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.
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.
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.
DD King –
Next up was DD King. A seasoned group of players. Danny Draher handles vocals and guitar.
EasyBaby with Kelly Rago brought the first group with a harmonica. One thing I really enjoy in a blues act.
Dancers were given a work out by the bands.
The youth were served as the youngest dancer kept her grandmother busy on the dance floor.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tom and Shaka on vocals.
AND THE WINNER IS: