Blues Challenge Week 4

Week 4 of the Connecticut Blues Society Band Challenge at Black-eyed sally’s got off to a good start and continued through the night.


First up was a group with a lot of youth and talent.  Say What! Appeared last year and this year sounded even better.

Vocalist Grace Carver got the attention of the audience with her soulful sound.


Her voice seemed stronger this year.

Ryan Newman can rock out the blues tunes on guitar.


Tim Leffingwell and Carlin Morris are a solid rhythm section.  I hope this talented crew stays together plays in future competitions.






Next up was The Frying Fish Band.  Led by Mark Zaretsky, on vocals and harp, they did an excellent set of Chicago and southern blues.


Joining Mark were Steve Lackey (guitar),


Tim Barry (bass), and Mike Jones (drums).










An acoustic set of Delta Blues was presented by The Coffee Grinders.  Jim Choquette provides the blues voice and plays some piercing harp.











Frank Breen on acoustic and steel guitars takes you back to the Delta.












Add Howard Horn on washtub bass and you go back to an earlier blues era.









The last set was from The Sidewinders, new to the Challenge, from southern Connecticut.  They did a fine job and kept the dance floor filled.


Vocals and harp were handled by Peter Moore with brother John on drums.












Jeff Micielli handled the guitar and Fred Vagan was on bass.










During the show the audience was stunned and shocked when they learned that John Rousey had died of a heart attack.  John was well respected in the “Blues Community” for his ability as a musician (singer, harmonica, and guitar) and his knowledge of the blues. e was leader of One Eyed Johnny and the Grave Diggers.  John was from Baltimore and quickly made many friends and become a valued member of the Connecticut blues scene.  The Coffee Grinders dedicated their set to John and Frank took to playing for John to a hushed audience.


In the jam afterward, Tom Retano sang a tribute to John Rousey.


Kenny Brody joined the jam with many members of The Sidwinders.  Mark came up to add some harp.










Ray Meeker tabulated the scores and came up to announce the winners.DSC_0182

And the winner is

The Coffee Grinders:











The Final will be at the VFW on June 13, with the doors opening at 12:30 PM.

The competing winners at the Finals are:

 DD King,

Night Train,

The Mighty Soul Drivers, and

The Coffee Grinders.

The 2 wild cards are Easy Baby and The Brandt Taylor Band.

Questions/comments, I can be reached through the Blog comments or at  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.

3 responses to “Blues Challenge Week 4

  1. Ed Stack

    Ryan Newman has that Selwyn Birchwood look. The young Say What Band has an exciting future.

  2. Ed Stack

    The Coffee Grinders were surprised to find so many people were interested in acoustic Delta Blues – the real thing.

  3. Ed Stack

    A well deserved victory for the Coffee Grinders. Great traditional Delta Blues. They also brought us the shocking news of John Rousey’s death.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: