Connecticut Blues Society Blues Challenge – Night 1

Okay the Connecticut Blues Society Challenge has begun.  Starting Thursday and running 4 weeks Black-eyed Sally’s is the place to be.  If you haven’t been out to see our local talent now is as ggod a time as any  to see what blues Connecticut has to offer.

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Once again my trip to Hartford was on the CTFastrak.  I park for free in New Britain/Newington The Cedar St Station and for 75 cents, $1.50 for non-seniors, one way I let them do the driving.

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These Challenges always bring a crowd so plan on arriving early.  Tom Retano is the emcee and his enthusiasm is catchy.  Of course by the end of the night the audience has its own comments to make to Tom.

 

Tom the Emcee

Tom the Emcee

The bands are playing for a chance to appear on Beale Street in Memphis.  The International Blues Challenge is one of the Blues Foundation’s biggest events.  Fans from around the world and a good number from Connecticut have a week of great blues.  (you can follow my IBC week last January by going back in the Blog files.)

 

The first band up was new for me, Richie and The Red Hot Blues.  They put out some good blues and had the crowding clapping.

Richie

Richie

Richie held the vocals with a good backing band.  Some hot guitar and a man on the keys drew notice.

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Between acts, Tom introduced the judges and provided info on upcoming events.

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Next was DDKing.  I knew DD, Danny Draher, but not the rest of the band.  He had experienced players on drum and bass and they knew how to follow his lead.

Danny

Danny

Ed Stack CtBS President came up to talk about the local and regional fests coming this Summer.

Ed

Ed

Now the next band I had seen and was a little more familiar with them, Easy Baby.  Kelly handled the vocals and grabbed the crowd.  For me, Rich on harp promises that it is going to be a good show.   And it was.

Kelly

Kelly

Rich B

Rich B

The last band had a familiar name, often seen on the Blues Beat blues schedule but not heard by me, Brandt Taylor.  Tonight the band took off.  Brandt doing some slide that said a lot.  His band provided the back-up he needed.  They were a fitting final act to a top flight evening.

Brandt

Brandt

While Ray Meeker tallied the scores and with such a tight show I figured he was checking and doubling checking, to keep the audience entertained the jam band took over.  Just to give you an idea of the talent, the jam band came from the judges table.  I’d like to see another judging crew with that much blues talent and then some.  Retano handled the vocals.

The Jam

The Jam

The Crowd was enjoy the additional music and started working off some spent up energy on the dance floor.

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Steve Balkun, leader of the Balkun Brothers Band, last year’s winner, took center stage.

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Then Ed came up to announce the winner.  After a very close Challenge, he reminded the audience that 2 wild card bands will join the 4 winners in the finals.

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The winner is:  DDKing:

DD

DD

The Band

Steve on drums

Steve on drums

Greg on bass

Greg on bass

Now the Challenge has 3 more weeks to go.  Plenty of time to catch a lot of good bands at one time.

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Questions/comments, I can be reached through the Blog comments or at twblus@aol.com.  BluesBeatNews is written, produced, directed and photographed by Domenic Forcella.  My weekly Blues Beat column appears in the New Britain Herald, Bristol Press, Middletown Press and Torrington Register-Citizen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

About bluesbeatnews52

Blues columnist writing a weekly column dedicated to the Blues. The only column of its kind in a commercial (paid subscription) newspaper. Column appears in the Middletown Press, Bristol Press, Torrington Register-Citizen, and the New Britain Herald. Forcella has served on the Board of Directors of the Blues Foundation representing the Journalism constituency. Served on the Board of Directors Connecticut Blues Society as Past President and Past Editor of newsletter. Recipient: Keeping the Blues Alive award in Journalism from the Blues Foundation. Has contributed both writing and photos to nationnal blues publications.

2 responses to “Connecticut Blues Society Blues Challenge – Night 1

  1. Ed Stack

    Good coverage, Dom. An excellent show from start to finish. Congrats to the winner DD King (Danny Draher, Greg Allen, & Steve Peck). Real pros!
    Ed Stack

  2. Mike Law

    Great bands! Danny, Brandt and Easy Baby are all great bands. The first band I have not seen yet.

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