A collection of weekly Blues Blast emails written by Kate Gwizdak Dardine, featuring a different HPBS member or band every week.
Helloooooo! Is anybody out there?
If you are feeling like us, you're probably feeling a bit stir crazy and wanting to get out to hear your favorite local blues bands playing. And if you're a player — bet you are SO ready to get out to the Thursday Blues Jam at Matt's Place. All in good time — we've got to all do our part. But in the meantime, we thought we’d do our own version of Quarantunes and give you the opportunity to hear some live (previously recorded) music from our HPBS musicians.
We’ll start with a musician who, besides being a one-man-band, is the man behind the curtain of the HPBS website.
Paul Dennis entertains in venues throughout Northern and Central Colorado with his own brand of blues, classic rock, and original music - either delivering a full electric band sound backed by a music track for which he has played all the instruments, or an acoustic solo act where he is able to harmonize vocals using technical wizardry. Pretty incredible!
Click here to listen to an electric version of Paul playing a medley of blues classics, recorded live at the Tap N’ Handle.
To learn more about Paul – he's a pretty interesting character – visit his website, pauldennis.com
Stay well friends, and remember, as David Bromberg says, “you gotta suffer if you wanna sing the blues!”
Greetings Blues Lovers!
This week we are featuring a gifted young artist who just keeps on getting better…
Whether fronting a band or sitting in with musical heavyweights, Grace Kuch conveys a rare ease and instinct on blues guitar. Just 16, she’s already distinguished herself nationally playing renowned venues across the U.S., including the Memphis International Blues Challenge, Greeley Blues Jam, King Biscuit Blues Festival, Big Blues Bender, and more. True to her name, she moves gracefully within traditional blues compositions on both acoustic and electric guitar, while her distinctive solos convey the keen clarity of a gifted young artist on the rise...and eager for more.
Learn more about Grace – where she’s been, what she is doing now and where she’s going - on her website, https://www.gracekuchmusic.com/
Follow her on Social Media:
(links to all her platforms on her website)
Until next time, wash your hands, wear your mask, stay healthy…you know the drill…and, remember, the blues doesn’t care if you stay in your jammies all day long. We’ll leave you with a fun video of Grace and her band playing Tommy Castro’s “Lucky in Love” at last year’s FOCOMX. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCM6JLnKh3U
Photo credit: Wally Jarratt
Blues Behind Bars
Greetings Blues Lovers!
As COVID-19 restrictions start to ease and many of us are looking forward to putting this “lock down” behind us, there is a segment of the population that may not be tasting “freedom” any time soon. These are the men and women incarcerated in our prison system.
If anyone is going to have the blues, it's these folks. In the past, they may not have had the opportunity to release their pent-up emotions. That’s where a local blues musician and High Plains Blues Society member is making a huge difference…
Blues Behind Bars is a band and a program that serves inmates in Colorado. David Michael Boyd, Director of the program and band leader, also conducts Blues songwriting workshops at Larimer County Jail in Fort Collins. Together with the inmates, new songs are being written that tell the stories of folks who live on the margins of society. Real blues, just like in the old days.
Click Here to see David performing the most recent batch of songs to come out of LCJ.
To learn more about David and Blues Behind Bars, read a great article written by Maggie Daniel here. (scroll to bottom of page)
Click here to visit David Michael Boyd’s website.
Until next time, remember… “You gotta suffer if you wanna play the blues.”
Deborah Stafford and the State of Affairs
Hey Blues Lovers,
Hope all of you are hanging in there. We know we are all itchin’ to get out there and play, listen and dance to some LIVE blues, and it’s sure getting harder and harder to be patient. Thank God for YouTube and live streaming. We’ll be sure to let you all know when we hear of any live, in-person blues happening. In the meantime…
Most of you know Deborah Stafford and the State of Affairs. Playing the “Best of the Blues,” they wowed us last September at our 1st annual Blues in the Square event and have (until the quarantine!) been playing local and regional venues to enthusiastic crowds. If you haven’t seen them yet, you’ll want to!
