Blues for a Cause

Redd Velvet sings at Blues for a Cause

Memphis blues singer Redd Velvet belts out the blues with the Jack Rowell, Jr. Band. Accompanying Velvet (from left) are: Jack Rowell, Jr., guitar; Leo Goff, bass, and Bob Horn, guitar. The event is the Blues for a Cause 2013 July 4th Concert and Benefit at the Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Regional Park in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

Blues for a Cause, a non-profit organization here in my hometown of Pine Bluff, Arkansas is developing a good habit of presenting a day-long blues festival and concert here on Independence Day. City commissions, associations, and local merchants throw their support behind the event which raises money to benefit families with little or no insurance who are facing huge bills due to catastrophic illnesses.

Anthony Gomes

Click on headliner Anthony Gomes for more concert pics and info

The event which started at 12:45 p.m. on July 4, featured five bands performing like a house on fire until 9:00 p.m. when the Pine Bluff Parks and Recreation Department ignited a fireworks spectacular to cap the night off in correct form.

The park fronts on our slack-water harbor created by the Arkansas River so folks can take in a few rays and a dip while they listen to the blues. See more of the headliner act, Anthony Gomes on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com. We’ll wait here.

Anthony Gomes, concert headliner

The headliner for the concert was the energetic, and entertaining Anthony Gomes. I was sitting on a bucket shooting his performance from the corner of the stage when he wandered over and good naturedly put his guitar in my face. We were both grinning from ear-to-ear. The drummer got a good laugh out of it as well. Fun au go-go.

The performing bands were:

  • The Brian Austin Band
  • The Saints of Yesterday
  • The Joe Pitts Band
  • The Jack Rowell, Jr. Band
  • Anthony Gomes
Members of Jack Rowell Jr. Band

My guess is that you are looking at more than a century of blues performing experience here. These dudes have been there and done that. From left: Robert “Nighthawk” Tooms, harp; Leo Goff, bass; Bob Horn, guitar, and  band leader and guitarist, Jack Rowell, Jr.

Members of the Saints of Yesterday band

Guitarist Bennett South hits a final lick, while bassist Rusty Rhodes gives a lively kick and drummer Mike Parrish just finishes a big boom with a flourish as the Saints of Yesterday complete a tune. Guitarist John Hugen and vocalist/harpist Adam Varnell are off camera.

Brian Austin plays the harp

Multi-tasking vocalist, and guitarist Brian Austin of the band of the same name adds “harpist” to his job description.

Joe Pitts

World-class band leader, guitarist, and vocalist Joe Pitts smiles as plays to an appreciative audience in his home town.

Bass player with Brian Austin band

The veteran bass player with the Brian Austin Band seems pleased to be framed by Old Glory.

Drummer in Jack Rowell, Jr. Band

The drummer with the Jack Rowell, Jr. band looks through a jungle-gym of cymbals and drums and he provides the rhythmic foundation for everyone else.

French harp colleciton

While I was shooting, a guy approached me and said he had something cool for me to shoot. Turns out it was his fine collection of French Harps. Yep, it is cool.

We’ve uploaded pictures of the concert in galleries highlighting each band’s performances. We’ve attempted to show all band members in these pictures. There is also a gallery of a few folks who attended the event and were in a good place to shoot,

Blues for a Cause is the brain child of Joe Powell and Sandra Sallings. They put the organization together to present first-class blues concerts to raise money for families with little or no health insurance who are facing the expenses of treating a catastrophic illness. Powell and his wife, Tracey Dempsey Powell do most of the grunt work to keep the organization percolating. They are ably assisted and/or distracted by my grandchildren, Peyton Madison Dempsey and James Joseph Dempsey.

Folks, in the good ol’ USA, it is hard to beat a good hometown July 4th celebration and this was a “goodun.”

Thanks for dropping by,
Joe Dempsey

Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind.


2 Responses

  1. We would like to thank redd velvet for sitting in with us at the festival. What a nice surprise!! Thanks to the Powell’s and everyone who invited Jack Rowell Jr. Band to perform! great time and hope to see you all soon!

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