Yesterday, Sunday afternoon, we attended the benefit concert for WRFG community radio at Red Light Cafe in Atlanta. It was our first trip to the cafe. It is quite a large venue with an attractive stage area. It has quite a limited menu but a good selection of beverages. I think they were not prepared for the crowd that gathered for this event. The place was packed and it was very hard to get food and getting drinks required considerable waiting. If you are attending an event you may want to have a light meal in advance just to be safe.
Despite this mild inconvenience, the concert itself was amazing. It began with the very talented Dianne Durrett and her band and continued with the legendary Francine Reed, who toured with Lyle Lovett for many years and has been a resident here in Atlanta for quite a long time now. We are so lucky to have the opportunity to see her regularly as she is such a great blues woman and has a wonderful way of interacting with an audience. She was accompanied by Matt Wauchope on piano. I truly believe that this charismatic young man is the best of the latest generation of keyboard players in Atlanta. Even though he and Ms. Reed had not performed together previously, they were marvelous together and after her set was finished he performed a couple of songs on his own, including the timeless "Tipitina," which he dedicated to Zac Evans, a long-time employee at Blind Willie's who died tragically earlier this week.
Following Reed and Wauchope was the Timo Arthur Duo, who expanded for this performance to include a drummer and the incomparable Jeff Baker on harmonica. Timo and Tamara just get better and better every time we see them. This was the best performance yet. I firmly believe that every blues band is better with a great harmonica player and the addition of the fiery and impassioned harp playing of Baker plus the added dimension of the drumming really brought Timo's fabulous guitar playing and singing and Tamara's sleek and professional performance on the upright bass (which is also such a striking visual image for the duo) made for a performance that had the audience hopping and clapping and on their feet by the end of it.
The duo was followed by Stephen "The BluesDude" Duncan who mellowed things out with his acoustic blues and then got the crowd engaged with a sing along of The Band's "The Weight" before closing his set with an intense version of "Crossroads."
The final act of the night was another Atlanta legend, Albert White, and his band which included the one and only Eddie Tigner on keyboards. Their set began with the presentation of a birthday cake to Pat and Bill Hudson, the WRFG blues team. After White led us in singing happy birthday, we were all invited to share the birthday King Cake as White,d Tigner entertained us with great blues and banter.
It was a great event for a marvelous cause. WRFG has been serving the community for over 40 years completely free of commercial support. The concert was a delightful opportunity ot help support them. If you would like to help the station continue to present music by artists of many genres who may not be represented on commercial radio and also to support their community service programs, please go to the website to find out how you can donate!