DarielB – Flying Under the Radar

Road Trip: Pop Ferguson Blues Fest in Lenoir, N.C.

Posted in Live Performance Previews/Reviews by darielb on June 1, 2012

Pop Ferguson (Photo courtesy reverbnation.com/cjblues (Pop Ferguson Blues Revue)

Clyde “Pop” Ferguson is a legend. Never mind that you may not know his name. He’s a legend anyway. At 84 years old, he’s still playing the blues, and let me make it as clear as possible. He’s the real deal. He’s not someone who’s been influenced by those early authentic bluesmen; Pop Ferguson is authentic blues.

So gas up your Hummer or the pickup, whatever your vehicle of choice; mark your calendar for June 8 and 9 and set the Garmin for the historic city of Lenoir, N.C. in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains for the fourth annual free Pop Ferguson Blues Festival.

This Festival is unique in that its goal isn’t simply to provide a venue for blues acts. According to festival organizer (and Pop’s son) Clyde Ferguson, Jr., the Pop Ferguson Blues Festival also charges itself with the mission of reconnecting today’s culture with the true heritage of the blues.

To that end, five of the nine acts are considered elders of the genre, playing a range of blues, and all connecting to the past.

Eighty-four-year-old Pop Ferguson is one of the last practitioners of traditional blues in the N.C. foothills. Growing up in the African American community of North Wlikesboro, he played for local revivals, all the time yearning for the blues. As a young man, he traveled all around, playing juke joints, fish fries, coal fields and street corners in the northeast. He shared the stage with Papa John Creach and Etta Baker. Playing at first in the local Piedmont blues style (thumb and finger), he adopted popular techniques and developed his own style of blues gospel.

“With my dad,” Ferguson, Jr. laughs, “you never know what you’ll get. He may start a song that you think you know, but then he just does his own thing.”

Beverly “Guitar” Watkins. (Photo Mary Ann McLaurin)

The Festival lineup also includes the inimitable Drink Small, South Carolina’s much loved blues doctor (age 79); from the N.C. Piedmont, finger-style guitarist James Arthur “Boo” Hanks (age 83); Beverly “Guitar” Watkins (age 72), playing straight ahead blues and telling it from a woman’s P.O.V.; and Mac Arnold, playing modern day jump blues that reach back to the old days. At 69, he’s the baby of the group.

There will also be gospel, traditional acoustic folk music, storytelling, country blues and the introduction of a special young talent – Miss E.

History
How the Festival was born is especially touching.

“My dad and I starting playing together about six years ago,” says Ferguson, Jr. “My parents got divorced when I was really young, and I visited my dad and heard him play, but we didn’t spend ‘time’ together. I went away to school, started teaching, had kids. In 2006, we came back together, started to have a real relationship.

“For Christmas that year, I wanted to give him a special present. I learned to play guitar so we could pick together and on Christmas day I sat down to play for him. When I was done, he turned to me and said, ‘Boy I believe that song goes like this.’”

Clyde is laughing out loud as he remembers. “Well, my feelings were hurt, but Merry Christmas anyway! I went back to his house on New Year’s Eve, with a bass guitar and this time he said, ‘Play that again.’ And then we started playing together.

“Within 30 days we had a  harmonica player, a guitarist and Pop Ferguson Blues Revue was created. So we started playing.

“This guy was following us around everywhere we went. And a little while later, we get this notification he was going to be recognized by the Smithsonian Institute.”

Turns out the guy who was following them around was with  StoryCorps Griot Project and he was researching Pop for the National Museum of African-American History and Culture. So Pop Ferguson’s life story, recordings and works will be preserved by the Smithsonian.

This year’s Festival theme is Celebrating the Blues Heritage of the Appalachians. What a terrific way to not only learn, but experience the heritage of the area.

The Festival is free. Just head into downtown Lenoir and volunteers will be onsite to direct you toward the stages and events.

Festival Schedule
Friday Workshops
(5 – 8 p.m.)
Patrick Crouch. Slide blues guitar
Jaret Carter. Country blues guitar
Max Hightower. Blues “Hohner” harmonica
Saturday Performances
Main Street Stage
3:45 Pop Ferguson
4:30 Anointed
5:15 Drink Small
6:00 Boo Hanks
6:45 Beverly “Guitar” Watkins
7:30 Pop Ferguson
8:15 Mac Arnold
9:00 Blues Jam Session
Sweet T’s Stage
4:00 Strictly Clean & Decent
5:00 Mt. Pilgrim Choir
6:00 Jaret Carter
7:00 Smith Memorial Choir
Alibi Stage
4:00 Jaret Carter
5:00 Diana Banner & Sisters
6:00 Life Center Choir
7:00 Strictly Clean & Decent
Venti’s Casa Stage
4:00 Pop Ferguson w/Miss E
5:00 Life Center Youth Choir
6:00 Storytelling – Diana Banner
West Avenue Stage
5:00 Jacob Johnson Band

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More Live Music in 2012!

Posted in Live Performance Previews/Reviews by darielb on January 10, 2012

I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions. I never do. But I just heard one that I can support wholeheartedly.

More live music in 2012!

So for this piece, I’ll be focusing on my own local stomping grounds, from the port city of Wilmington in North Carolina and North Myrtle Beach on down to Pawleys Island in South Carolina. There’s a lot coming up, so check the websites for even more shows.

Mike Taylor and the Holiday Band will kick off Mid-Winter S.O.S. at Duck's on Wed., Jan 11.

I can’t talk about local live music without mentioning Mid-Winter S.O.S. in the Ocean Drive section of North Myrtle Beach. It’s just begun and runs through Sunday, Jan. 15. The S.O.S. lounges (Fat Harold’s, Duck’s, Spanish Galleon, O.D. Beach Club, O.D. Café and O.D. Arcade) feature deejays for the dancers, but a few will have live music, too. They all require S.O.S. cards for entry. Cost is $35, but you get a lot of band for your buck.

Fat Harold’s  will be packed with shaggers day and night. Don’t miss lunch with Lulu. She’s one of the best cooks around and you can tell anyone I said so! Thursday, Jan. 12, it’s Craig Woolard Band. This’ll be crowded, but worth an elbow to the ribs. There’s a reason he’s taken home CBMA Male Vocalist of the Year award nine times. On Friday, Jan. 13, it’s Coastline time with Jim Quick at 1 p.m. Nashville songwriter and producer Gary Nicholson says, “Jim Quick sings read deal country-soul from the heart. He’s combined all the ingredients of his influences to cook up a tasty stew that keeps you coming back for more.” Sea-Cruz takes the stage at 1 p.m. on Jan. 14. Sax, keyboards and top-notch vocals make this trio a powerhouse. Closing out Mid-Winter, the always popular bluesy Castaways will be at the Fat Man’s on Sunday, Jan. 15 starting at 4 p.m.

Also part of Mid-Winter, but minus the required S.O.S. card are 2001 Nightclub  in Myrtle Beach and on the Waterway in North Myrtle, Boom Boom’s Raw Bar.

2001 Nightclub is really three venues in one: Club Touch, Starlight Room and Next Level, which is where the live bands play. Show time is 9:30 p.m. You can see Jim Quick & Coastline, Jan. 12; Craig Woolard Band, Jan. 13 and on Jan. 14, the Magnificents, known for their powerful vocals. Cover charge is $10, $5 with S.O.S. card.

If you haven’t been to Boom Boom’s yet, check it out. The large deck overlooks the Waterway and brand new chef, Ronnie Stevens, is getting rave reviews. Tommy Black Band (beach and blues) is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Jan. 14. On Jan. 21,  Fat Jack Band brings their brand of soul funk to the beach. Rick Strickland Band, playing all-original tunes, is set for Jan. 28. With Rick’s impressive four-octave range and female vocalist Lesa Hudson, this group has built a huge following throughout the Carolinas.
Hip Pocket Band is also coming to town. Equal parts fun and talent, they’ll be at Duck’s on Jan. 21. Love these guys!

Over at the Boathouse , we switch gears a little bit. Through Feb. 23, they’re hosting Coyote Country Fridays with cohost Coyote 106.5 FM. They’ll be featuring local and regional country artists. Sure to be a blast.

Kono Lounge in Myrtle Beach  is another hip, loungy kind of night club. Nathan Stallings with Bono Productions has been bringing some terrific acts in. This coming Friday, Jan. 13, get set for Michael “Pops” Stallings, one of the area’s top blues guitarists. On Feb. 3, The Sharks featuring blues mama Jaynie Trudell will be front and center. Feb. 17  will be the long-awaited reunion show for the Kerry Michaels Band, the must-see blues band on the Grand Strand during the 1990s. The show will feature original members Kerry Michaels (vocals), Michael “Pops” Stallings (lead guitar); Bryant Bowles (drums);  Mike Stevens (bass) and James “Uncle Grub” Thornberg (keyboards).

