy blues.
For the day after Thanksgiving, on Friday, Nov. 25, entertainment will be provided by Pawleys own My Buddy Todd. Blues, blues and more blues. Start time is 8 p.m.
On Saturday, Nov. 26, Spontaneous Combustion once again lights up the night, starting at 8 p.m. and on Wednesday, Nov. 30, at 7:30 p.m. diners will be treated to the sounds of blues guitarist and vocalist George Davis.
The month of Dec. will bring some new excitement to Pawleys Island with Columbia, S.C.-based J Edwards at Mama Rue’s on Friday, Dec.2, along with Brian “Husky” Burnette on Saturday, Dec.3. Matt Walsh is scheduled for Feb. 17.
Mama Rue’s is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. on weekdays, 4 to 12:30 Friday nights, and 4 to midnight on Saturdays. Times are approximate. They serve authentic Jamaican dishes along with a full selection of cocktails. Make sure you try the Howlin’ Wolf! Mama Rue’s Blues Garden is located at 9737 Ocean Hwy. in Pawleys Island. For information, call 843-235-3853. Website: www.mamarues.com. For daily updates, “like” Mama Rue’s on Facebook.
On Friday, Oct. 14, Mama Rue’s Blues Garden had their blow-out first anniversary shindig. Alongside Chef Eric’s fabulous jerk
chicken, collards, and Island rice with festival bread, they had the Keith Patterson Band’s official CD release party for Stone Cold Blue (which, despite the title, is over the top hot!).
Mama Rue’s is a smokin’ little juke joint just below the Hammock Shops in Pawleys Island. I don’t think they have more than ten or 11 tables inside, but the vibe is sweet , and outside there’s a big old bar with picnic tables and the main stage. I could live there.
Owners are Marrue Bleau and Chef Eric Sutherland. The duo met some 25 years ago in St. Pete’s, Fla. and have been looking for just the right spot to open a Jamaican restaurant slash blues club (Thank goodness they’re on Island time and didn’t rush into anything!) Marrue books the music and runs the bar, which includes creating some pretty magical cocktails. Eric works his magic in the kitchen.
Chef Eric is a native of Galina, Jamaica. He’s been in the States since 1979. Eric is a self-taught kind of chef. He cooks from the heart, with no recipes. He blends his own seasonings, makes his own signature hot sauce, his own jerk sauce. He buys whole seafood and he buys local.
I had a chance to talk to Eric when he came out to the bar during a brief kitchen break.
“When I was younger, I was adventurous! My first job was at the Playboy Club in Ocho Rios in Jamaica. I was determined to travel a
lot, so I then I worked for different cruise lines. Before I came to Pawleys, I was cooking in Atlanta. Now I like Pawleys; the people are friendly, always nice.”
I think Eric’s cooking must put them in a good mood … or it could just be hanging at the bar with Marrue.
She grew up in Florida and says she’s worked in and out of restaurants since she was 17.
“I was a bartender at a hotel in Palm Beach, working with a little jazz trio there, and that planted the seed of owning my own place.
Marrue has spent time in the Keys, on Grand Turk in the Turks & Caicos; she’s lived on the Suwannee River. Marrue and husband Steve lived on a 27-foot sloop for a time. They took off on a motorcycle and wound up in Mobile, Ala. for a while, too.
“I met Eric when my husband and I used to hang out at his place in St. Pete’s,” says Marrue. “It was called the EZ Jamaican Cafe, and people just went to it in droves. I needed a job and he took me in.”
Marrue and Eric are in the process of expanding the menu to offer more vegetarian fare. For me, I like the stuff that moves! Curried goat, jerk pork, Wednesday night ribs, the daily catch in Jamaican butter sauce or escovitch style (with spicy vegetables). Even the lowly burger is to die for.
I love the character of the place. There are no TVs to distract from the music or the conversation. Marrue laughs when she says, “We don’t serve shooters, we serve cocktails.” And if it’s wine you want, it comes in sweet little jelly jar glasses, New Orleans style.
