Despite the loss over the past two decades of major, multi-day festivals in San Francisco and Sacramento, late summer remains blues season in Northern California.
Whether the surviving events are bluesy enough to satisfy hard-core fans is another matter. Having over the past three years attended real-deal blues celebrations in Memphis and Chicago, all I can say to Northern California bluesphiles is that the pickings are decidedly slim.
The seasonal festivities get under way Saturday with the not particularly imaginatively named Blues, Brews and BBQ. Set for downtown Napa, this free event features plenty of the titular elements, including a selection of more than 30 microbrews. Here is the performance schedule:
Main Blues Stage
1 p.m.: Terry Hanck Band
3:45 p.m.: Frank Bey and Anthony Paule Band
Beer Garden Stage
1 p.m.: A.C. Myles
3:45 p.m.: Lara Price Blues Band
1 p.m. Lucas Ohio
2:45 p.m.: Kingsborough
4:30 p.m.: Roem Baur
Look for more live blues next month. The Delta Blues Festival is set for September 20 in Antioch. Here’s the East Bay show’s lineup:
Noon: Kyle Jester Blues Band
1 p.m.: Tia Carroll
2 p.m.: Zydeco Flames
3:30 p.m.: Ricky Earl featuring Cherise
4:45 p.m.: Gregg Wright
6:15 p.m.: Rick Estrin and the Nightcats
The North Bay has two upcoming festivals. The Sonoma County Blues Festival is set for September 2 (Labor Day) at Lagunitas Brewing in Petaluma. The taproom hosts free afternoon performances by the Hound Kings and Marcus James and Kinney Kimbrough. The action shifts to the amphitheatre at 6 p.m. for a tickets-required double bill of Johnny Rawls and Charlie Musselwhite, the Mississippi native who now calls Healdsburg home. Proceeds benefit Petaluma’s Phoenix Theatre and Griot Arts of Clarksdale, Miss.
The Russian River Jazz and Blues Festival goes down September 21-22 in Guerneville. Should be a fine event … provided you’re OK with the fact there’s scarcely a blues or jazz artist present on either day’s bill. (You do get Robert Cray for Sunday, let’s note.)
So what is the truest, bluest event on the next few weeks’ concert schedule? That’s easy: Lucky Peterson plays September 5-6 at Biscuit and Blues. More on him later.
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