Juke Joint Johnny, shown here in September at the 2011 Summer's Last Blast Blues Festival in Piedmont, S.C. (Photo Mary Anne McLaurin)

Mama Rue’s in Pawleys Island , hands-down my favorite place for blues on the Strand, has a full line up for us. Friday, Jan. 13, she’s bringing in Juke Joint Johnny and Bad Drew Baldwin. If you’ve never seen Johnny on harp, you’ve never experienced blues harmonica. On Jan. 20, Pastor, Pastor is bringing their unusual blues act back to Mama Rue’s. Guitarist Jeff Liberty, whose style has been described as “fuel-injected blues that lights a fire under your seat,” performs Jan. 28. On Feb. 3, My Buddy Todd aka Todd Roth will perform his last show at Mama Rue’s before moving his life and career to Austin, Texas. Definitely one to see. Feb. 17 will be a big night, too. N.C. bluesman Matt Walsh is the featured act, another one not to miss. No cover charge and the best Jamaican food this side of Nassau! Tell Chef Eric I said hey! Then get you some jerk pork (and a Howlin’ Wolf  from Marrue at the bar). You’ll be hooked on the food, the friends and the music!

Another of my favorite blues joints is the Rusty Nail , home to the Cape Fear Blues Society weekly jams. On Jan. 14, the Nail will host a Pave the Road to Memphis fundraiser for Randy McQuay and Lawyers Guns & Money, winners of the Cape Fear Blues Challenge who will represent the blues society at the IBC in Memphis later this month. Both acts will perform. YEAH!

I can’t write about live music along the Grand Strand without talking about the nonprofit South By Southeast Music Feasts at the historic Myrtle Beach Train Depot. They bring in nationally known acts that often don’t come to this area otherwise. Tickets are $20 for annual series supporters and $25 for nonmembers. The Barefoot Movement, a group of musicians blending  Southern-style bluegrass improv with modern acoustic jazz and rock influences, is scheduled for Feb. 18. Randall Bramblett Band is set for March 10. They meld rock, blues, jazz and soul with razor-sharp songwriting to produce a sound unlike anyone else. It doesn’t get any better than this.

Chuck Leavell (Rolling Stones, Allman Brothers) says, “Randall is in my opinion the most gifted & talented southern singer-songwriter musicians of the past several decades.”

Every one of these shows is worth your time and money. Hope to see you live music junkies out and about!

Port City Gets a Groove On

Posted in Interviews, Live Performance Previews/Reviews by darielb on July 11, 2011


Being a fine old southern city, Wilmington, N.C. is steeped in tradition, and one of its favorites is the upcoming Cape Fear Blues Festival set for July 29 – 31.

Three days of blues in the Port City will include live concerts, a blues workshop, an all-day blues jam, a guitar raffle and the always popular Blues Cruise aboard Wilmington’s Henrietta III.

Nashville's Rickey Godfrey (Photo Mary Anne McLaurin)

Headlining the main deck on the Friday night Cruise will be Nashville guitarist Rickey Godfrey and his band.

“Rickey is a consummate entertainer,” said Cape Fear Blues Society president Lan Nichols in a telephone interview. “He’s a master on guitar … and has a really emotional voice. Rickey reads his audience and knows exactly what to give.”

Godfrey, who has been blind since birth, has been nominated for both guitarist and keyboard player of the year by the Music City Blues Society. He’s touring now as a featured guitarist with the Cee Cee James Band, so this is a rare opportunity to see the Rickey Godfrey Blues Band.
Above the main deck, fans will be treated to the retro blues of Wilmington’s own wildly popular Ten Dollar Thrill. Up in the atrium will be acoustic storyteller Tampa Blue.

Cruisers will be noshing on heavy appetizers provided by Angie’s of Chris’s Restaurant and no doubt enjoying the three different cash bars.

Get to the Blues Cruise a little early so you can enjoy Rick Tobey on the dock before you board.

The boat departs promptly at 7:30 p.m., but be sure to get there early enough to enjoy blues veteran Rick Tobey singing his unique brand of Chickenhead blues on the dock before boarding.

The Henrietta III will return to dock by around 9:30, and you’ll want to head right over to  the Port City’s favorite blues saloon, the Rusty Nail, where The Treblemakers will be rockin’ the room with their electric blues/classic surf sounds!
Presented by the Cape Fear Blues Society, the Festival has a reputation for bringing top talent to town while it also showcases the best in local and regional blues artists.

