Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band – College Street Music Hall – New Haven, CT – July 25, 2018

Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band

College Street Music Hall – New Haven, CT – July 25, 2018

The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band rocked the College Street music hall as the second half of a night of great music that was shared with Beth Hart who performed first and also had a fanastic set. The two bands paired up in one night was outstanding.
Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Noah Hunt, who have written and recorded together for over 20 years, were completely in sync and gave the crowd a blazing set of blues twinged rock. With Shepherd on guitar and the occasional vocal he shared the stage with Hunt who sang the majority of the songs. Being together for so long they have their stage presence down to a science. Hunt sings and then steps back and Shepherd takes over with sizzling guitar solos and then Hunt steps in with the rest of the vocal. It’s a mix that completely works.
Shepherd who got his desire for the guitar from listening to greats like Stevie Ray Vaughn at a young age is now one of the best blues guitarists out there. He shreds his guitar and takes the audience on the trip with him. His hands move so adeptly and quickly note to note some of the time it’s hard to take it in how fast he moves, but it sounds fantastic. One of his guitars was so well used there is hardly any finish left on the front.
Kenny Wayne Shepherd holds the record for the longest-running album on the Billboard Blues Charts. Shepherd captivated the audience with his fast and mesmerizing blues/rock licks.
Known for his 1995 is release of his Platinum winning “Ledbetter Heights” which he recorded at the young age of 18. He and the band performed songs from that album that went back to his roots.
The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band, consisting of Kenny Waye Shepherd – lead guitar and vocals, Noah Hunt – vocals, Kevin McCormick – bass, Chris Layton – drums and Joe Krown – keyboards.
If your a fan of blues guitar or just plain great guitar playing The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band is definitely one band to see. They sounded great and had the house on their feet more than once. If you haven’t seen them yet they are on the must see list.
https://www.kennywayneshepherd.net
Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris
Setlist:
Never Lookin’ Back
Ride of Your Life
True Lies
The House Is Rockin’ (Stevie Ray Vaughan cover)
Hard Lesson Learned
Baby Got Gone
Down for Love
Heat of the Sun
Talk to Me Baby (Elmore James cover)
Deja Voodoo
Born With a Broken Heart
Diamonds & Gold
You Done Lost Your Good Thing Now (B.B. King cover)
Encore:
Blue on Black
Voodoo Child

Beth Hart – College Street Music Hall – New Haven, CT – July 25, 2018

Beth Hart

College Street Music Hall
New Haven, CT
July 25, 2018

The College Street Music Hall outdid themselves when they invited in an amazing duo of acts. Beth Hart and Kenny Wayne Shepherd gave the audience a memorable night of the blues and fantastic guitar that meshed perfectly on the same night.
Beth Hart opened the night up with her solid blues number “Tell Her You Belong To Me.” This is my second time seeing Hart and she gets better each time. This theater an intimate venue seating only two thousand people and she said her and the band loved it and felt so relaxed there. which was obvious by her comfortable banter with the audience.
The band accompanying Hart was Bill Ransom on drums, Bob Marinelli on bass, and her guitarist of 20 years, Jon Nichols all gave an excellent performance.
There are many female singers out there but I can honestly say Hart is my favorite. She fills each song with such feeling it’s palpable. Hart has the audience’s complete attention and gives her all with each song and it clearly shows. Many of her songs reflect a time in her life and some struggle she has lived through and come out the other side stronger. Both a talented singer and songwriter her feelings are conveyed in every song.
At one point she wanted to come down into the audience and sing but there was no way off the stage into the crowd so instead she sat on a box at the far end of the stage and sang. It didn’t matter where she was the audience soaked in every note.
When Hart performed the Memphis Minnie & Kansas Joe McCoy song “Why Don’t You Do Right?” the song could as easily have been coming from a singer at a smoky club post WWII. She has such a dynamic voice that’s timeless and was made for the blues.
This Beth Hart concert is the best show I’ve seen this year. She is just as comfortable strutting across the stage belting out down and out blues as she is sitting at the piano singing a ballad to her mother brimming with emotion. She fills each song with such raw emotion and connects so easily with the audience. The audience showed their appreciation for her talent as they stood up more than once during the night and gave her a standing ovation. Hart is so genuinely appreciative and beamed at the applause.
The band really amped it up and proved their their versatility with the encore of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love.” The audience was clapping and cheering the entire band as Hart’s set ended with a bang. Hart is not just a blues star she is a full fledged rock star.

