What an oxymoron: The greatest way to CURE the blues is to experience the blues! I’m here to tell you there is no finer way to do that than to sing, dance, wave, jump and jive with the genuine Mississippi article. As part of the Chicago Blues Festival this year, that visceral experience was delivered to Chicagoland’s North Shore. SPACE, www.evanstonspace.com a new, hot, live music venue tucked in Union Pizza, www.unionevanston.com, a new, hot Evanston restaurant at 1245 Chicago Avenue hosted the blues evening that threatened to go on till dawn.
Michael Frank started it. In 1978, Michael Frank established the Earwig Music Company to record and book underrepresented blues musicians. Michael Frank, CEO of Earwig Music, celebrating over 30 years of the blues, gathered together six generations of blues musicians said, “This is a once in a lifetime experience of America’s Treasures all together on one stage on one night telling rich stories of their journey from Mississippi to Chicago…The concert will take you from the deep south, the Mississippi Delta sounds of David ‘Honeyboy’ Edwards to the rockin’ electric blues of Big Jack Johnson.”
The triple-deep standing room only crowd was not disappointed. We were up close and personal with 93-year-old Grammy Award Winner, guitarist David “Honeyboy” Edwards; John Primer, the last lead guitarist in the Muddy Waters Blues Band; Dennis Binder, a classic keyboardist who recorded in the early 1950’s, at the cusp of the blues melding r&b and country;
Big Jack Johnson and the Oilers represent the quintessential electric Delta Blues.
Not surprisingly, there was a Chicago connections, too, The Blue Four. The band includes two generations of Kenny Smith on drums, hard-driving Chris James on guitar, rock-steady Patrick Rynn on bass and the utterly amazing harmonica wizard, Bob Corritore with Allen Batts on keyboard.
A multi-media event, our host for the evening, Bill Wax, program director and host of BB King’s Bluesville on Sirius/XM satellite radio, will also conduct intimate interviews to be aired on the show in June as a tribute to Black Music Month. The concert with interviews in Chicago and Mississippi will air on MHz Networks Worldview, here in Chicago on their affiliate, WYCC in January in celebration of President Obama’s one year anniversary.
A portion of the proceeds from this year’s event will benefits A SAFE HAVEN FOUNDATION, www.asafehaven.com, providing housing, rehabilitation and other services for people in recovery from alcohol and substance abuse. “ A SAFE HAVEN is proud to be a resource for musicians in their times of crisis, helping them address their diseases of substance abuse and alcoholism,” said Neli Vazquez Rowland, founder of A SAFE HAVEN.
Taped for MHZ Networks National Channel, MHZ Worldview (Chicago’s WYCC digital Channel 20.3 is an affiliate), will be broadcast in 2010 on www.MHznetworks.org and streamed on FrontRowMusic.tv, internet television channel and produced by Grammy Award Winning producer, Scott Shuman.
Hear the blues at the Taste of Chicago on Tuesday, June 30, Earwig Music Day. Look for Rob Stone and the C-notes, Dave Weld and the Imperial Flames, Honeyboy Edwards with Aron Burton and Two for the Blues, Johnny Drummer and the Starlites, Liz Mandeville and the Blue Points.
For additional coming events visit www.earwigmusic.com .