According to Nichols, this year is no exception. Saturday begins with a free

Guitarist Eric Manning is presenting this year's blues workshop.

blues workshop conducted by Raleigh-based guitarist Eric Manning and sponsored by longtime Festival supporter Finkelstein Music. Following the workshop will be a performance, also free, by Manning’s band, E-Train & the Rusted Rails, at The Cellar in downtown Wilmington.

The Festival’s Saturday headliner is Studebaker John & the Hawks (The name refers to a Studebaker Hawk, a car he still owns).

“John is a triple threat,” said Nichols. “He plays great guitar, harmonica and has an excellent voice, too. He’s got a lot of old-school Chicago in his sound, but can rock out, too.”

Born in Chicago as John Grimaldi, he started playing harmonica at about seven years old, and was greatly influenced by Chicago’s famed Maxwell Street. He learned guitar after watching a single electrified slide guitar performance of Hound Dog Taylor and the Houserockers.

Studebaker John & the Hawks headline the Saturday night concert at the Rusty Nail. YAY!

Currently on tour through the U.S. and Canada, Studebaker John talked by phone about his newest CD, Studebaker John’s Maxwell Street Kings’ That’s the Way You Do (Delmark 2010). The 15-track recording is essentially a tribute to all the musicians who performed on Maxwell Street.

“It was a labor of love for me. I started thinking about it years ago, when I was on a bigger blues label, but they didn’t think it was commercial.

“Then last year, I was working at St. George Records, playing a session for Delta Slim, and these two musicians – Rick Kreher on guitar and Steve Cushing on drums – were there and I thought that maybe we could do it.

“The three of us were able to conjure up a sound.

“I wanted it to be a tribute, but still original.  It’s the same line-up as Hound Dog Taylor: two guitars, drum, and harmonica … I’ve always been a fan of Less Is More.”

His Rusty Nail show on Saturday night will include tunes from the new CD as well as the full band sound of Studebaker John & the Hawks.  Don’t miss this one!

Opening for Studebaker John, by the way, is local acoustic fave, Spider Mike Bochey, so get there early.

The Sunday blues jam starts at noon, and this is always a great event. There are a lot of great players in Wilmington, and they come out of the woodwork for this event, so get ready to be entertained. Bring a lawn chair, but leave your coolers home. There will be plenty of food and drink for sale.

The Jam ends at 6 p.m. with the Finkelstein Music Guitar Giveaway—a Gretsch Electromatic Pro Jet guitar ($850 value). Raffle tickets cost $1 each with proceeds supporting the projects and programs of the Cape Fear Blues Society.

Raffle tickets are available at Finkelstein Music and The Rusty Nail.

For more information about the Cape Fear Blues Festival visit http://www.capefearblues.org or call 910-350-8822.
©Dariel Bendin.

Festival Schedule
Friday, July 29
5:30 p.m. Live blues on the dock. (Water St. at Dock St.) Blues soloist Rick Tobey will  treat you to the blues,  Chickenhead style, as you wait to board.
7 p.m. Boarding begins.
7:30 p.m.  Blues Cruise on the Henrietta III! Headliner Rickey Godfrey brings his gritty, soulful blues to the main deck. Wilmington’s own Ten Dollar Bill will be rockin’ the party deck. Storyteller Tampa Blue will be in the atrium. Tickets are $49 (www.wilmingtontickets.com). Or call 910-350-8822.
9 p.m. Post-Cruise Party featuring The Treblemakers at the Rusty Nail, 1310 S. 5th Ave. (910-251-1888).
Saturday, July 30
11 a.m. Blues workshop sponsored by Finkelstein Music: blues guitarist/vocalist/ songwriter Eric Manning followed by an outdoor set of  jump blues and rockabilly from Manning’s band E-Train & the Rusted Rail at The Cellar, 35 N. Front St. Free.
8 p.m. Festival concert. Headliner Studebaker John & the Hawks. A night of electric blues from a Chicago legend. Opening act Spider Mike Bochey, at the Rusty Nail, 1310 S. 5th Ave. (910-251-1888). Tickets $8 advance/$10 at the door.(www.capefearblues.org or http://www.wilmingtontickets.com)
Sunday, July 31
Noon – 6 p.m. All-day blues jam under the tent at the Rusty Nail. Free.
6 p.m. Guitar raffle announced. Note: you don’t have to be on hand to win! Raffle tickets are $1 each or six for $5. A steal!

