Never let it be said that San Diego isn’t a blues town.
To start the year off with a bang, Big Jon Atkinson brought some of his friends together for a winter blast of blues harp that turned back time. With talent lining the walls of Proud Mary’s ballroom, the host kick-started the festivities with some rich, up-tempo Chicago blues that set the bar high and the tone thick.
Locals Troy Sandow and Bubba McCoy entertained the crowd of about 300 with their versatility and dynamic range. Bob Corritore blew in from Arizona to show us how to make the joint jump! And Billy and Junior Watson provided their own brand of blues enlightenment.
The legendary Al Blake lit up the room with a vivid reminder of just how much we miss the Hollywood Fats band and appreciate the Blue Flames. The music took on more meaning when Blake and Junior Watson asked those in attendance to never forget the musicians who have given so much for their art. We all took the oath!
The “Icepick,” James Harman, has more soul than any ten bluesmen I can think of and his bull-in-a-china-shop approach brought people to their feet only to knock them right back down. Ask anybody that was there, they’ll tell you to keep 911 on speed dial when Harman’s playing.
By the time Kim Wilson got to the stage, we didn’t have a prayer. The crowd pushed in closer and he proceeded to take us apart. His mastery of the blues harp, the phrasing, that fat tone combined with a tempered, steely voice is so close to surgical, even James Harman needed stitches.
And I can’t say enough about the super-human efforts of the rotating rhythm section of Troy Sandow, Kedar Roy, Jon Atkinson, Malachi Johnson, Nathan James, Danny Michel, Chet Cannon, Mike Chiricuzio, Greg Roberts, Dana Duplan, and Marty Dodson. For more than six hours they cranked through countless shuffles, slow burners, and blistering rockers without missing a beat. San Diego’s a damn fine blues town.
- Concert: Big Jon's Harmonica Blues Blast
- Date: January 10
- Venue: Proud Mary's ballroom
- Seats: 10 rows back, center