Years ago, Los Angeles supplanted Chicago as the second largest city in the United States. The second city moniker is still part of Chicago’s vernacular, except perhaps as it applies to blues music. Now I have to be honest that, in terms of blues, I have argued that nowhere on earth is there a greater blues scene than my hometown of Los Angeles. Setting aside that provincial discussion for the moment on one Saturday in April, the city with big shoulders flexed its musical muscle and reminded Californians that down home, post war, electric blues is alive and well and lives in Chicago’s own Lurrie Bell.
It also lives in a couple of young Californians. I caught up with guitarist/vocalist Mark Mumea and harmonica player/vocalist Karl Cabbage in San Pedro, California, which is where my windy city blues odyssey began on Saturday, April 20th. I ended up in San Dimas, CA, later that day to enjoy a marvelous evening of music featuring Lurrie Bell. Enjoy a feature on a brand new band made up of Mark Mumea and Karl Cabbage called The Silver Kings. They will be making their live public performance debut at the BLUES JUNCTION Productions Hospitality Suite at the Double Tree Hotel in Dana Point, CA, immediately following day one of the Doheny Blues Festival on Saturday, May 18th.
You can also read my thoughts on the performance by Lurrie Bell. In addition, enjoy a photo essay from Alex Gardner and Mike Lovato, who again share their talent with our readers.
Karl, along with guitarists Pete Fazzini, Jimmie Zollo and drummer Kurt Kaulker will be performing as part of the massive Doheny Blues Festival which is held annually at the idyllic Dana Point State Beach Park. The following weekend, 95 miles up the road in Simi Valley’s Santa Susana Community Park is the Simi Valley Cajun and Blues Festival. The blues stage in Simi Valley features a rock solid blues line up. At 8:00pm following the festival the official After Party takes place at the Grand Vista Hotel’s Arena night club. For details on this event check out the tab that reads Straight up Blues Productions -Coming Attractions.
The following weekend a series of concerts takes place with one of the world’s premier blues bands. International festival favorites, B.B. and the Blues Shacks will be making their way from Saxony, Germany out to Southern California for a four stop mini U.S. tour. Information on these dates is also on the tab that reads Straight up Blues Productions – Coming Attractions.
For those in the Orange County area, we have details on the B.B. and the Blues Shacks show at the world famous Tiki Bar. Check out the tab that reads World Class Blues in the O.C. – Coming Attractions. Also, get to know B.B. and the Blues Shacks a little better and enjoy a conversation I had with the pair of blues brothers from Germany who front this great band.
As a tribute to her friend Randy Chortkoff and Delta Groove Music, our resident culinary columnist, Velinda the Taco Girl has a new recipe called, The Delta Groove Taco. In my discussion with Michael and Andreas Arlt they mentioned one of the things, besides playing music of course, is to have some good Mexican food when they get to California. Before, during and after their show at the Tiki Bar, Velinda will be serving up some of the best tacos this old gringo has ever had.
B.B. and the Blues Shacks are not the only European musicians to perform in California this spring. A band out of England called The Rolling Stones have a few dates out here to launch their North American tour. I figured these guys just don’t get enough press so I thought I would share my thoughts on what has been called the world’s greatest rock and roll band.
Getting back to the Simi Valley Blues festival for a moment, part of that strong festival lineup will be a tribute to Finis Tasby. The Dallas native and long time Southern California resident suffered a massive stroke last December. He is currently convalescing in Santa Ana, CA. Earlier in 2012 he went into Kid Andersen’s Greaseland studio to record with the phenomenally talented Norwegian ex-pat. The results are nothing short of a contemporary blues masterpiece. This CD entitled, Snap Your Fingers on Bluebeat Music is just now being manufactured and will be making its official debut on May 18th at Charlie Lange’s Bluebeat Music store on the festival grounds at the Doheny Blues Festival. Charlie and the very best music retail store will then head up the road and set up shop at the Simi Valley Cajun and Blues Festival the next weekend. I thought the timing was right to put Finis Tasby in our Monthly Artist Spotlight.
Speaking of records, in anticipation of all the great live music that BLUES JUNCTION Productions will be taking part in, we have twenty songs from twenty albums from twenty artists who will be performing over the three week stretch starting on the third weekend of the month.
There is an interview I did some time back where I find the subject's thoughts on the blues inspirational. I have gone back and read it many times in the year and half or so since it was originally “published” in BLUES JUNCTION. The piece is called Blake’s Blues. It is a conversation I had with one of the most articulate thinkers on the subject of the blues, Al Blake. It has become in some ways what BLUES JUNCTION has come to represent.
Blake forwards some concepts and ideas I haven’t seen presented in the modern blues world. At the very least, you might find this piece enlightening, entertaining, thought provoking and fresh. It is an adult dose of gravitas in a world full of banality.
Thanks always for the continued support of our endeavors out here at BLUES JUNCTION Productions. I look forward to visiting with many of you in person over the next few weeks. Until then, be well and be in touch.
- David Mac