Godfrey Performs, Talks About Music at Sunset River Marketplace

Posted in Music Stories by darielb on April 19, 2011

Through story and song, Rickey Godfrey told the audience about his own introduction to music.

Sunset River Marketplace art gallery in Calabash, N.C. featured Nashville musician Rickey Godfrey at its monthly Creative Exchange event last Wednesday, April 13.

The talented multi-instrumentalist played guitar, sang and spoke about songwriting, his introduction to music and his experiences at the School For the Deaf and Blind in Spartanburg, S.C. Blind since birth, Godfrey suffers from Leber Congenital Amaurosis. His older brother, also a musician, has the same inherited retinal degenerative disorder.

Despite the challenges of being blind, Godfrey is considered one of Nashville’s premier blues guitarists and  has been nominated for both Music City Blues Society Guitarist and Keyboard Player of the Year.

During the presentation, Godfrey demonstrated different genres of music, including blues, soul, R&B and performed music from his latest blues CD titled Nasty Man (Serenity Hill/2010). Godfrey’s previous recordings include Once In a Lifetime Love (Mossland/ 2006), Soul Sensations (Mossland/ 2003), and Let the Big Dog Eat (Aartvark Records/1983).

Since opening its doors in 2002, Sunset River Marketplace has actively supported visual, literary and performing arts through its charity events and community presentations such as the Creative Exchange lecture series. For more information or to join the gallery’s contact list for future events, call 910-575-5999 or send an email to lassiter@sunsetrivermarketplace. com. Both Sunset River Marketplace and Rickey Godfrey maintain Facebook pages.

Road Trip With Coastline!

Posted in Interviews, Live Performance Previews/Reviews by darielb on April 7, 2011

The multi-talented Jim Quick during his live DVD recording at Papa Mojos Roadhouse.

Papa Mojo’s Roadhouse in Durham, N.C. was the place to be last Sunday night when Jim Quick & Coastline took  the stage to record their first ever DVD.The cozy little club slash restaurant was packed with friends and fans hungry to hear their favorite band cookin’ up a hot, soulful concoction of classic Coastline and some tasty new material.

Once everyone had their drinks and Papa Mojo’s signature lip-rippin’ Cajun offerings – and the Tarheels had succumbed to the Wildcats – deejay Joey Warren introduced the band. From there it was more than three hours of rock and soul, swamp funk blues and just enough country thrown in to explain Quick’s choice of shirts.

They rocked from the onset with “Down South,” the title track from Quick’s latest album, produced by Nashville honcho Gary Nicholson, who was also the songwriter/co-songwriter for this and every other tune on the disc.

With lyrics like this, you could almost swear Quick wrote it hisself:

I met a runway model in New York City
Said she love to hear me talk
I said that suits me fine I’m from Carolina
And I’ll say anything to watch you walk

And, by the time, Quick got to singing about skinny dipping in the Waccamaw River by the light of the Tar Heel Moon, the crowd was singing along like a roomful o’ Coastline Crazies.
“Late At Night” from the Contents Under Pressure CD (Ripete/1998) was next, another big hit with the crowd.

Of course, we don’t know what’s going to make the cut to the final DVD, but they rocked out one hit after another, including (from the band’s Sneakin’ Out Back CD (Landslide/2007) “Mississippi Mud,” “Callin’, ”and the Cape Fear’s best one-night stand song, “A Little Bit of Money.”

“We basically wanted to do this DVD for the fans,” Quick told me. “They’ve been asking for years, so we wanted to give them their favorites along with some of the newer stuff.”

Other tunes included Albert Rogers taking lead vocals on “It’s Gonna Rain” and Glen Tippett on “The Hardest Thing I Ever Do.” Coastline has become a vocal powerhouse.

Jim Quick & Coastline record their live DVD at Papa Mojos Roadhouse in Durham, N.C. Sunday, March 27, 2011. (Deejay Joey Warren introduces them)

I’ve always considered Coastline one of the most innovative, talented bands in the area, but ever since Jim Quick cut Down South, it seems that, as a band, they’ve gotten even tighter. Casey Meyer’s guitar playing has become more aggressive, The harmonies are smooth and confident, and Quick’s vocals just keep getting stronger.

The second set  opened with more classic Coastline, “Sweat,” and also included a killer’ version of the honky tonk tune, “What’s Wrong With You?” from the self-titled King Tyrone & the Graveyard Ramblers (KHP/2008) CD. For anyone new to the world of Jim Quick, King Tyrone is his alter ego who doesn’t get to leave the swamp all that often. We’re never sure what he’s going to do.

