The ride up to Thornton, NH, home of The White Mountain Boogie & Blues Festival, couldn’t have be easier, no traffic and it didn’t take long to see those BIG mountains in the Presidental range, gorgeous. Nice easy highway ride from Boston, Maine, Ohio, wherever!
The campers had been there starting on Thursday night, extending the weekend by another day! They had a erected a new stage that is very impressive, with a screen to the left that projected the musicians which I thought was very high tech, it was like a sports arena but I never saw a “kiss cam.”
There wasn’t a good place for me to take pictures, the $100 seats block any full front view, (but I snuck up into those seats with my VIP pass). There aren’t too many because I forgot my good camera but my little IPhone did pretty well.
I stayed at the Snowy Owl Inn (same place the musicians stay) which was very comfortable. I got to help Rick Estrin with his morning coffee. He is such a nice, personable man.
Reverend Raven (and The Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys) took the audience to “church.” Richard dedicated a song to me I have no idea why. I had met him earlier, I guess I made quite an impression on him. Just a nice man I guess. (I have since found out that his wife’s name is Diana, how embarassing) They were definitely a crowd favorite, there was a line a mile long to get their CD and have it autographed.
Rick Estrin & The Nightcats brought some serious Blues and a little fun on the side. He had a sort of silly song about loving women with “Big Butts.” I have never seen him with a woman so I have no proof of that. His Hammond B3 player also plays upright bass. When he plays the B3 he can play the bass lines with his feet! I like that arrangement and appreciate the talent it takes to do both.
Memphis, TN’s own Ghost Town Blues band was an interesting, a combination of musical styles, kind of a Blues oriented jam band, very entertaining. They “second lined” down from the hill to the stage with the trombone leading the way, the crowd loved that. The audience never stopped dancing during the entire set. GTBB had some unusual home made instruments, one was the lead guitar player’s grand mother’s silver ware box which he made into a guitar, a rhythm stick with a bunch of weird things attached to it like a scary looking doll, a HUGE dirty old bra, bells and feathers and the like, that was a big hit. The keyboard player was intense, he kept blowing huge plumes of smoke into the air, I found out later it was an electronic cigarette. Being from Memphis, they were very friendly, and they stayed around all day in the crowd, meeting people signing autographs and generally enjoying the scene. I did get a chance to talk to them about their band but I didn’t get any pictures of them, because I was working by myself . Always on the look out for new talent, the Benton’s introduced us to Nikki Hill. She did a lot of soul and some Motown she had a great energy and really engaged with the audience. My friend Jerry told me she reminded him of James Brown! She sure had that kind of energy, but she was much cuter. Her husband has an outstanding record I heard that weekend: Matt Hill and The Deep Fried Two CD TAP THAT THING.
The vendors provided delicious dishes and gave us some lovely artwork and craft to look at. I just love this festival it is so welcoming and comfortable.
There were so many other acts that were outstanding like Marcia Ball and Joe Louis Walker. My favorite moment of the festival was when Matt Anderson played a Steve Earl song on his acoustic guitar “My Old Friend The Blues.” I was swept away! How did he know I love that song! I had to leave to go home and I left the Boogie with a smile on my face! Congratulations on winning your 2015 Outstanding Blues Festival Award. It wasn’t you first time and it won’t be your last!