Ex-President’s File- Blues News





Karen Nugent is the ex-president of The Boston Blues Society, a tireless volunteer and live Blues music supporter and writer, you may know her now, or meet her on the dancefloor in the future. This is her singular take on the scene as she sees it.

Let’s start off by being thankful that this issue is printed, after our brave Ms. Editor-Publisher survived a harrowing sea disaster in January. Seriously, Diana could have been killed (three other people were killed) and I am so relieved she made it!

In my last two columns, I wrote about Blues on the North Shore. Well, it’s a new year, and there has been another change of venue for Sistah K.

I’m back in the old stomping grounds of Central Massachusetts. What can I say except condo living did not pan out for myself and the mister. (Not to mention always having to drive on notorious Rt. 128. Horrors!) And doesn’t it figure that during that brief time away from Worcester County, I managed to miss two shows I desperately would have liked to have seen.

You’d think that my hero, Bob Margolin, could have performed at this TINY place in Bolton, MA at some point during my 18 years in a nearby town. No. He played this summer at Slater’s on Route 117 – yes, the very same Route 117 we lived on and the same Slater’s I drove by every day to and from work. He had Dave Maxwell with him and it was an intimate, sold out show.

OK – enough grumbling about that. (But then there was the Coco Montoya show at the Bull Run in Shirley. Yup, the same club we frequented for years…)
In fact, the Bull Run was the first venue I visited upon returning. The fabulous Sugar Ray and the Bluetones played there in January, following the release of their terrific new CD, “Living Tear to Tear.” Did I mention the band, which has been a New England institution for decades, is up for SEVEN Blues Music Awards in Memphis in May?
The show was tremendous. They did several tunes from the new CD, including the title track, “Misery” and “Things Could Be Worse” the one that is nominated for blues song of the year. It has a great message, too.
But the highlights of the show for me were Monster Mike Welch’s searing performance of Otis Rush’s “Double Trouble;” and keyboardist Anthony Geraci’s extended boogie-woogie toward the end of the set.
Man, Welch doing that Rush song took me back to Nightstage in Cambridge, MA in the 80s, when the man himself did “Double Trouble” with Ronnie Earl. Outstanding! Thank you, Mike, for bringing back such a good memory.
A surprise that night was the opening act, featuring a young man from Billerica. Ben Knight, who was sort of described as a street performer, busker type, blew the nearly sold-out crowd away with his singing and pounding keyboards a la Ray Charles. I thoroughly enjoyed his repertoire, which included Howlin’ Wolf (“300 Pounds” love that song!), John Lennon (“Jealous Guy”), some Black Keys, “Iko Iko,” Stray Cat Strut, “Messin’ with the Kid,” “Minnie the Moocher” and even some Reggae. Quite the diverse set and every song was performed with high energy and a big grin. Ben is incredibly talented, and I predict we’ll be seeing a lot of him in the future. (Ed. Note: He is performing Chan’s on March 7th)
Anyway, just before we left the coast, there was a fine show at the re-opened historic Larcom Theatre in Beverly starring Memphis-based Victor Wainwright and Memphis-from-Boston transplant Gracie Curran; and the Lydia Warren Band. Who knew such an old, yet ornate, venue would have such a kick-ass sound system. Nice friendly staff, too.

Speaking of venues, while we still bemoan the loss of Smoken’ Joe’s in Brighton, it seems the Irish pub, Corrib, right next door, has taken over the fun and popular Eddie Scheer’s Tuesday Night All Stars. Slainte!

Joe himself recently celebrated his 60th birthday – a happy event for all. Hope to see more of Wendy and Joe this year.

On the Metro West scene, the good news is that the former Acton Jazz Café is making headway in its new digs in Littleton,  MA just a few miles away from its last locale on Route 2A in Acton. The new club, called Act III, has opened already as a Mediterranean restaurant serving healthy, wonderfully presented food. The building is shared with art, crafts, and pottery galleries, and recorded music from previous shows fills the air.
Unfortunately, there will only be occasional live music until owner Gwenn Vivian, a lovely musician herself, gets a decision from the state on a waiver for an expensive sprinkler system.

And on the Western Front – west of Worcester that is – that feline guitar master Wildcat O’Halloran auditioned for “America’s Got Talent” in New York City. The producers are reviewing the tapes and they will announce the winners in April.

Meanwhile, you collectors should mark your calendars for Ron Levy’s “Heavy Record and Musician’s Instruments Show,” March 15 and May 10 at the Do-Right Antiques and Collectables Flea Market in Dudley, MA.
Ron, that crazy, talented keyboardist whose band Ron Levy’s Wild Kingdom entertained us for years (and don’t forget he played with B.B. King and Albert King, among others) has some cool merchandise.
Ron believes it’s the first show of its kind, and said he will also be hosting special guests and local musicians of note. In addition, you can rent a table to sell your own stuff. Visit www.Levtron.com for information.

See you on the dance floor!




'Ex-President’s File- Blues News' have 1 comment

  1. March 5, 2015 @ 2:11 pm The Blues Audience / Current Issue February/March 2015

    […] interview with Chris Fitz.  Also an exciting story about a cruise gone wrong from our publisher. Blues news by Sistah Karen Nugent and MOST IMPORTANTLY the Feb/March schedules of New England’s finest Blues bands and […]

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