“The Tiki Bar Is Open,” the once obscure John Hiatt song that’s become signature Coastline, featured  especially sweet slide guitar work from Casey.

The show was almost over by the time we finally got to hear “Mama’s Drinking Liquor Again,” the infamous tune originally recorded on the King Tyrone CD.

Encore performances were “Take It All” from Coastline Band Live Bait 2 featuring Jim on keyboard and then a no-holds-barred performance of “Strongest Weakness,” a rocker penned by Gary Nicholson and Bekka Bramlett.

The show was a blast, and Papa Mojos was the perfect spot for it – a cozy intimate venue with cajun art all over the place and friendly

Albert Rogers brings soulful vocals and a driving bass to the band.

efficient servers always on the ready. Randall Bramblett Band was there  the night before, and owner Mel Melton and his Wicked Mojos band often provide the entertainment. Definitely worth a road trip!

I was able to talk to Jim  a few days after the recording. I wanted to know what’s in store for him and the band.

“Well, you know I have this Sony deal now,” he said. “It’s with Red, Sony’s artist development and distribution leg. They’re handling digital distribution for “Down South” and “No Good Place To Cry” from the new CD. Hit Brothers Records is the label. May 17 is the release date for Down South (the physical CD) throughout the southeastern U.S. in Wal-Mart and other media outlets.”

Music City Media will be generating publicity for Jim and the band, and Jerry Duncan Promotions will handle radio play. Not easy to pigeonhole, Quick says they’re treating him as sort of “soulful country.”

A music video is also in the works for Jim Quick & Coastline. Recording takes place later this month, so stay tuned for more about that. Look for a new website design to be unveiled shortly, too.

“I really hope everyone got the Coastline vibe,” Jim says as he brings the conversation back to the DVD. “I’m excited. I liked the atmosphere. We turned Papa Mojo’s into a little studio. So people there got an idea of what it’s like to be in a band and recording.

“My guys are not just great live, but they’re stupid killer studio musicians.

“I think this DVD is as close as you’ll get to taking Coastline home with you.”

Wait for it folks, here’s the pitch.
“And I think everyone should have Coastline Crazies DVD parties!” Quick adds, laughing his head off.

The DVD, which will be called Jim Quick & Coastline Live At Papa Mojo’s Roadhouse, will be out before summer and priced at $25.
Jim Quick & Coastline are made up of the multi-talented Jim Quick on lead vocals and some time keys, guitar  and horn; Glenn Tippett on sax, keyboard and vocals; Casey Meyer on guitar; Albert Rogers on electric bass and vocals; and Sam Bryant on drums. Live sound engineers are Ken “K-Dogg” Holland and Eddie Cogle.

CD Pick: ‘Nasty Man’ by Rickey Godfrey

Posted in CD Picks by darielb on November 21, 2010

I’ve been following Rickey Godfrey’s music for quite some time now – since I first heard his soulful rendition of Dan Penn’s “Smoke Filled Room,” which is on his Once In a Lifetime Love CD (2006).  With this new recording, Rickey brings the same raw vocals to the table, but with a focus on the blues. Nasty Man (Serenity Hill 2010)is a self-produced CD and Rickey took the opportunity to showcase his considerable talents: songwriting, vocals, guitar and keyboard.

This CD is just plain fun, more fun, in fact, than it is “nasty.”  I’m hard pressed to choose a favorite tune, but there are a few that stand out for me. The opener, “I Want Me a Nasty Woman,” co-written with Richard Fleming, is classic Godfrey: sharp, edgy lyrics and gutsy vocals punctuated by masterful guitar stylings. Guitar buffs will love the ending. And, by the way, that’s Shaun Murphy from Little Feat AND Bob Seger’s Silver Bullet Band singing backup with Rickey.

“Don’t Argue In the Kitchen” is kind of jazzy, a fast-paced cautionary tale, funny as all getout. Flo and Joe go out to a club, drink a little too much, some chick starts flirting with Joe, and by the time the couple get home again, Flo is still all riled up and pops him over the head with an assortment of cooking paraphernalia. Dangerous place, that kitchen!

