Sad to say, but gone are the days when Northern California blues fans could count on a handful of huge festivals each year to satisfy their hunger for the best in the Chicago or Texas or even West Coast sound. No, in 2015, the region’s blues listeners must take whatever they can get whenever they can get it.
Given that context, this weekend offers almost an embarrassment of blues riches. No major festivals led by internationally acclaimed headliners, certainly, but there are a handful of smaller bashes poised to please those with lower expectations.
I posted an earlier item regarding the erstwhile Isleton Crawdad Festival, which has been re-christened the Cajun and Blues Festival and moved to edge of the Delta at the E2 Family Winery where State Highway 12 meets Interstate 5 in Lodi. Set for Saturday and Sunday, its musical lineup features Chicago blues mainstay Lurrie Bell (who I caught in Memphis last month; excellent), Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers from Lafayette, La., the Bay Area’s own Andre’ Thierry and Zydeco Magic, veteran bluesman Guitar Shorty and Boise, Idaho’s, own John Nemeth. Throw in fine wine, great food, a touch of Cajun culture and you simply cannot go wrong.
If the Monterey Peninsula is more your taste – and why not, given the triple digits the inland valleys might see this weekend – consider the Father’s Day Blues Festival in the Forest, which is set for the Poppy Hills Golf Course at Pebble Beach. Its blues-jazz lineup includes J.C. Smith Band, Monterey Jazz Festival’s Monterey County All-Star Combo, Schroeder (featuring graduates of the Berklee College of Music) and the Al James Power Trio. Proceeds benefit the MJF Monterey County All-Star ensemble.
If Father’s Day weekend is taking you toward the Sierra, consider dropping in on Folsom Rhythm and Brews. Set for Saturday afternoon at the Palladio, it boasts free admission, dozens of top craft brewers and two stages of music featuring some of Northern California top blues/Cajun acts, including Shane Dwight and Tom Rigney and Flambeau.
Want to keep up with the best in Bay Area jazz and blues?
Subscribe to me: Have our jazz and blues Examiner columns sent to your inbox. Click the SUBSCRIBE button on this page. It’s free. (And I won’t spam you or give out your information.) Bookmark me: http://atombash.com/jazz-music-in-oakland/brian-mccoy. CONTACT ME FOR YOUR JAZZ AND ARTS GRANT WRITING NEEDS