If you get the chance to see Beth Hart absolutely do it, you will not regret it. She is a truly genuine talent and so very down to earth with her well earned fame. If there is one concert to see this year make it Beth Hart.

http://www.bethhart.com

Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris
Setlist:
Tell Her You Belong to Me
Monkey Back
If I Tell You I Love You (Melody Gardot cover)
Baby Shot Me Down
Delicious Surprise
House of Sin
Spiders in My Bed
Love Is a Lie
Lay Your Hands on Me
I’ll Take Care of You (Bobby “Blue” Bland cover)
Why Don’t You Do Right? (Memphis Minnie & Kansas Joe McCoy cover)
Waterfalls
Take It Easy on Me
Mama This One’s for You
Leave the Light On
Encore:
Whole Lotta Love (Led Zeppelin cover)

 

 

ANA Popovic – Mohegan Sun – April 12, 2018

Once again ANA Popovic heated up the Mohegan Sun Wolf Den sporting a red hot leather outfit and her Fender Stratocaster. She wailed and crooned the blues with the ease of a seasoned professional. Having cut her teeth with some of the best of the blues world ANA is now considered one of the best blues guitarist on the world touring circuit.
Serbian born and transplanted to Los Angeles by way of Memphis. The six time Blues Music Awards nominee brings her blues rooted and sometimes jazz and funk influenced music to venues throughout the United States and the world.
Over the years Popovic has added to her touring band with each progression of her music. This tour her band included a brass section to back her gritty sultry vocals and accompany the keyboards and drums.
Popovic and the band played for an hour and a half covering music from her “Trilogy” album, which had guests appearances by guitar greats Joe Bonamassa, Robert Randolph, Bernard Purdie. She also played cuts from “Can You Stand the Heat?” and other releases.
Popovic in the past was the only female guitarist among the star-studded Experience Hendrix Tour proving she can hold her own against any male counterparts.
The night ended with a medley including a fantastic version of the Jimmy Hendrix classic “Crosstown Traffic” and a standing ovation from the audience.
ANA Popovic is an extremely talented and accomplished artist. If you haven’t had the chance to see her you should make the time when she comes to a venue near you.
ANA Popovic Band Members:
– Ana Popovic: lead guitar & vocals
– Eric Robert: keys
– Brad Walker: saxophone
– Jon Ramm-Gramenz: trombone
– Buthel Burns: bass + b-vocals
– Cedric Goodman: drums + b-vocals
http://anapopovic.com/home
Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris
Set List:
ANA Shuffle
Can You Stand the Heat
Object of Obsession
Love You Tonight
Train
She Was a Doorman
Long Road Down
New Coat of Paint
Woman To Love
Can’t You See What You’re Doing to Me
Fencewalk
If Tomorrow Was Today
Can You See Me
Medley:
Show How Strong You Are
Going Down
Crosstown Traffic

 

Dixie Dregs – Dawn of the Dregs Tour 2018 – Ridgefield Playhouse – March 14, 2018

The Ridgefield Playhouse hosted the Progressive jazz/rock fusion band Dixie Dregs for a tour many thought would never happen. The Dregs original members have reunited this year to the delight of many long time hard core fans. The Dixie Dregs original members are Steve Morse on lead guitar, Andy West on bass, Allen Sloan on violin, Steve Davidowski on keyboards and Rod Morgenstein rounding out the band on drums. This is the 45th anniversary reunion tour and though through the years other members have come and gone it was fantastic that the five members who started the band were able to come together for this tour.