With their signature blend of dance-able, funky, traditional blues and Americana, the band won the Mile High Blues Society Blues Challenge and went on to IBC finals in Memphis in 2019.
Check the band’s website, www.stateofaffairsband.com, and like them on Facebook to find out when you can see them live and in person. Meanwhile, check out this live performance!
Until next time, stay well…and remember, “you gotta suffer if you want to sing the blues.”
Greetings Blues Lovers! There seems to be a light at the end of this quarantine tunnel … let’s hope it’s not an oncoming train. But then, a lot of blues songs feature trains, so maybe that’s not a bad thing after all.
This week we introduce you to (or reacquaint you with) a young local blues performer who has been making a splash across the country, and is a HPBS band member.
According to their website, “Alfonzo is an R&B and Funk band that is fronted by one of today’s greatest young performers, who is also the band’s namesake, Alfonzo, which features a core lineup as well as many additional members and collaborators.
Alfonzo began in 2018 and has gone on to play all across the United States and has received airplay in Canada. Currently the band is working on a debut album. Alfonzo is known for having a very energetic and dynamic live show that has never failed spark movement on the dance floor. The band brings an authentic feeling of magic and spirituality to the audience, something that can’t be fabricated or substituted. Many people have referred to front man Alfonzo’s style of performance as if he is possessed by the spirits of music.”
Throughout the two years the band has been around, Alfonzo has travelled to Memphis twice to showcase their talent at the International Blues Challenge, as well as having graced the stage at The Big Blues Bender, Blues From The Top, and also having opened for southern soul band Southern Avenue.
As soon we emerge into the bright light of live music, you’ll want to check them out. In the meantime, click here to listen to a live recording. Click here to learn more about Alfonso and connect with them on social media.
Until next time, that’s the blues news. Stay well, wear your mask (you know it makes you look like a bad-ass), and keep listening to, playing and singing the blues!!
The Blues DoGS
Greetings Blues Lovers!
This week we are turning the spotlight on a local band that probably needs no introduction.
Led by the inimitable Dr. Kent Obermann, who along with his daughter Megan Castor, form the catalyst for the band’s signature high-octane energy, The Blues DoGS Show Band is a diverse group of doctors, lawyers, business owners, teachers and laborers who have a passion for blues music. The DoGS have been delivering the goods to audiences at clubs, festivals, fundraisers, and concerts for over two decades. Honoring musical genres rooted in the blues, the band explodes traditional musical layers with original energy and creativity. Their setlists are a creative mix of blues, rock, funk, and R&B classics that routinely pull audiences up to their feet, dancing.
The Blues DoGs are equally at home from small dives to large arenas. They have been featured three times at the Greeley Blues Jam arena and the Thunder Mountain Amphitheater. They’ve also been regular favorites at neighborhood events and charity fundraisers.
In the last several years they have been privileged to play pro bono events, helping to raise over $1.3 million dollars. Serving the community through music is the band’s joy.
To learn more about the Blues DoGS, click here. To get a feel for their live performances, click here. Follow them on Facebook and do yourself a favor – when we can all safely be together – go see them LIVE!
Until next time, keep listening to and playin’ the blues. In the words of the late great Jimi Hendrix, “Music doesn't lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music.”
Greetings Blues Lovers!
This week we’re going to shine the spotlight on a blues musician who loves to share the stage, literally and figuratively with other musicians - both as a well-regarded blues guitarist and as the President of the HPBS. Many of our young local blues musicians were given their first opportunities to play onstage with seasoned musicians during the blues jams run by none other than one of the unsung heroes of the local blues scene, Dave Dardine.
Dave has been active on the Colorado music scene since arriving here from the East Coast in 1988. Playing with popular regional bands Common Ground, Vegetable Stew, The Howlers, The Robert Wilson Blues Band, The Agave Brothers, The Blues Dogs and, currently, The Dave Dardine Project (aka Cowboys Dead), Dave has become renowned for his unique style of guitar playing and vocals that stand out in the often homogenized world of blues rock.
Influenced by such diverse masters of guitar as the three Kings, Jerry Garcia and Duane Allman, and often compared stylistically to Derrick Trucks, Dave's style of lead guitar is more governed by musicality, exploration, improvisation and complex emotion than seeing how many notes can be crammed into a measure. In fact, his often "less is more" approach has become his signature, using his guitar's strings to bend notes much like how a Sumi-e artist uses ink and brush to create a perfectly formed stroke.
The Dave Dardine Project surprises and delights audiences with their original interpretations and performances. Never one to go along with the crowd, Dave has sought to simultaneously return to and re-imagine the essence of what makes music “The Blues”. He is looking forward to playing live shows again and invites you to like his Facebook page and visit his website. Have a listen here.
Heads Up: The Virtual Greely Blues Jam is this Saturday, June 13, from 7-9pm. The concert will broadcast live on social media platforms Facebook, Instagram and YouTube and feature local talents Erica Brown and the Cast Iron Queens along with the Grace Kuch Band. Both groups were originally scheduled to perform at the 2020 Greeley Blues Jam. To enjoy the virtual concert live, be sure to follow the Greeley Blues Jam on social media and tune in June 13th at 7pm and look for the live concert at the top of their newsfeed.
Until next week, keep listening, dancing and playing the BLUES!
Photo by Maggie Daniel
Queen Bee and the Stingers
Greetings Blues Lovers!
This week we are showcasing a band that many of you are familiar with – they have been a staple on the regional music scene for the past 5 years. Queen Bee and the Stingers is a blues and swing band who first got together in 2015 out of a shared love of great music, especially the blues. Members of the band are award-winning musicians and performers with decades of experience: John Kellogg, Daniel Barreras, Fab D. and David Osborne. Fronting the band with her powerful voice is Barbara White. An evening spent with Queen Bee is unforgettable!
Barbara White has been awarded a number of honors such as Studio B Artist of the Year, Best Female Jazz and Blues Vocalist in Baltimore and Washington D.C. The latter she won two years in a row. Now, surrounded by some of the best players in Colorado she is proud to present Queen Bee and the Stingers.
Any way you look at it, the band is an unbeatable package. The material spans the blues, R&B and swing genres including standards and original tunes as well. Treat yourself to a topnotch musical experience.
You can listen to Queen Bee here. They invite you to like them on Facebook!
Until next week, keep listening and dancing and playing the Blues. We’re not out of the woods yet with this COVID thing…but stay tuned…we’ve got some live music coming up soon!!
Greetings Blues Lovers!
This week we’re happy to shine the ever-lovin’ light of fame on Johnny Johnston. Johnny has been entertaining audiences across America for the past 30 years. In the 1980s, he honed his blues slide guitar style as a solo performer in southern Georgia and northern Florida. In the 90’s, Johnny moved to the west coast and played electric slide guitar in blues bands in San Francisco and along the north and central coast of California.
These days, Johnny brings his hot fingerpickin’, slide guitar and down-home vocals to a variety of Rocky Mountain music venues. Rest assured, you no longer have to drive to Mississippi or New Orleans to enjoy real down-home music – Johnny Johnston delivers!
Coming Up: Johnny Johnston delivers live performances!!
- July 4, 6-9 pm at Sparge Brewing in Wellington
- July 12 (Sunday), 1-4:30 at Mishawaka Amphitheater
- Aug 7, 6-8:30 at the Foothills Mall Summer Concert Series w/the Rob Wilson Trio (thank you to Kevin Kim and Kent Obermann for their lobbying efforts on behalf of the HPBS!)
- Click here to find out more about Johnny’s upcoming live shows
- Click here for a sneak preview of Johnny’s music (you’ll be glad you did!)
- Be sure to call the venues ahead of time to reserve seating!
You may be wondering what the High Plains Blues Society is up to these days…we’re reaching out to venues for possible Blues shows (Aug. 7 at the Mall is one of the results). We’ve ordered new T-shirts with our new name/logo (we’ll let you know when they are available). And we’re looking to the future, exploring ways to promote live blues music in our new reality. It’s hard to do this in a vacuum, so if you’re reading this and have some ideas you’d like to share, hop over to our Facebook page and either send us a private message or write a post. We miss you all!!!
Photo by Maggie Daniel