Rickey Godfrey at the Rusty Nail, Wilmington, N.C. Nov. 12, 2010

Johnny Jones” is a little bit of a departure. It’s full of sadness at the Oct. 2009 passing of Godfrey’s friend – and Nashville’s guitar legend – Johnny Jones.  After moving from Chicago to Nashville in the early 60s, Jones was working as a studio musician, when R&B icon Ted Jarrett took him under his wing and actually taught him how to read music. He began working at a club called the New Era Club. During this time, a young Jimi Hendrix used to sit in with him, anxious to absorb Jones’ lowdown blues sound. There was said to be a guitar face-off between the two at some point, and if you can find an old copy of The Tennessean (one of the 2003 issues), you can read about it for yourself. Not surprisingly, Rickey’s guitar solos pay homage to the guitar giant, including some of Jones’ own blues guitar licks.

“Let’s Get Busy,” track ten on Nasty Man (co-written with Doug Jones), is a sexy dance tune and it features N.Y. soul singer Angel Rissoff along with Rickey on lead vocals. Their voices are exciting and energetic. They combine with Godfrey’s keyboard and guitar solos plus an unexpected saxophone riff by former Delbert McClinton player Don Wise to deliver a tune that blows me away every time I hear it.

I’m a live music junkie, and I love that one of the resounding themes of this recording is its unrelenting energy. But, even with everything going on – gusty vocals, searing guitar, solid rhythm, flashy keyboards –the players never drown each other out.  Nasty Man is a strong Gotta Have.

Godfrey plays all guitar and keyboard parts. Other players include: drums – George Perelli (Michael McDonald, Larry Gatlin), Michael Grando and Tez Sherrard (Edwin McCain); bass Franklin Wilkie (Marshall Tucker Band), Doug Seibert; saxophone – Don Wise (Delbert McClinton); synthetic horns – Rickey Godfrey; background vocals – Shaun Murphy (Little Feat, Silver Bullet Band),  Ronnie Godfrey (Marshall Tucker Band, Virgil), Kim Morrison, Angel Rissoff (Little Isidore & the Inquisitors, Kenny Vance & the Planotones).


Are You Ready For Quick’s Shtick Thing?

Posted in Live Performance Previews/Reviews by darielb on October 20, 2010

Mark your calendars for Oct. 24 because it’s time for the fourth annual Big Fish Shtick, Jim Quick’s close-to-the-heart fundraiser for United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) of Wilmington. Once again, it’s being held in the back lot of the Triangle Lounge in Wilmington.

The fun starts at 1 p.m. and will keep going until about 7 o’clock. Your $20 donation will net you a pile o’ free grub: fish and fixin’ from Jones Fish Camp, plus Boom Boom’s BBQ, fried shrimp, steamed oysters and what else, oh, Captain Crain’s World Famous Shrimp Stew! A full cash bar will be available to help you wash down the super eats.

There will be plenty of live entertainment, too. Kicking off the party at 1 p.m. is Southern Ryder. I’m hoping to hear some great fiddle from this southern rockin’ group. Taking the stage about 2 p.m. will be the Tim Clark Band, and whether you want to dance or just groove to the music, you won’t want to miss this show.

Jim Quick & Coastline are bringing their Nashville-ized swamp-funk sound back to the Port City! My guess is we’ll be hearing a lot of how they do it Down South. YAY! Personally, I can’t wait to hear  what Casey Meyer does with the new stuff.

Spinning tunes in between shows will be one of my favorite local deejays, Joey Warren, so be sure to tell him I said so!

Don’t forget to bring some extra moola with you, because this is a fundraiser, remember. You need to get you a ticket for the 50/50. Someone’s going to win a pile of money, and if it’s not me, then it might as well be you. So far, items for the raffle and auction include a booze cruise from Pole Position Boat Tours (Must be a real estate guy with a boat); handmade pottery pieces; a gift certificate from Sunset River Marketplace in Calabash (Have you been to this place? It’s wonderful!); a couple of Rickey Godfrey’s new kick-ass blues CDs; one of Babs Ludwick’s hugely popular prints in her Local Watering Hole series; plus, more items are being added every day. And what Big Fish Shtick would be complete without Jim Quick’s own art offering? This is your chance to own a Jim Quick original. Zowee!!

This is going to be a great day, and it’s for a great cause, so I hope you can be there. UCP is one of the largest health nonprofits in the country. Founded over 60 years ago by parents of children with the disease, it has evolved into a committed advocate for folks with disabilities.  Their goal is to ensure a life without limits even if you’ve got disabilities. You can see the group’s work everywhere –  on the Internet, in the workplace, in classrooms and throughout the local community.