The crowd enthusiastically awaited the bands arrival onstage. The energy in the air was palpable. Many in the lobby and theater were reminiscing about when they saw the Dregs the first time or the last time they saw them. One thing was clear though that this reunion of the original Dregs was an eagerly anticipated event. It was obvious that throughout the years the band has garnered a mass of loyal fans referred to as “Dregheads.”
Getting these original members of the Dixie Dregs together after four decades was something most didn’t expect. Even though in recent years it seems many bands of the 70’s era are regrouping for one last tour and run at pleasing long time fans, each of the members of Dixie Dregs have gone on to live their separate lives and some even had other polar opposite careers. Allen Sloan is a physician and Andy West a video game designer. Rod Morgenstein went on to add his percussion talents to many bands including Winger. Steve Morse is probably the most active in the music world over these previous decades as he has been playing as lead guitarist for Deep Purple while also performing with Flying Colors and The Steve Morse Band.
They perform jazz, rock and bluegrass with a classical overtone to their music. What may be called progressive country rock with a hint of jazz fusion. Their tempo and rhythm change up in one song keeping your ears entertained with the changing sound and tones and variations in the beat. With that being said it has always been hard to categorize the Dixie Dregs into one genre.
The night was a mix of the broad range of cuts from various albums in the bands history. The majority of the selections were from the Freefall album. They also performed “Take If Off The Top” and “Day 444” off the What If album. It was as if they had been playing for all these years together and each song was performed flawlessly.
The second set included “Cruise Control,” one of the better known Dixie Dreg songs. The set crossed over from the heavier rock influenced to a more classical sound. This set showed the range of the band and their ability to fuse different genres into a consistently enjoyable set that satisfied the audience and left them wanting more. The band returned to the stage for the encore with “Bloodsucking Leaches.”
It was indeed a rare chance to see a classic lineup play so well and enjoy their time onstage together again. They had and continue to have a unique sound. With many bands saying they’re performing farewell tours in the last few years, it’s hard to know if you’ll ever see this combination together again. If you do get the chance to catch the Dixie Dregs on this tour do try get out and see them. You won’t be disappointed and this chance may not come again.

 

 

http://dixiedregs.com

Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris
Setlist
Set1:
Divided We Stand
Free Fall
Holiday
Assembly Line
Twiggs Approved
Take It Off the Top
What If
Country House Shuffle
Moe Down
Odyssey
Set 2:
Violin Solo (Allen Sloan)
Northern Lights
Go for Baroque
Day 444
Refried Funky Chicken
Leprechaun Promenade
Wages of Weirdness
The Bash
Cruise Control
Encore:
Bloodsucking Leeches

The Dixie Dregs coming to Ridgefield Playhouse in Ridgefield, CT

Critically acclaimed and six-time GRAMMY®-Award nominated musical virtuoso’s, THE DIXIE DREGS (a.k.a The Dregs), are gearing up for a national U.S. tour starting February 28. The performances will mark the first time in 40 years the original band–Steve Morse (guitar), Andy West (bass), Allen Sloan (violin), Steve Davidowski (keyboards) and Rod Morgenstein (drums)–will share the stage. Tickets are on sale now.

The “DAWN OF THE DREGS” 25-date tour–with additional dates to be announced soon–will take the band across the country starting on February 28 in Clearwater, FL and make stops in Atlanta, Charleston, Washington D.C., New York City, Boston, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Chicago, Milwaukee, Boulder and Phoenix, among many others,before wrapping April 25 in Dallas, TX. For more information about the “DAWN OF THE DREGS” tour and to purchase tickets, visit: http://dixiedregs.com/.

“This tour is the result of the overwhelming requests we’ve received from a loyal audience of die hard Dregheads, and new fans who have never seen us perform live, but discovered the band for the first time through Steve’s membership in Deep Purple, or Rod as the drummer for Winger,” said Dreg’s bassist, Andy West. “We can’t wait to play for them all,” adds West.

For guitar aficionados, Steve Morse needs no introduction, and his place in the pantheon of guitar greats is certain. But in fact, his career started with the DIXIE DREGS. The band traces its true beginnings to the band Dixie Grit, which started in a Georgia high school with Steve on guitar and Andy West on bass. Dixie Grit morphed into the DIXIE DREGS at the University of Miami School of Music, where Allen Sloan (violin) and Rod Morgenstein (drums) joined up with Steve and Andy, who were the “dregs” of Dixie Grit.