All that, and top drawer music, too. Marrue tells me that she’s always been drawn to early blues. At Mama Rues, though, she’s
running the gamut. Of blues, that is. Earlier this month, Mississippi John Doude was in the
house! Local bluesman Todd Roth of My Buddy Todd is a regular player. You can catch George Davis playing a set or two, as well. Rootsy, bluesy gospel duo Blue Mother Tupelo played to a packed house this summer. Rickey Godfrey brought his hot rockin’ blues to Mama Rue’s and folks are still talking about it.
That brings me back to the Keith Patterson Band, another rockin’ blues band, somewhat reminiscent of the seventies, when it was hard to tell the difference between blues rock and hard rock.
Keith’s 11-track debut CD, Stone Cold Blue is solid blues rock, dominated by guitar and B3. I can’t do a full-on review here, but the disc is in my car player and I’ve got it loud!
The five-piece band includes Keith Patterson on guitar; Daniel Korzelius singing lead vocals; John Taylor on drums; Brian Mckenzie, guitar and lap steel; and Drew Jacobs on bass.
They put on a great show. My guess is they’ll be back at Mama Rue’s before too long. YEAH!
Low Country Blues Bash Feb. 3 – 19, 2011
Blues aficionados from the Carolinas, Georgia and all over the southeastern U.S. will soon be making their way toward Charleston, S.C. for the twenty-first annual Lowcountry Blues Bash, which begins Feb. 3 and rocks on through Feb. 19.
Not officially part of the Blues Bash, but warmly welcomed by the local blues community are two British blues-rock legends – Robert Plant, former frontman for Led Zeppelin and Robin Trower, from the legendary Procul Harum. Plant will appear with his Band of Joy at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center on Feb. 4. ($55.30 – $76.50 including fees).Trower, also performing on Feb. 4, will be at the Music Farm. ($23 ADV/$25DOS) Wow! Trower for $23. No brainer! Bummer they’re on the same night. Tickets for both are available at the venues.
As in the past, organizer Gary Erwin of Erwin Music and the Lowcountry Blues Society are bringing a mix of
local, regional and national talent to the Palmetto City. The blues-driven frets-n-frenzy takes place over 17 days and features high-end performances by 50 different acts at 25 different locations.
Highlights include guitarist Doug Deming & the Jewel Tones with Dennis Gruenling. Deming’s group alone is a much sought after swing band. Add Gruenling to the lineup and according to Erwin, you get “pure postwar blues bliss.” (www.dougdeming.com/www.dennisgruenling.com)
South Carolina’s favorite son, Drink Small, returns to the Bash, bringing a cure for whatever ails you. The Blues Doctor’s in the house! (www.myspace.com/drinksmallblues)
From Texas comes one of our favorite singing drummers slash harp players, the genre-jumpin’ Randy McAllister.
North Carolina’s King Bees deliver swingin’ blues at every turn. Can’t go wrong here.
Frankie’s Blues Mission from Atlanta dishes up some hot West Side Chicago-style electric blues. Yeah!
Another Atlantan, Lefty Williams is on the roster, too. If you’ve never heard this one-armed guitarist, get you to
Chucktown. It’s worth the price of gasoline.
Ten Foot Polecats are coming all the way from Boston, y’all. For my buck, this punk-edged Mississippi-inspired trio is the act to catch. Jim Chilson’s guitar work is some of the finest you’ll see. They’re at Fiery Ron’s Hometeam BBQ on Sullivan’s Island Feb. 5. I dare you to sit still!
There are so many more topnotch players at this year’s Bash – Mac Arnold & Plate full O’ Blues; acoustic icon
Paul Geremia; Big Bill Morganfield, making his daddy proud; from the Grand Strand, the talented My Buddy Todd; the rockin’Johnny Mac & the Booty Ranch; Charleston’s own Skye Paige bringing rockabilly and blues to the stage.
There’s a special dedication to Lil Dave Thompson, who tragically died in an automobile crash while returning home after last year’s Blues Bash. The event will take place at Fiery Ron’s Hometeam BBQ on Sullivan’s Island on Sunday evening, Feb. 13.
Most ticket prices will be less than $15 and many are free. Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina at Patriot’s Point in Mt. Pleasant is offering preferred rates for festival goers. Call 843 856 0028 and mention the Blues Bash.
To see the entire lineup, venue listing and schedule, visit http://www.bluesbash.com and download your very own
brochure in PDF format.