Darwins Blues on the Block Festival got off to a great start on Friday with Poverty Level, The Way Back Band, and The Markey Blue Ric Latina Project. We missed Poverty Level because of work but thoroughly enjoyed The Way Back Band’s interpretations of hits from the past, announced in fabulous DJ style by drummer Tony Lee Williams. “Please, Mr. Postman” really did take me way back and had me dancing in my seat!
Then Markey Blue, Ric Latina, and the band hit the stage. We adore these guys and had already got to exchange enthusiastic greetings before the show. There was a good crowd and as always, they wowed everybody.
Saturday the weather was a nasty surprise. Suddenly it turned bitterly cold and rainy. Stephen”Bluesdude” Duncan bravely performed his set as scheduled at the outdoor stage, delivering his excellent acoustic Americana on banjo, ranging from Flatt and Scruggs to my favorite Dylan song, “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere,” to an audience of exactly three… me, my husband and our friend Kelli. Stephen deserves a commendation and we love him.
While outside. we picked up some delicious barbecue from oricuaSmokehouse, Then we trooped in and found other people huddled in the comfortable dryness. We had a drink to warm up while we listened to the Atlanta Blues Challenge Youth group, No Solution. These teenagers really know how to sing the blues. From that point on, every of Bean and Bear Studios, who was selling delicious boiled peanuts.
We were thrilled to see one of our favorite groups, Chickens and Pigs. We love Jeff Evans’ lyrics and laconic style. He and his bandmates always make me happy.
After a cute puppetry skit from Bean and Bear, it was time for my favorite local group, The Cazanovas, to take the stage. every time I have ever seen this group they have been excellent. Maurice Nazarro is one of my favorite harmonica players and vocalists and Danny Vinson is an amazing guitarist. The entire band is great, and adding Valerie Waters on keyboards has made them even more dynamic. They were joined by special guest Jeff Baker for several songs, which was a delight.
At this point, we had to leave and missed Mark Hummel’s Golden State Lone Star Revue.
Sunday was dry but terribly cold. My husband was exhausted and I can’t drive so we had to miss this year’s Atlanta Blues Challenge winners ThunderGypsy, The Blues Hearts, Wavetree and Andy T and Alabama Mike with Anson Funderburgh. My friend Barb, who was there all day, t9ld me that ThunderGypsy was great, with Heather Stratham really “belting it out.” Wavetree, she said, was excellent,” with a very diverse set from Buddy Guy to the Allman Brothers to Zappa. ” As for Andy T with Alabama Mike & Anson Funderburgh, she reports that they were “awesome. They played their hearts out and they all were so talented and so tight, a blues lover could not have asked for more.”
It’s a real shame more people let the weather keep them away, but those of us that were there for any part of it had a great time, with good friends, food and drink, and wonderful music!