Connecticut Blues Society Blues Challenge Finals

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The Connecticut Blues Society held the finals of its Blues Challenge on Saturday at the Hannon-Hatch VFW in West Hartford.  Six bands were vying for the opportunity to represent the state in Memphis at the Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge.

Now with six bands and a digital camera, the results are way too many pictures.  This Blog or as I want to rename it a “Phlog” will have more photos and less writing.  The lighting and line of sight are always issues.  I personally do not look to stand and block someone or someones’ view.  As they say “Are you Jim Morrison because you make a better door than a window.”

Tom Retano acted as emcee and filled the space between bands.  Now, the audience is having fun bantering with him.

CTBS Finals 2015 004

The Mighty Soul Drivers

First up was the Mighty Soul Drivers.  The largest band of the day, Bob Orsi leads the group with his dynamic vocals.

Bob

Bob

Larry

Larry

CTBS Finals 2015 015

CTBS Finals 2015 007

One thing to note is the expressions on many of the musicians.  They are wearing their emotions for all to see.  Sometime it doesn’t make for the perfect but it is the real performer coming through.

CTBS Finals 2015 017

DD King –

Next up was DD King.  A seasoned group of players.  Danny Draher handles vocals and guitar.

Danny

Danny

Greg

Greg

Steve

Steve

EasyBaby

EasyBaby with Kelly Rago brought the first group with a harmonica.  One thing I really enjoy in a blues act.

Kelly

Kelly

Rich

Rich

Max

Max

An emotional Kelly

An emotional Kelly

Dancers were given a work out by the bands.

CTBS@ Finals 2015 009

CTBS@ Finals 2015 010

The youth were served as the youngest dancer kept her grandmother busy on the dance floor.

CTBS Finals 2015 128

Speaking of youth, two of the judges were young players, Jake Kulak and Lowdown bass player Anthony.

Retano got a little formal in his intros but did have his dancing shoes on.

CTBS Finals 2015 201

The Brandt Taylor Band

The Brandt Taylor Band provide some tasteful sounds with Taylor leading the way on guitar.  This band keeps busy in the beyond Hartford areas.

Brandt

Brandt

Getting ready

Getting ready

CTBS Finals 2015 224

CTBS Finals 2015 210

Jonathon

Jonathon

Retano's evil twin takes over

Retano’s evil twin takes over

Night Train

Another strong trio, Night Train played a good variety of blues.  Although I am used to seeing them in Worcester where the fourth member of the band is a fine meatball sandwich at Vincents.  Even without the food, they put a good bit of music out to keep the crowd moving.

Vocals handled by JB

Vocals handled by JB

Mike Law

Mike Law

Tim

Tim

The Coffee Grinders

The Coffee Grinders did the last set.  There blues takes you right to the blues Delta beginnings.  You get to hear where it started and pick up a little.

Jim

Jim

Frank

Frank

Howard

Howard

CTBS Finals 2015 308

While the scores were being tabulated, a jam was held to keep the mood going.  Some of the players came from the judges table and Mike Law and JB helped out on bass.

Jake and Gregg

Jake and Gregg

Andy

Andy

CTBS Finals 2015 376

Rob

Tom and Shaka on vocals.

Tom

Tom

Shaka

Shaka

AND THE WINNER IS:

The Mighty Soul Drivers

Bob Orsi

Bob Orsi

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.

One response to “Connecticut Blues Society Blues Challenge Finals

  1. Ed Stack

    One of CTBS’s best competitions – and captured very well by Dom Forcella’s camera.

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