The members of the DIXIE DREGS remained committed to attending the University of Miami School of Music, which hosted a lively and talented musical community during their tenure, including future greats Pat Metheny, Jaco Pastorius, T Lavitz, and Bruce Hornsby, among many others. In 1975, the group’s demo album, The Great Spectacular, was recorded at the University of Miami and then re-released on CD in 1997.

After graduation, the band moved back to Augusta where Steve Davidowski (keyboards) completed the band. The band paid its dues and honed its skills playing in bars and venues throughout the South in the mid-70’s. They established themselves in the firmament of American instrumental music, seamlessly fusing rock with progressive and jazz elements to create a uniquely instrumental-driven style that has stood the test of time.

Based on a short demo and a tip from former Allman Brothers keyboardist Chuck Leavell along with legendary Allman/Dregs tour manager Twiggs Lyndon, Capricorn Records signed the DIXIE DREGS to record Free Fall (1977). The success and critical acclaim of Free Fall announced the DIXIE DREGS to the world, and after its release, they would become a cult-favorite band that would have a lasting influence on much of modern rock.
Keep your eyes on www.dixiedregs.com and www.facebook.com/TheDixieDregs for all the news.

POCO – Infinity Music Hall Hartford, CT – February 24, 2018

Poco played the Infinity Music Hall to a sold out crowd of dedicated fans. The band is celebrating their 50th anniversary and is still giving it their all.
Poco in 2018 consists of Rusty Young – pedal steel guitar, banjo, Dobro, guitar, mandolin, lap steel guitar, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, vocals; Jack Sundrud – bass, acoustic guitar, vocals ; Michael Webb – keyboard, accordion and mandolin; and Rick Lonow on drums, percussion.
Rusty Young, Richie Furay, Jim Messina, Randy Meisner and George Grantham were the founding members of the band Poco in 1968. Although most of the original members are no longer playing the four present this night were very much into making an enjoyable night for everyone. They are still holding up the traditions of one of the most well loved bands of the late 20th century.
Rusty started out the evening with a big smile and made the comment that the guys in the band were “All Fired Up” before launching into the well known song. The audience clapped along and got right into the spirit of the night.
They then played “Good Feelin’ To Know” which was followed by “Rose of Cimarron” It seemed like Rusty may have had a slight cold and coughed a couple of times during the songs. But, that didn’t detract from his recognizable voice and the band’s top notch playing.
Jim Messina, one of the founding members and the opening act to Poco, did a walk on to play a couple of songs. You could tell by the banter between Messina and Young that they still after all these years are friends and enjoy the chance to perform together. The audience got a kick out of it too.
Rusty Young quipped between songs about Poco’s history. He shared with the audience a couple of stories. He and Messina joked about a some of the early years and what they went through together.
Being the only 50 year member of the band Young did make one solo album “Waitin’ for the Sun” but that was recently. The bulk of his half century in the band was only recording with Poco.
The audience sang along to one of the best known favorites “Crazy Love.” Everyone knew the words with no prompting. It was nice to hear an entire hall of voices singing with the band.
Michael Webb got in a guitar solo as he sang lead on “That’s What Rock and Roll Will Do” from the All Fired Up album. A tune that’s about the rock and roll life on the road. It was a little more hard edged than the normal Poco songs and showed a different side to the band.
Jack Sundrud took the lead on the heartbreaking tune “Hard Country.” He did a wonderful job with the song that describes the loss of farms on a grand scale and the emotions of those left behind.
It’s still fantastic to see Poco out there and performing a setlist that most people are pleased to hear. There are certain songs that most bands know the public associate with their name, their anthems so to speak. Rusty and the band are keen to make sure that even though they can’t do all the hits and songs the audience calls out for they give a great mix. Each band member is allowed to shine and take the lead on different songs.
It was a wonderful evening of great toe tapping music that brings you back to a simpler time. One of my favorite bands of all time, I’m glad they’re still hanging together after all this time and making such enjoyable music.
http://pocoband.com/
Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris

 

