The eight annual Crescent City BBQ Blues Festival was held on October 18 – 20 at Lafayette Square in the CBD in New Orleans. My last post covered Saturday. There was a mix of New Orleans blues bands and those from elsewhere, mostly the US South. For me, Sunday began with Beverly Guitar Watkins, a 74 year old women, who plays blues with the passion of a twenty year old. She even did the playing over her back routine.
Next were the Lee Boys, a gospel blues group with a lot of power. Toward the end of their set, they brought up a very young blues guitarist who joined them on a strong Steve Ray Vaughn style rendering of Jimi Hendrix, Voodoo Child. The kid played beyond his years. The festival artist also did a painting of the band. It was auctioned off after the performance, just like the one he did of Sonny Landreth on Saturday.
The Mighty Sam McClain performed next with a talented band of horns and guitars. Sam was one of the few to bring in horns. He also provided the same spiritual power offered by the Lee Boys and his band followed suit. The afternoon just kept getting better.
The day was closed by my favorite of the festival, the skillful show man Mel Waiters. Blues purists would likely not agree with me. There were so many strong blues performances but I liked the showmanship of Mel and his group. He also added horns. Their music was a mix of R&B and blues, unlike most of the others who were straight blues. This was not the reason for my endorsement. I just liked the way they went beyond simply playing powerful blues with great passion to providing a lot of fun with some playful acts, while still providing a powerful message. They also danced in unison to many numbers that was part of their R&B element. I look forward to next year’s event.
In my next two posts I will cover the 2013 Festival Acadien in Lafayette, LA. It occurred the weekend before the BBQ Blues Fest. The diversity of music in New Orleans and South Louisiana is likely the widest in the country. I would also argue that the talent is the most consistently strong as anywhere. BB King said at JazzFest, “New Orleans has the strongest musicians of any city in the world.” I am lucky to be living in the same city as all this talent and try to get out to see live music the majority of days each the week.