Red, White and Blues

Brian Austin with flag in background

Brian Austin, lead singer for the band that bears his name belts out the last tune in the band’s set at “Red, White, and Blues,” a benefit concert at Pine Bluff, Arkansas on July 4, 2012. The freshening breeze flying the flag was the precursor of a thunderstorm which swept through the area about ten minutes later.

 Hadden Sayers playing guitar

Click the pic for the start of the story.

Despite relentlessly attacking heat, sloppy humidity, and an untoward thunderstorm, the performers and attendees at Red, White, and Blues, left with a smile on their faces. The music was great and the following fireworks show was spectacular. Furthermore,  given that it’s July in LA (lower Arkansas), expectations of anything less than wet heat and plenty of it are far removed from the realm of reasonable anticipation.

While you will enjoy this story and collection of pictures, you may enjoy it more by visiting the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com where it all started. We’ll wait here.

The concert featured three bands, The Brian Austin Blues Band and The Saints of Yesterday, both hailing from Arkansas; and The Hadden Sayers band from Houston, Texas. Sayers, a talented composer and guitarist was a performer at the Blues Music Awards. The audience makeup reflected the storied demographics of blues fans — a duke’s mixture — they come from all corners. Blues slices well through demographic strata.

Man with large head of hair wearing cap

If there had been a coiffure contest for the event, this blues fan would have won it hands down. Others need not apply. He sat on the front row.

As the night wore on the crowd increased exponentially, mostly coming for the fireworks. Once the latecomers were on the scene, the spirited performers drew them close to the amphitheater. Call it the blues magnet. They’ll probably come earlier next time.

Blues for a Cause, a Helping Hand, a non profit organization which produces blues concerts and festivals to benefit cancer and other catastrophic illness victims produced the event in cooperation with the Pine Bluff Festival Association and the Pine Bluff Parks and Recreation Department. Our hats are off to them for their good work.

band members in the saints of yesterday

Saints of Yesterday rhythm guitarist Dennis South, and bass player Robert Lamb do their part to light up this end of the planet with rollicking blues while drummer Mike Parrish bangs out the rhythmic foundation for the tune. They enjoy their work despite dripping with sweat.

Hadden Sayers Band

Keyboardist Dave DeWitt, Hadden Sayers, and drummer Tony McClung made more music than one would expect from three people. Who’s to argue with greatness.

Robert Lamb

Click on the dude to see more pictures.

All in all, it was a great July the Fourth celebration. There were lots of folks, lots of music, lots of fire works and lots of photo ops. Speaking of which, I have posted 40 pictures of the event in a special gallery.

You will see the shots on this page in a larger format plus 36 other pictures. In some of those you can feel the sweat. In any case, you can enjoy the sights and imagine the sounds in the air conditioned comfort of your own space.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey


Blues for a cause, a helping hand

Jimmy Thackery

Blues legend and guitar virtuoso Jimmy Thackery was the Saturday headliner for the second annual Blues for a Cause Blues Benefit and Music Festival in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

Blues fans were regaled with seven, count-em — seven blues bands for two, count-em — two days of their preferred music at the second annual Blues for a Cause, A Helping Hand Blues Benefit and Music Festival.

Reba and Wayne Russell

See Reba Russell and four other blues concert pictures.

Second is true, annual may be a slight misnomer in this case since the organization’s first event was in March of this year. An opportunity to partner with Smoke on the Water, a barbeque event, came up, so the organizers, Joe and Tracey Powell, and Sandra Sallings made the move.

Get the background on Blues for a Cause and see four additional concert pictures on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot com. We’ll wait here while you look.

Jimmy Thackery and the Drivers, the Saturday night headliners did not disappoint their fans and probably made a few new ones to boot. They came on the stage and cranked out everything from dirt-under-the -finger-nails blues to a closing Jimi Hendrix rendition of the National Anthem which brought the audience to their feet. What few smokers that are still surviving hefted their Bics as Thackery and his sidemen did the deed.

See more concert pictures in our Weekly Grist Gallery.

Amy Lee and Matt Kemp

Amy Lee and the Second Line from Oklahoma City were the opening act for Friday night. Bass player Matt Kemp is in the background.

Adam Varnell

Adam Varnell, vocalist and harmonica player for The Saints of Yesterday, the opening act for Saturday festivities. The band composed 12 new songs first heard at Blues for a Cause.

See 33 concert pictures in our Weekly Grist Gallery.

Josh Roberts, blues guitarist

Josh Roberts, lead guitarist for the Reba Russell band. Josh has been playing studio recording dates and concerts since his teens. One friend who used him in a recording session said his mother had to bring him to the session because he was too young to drive. Now in his northern twenties, he continues to get even better. I have photographed him before at the Memphis Blues Society Battle of the Bands and the Blues Music Awards.

Billy Jones Bluez

Billy Jones Bluez. The Little Rock native performs nation wide. He has a quiet demeanor which disappears when his performance starts. Then he transmogrifies into an animated music machine. A great musician and a gifted performer. And a nice guy.

Blues for a Cause, A Helping Hand Blues Benefit and Music Festival organizes and presents blues concerts to benefit persons suffering from catastrophic illnesses and have no insurance. All proceeds past expenses to for that purpose alone. Management and staff are volunteers as are all event workers. Nice folks. Great cause. Fine music.

Tullie Brae

Click on Tullie Brae for more concert pictues

See 33 blues concert pictures in our Weekly Grist gallery

See more of Jimmy Thackery, Reba Russell, Tullie Brae, Billy Jones Bluez, The Joe Pitts Band, The Saints of Yesterday, and Amy Lee and the Second Line shot on stage and from the amphitheater floor during the two day concert. See this blues concert from angles you don’t expect to see, with close ups and cool shots you’ll like. Click and see.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

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