Blues Notes

When it comes to blues, I am way out of the musical loop--like when I figured interest in rap would die out after The Fat Boys lost popularity. In fact, I'm not sure I could have more ridiculously underestimated the interest in the blues as a genre of music. See, out of curiosity this morning I Googled "blues festival" just to see if there were many around Texas or in neighboring states. I imagined finding maybe a dozen or so big ones in the Southwest, a few Yankee contenders, maybe some smaller events in Canada. My very unscientific research found at least 400 festivals big enough to have a Web site, attract bands and create a decent amount of noise. And it's not confined to our shores. The Netherlands, Norway, Jamaica--they're in on the act, too, with eight between them. Even the Isle of Man jams with Bushy's Big Wheel Blues Festival every year.

Clearly for my own sake, I need to attend the eighth annual Texas International Blues Festival at the Sons of Hermann Hall in Deep Ellum this Sunday and acquaint myself with the blues-loving public. Drumming legend Buddy Miles of the Jimi Hendrix Experience (and that Claymation California raisin commercial) will be headlining the all-day festival, which will also feature Dallas-based Cold Blue Steel, a roadhouse-style group that has a sort of blues/boogie/shuffle blend of music. Dallas blues talent will include Andrew "Jr. Boy" Jones, Cookie McGee, Blue Lisa and the T-Bonz, Leo Hull & the Texas Blues Machine, Pete Barbeck & 7th Son and Far Cry. The Silvertones--four-time winners of the best blues category at the Dallas Observer Music Awards (including this year and last)--will be in attendance. Other bands include Kerrie Lepai and the Shifters, Texas Top Cats, Dead Awake and Persey Posey. It's enough of a lineup to be an educational experience.

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Leah Shafer

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