Sunday, June 13, 2010

Rain, Rain, Go Away

The Chicago Blues Fest received its share of thunderstorms, and yet a reasonably large crowd still attended. Sadly I believe that the festivities days are numbered. The City has reduced its size compared to years past. There were no B.B. King or Buddy Guy type big acts, although Billy Branch, John Primer, Billy Boy Arnold and Lurrie Bell headlined Saturday night. Sunday evening's line-up is sure going to get wet.

I attended Saturday with my good friend Jim and  L V Banks (seen dancing in the opening of this video). The rain forced an early departure of 3:30 PM. Before we departed we got a chance to see Toronzo Cannon, He is an upcoming artist that will soon break nationally. Toronzo is a great artist. He played twice Saturday. Once as the headliner on the Gibson Stage then as a guitar player in the Chris Harper Band. Toronzo can also be seen in the same video with L V.  Toronzo is the southpaw guitar player with the tilted hat. Great job Toronzo.

Sunday I attended with my Blues Mentor Smilin' Bobby. Bobby has played five years in a row at the fest and because of this they would not book him again. He called to see if I wanted to go with to help try to sell some CD's. I did. I was going anyway to pass out flyers for the "All Star Night Of The Blues" Electro Glide Records show   September 11, 2010. Go to their site for more info.

It is amazing the amount of folks that come to the blues fest from all over the United States and the World. As Bobby walked through the crowd fans stopped to say hello. There was a couple from Cincinnati, Ohio that attended because of Smilin Bobby. They were overwhelmed with excitement that they finally got a chance to meet him.  Brits sat at the table with us and we had a couple of good laughs. I like the Brits, my stepmother is one.

The rain stayed away until 4:00 PM and then the skies opened with a torrential, typhoon type downpour. Driving south on Lake shore Drive I glanced towards the festival grounds and observed a sea of Golf Umbrellas . There are at least a handful of die-hard blues fans left. God Bless them one and all.

Love to you all from America's Heartland and of course,
Terry Lape AKA Gatotman

Friday, June 4, 2010

King of The Blues Competition

This past Thursday I happened to go to the local music store. I needed a new set of strings for the Hummingbird Gibson guitar I have that is on loan from my guitar buddy Jim. The place is Guitar Center. I had the pleasure of working there for 30 days. In those thirty days I sold over $15,000 in merchandise. I received a whooping three hundred dollar commission. In my first week there I knocked the top salesman off his perch. He wasn't too happy about the competition and even had the nerve to tell me that I was selling the wrong way.  Mind you after I sold more product than he did. He should have asked what I was doing instead of criticizing. It turned out his job was to help me increase sales, he was certainly a. "Misguided Individual".  At the time I was making more money on Ebay, so I quit.

Before I continue with this report I must say that I listen to a lot of blues, traditional delta blues. With that said let's take a look. (in order of appearance)

First up was Nick Galik. I have known Nick and his family for about three years. Nick is an outstanding player that leans towards Jazz fusion with a spattering of blues Rock. I have suggested that he stick with the blues, because that is what he does best. He needs some strong management behind him.
Above 17 year old Mackenzie Ryan who was the only woman in the competition and my favorite. She can play the blues with the best of them. She has a very laid back approach and in my opinion was the best example there of traditional blues. Mark my words with more seasoning Mackenzie will burst through as a top female blues player. I did not hear her sing, but I hope I get the opportunity to in the future.
I also had the pleasure of meeting her parents. They are great people and very supportive of their daughter.  Good job Mackenzie. One additional note she studies guitar with a teacher that I studied under by the name of David Stone. David is undoubtedly one of the best guitarists I have ever heard. he can play any style at any time. He can comp with the best.
Next is Jim Lerose. I could not get a real good picture of Jim cause he was moving too fast for the camera. Just kidding I screwed it up sorry Jim. Jim was great and well seasoned. He hails from Dyer Indiana. Very nice player.
This is Jim Kroak from Mokena , Illinois. Jim-is another very seasoned player who did an outstanding job. I do not know much about him, but I can tell you this he is an awesome guitarist.

Jim Karones hails from Oak Lawn , Illinois. he is about the same age as I am and it turns out we grew up not too far from each other small world. He and I even knew some of the players from the old neighborhood. Jim's style does lean more towards rock and not blues. that is not a bad think because the world needs rock musicians too.Great Jjob jim, but I feel the judges were too traditional. 

Here is Michael Flynn. Mike is from Orland park. Mike won the competition and is moving on to the regionals. He played a straight style with no effects and overdrive. He has a very nice clean tone. 
Great Job Mike and good luck with the next stage.

All of the players were awesome and I believe the judges are the ones that had the most difficult task. 
Picture Left to right are Fernando Jones, Sammy Fender and Jimmy Johnson.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010