Left Friday morning to attend my third Wheeling Heritage Blues Fest which has become a must do event on my annual dance card. It would be hard to find a better place to totally emerge oneself in the blues genre. Great bands, friendly crowd, great venue, very accommodating to the needs of festival goers, affordable eats, and a wide variety of quality draft beers. They even have flushable portable toilets.
The blues gods weren’t on my side this year, however. I had car trouble on Saturday morning and had to abandon the weekend and limp back to Greenfield.
Also, the Friday lineup was a little weak. Of the four bands that performed two were great to fantastic, and two were just not my thing. The opening group, Del Grosso/Del Toro Richardson Band were great and true to blues tradition. Peter Karp and Sue Foley were next I just couldn’t make myself believe they belonged at a blues festival.
The Robert Cray Band was the night’s headliner and while Cray is well-known and respected in the blues/guitar world I’ve just never been a big fan. He may play a Fender Stratocaster but that doesn’t make him Buddy Guy!
The hit of my day was seeing and hearing for the second time, Southern Hospitality. Made up of Victor Wainwright on keyboards, Damon Fowler on guitar and lap steel, and JP Soars on guitar, these guys are just fantastic. Each has their own solo careers going but on occasion they get together as SH and they have the blues genre pretty much covered. They can make you feel down and out blue and they can bring you out of your chair and get your whole body moving with joy.
Here’s a video I took of them doing a cover of Jerry Lee Lewis’, Drinkin’ Wine! Check out the keyboard work of Wainwright near the end.