Here is the EconoLodge on 3rd St just up from Beale. Friendly place with a good crowd. One thing I would recommend is taking a Shuttle from the Airport. I think the Yellow Cab took the scenic route. Got to look into that. BBQ right next door.
The nice thing about the EconoLodge is the breakfast nook. A chance to relax and mull over the past evening with friends and new people who you are meeting for the first time.
Took a quick walk on Main just to stretch my legs and stopped by to see the Mayor, he wasn’t in. Mayor Wharton had given a speech at CCSU and I had a chance to talk BBQ with him.
The RoadHog’s favorite Southern food chain, Piggly Wiggly.
I was headed to The Westin to meet Tom Retano and Mike Crandall. On the way I stopped at Tater Red’s.
I will be back to look at the shirts.
Sitting waiting at The Westin spied Jake Kulak and family signing in. Then met up with Jim and Joanne from New Britain.
Finally Mike and Tom arrive. Not to mention the NBA Toronto Raptors were in town, staying at the hotel which is only a couple of steps from the FedEx Forum.
Well is was a walk to Gus’ Fried Chicken for lunch. Hint: go after 1 pm and I’m pretty sure you can get a table right off.
A satisfird Tom leaves Gus’.
Now what we were here for besides the food. The blues would start with the International Showcase.
People were picking up their tickets. Met up with Penny Lane from Giant96.com. Penny, a DJ, is broadcasting live from her hotel lobby. We met last year and she has some great guests, musicians, blues fans and some hard working members of the blues community.
The New Daisy is the first major music event. The International Showcase not only has the bands from around the world but present different styles of blues.
Waiting to get in to the New Daisy, I saw that the Ernest Withers gallery was open. Te woman if front of me from Wisconsin also had fond memories of Dr. Withers. Stopped in to say hello and met his grandson, Ernest. I plan on a longer visit. Withers had followed the Civil Rights movement and has some classic photos including the “I Am A Man” March.” He also has a picture of BB King and Elvis in their 30s.
So into the show. The line for the food was long but moving fast. This part of the “Beale Street Meet ‘N Greet has become a welcome tradition.
While I was standing up front taking some photos I met the mother of one of the Youth bands, Third Time ‘Round. They hail from Bunbury Western Australia.
Now while I was standing there, two things surfaced. One I was getting a lot of reflection off the artists, messing up the pictures and Two, I would not make it standing all night. So after a few shots I headed to the balconey. Maybe the pics wouldn’t be as good but I was going to enjoy the show.
First up was a band from the Phillpines. Great way to start with a lot of motion.
Glass Cherry Breakers – Phillipine Blues Society
Honey B & T-Bones – Finnish Blues Society
Romek Puchowski – Association of Blues & Rock ’70, Poland
Romek was a solo act and had some interesting technology at work. He put down his guitar and went thru the audience.
Rolin Humes – Croation Blues Forces
Jay was kept busy bringing the acts on, making announcements, and moving the evening. He also supplied some pertinent facts about the acts and their blues societies.
Katfight Keys – Great Lakes Blues Society – Ontario Canada
The vocals of the two players were a nice counterpoint to the more guitar structured bands.
Latvian Blues Band – Latvia
This was the band’s return after 5 years. Great connection to the audience.
For the next act, Jay made a statement with his shirt. It was something the crowd responding to and welcomed the act from France acknowledging the recent tradgey.
Mathieu Pesgue & Roll Pignault – France Blues
PapaBlues – Isreal Blues Society
another good sounding band.
Angela Esmeralda & Sebastiano Lillo – DeltaBlues, Italy
OK, I am a little biased here, but what is not to like about an Italian accent.
Joe Whitmer gave a little impromtu speech.
The Blue Turtles Band – Columbian Blues Society
Jay mentioned how Columbia is using blues to foster better cooperation with the United States. Many names familiar to IBCers have gone to Columbia.
They also sang some blues in their first language. It was interesting to hear how well theses bands sing the blues in English and nice to hear some blues with another sound.
The Two – Sierre Blues Society, Switzerland
This act was a duo with one from Switzerland and the other from an island off the coast of Africa. Again we were treated to a song in the native tongue, Creole.
Travellin’ Brothers – Association Musical Blues Hondarribia, Spain
This band has been together for a number of years and it shows. From playing off each other to reaching the audience.
And there still was more music in the clubs. A number of events are being held to support Blues Foundation prorams. I stopped in the Blues Hall for Generation Blues and met up with a number of Connecticut people. Also had a discussion with a couple from Oregon about our no smoking in night clubs. It does make a difference when you are in another state.
I hope to give you all my taste of this event. There is so much to do. Music, people, old friends.
Getting ready to go out for more.
Peace and blues.
You can reach me by comment or at TWBlus@aol.com.