Top of the blues to ya!


drummer at the 2012 blues music awards

This drummer seems to be having the time of his life as he performs with his band in the 2012 Blues Music Awards in the Cook Convention Center in Memphis, Tennessee, May 10, 2012. I had to squeeze my ungainly frame between a couple of shipping containers to get the shot but cannot argue with the results.

Being a blues fan and a photographer — and hovering around the stage — and shooting the 2012 Blues Music Awards at the Cook Convention Center in Memphis, Tennessee is a highly desirable combination of circumstances I recently enjoyed. You can get in on the start of this story on the Photo of the Week Page at Corndancer dot-com. We’ll wait here until you come back.

Johnny Sansone

Click on the harp player for more pictures

The room was packed with performers and blues fans from around the planet, in fact, you’ll see a picture of international blues standout Ian Seigal below as he performed in the program.  The format of the program alternated between conferring awards with performances by bands and individuals, many of whom received awards that night and previously. It was hold on to your hats, let the good times roll. Before the night was over the audience was dancing in the aisles. Upward to 2,000 attended the event. Attendees dictated the dress code which went from black tie to blue jeans — and it was all smiles.

Eric Bibb

Eric Bibb, 2012 Blues Music Award Acoustic Artist of the Year turned in an energetic performance. As you watched and listened you knew that every fiber in his being was going into his tunes.

As an art form, the Blues is purely American and purely southern in it roots. Past that, you’ll find blues fans in every corner of the earth. Though the uninformed might consider the blues to be a somber expression, nothing is further from the truth. In most performances, even the most jaded cynics can be seen tapping their fingers or moving their feet. The true believers are playing air guitars and grinning from ear-to-ear. It was that kind of night. The music was infectious in a good sort of way.

Wayne Russell

Wayne Russell, normally found playing bass in the Reba Russell band (she’s his wife), was providing his stellar services to another band in the program. Russell is not only a talented musician but is a gifted visual artist as well.

Ian Siegel

Ian Siegal performs in the 2012 Blues Music Awards. The misty appearance adds some oomph to to the back room blues ambiance of this picture.

Grady Champion who bills himself as “The Mississippi Bluesman” was the closing act. As the program wound down, he wound up and had the audience on its feet, clapping, tapping their feet and dancing in the aisles. Everyone left with a smile on their faces. Mind you, the program runs from 7:oo p.m. until 1:00 a.m. At 1:00 a.m., there was still a respectable and happy crowd left.

Grady Champion

As he whipped the audience into a happy frenzy as the closing act, Grady Champion turned to me and smiled. I took the hint.

I shot just over 2,700 exposures and filled four 8-gig cards and part of another. I selected 107 images to include in the galleries linked below. You should get an idea of the great celebration by taking a tad of time to peruse the pictures.

2012 Blues Music Awards Gallery 1
2012 Blues Music Awards Gallery 2
2012 Blues Music Awards Gallery 3
2012 Blues Music Awards Gallery 4

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind
http://www.joedempseycommunications.com/
http://www.joedempseyphoto.com/
http://www.corndancer.com/joephoto/photohome.html

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

http://www.joedempseyphoto.com/
http://www.joedempseycommunications.com/
http://www.corndancer.com/joephoto/photohome.html

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