“A Community at the Crossroads”
By Scott Bucholtz
As musicians and lovers of audible creations, both earthly and otherworldly, we can all identify with the classic print advertisement that showed a man sitting in front of two large living room speakers – with his hair being blown back from the sound waves. That feeling, that energy. Being transported and enraptured by the intoxicating exhilaration… It is precisely those feelings that drove us to learn to play. To pick, pluck and strum. To massage and caress and to hit with force. It fed the desire. Remember?
Then, instead of simply sitting in front of the speakers, we attempted to play along. To participate. Hour after hour. Day after day. This is when dreams truly began to formulate. If the dreams were REAL, it wasn’t dreams of Sex, Drugs & Rock-n-Roll. It was ALL about the music.
Turning a few pages forward, the experience of the non-verbal communication with others is like being part of a secret community with its own language. The “we went to different schools together” feeling. Communicating via music. Call and response, unison, harmony. Then, combining it all together: performing – with an audience. If you’re lucky enough to be able to get their attention and earn a positive response… THAT may be the highest known form of euphoria. The communal climax. If you’ve had it, how could you forget it?
It’s been said that Charleston is a town full of musicians but just a handful of bands. Plane Jane, Johnny Mac & The Booty Ranch, Leslie, Mason Dixon… there are a few others that have been established. But really, it’s the high ratio of musicians in town that I think is a major part of what makes this area so special. The number of accomplished guitarists and songwriters around is amazing and I often say that a bird can’t make a dropping without hitting a drummer! (Why do us drummer’s always get crapped on?) Jam Night is a classic example. Jam Night is also the best place to ask: Who’s playing with them? You got a gig Friday? Jim’s going to play bass, you want to play? Stop by, bring your guitar. If you can make it out, we’ll get you up for a few songs… As far back as I can remember and to this day, whenever I see live music, I want to get on stage on play. Here, I often get to and it’s usually thanks to the Lowcountry Blues Club.
Speaking of the band Leslie - What better example of ‘community’... Leslie only had to cancel one gig after all of their gear was stolen. Countless members of the community stepped up for them! They were blown away by the support that they received. I must say that those are three guys who have got “it”, “get it” and appreciate it. (By the way, you HAVE to get their new CD “Lord, Have Mercy”.)
As members of the Lowcountry Blues Club, we get to participate in “Jam Night”. It’s our weekly Holiday. It’s a birthday party and a family reunion. If you don’t think that Jam Night is something special, think about the crowds that regularly are in attendance. Think about the response and support you get. Do your bands gigs always compare favorably? We can’t afford to take the Blues Club and Jam Night for granted. It’s special and we are lucky to be a part of it. Note: Pay your dues!!! Jam Nights are the best opportunity in town to make contacts and catch up. Not to mention that you get to see and hear some of the best talent that the Lowcountry (and beyond) has to offer.
Nearly everyone that I have met and everything that I have done in Carolina can be credited to being turned onto the Blues Club (Thanks again to Mike Davis from Ye Olde Music Shop). With the recent retirement of President Tim Shaw and the pending departure of ‘creator’ Dereck Curry (as VP), we are at a significant crossroads. For the weekly jam to continue, not to mention the involvement with the International Blues Challenge and the Blues Foundation, dues must be paid and active, conscientious leadership must be in place. We can’t sit on our hands! Remember, the Club and the weekly jam not only provide great entertainment, a viable network and sense of community, it is a musical outlet unlike any other. For many it is their ONLY chance to perform. For me, picking up my sticks is like a hug from a loved one, everything feels right. I wish that everyone could experience the joy and excitement that I get when playing. For those that have ‘been experienced’, do you need to be reminded...?
I’ve had the pleasure to be a part of The Mason Dixon Band since August of 2010 and I have the incredible good fortune to also be in The Jonathan Robinson Trio, since early 2011. Recently, I had my first gig with the incredible YoungMi Feldsott and friends (I sincerely hope that there will be many more to come). The stories behind how I got involved with these groups range from an intricate grapevine of connections and contacts to a simple introduction – all can be traced back to the Lowcountry Blues Club.
