Our world is rich in human-made and naturally occurring musical sounds. It is a vibration that allows most of us to experience and participate in its expression and energy. In most genres the drive to release that spark of passion or transcend into the realm of calmness is what makes music magical; the Blues included.
Guy Hollerin’s Local Blues & Brews at the Holiday Inn near UM’s campus on Plymouth Rd. and US 23 has all the great danceable rhythm & blues you’ll need to lighten up Saturday nights. Join them as they begin their fifth years of bringing the finest local roots acts to our town. The first two Saturdays are big time with back-to-back ladies singing the blues for you.
Lady Sunshine & the X Band welcome you to the new year’s first Saturday night with soulful hip-shakin’ blues, on the 7th. Lady Sunshine and her 7-piece groove machine have been hard at work for almost 20 years providing some of the best R&B, soul, funk, and blues around that always “let the good times roll”. Her personable stage presence, garnered from singing in church at an early age, allows her to deliver an impassioned performance of poignant original music, blues and soul renditions. Original X Band members “Slick Rick” Humesky on guitar and Pat Padilla on tenor saxophone lead a top-notch Rhythm & Blues revue that keeps you dancin’ all night long.
Thornetta Davis is one of the most popular blues singers in the Detroit area. She also grew up singing in the church choir that seems prerequisite for all great blues singers. Her band of seasoned Detroit musicians will rock your troubles away with big time blues and soul from the Motor City on the 14th.
Harper & His Midwest Kind stop back on the 21st. The Australian-born songwriter hones his original music from the fusion American R&B, roots blues and world music. Recently located to the Midwest, his shows are always a unique performance, which include solos on the harmonica and the aboriginal didgeridoo. Check out his discography on the Blind Pig record label.
Boogie down with some fine jump blues and classic rockers with The Bluescasters on the 28th. The band features the stylish guitar work of local resident Brian Delaney, whose credits include tenures with Joe Summers gypsy-jazz trio, MrB’s Joybox Express, and the Vibratrons.
Dubious news has come in as of late. Live at PJ’s has been sold to new owners who have, for the month of January, cancelled the Thursday blues events which include Chicago blues guitar showman Eddy “The Chief” and Clearwater on the 12th and a multi-talented singer /songwriter/ keyboardist Deanna Bogart on the 26th. Word has it that negotiations between the booking agent, Peter Andrews of Blues Productions and the new owners will allow resumption in March of this series which is much welcomed in downtown Ann Arbor. The ever-popular Friday Happy Hour from 6PM to 9PM has also been put on temporary hold because of this change of hands.
Let’s hope the new owners realize that importance of keeping these highly entertaining and lucrative events on their music schedule. Ann Arbor has plenty of DJ-oriented electronic dance clubs already imbalanced with a dwindling number of venues that offer true live music.
Laith al-Saadil, Ann Arbor’s talented guitarist and singer leads the faithful every Monday night at Woodruff’s in Depot Town Ypsilanti with blazing guitar work, originals and covers of popular R&B, rock and jazz standards.
The 35th Annual Ann Arbor Folk Festival at Hill Auditorium unfortunately does not have any blues artists performing this year, but they are presenting blues-roots guitarist Keb Mo at the Royal Oak Music Theatre on the 20th.
The 18th Annual Anti-Freeze Blues Festival at the Magic Bag in Ferndale on the 7th will thaw out the icicles in your brain with some red -hot blues from Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, Thornetta Davis Johnnie Bassett, and Rattlesnake Shake.
The Detroit Blues Society is always ready to present you with their history and listings of the best blues in the Detroit area. Check out their website at www.detroitbluessociety.org.