Friday, September 17, 2010

September 22. be there

Tres Hombres.... i'll be there and you should be too :)

An article in the southern yesterday (check it here):


Birthday parties aren’t usually the best places for brainstorming, but sometimes a mix of blues and booze begets a brilliant solution to an obvious problem.
At least that was the case for buddies and blues aficionados Will Stephens and Billy Langley.
Despite hundreds of fans and musicians, the Southern Illinois blues scene was scattershot. Stephens and Langley responded by creating the Southern Illinois Blues Society, which hosts a concert beginning 8 p.m. Wednesday at Tres Hombres in Carbondale. There is a $10 cover charge for the show, the society’s first. The Ivas John Band opens, followed by legendary Texas bluesman W.C. Clark, who played with Stevie Ray Vaughan and other luminaries. Clark takes the stage at 9 p.m.
Stephens said coming up with the Southern Illinois Blues Society brainchild wasn’t exactly rocket science, especially when artists such as Martin “Big Larry” Albritton and Rip Lee Pryor call the area home.
“It’s one of these ideas that have been as plain as the nose on your face, and nobody picked it up,” Stephens said. “Billy and I aren’t gen-iuses. There’s just kind of a vacuum there.”
Cities across the country have blues societies dedicated to America’s homegrown music. Langley moved from Texas a little more than a year ago and noticed that, despite fans and musicians, Southern Illinois lacked the creative camaraderie created by those blues societies.
“It seems to lead to really interesting gigs,” said Langley, who fronted a Lone Star State blues band before moving here. “It seemed to open the door to people who needed a band. It’s an easy way for musicians to hook up. It’s a network of people.”
The Southern Illinois Blues Society will focus on promoting local blues artists and bringing in national touring acts for performances. A year’s membership to the Southern Illinois Blues Society is $15 and includes a newsletter and discounts to future shows.
While the hope is that many local artists will use the society as a tool, Stephens said bringing together fans is just as important to the society’s success.
“There are blues lovers in Harrisburg, De Soto, Mounds City, all across the southern 19 counties,” Stephens said. “ … It’s not reinventing the wheel. It’s just going to take some time to cover all of Southern Illinois, and hopefully it takes off. I really think it will.”
Booking W.C. Clark seems like a good first step.
Clark has won multiple W.C. Handy awards for excellence in blues. Clark wrote the Stevie Ray Vaughan hit “Coldshot” in the 1970s, and his 50th birthday was the reason for one of the most acclaimed “Austin City Limits” shows ever.
Clark won the 1994 W.C. Handy Blues Award for Soul Blues Album of the Year for “Texas Soul.” He took home a 1998 Handy award for the artist deserving of wider recognition for his song “Lover’s Plea.” Clark won the 2003 Handy award for Blues Song of the Year for his composition “Let It Rain.” He was nominated for the 2004 Handy for male soul artist.
Stephens befriended Clark after a show in Austin, Texas, and was instrumental in getting the blues bass player to swing by Carbondale on his way from Memphis to Chicago.
“They’ve tried to get him in this area several times, and it hasn’t worked out,” Stephens said. “This year, I decided to go for it. … (Clark) is one of the most underappreciated bluesmen ever.”
Clark will not be underappreciated in Southern Illinois if the newly formed blues society has its way. But, gathering enough cash to start things off is always an issue.
Stephens said response to the blues society has been positive. Now, he said, he needs to raise about $500 in seed money for the newsletter and other expenses.
“I’ve been reaching out to people who know me and I know them, and they’ve been very receptive,” Stephens said.
Stephens said there is still work to do before the society begins hosting regular events, which will most likely start in early 2011.

-BY D.W. NORRIS, THE SOUTHERN

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