Setlist
All Fired Up
Good Feelin to Know
Rose of Cimarron
Pickin Up the Pieces
My Friend
Call It Love
Heart of the Night
Keep on Tryin’
Crazy Love
Rock and Roll
Hard Country

Joe Satriani’s G3 Tour

Joe Satriani’s G3 Tour

Oakdale Theatre – Wallingford,CT
Feb. 8, 2018

Joe Satriani – John Petrucci – Phil Collen

 

Guitarist Joe Satriani began the G3 tours over twenty years ago and since its inception the legendary guitar player has invited two other highly regarded rock guitarists to play each tour with him. The artists each have their own set to showcase their solo talents before coming together at the end of the concert to jam for a few songs. This entire style of show works really well. To keep the tours fresh and the audiences wondering the lineup of artists changes each tour. This year’s lineup includes G3 veteran John Petrucci of Dream Theater and first-timer Phil Collen of Def Leppard.
First up was Phil Collen’s band Delta Deep. They played a great set of blues-rock songs. Debbi Blackwell-Cook, Collen’s bandmate and blues singer gave a wonderful range pushing performance belting out the blues. At one point her and Collen battled voice and guitar pitting her multi range voice against his guitar from the deepest baritone to high soprano. Collen’s guitar and her voice add such a soulful sound to the music.
Joining Collen and Blackwell-Cook was Grammy Award winner Forrest Robinson on drums and Robert DeLeo on bass. Their set included Delta Deep’s “Mistreated” and “Down in the Delta.” These cuts off the newly released “East Coast Live” album were rolled out with a great reception by the audience. Delta Deep and their blues sound was a hit with the crowd.
Setlist:
Quadrant 4 (Billy Cobham cover)
Yo 2
Joe
Bless These Blues
Burnt Sally
Mistreated
Down in the Delta
John Petrucci’s set began with the lights dimmed to a deep dark blue and the bass notes started a somber reverberation through the theater. The founding member of the progressive metal band Dream Theater performed “Wrath of the Amazons” and “Jaws of Life.” Both songs were in the heavy metal genre he is best known for. He laughed after those songs and said “Someone has to bring the heavy metal.”
Following those songs Petrucci who was backed by Dave LaRue on bass and Mike Mangini on drums lightened the mood by launching into “The Happy Song.” That was followed by “Glasgow Kiss” also a lighter tune from his Suspended Animation album Then it was back on to his heavier music metal riffs that he is best known for. His playing was spot on and during “Damage Control” he showed his expert alternate picking technique that is difficult to master but Petrucci makes look effortless.
Set List:
Wrath of the Amazons
Jaws of Life
The Happy Song
Damage Control
Glassy-Eyed Zombies
Glasgow Kiss

Joe Satriani finished out the trio taking the stage with his chrome guitar. Starting off the set with energy he played with passion and excitement moving from side to side of the stage. He even crouched down at one point and played with his teeth. His popular songs “Satch Boogie,” “Always With Me, Always With You,” were done perfectly and the master at solos made his guitar scream and moan.
While “Surfing With the Alien,” was played a screen projected behind the band animations of the Silver Surfer. Satriani’s excitement, animation and endless energy were infectious throughout his performance. He had the crowd on their feet clapping and shouting.
I particularly liked “Cherry Blossoms,” off his newly released 16th album “What Happens Next.” This was followed by “Thunder High on the Mountain.” He then rolled right into “Super Funky Badass” also from “What Happens Next.” If Satraini is growing older he is hiding it well because he looked like a 20 something rocker with his full range of facial expressions as he coaxed every whine and scream out of his guitar. It’s like his guitar is just an extension of his arms and part of his being.
Satriani is an amazing guitarist and his set flew by in a flurry of wailing guitars and drums leaving the audience wanting more. His band with Mike Keneally on keyboards/guitar, Bryan Beller on bass and Joe Travers on drums was a fantastic accompaniment to Satraini. At one point the drummer Joe Travers did an awesome solo that had the crowd cheering and stomping for more. A grand performance by the legend Satriani and his band.
Setlist
Energy
Catbot
Satch Boogie
Cherry Blossoms
Thunder High on the Mountain
Super Funky Badass
Cataclysmic
Headrush
Circles
Always With Me, Always With You
Drum Solo
Summer Song