As an example of the power of networking, I had happened to mention to YoungMi that I was looking to pick up some extra gigs. Within an hour of that conversation, she calls me and says, “I got us a gig”. Then, she calls me later that same day and says, “do you want to fill in tonight?”. Within a 10 day period, I picked up three gigs! To take it a step further, she has introduced Jonathan and me to a couple of club owners who are booking the Jonathan Robinson Trio. It’s amazing to watch how the network of this community can operate! So, a special ‘thank you’ to YoungMi. And, guess what, I would never have met her had it not been for the Blues Club. In fact, I would not be playing at all if it had not been for Lowcountry Blues Club. I would just be dreaming about it. Trust me, reality is better!
There will be a meeting on July 13th at 6:30PM at Home Team BBQ/WA to elect the new board and officers for the Lowcountry Blues Club for the upcoming year. Be sure to come out early that Wednesday to participate in planning the future of the club.
Kick off your weekend with YoungMi and OLD YOU on the Vendue Rooftop at 6 on Friday. I’ll be with The MASON DIXON BAND at the Sand Shack later Friday night while The LOUIE D. PROJECT (with J.R. Getches) will be at Bambu and SGT. SUBMARINE (with Bill Nance) will be at The Wolf Track Inn. Saturday night features Captain Kirk with STARLING at the Bottom Grill & Pub in Bonneau, Rev. Dr. JOHNNY MAC & the BOOTYRANCH will be at Fiery Ron’s Home Team BBQ (WA) while OLD YOU will be at Boone’s on King Street. Also, DRIVIN’ N CRYIN’ and GASLIGHT STREET will be at The Windjammer. Sunday also has a full slate of awesome choices: EDWIN McCAIN at the Windjammer, JASON ISBELL and the 400 UNIT at The Pour House, GASLIGHT STREET at The Brick House Kitchen and The LOUIE D. PROJECT at The Brick. NOTE: Try to make it past the 4th with all of your fingers! If you survive all of that, catch SKYE PAIGE at the Tattooed Moose Tuesday night. ENJOY!!!
and look out, 'cause here it comes, from Shrimp City Slim:
The 11th annual GREENWOOD BLUES CRUISE
Thursday-Saturday, July 7-9 in Greenwood, SC
A FREE blues club crawl, part of the South Carolina Festival of Discovery. Greenwood is located about 1 hour from Columbia, SC; three hours from Charleston; two hours from Atlanta.
Star-studded line-up: CHICK "STOOP DOWN" WILLIS, BUDDY WHITTINGTON with RANDY MCALLISTER, FRANKIE'S BLUES MISSION, DRINK SMALL, BACK PORCH BLUES (Eleanor Ellis, Jay Summerour, Eric Selby), WANDA JOHNSON, and a whole lot more. Please look at the website!
Check your favorite local paper for more shows happening this weekend, and join the facebook site "Charleston Live Music" for highlights...
If you want to see your band's gigs in this newsletter, send all the details to firstname.lastname@example.org. We usually send out the newsletter on Thursday or Friday, so get the info in before Wednesday, please. OR you can post your gigs on our facebook wall yourself, with no need for a middle-man...
July's featured artists are Willie Dixon (1915), Junior Kimbrough (1930), and Buddy guy (1936), born in July.
Join us on facebook (Lowcountry Blues Club) and twitter, and check out some of our recordings from the Wednesday jams at http://www.reverbnation.com/lowcountrybluesclub
It's time to pay your dues for 2011 if you haven't already done so. Just come out to a jam, and give us $10 for an individual, $25 for a band or family, or $100 for a corporate membership. Or you can mail dues to The Lowcountry Blues Club, P.O. Box 814, Isle of Palms, SC 29451.
LMW, June 30, 2011