Thursday, Black Eyed Sally’s was once again the scene for the Connecticut Blues Society Band Challenge Prelim #4. Even with some hectic maneuvering, the night was another success. Originally, four bands were scheduled. An early evening phone call from the Bob Miller Band notified Sue Meeker that a serious car accident on the way to Sally’s meant they were dropping out. Time and schedules were changed and an extended jam would fill the night.
The 3 bands that did compete were excellent. Tom Retano as MC moved the night along with his announcements and comments.
First up for those that like a little soul with their blues was the Mighty Soul Drivers. Handling the vocals was Bob Orsi.
Always focused and energetic, his singing was intense. A veteran band, including sax and piano, they filled the room and brought the dancers out. The Mighty Soul Drivers are equally relaxed doing soul covers or hitting you with originals needed for the competition.
Now for the harp, guitar blues crowd, the Mike Crandall Band was ready. The effort Mike puts into every song is evident.
Playing some Chicago blues and using the talents of Shawn Leonard made people take notice.
Another veteran band that put some hard work into the show. Crandall showed once again, why you want his harp in your band.
Both these bands had previously been in CTBS finals and the Crandall band had made it to the Finals at the IBC, in Memphis, twice.
So Bluzberry Pi had its work cut out for them. They didn’t disappoint giving a strong performance. An excellent set and overall it was a very entertaining night. Leader Vinnie Cervoni nailed the vocals and was doing some nice guitar work.
The powerful voice of Carissa Mastriano added a nice touch to the band. Her enthusiasm for the music was strong and tasty. They had a solid support crew backing them up.
The Jam filled in the time while Ray Meeker tallied the scores. A lot of judges and talented bands kept Ray working.
And the winner is Mike Crandall Band and The Mighty Soul Drivers.
That’s right, it was a tie, both move on to the finals on June 21, at the VFW, in West Hartford.
In addition, the scoring system determined that the wild card is One Eyed Johnny and the Grave Diggers.
Some other sights from the evening.
The evening is filled with people meeting up and getting a chance to catch up.
See you at the Finals
Produced, directed, photographed by Domenic Forcella