Thursday, September 2, 2010

Blues and more

Those of you who attended the Blues Challenge this past weekend were treated to serious musicianship, showmanship, and a blast of blues humor. Now, blues humor is an interesting and strange genre of comedy somewhat akin to gallows humor.

Yet, blues humor has a rich tradition and a bunch of fine examples spring to mind. Think “I Can’t Stop My Leg” by Robert Klein. There is a blues name calculator And of course, the ever popular “How to Sing the Blues in 20 easy lessons”

Hollywood and the Willies and the gang reminded me to not take all of this too seriously. I mean for some, the blues is more than a musical genre and has become a sort of religion. And the Wednesday blues jams are our church.

I read a piece of prose from Scott Bucholtz.who said “After years of reading LP liner notes, I researched people like Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon and Hubert Sumlin. But, I must admit that I prefer their disciples: Led Zeppelin, SRV, and most notably and most importantly, the unparalleled Allman Brothers Band. Though, Lynyrd Skynyrd would still qualify as my favorite, I would say that Gov’t Mule and Derek Trucks are the current flag bearers. Along with Stevie Wonder, War and Sly Stone, you have all of my major influences.”

To me this reminds me of the genealogical parts of the bible where who begat who fills pages.

Scott grew up in an Elvis household. Born in St. Joseph, MI. His father loved early Elvis, and his mother the later stuff.

Scott wrote “I actually saw Elvis “Live” on the Notre Dame campus in both 1973 and 1976. I have an older brother who turned me onto The Beatles, Eric Clapton, Jethro Tull and Lynyrd Skynyrd. By the time I was 8 or 9 I just wanted to play guitar. I got an SG copy for Christmas and started taking lessons but I just could not do it. My left hand is not made for chords. I am SO envious of guitar players.”

Well, really you only need a guitar to play the blues or even just a blues harp.

“As a consolation, I got my first drum kit at 12. Two years later I upgraded to the kit that I still play today. I got married in 1989 and we had our first of 3 children in 1991. Obviously, my focus and priority is my family. But, while so many people my age tell me that they sold their instruments when they got married or when they had kids, I always knew that my desire to listen and play music was too great to think about selling my stuff.”

This speaks to me as I feel there are two kinds of musicians: those who want and like to play and those that MUST play because it is an essential part of who they are.

“For those who haven’t experienced it, nothing beats a “game of catch” with one of your kids whether it’s with a baseball or on a stage. Even though New Years 2000 was my last gig before this past winter, my addiction to music only grew. Then, faced with being out of work last summer, I immediately thought of picking up some gigs.”

I think there are many of us that are thankful to have music to fall back on in this economy.

Scott continues “This March, an opportunity at Force Protection bought me down to the Charleston area. Due to work commitments and my kids' school, my wife had to stay back in Michigan for a few months. As luck would have it, I stopped in to Ye Olde Music Shop the day after I unloaded my moving truck. Mike Davis told me about a blues jam at A Dough Re Mi. He told me to go ask for Greg Levkus. A couple days later I got to play with Dan Wright and John Scott. I’ve been on a musical high ever since. A week or two later, the sterling Captain Kirk invited me to play out at Bowens Island. All of a sudden I’m playing more than I have since the 1990’s. For that, I am sincerely grateful to the entire Lowcountry Blues Club. While ‘alone’, I’ve spent many nights watching ( and when lucky) sitting in with Dan Wright, Tim Hodson, Louie D, Starling, Highway 17, Fowler’s Mustache, Gaslight Street, Leslie… Who else, when forced to be away from his family, hung out with musicians (at bars) as a means of something constructive! I truly want to send a “Thank You” to all.”

An attitude of gratitude is becoming. Scott’s early bands include “The Only”, “Ferris Wheel”, “Blues Central”, “Vandal”, “The Urge” and “The
Holokatz”. But, he says “all of the experiences that I had before doesn’t really compare to the musical joy that I get playing with all of the Charleston talent.”

“My favorite jammers are plenty. Guitarists Dan Wright and J.R. Getches are the two that the majority of my favorite performances have been with, and Jonathon Robinson always gives me visions of my all time favorite axemen. I must say that all of the bass players that I’ve shared a stage with here have been incredible. Mark Schleis has challenged me in a positive way and I feel that Tony Cobin and I have really locked in to name a couple. Backing Sarah Cole is always an exciting highlight for me. With her everyone seems to step it up instead of stepping all over one another! Of course, I must also include the guy I’ve heard called “sweety pie on the keys” – Jon Hager. Obviously, I can’t name just one. Nor would I want to. It’s all of the jammers that made me instantly love the Lowcountry!“

I must admit that this is the same experience I had upon moving here from Los Angeles. I don’t always believe the hype about southern hospitality but the Lowcountry Blues Club seems to bring out the best in people.

JR Getches, Sept 2, 2010

It's time to elect new officers for the Lowcountry Blues Club.....If anyone would like to get involved with the Lowcountry Blues Club and help make it even better please step up and help. See Tim Shaw at the jam.

Reminders: Join us on facebook and twitter. Also, artists featured in September are B.B. King, Jimmy Reed, Ray Charles, Freddie King, and Koko Taylor. When you come to the jam, let our jam-master know if you want to play a song by one of the featured artists.

To get info in this blog, send all details of your event to, and put "Attention blog-writers" as the subject heading, please.

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