G3 Jam
After Satriani’s band concluded their set Petrucci, Collen and Blackwell-Cook joined him on the stage and jammed together. The three played “Highway Star” by Deep Purple, “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder and “Going Down” by The Alabama State Troupers.
Highway Star (Deep Purple song)
Superstition (Stevie Wonder cover)
Going Down (The Alabama State Troupers cover)
The evening was great and the crowd enthusiastic and rose for ovations numerous times during the show in appreciation. I haven’t seen a G3 tour before and the unique presentation was refreshing. I would definitely see a G3 show again. Joe Satriani and his G3 tours is something any guitar enthusiasts or fan of great music should see. The G3 2018 tour will continue this year in both the USA and Europe though June. If you get the chance don’t miss it.
More information on the G3 Tour and each individual artist:
http://www.satriani.com/G3
http://www.satriani.com
http://www.philcollenpc1.com
http://www.deltadeep.net
http://johnpetrucci.com
Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris

Joe Satriani will be at the Oakdale Theater in Wallingford, CT Thursday February, 8th

 

Joe Satriani (Photo by Larry Dimarzio)
Joe Satriani will be at the Oakdale Theater on Thursday, February 8th as part of his kickoff of the 2018 G3 tour.
This tour will be showcasing the guitarists  newly released 16th solo album, What Happens Next.
Accompanying Satriani on the tour will be Bryan Beller – Bass, Joe Travers – Drums, Mike Keneally – Guitar/Keyboards
What Happens Next was recorded with a remarkable power trio: Satriani on guitar, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple/Black Country Communion) on bass and drummer Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers), the latter reuniting with Satriani for the first time since their work in the supergroup Chickenfoot.
If you can’t catch Satriani in Wallingford he will also be appearing in Boston on February, 15 at the Orpheum Theatre.
Check back in with New England Rock Review for a complete review and photos from this Thursday’s show at the Oakdale Theater.
For more information about Joe Santriani visit http://www.satriani.com/

Joe Bonamassa

Joe Bonamassa

Oakdale Theater, Wallingford, CT

August 8, 2017

This hot August night was extra steamy with the arrival of smokin’ Joe Bonamassa and his blues-rock performance at the Oakdale Theater in Wallingford, CT. He was classily dressed in his now signature suit, cool shades and slicked back hair.
Bonamassa noted that he had played at the Oakdale theater in the round 27 years ago when he opened for B.B. King as a young upcoming and obviously talented blues guitarist. He was at the time only 13 years old. Though he admitted the when and where he was eluded him until reminded by a stagehand just exactly why he remember the place, there was a déjà vu moment when he arrived at the venue.
The night started out with gritty sound of “This Train” to warm the audience up for “Mountain Climbing”.
Bonamassa crooned out “Blues of Desperation” off the album of the same name which debuted a #8 of Billboards top 200. He played cuts off this fantastic album including the searing, slashing jam on “No Good Place For the Lonely” that left the audience cheering.
A master at changing up the pace he slid into the heartbreaking and soulful “Breaking Up Someone’s Home
” On “Boogie with Stu”, a Led Zeppelin cover, Reese Wynans got a chance to shine on the keyboard.
The instrumental “Black Winter/Django” was seven and a half minutes of pure showman with riffs and hand movements that were so intricate they memorized the crowd. He finished the song motioning the audience to raise out of their seats. Those who weren’t already standing rose up and continued to stand right though a stirring rendition of Zeppelin’s “How Many More Times” and into the stomping cries for an encore.
They finished up the night with a tribute to B.B King and a rendition of his “Hummingbird”
At the age of 40 he has a longstanding career and has accompanied some the guitar greats of our age. He played with Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton and too many others to name. Mentored by Danny Gatton in his youth and introduced to the stage since his early years, he is now touring worldwide to sold out houses. Bonamassa’s name has become one of the most recognizable names in the blues scene and he has earned his place among the greats by paying his dues over time.
Bonamassa has topped the all artists by having 15 #1 Billboard Blues Albums. Funny thing about the blues. It seems if you don’t suffer the blues you’re not taken as seriously. Bonamassa did not have to suffer much of the low down, down and out life of the early blues masters like the 3 Kings (BB King, Albert King and Freddie King) he admired and even did a tribute tour in honor of, but he has all the feeling and style that makes a truly memorable blues guitarist stand out.
This year’s touring show includes a horn section consisting of Lee Thornburg playing trumpet and Paulie Cerra on saxaphone. Anton Figs was on drums and bassist Michael Rhodes. The three women vocalists all hail from Australia. Juanita Tippins, Mahalia Barnes and Jade Macrae gave a soulful, deep performance. Each woman is a standout singer but together they were wonderful and rounded out the band perfectly, especially on “Slow Train” which showcased each in a solo.
Bonamassa’s baritone resounded throughout the hall as he seared through a mix of his own music and a intermingling of covers from other great artists that he gave his own distinct flavor. He has already made his mark in the blues world and I hope he will continue to entertain for many decades to come. It was a great performance by the entire band and I hope he does not wait 27 more years before he revisits the Oakdale Theater again.
If you get a chance don’t miss his show. This is a guitarist everyone should see at least once. But, if you do see Bonamassa once will not be enough.

