New River Blues Festival 2014
Well it was Labor Day weekend and nothing but work 24-7 going on, and Troy, Steven & I needed a break. So we took off for our favorite place on the New River. We headed off to the quaint farm in Crumpled, NC that we frequent as much as we can. We decided to take 4 days off to float the river and do a little fishing and some photography. We were getting ready to turn up highway 16 in Jefferson NC to head up the hill when we saw two people putting up a vinyl sign that said blues festival 5 miles ahead. Troy loves the Blues, so he was excited at the prospects of live music.
We arrived at the farm and got on our phones to find out where it was and funny as is turns out it was the same place we were going to meet Troy's dad and his wife. They wanted to come up for the day and take a look at a B&B. It was the B&B that was doing the 12th Annual New River Blues Festival in Grassy Creek NC. The Blues Festival was going to be held at River House Country Inn and Restaurant in Grassy Creek NC, outside Jefferson NC.
After we unpacking, we settled in for the day and enjoyed the peace and quite for awhile and playing games on the poirch. Troy's father and wife came up the next day to look at the B&B. So we all rode over and met Ashe County native Gayle Hamby Winston who is the owner of the River House Country Inn and Restaurant in Grassy Creek NC. She was a great lady to talk to. You couldn't ask for a nicer host. She was getting ready for dinner that evening, so we asked if we could walk around and view the place. We walked around a bit to check the place out. It was very nice.
We wanted to confirm our tickets we purchased online with them because we didn't have a printer to print them off at the Farm House. She made sure we were on the list and called to confirm the next day with us. So we headed out the next day to the New River Blues Festival. It started around 1PM, so we headed out around 1PM to go hear the bands. When we arrived the place was starting to get packed already.
We caught the last few song of the first Blues Guitarist named Boo Hanks. Boo Hanks is an old time finger picking Piedmont Blues Player. He was 84 years old and still playing...pretty impressive. We found a place to put the lawn chairs down(near the artists tent) so I could steal a few candid photos.
The next on stage were the King Bees. They were really good well versed Blues Players. They played the most backing up almost all the artists and did some great songs. Then they had Johnny Neel the keyboard player. Johnny Neel did some classics and sounded really good. Pat "Mother Blues" Cohen was the next act. The King Bees was her backup band as she sang some great songs. She did one of my favorites "Wan Dang Doodle" from Howling Wolf that was actually written by "Mr. I am the Blue's himself Willie Dixon. Koko Taylor probably did the best rendition of the song, and I gotta tell ya Pat "Mother Blues" Cohen did it as good as Koko Taylor ever did.
The killer Bees did a great job doing the back up band for everyone. They were pretty tight players. Last in the set was Harmonica Legend Charlie Sayles. He had his own guitar player he brought with him, named Tony Fazio. He played good too. Both of these fellas are out the Washington DC area in Maryland.
This concert is a must do again for next year. We are definitely looking forward to it. If you haven't been, make sure you go. I only hope this year they have more food available. The beer infused pizza was delish and worth the wait. Attendance projections didn't predict double the turnout from last year. If your going to have a problem, I guess too many people is the problem to have....Blues Music draws them in like a moth to flames