Jeremiah Johnson and his band hit Kansas City last weekend in the Gospel Lounge at Knuckleheads. A sold out crowd stuck around throughout the evening to past the midnight hour swaying and dancing to Johnson’s beckoning guitar slides and saxophonist’s Frank Bauer’s tantalizing solos. Between sets, drummer Benet Schaeffer built new friendships by engaging in friendly banter with fans lining the outdoor patio just off the Gospel Lounge stage as everyone seemed to enjoy the perfectly balmy atmosphere of an unseasonably perfect Kansas City August night.
The easy-to-approach Johnson seems to have found one of those perfectly matched groups of musicians who not only match him musically but personality-wise as well. Every single one of them are great musicians in their own right with a confidence that requires no egotistical showboating but plenty of room to showcase their individuality. They share the limelight with seemingly mutual appreciation and affection for their individual talents in addition to that satisfying feeling of tight unison. For musicians, this may seem like par for the course but for audiences, the feeling is magic.
Kansas City’s blues scene has been sizzling nicely this summer with lots of great acts chilling out the local music venues.
Kansas City’s steadfast blues venue BB’s Lawnside BBQ has seen bassist Patrick Recob releasing a new CD, Perpetual Luau, this spring – and it’s been doing really well. Patrick could be seen accompanying several visiting acts, such as Adrianna Marie, The 44s and Orphan Jon and the Abandoned as these groups hit the Midwest for late spring/early summer tours.
Knucklehead’s was hopping several weekends including a great fundraiser for organ donation that brought in performances by Kansas City performers Danielle Nicole and Brandon Miller; Amanda Fish; The Santiago Brothers; and Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band from Louisiana.
Marcus King, the 21-year-old phenomenon out of Mississippi, blew on stage July 1 and staked a claim for the millennial crowd as one of the most promising up-and-comers yet. Teresa James and the Rhythm Tramps opened for Marcus and Walter Trout wrapped up the evening with a solid blues veteran showdown.
Then there was Knuckleheads packed in to hear Robert Cray on July 11 and, out of Memphis, a young blues band with a new debut album by the same name: Southern Avenue, July 14.
I have picked up a couple of new song favorites this summer: One is “Don’t Give Up” from Southern Avenue. And the other is just getting pressed at press time and that’s from Bakersfield blues crooner Jon English of Orphan Jon and the Abandoned: “Leave My Blues Alone”