 

Bonamassa’s band members:
Anton Fig – Drums
Reese Wynans – Keyboards
Lee Thornburg – Trumpet
Paulie Seron – Saxophone
Michael Rhodes – Bass
Whinita Tipons – Singer
Jade Mcgregor – Singer
Mahalia Barnes – Singer
SET LIST:
This Train
Mountain Climbing
Blues of Desperation
No Good Place for the Lonely
How Deep This River Runs
Breaking Up Someone’s Home
Angel of Mercy (Albert King cover)
Slow Train
Driving Towards the Daylight
Boogie with Stu (Led Zeppelin cover)
Last Kiss
Black Winter
How Many More Times (Led Zeppelin cover)
Encore:
Hummingbird (B.B. King cover)
Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris

Robert Cray 2017

The Robert Cray Band

May 26, 2017
The Garde Arts Center

The Garde Arts Center audience was taken on a blues train on May 26th with a great performance by Grammy award winner, blues guitarist and singer Robert Cray. Cray is 63 but his energetic performance and crisp clear voice leave no indication of his years. He still sounds as good as he did in the 80’s. Better actually as his voice has a deeper tone and resonance while he can still hit the high notes with strength and ease.

Cray’s guitar playing and solos are a delight to hear. He and the band knew each note so well. They mesh and change tempos with ease leading up to and following Cray’s solos. Band members bassist Richard Cousins, keyboardist Dover Weinberg and drummer Terence Clark all performed flawlessly.
The set started with “The Same Love” followed by “I’ll Always Remember You.”  Cray’s soulful voice echoed in the Garde. Cray then sang on to “Poor Johnny.”  He makes the most difficult of riffs look easy.
They played “It Doesn’t Show” and you could hear a pin drop with the exception of a shout or two from the audience as they got softer and softer on the notes.
Cray was appreciative of the audience and he acknowledged how good the music sounded in the Garde Arts Center and  that it was an excellent venue to play. He also localized the song “Phone Booth” to the audience’s delight by saying “I’m back in New London baby” to cheers from the crowd.
Cray got his start in music in the 1960’s in Newport News Virginia. That’s where he played in his first band, The One-Way Street. He then moved  west and in while living in Oregon in the late 70’s formed the Robert Cray Band. Many decades later he is a world renowned blues and soul wonder. Cray has five Grammy Awards and 15 nominations. In 2011 Cray was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.
They introduced two of his new songs “I Don’t Care” and “Aspen” off the Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm newly released EP. This was recorded in Memphis and produced in collaboration with Steve Jordan.
The Opening Act was John Fries and Corina Malburn. The duo played songs off their newly released EP “Unreleased.” I really liked their music. It was upbeat and entertaining. John Fries on guitar and Corina Malburn on Upright Bass gave a great performance with a rich sound. Do go see them if you get the chance.
Set List

 http://www.robertcray.com/tour

Review by Donna Erichsen

Photos by George Bekris