Join me and Jim Quick in supporting this group. You’ll have a rockin’ good time while you do something nice for someone. Don’t forget your lawn chairs!

For tix & info, call 910-799-6253.

 

Directions to Triangle Lounge:

• From S.C. and southeastern Brunswick County, take 17 N towards Wilmington.

• Once you cross the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge into town (You’ll be on Dawson St.) go straight to Oleander.

• Turn right on Oleander Dr., which you’ll follow for about two and a half miles.

• Turn left on S. College and then take your third right onto Wrightsville Ave. Triangle Lounge (5920 Wrightsville Ave.) will be on your right. There should be plenty of parking in the field up the street.

 

 

Port City Blues Fest July 23 – 25

Posted in Live Performance Previews/Reviews by darielb on July 16, 2010

This year the Cape Fear Blues Festival is celebrating its fifteenth birthday and it will be another birthday bash to write  home about. From July 23  – 25, Wilmington, N.C. will be full of blues fans ready to take in one great show after another.

Bill “Sauce Boss” Wharton is headlining the Festival’s Friday night Blues Cruise. (Photo David "Steam" Smith)

The Festival opens Friday night with the traditional Blues Cruise aboard the triple deck Henrietta III riverboat at the corner of Water Street and Dock. The two-hour party along the Cape Fear will be rockin’ with performances by Bill “Sauce Boss” Wharton and his band. The only thing hotter than his slide guitar is his  Liquid Summer Hot Sauce. I want me some of both! Locals Dusty Long & Friends and Rick Tobey will be adding to the fun, and don’t forget to check out Spider Mike Bochey as you board.(Tickets $49).

Over at the Rusty Nail, the Dynamic Thermotones will take the stage at 9 p.m. for a night of blues-driven R&B. And don’t be surprised if things get funky! Love this band! The Rusty Nail, located at 1310 South 5th St., is a typical little juke joint, and one of my faves. It’s home to Wilmington’s weekly blues jam. Call the club at 910-251-1888 for ticket info  (Tickets $5).

Saturday’s the big day and the festival concert is moving back to Legion Stadium under the tent. Yay! This year, according to everyone’s blues buddy, Festival organizer Lan Nichols, there will be five blues acts  starting at noon and going pretty much nonstop until almost 7 p.m. Here’s the lineup: Mac Arnold & Plate Full ‘O Blues, Jen & Tonic, Tampa Blue, the Cape Fear Blues Jam Band and Blind Lemon Pledge.

Mac Arnold has toured and recorded with the Muddy Waters Band. You will love the funked up soul-blues of Mac Arnold & Plate Full ‘O Blues.

Jen & Tonic is a group I’ve been wanting to see live. They put out a great blend of classic blues and soul, throwing in some contemporary stuff  just to mix it up.

If you’re into finger-style guitar and acoustic blues, you’ll especially enjoy the soulful sound of Florida’s Tampa Blue.

Local Wilmington group Blind Lemon Pledge, although fairly new to the scene, was the 2009 Cape Fear Blues Challenge winner. They feature Jaime Michele on lead vocals and Mark Scott on guitar and vocals. Last, but not least, is local favorite Cape Fear Blues Jam Band.

By the way, parking is free. You’ll find plenty of food and drink vendors, restrooms and even games for the kids. Don’t forget  your lawn chairs and blankets. (Tickets $12 advance/$15 at the gate).

Saturday night, there’s another shindig at the Rusty Nail, this time with the ever-popular Ten Dollar Thrill. And they are thrilling. (Tickets $5).

One of the Tuesday night jams at the Rusty Nail.

The all-day Sunday Blues Jam is at Legion Stadium and it’s always a blast. Here’s a chance to play on the Festival main stage with some of the best players the area has to offer. You know the drill: no coolers, no pets. Just bring your lawn chairs and get ready to groove.

Before I forget, this year’s Festival blues workshop (Finkelstein Music, 6 S. Front St.),  Saturday, 11 a.m., will be Theresa Blue performing her unique blend of blues, folks and Americana. Otherwise known as Theresa Lindstrom, she’s the throaty voice of divorced blue collar moms everywhere. Careful, she’ll grab your heart when you’re not looking. Call 910-762-5662. (Free event).

The Festival ends at 6 p.m. with the Finkelstein Music Guitar Giveaway. This year, it’s a Squier (by Fender) Vintage Modified Telecaster Thinline guitar. Raffle tickets, which are available at Finkelstein’s, cost  just $1 each or six for $5; Ticket info at www.capefearblues.org.