Norcross really knows how to throw a party!
Anyone who has read this column for a while knows that I love The Breeze Kings, The Cazanovas, and Eddie Tigner. I also love Ross Pead and Mary Raindrop. So a festival that began with The Breeze Kings, had Eddie Tigner and Ross Pead playing with the amazing Uncle Sugar, featured the return of Mary Raindrop with a fantastic new band, and ended with The Cazanovas just had to be a perfect evening. And it was.
The weather was mild enough not to be uncomfortable when The Breeze Kings kicked things off at 5 in Thrasher Park, which has a lovely shell stage. The band was as phenomenal as always, with great harmonica and vocals from Carlos Capote and the usual tight set from the rest of the band.
At one point, Carlos did lose part of his audience when he pointed out Eddie Tigner leaning against the lamp post across the street. There was a small stampede of women, including myself, rushing over to talk to Eddie. Atlanta blues-loving women have a real affection for our blues legends!
After The Breeze Kings, Uncle Sugar took the stage. Ross Pead and Eddie Tigner shared vocals, with Eddie doing a few standards, including "Georgia," and Ross offering some great Southern blues rock, with Stephen Talkovitch, Jon Schwenke and a guest drummer providing solid musical accompaniment for Ross's guitar and Eddie's keyboards. That, and the homemade blueberry and strawberry ice cream (I had blueberry, Ken had strawberry) made a perfect early start. to the festivities.
Then the action moved to the square and Mary Raindrop took the stage with her new band, which included Mike Holley on drums, Mike Lowry on guitar, Jeff Baker on harmonica, and a very good bass player and keyboard player I could not actually see from where I was sitting for the dancers. Mary is a wonderful, heartfelt blues singer and it is so wonderful to have her back after most of a year away! She really delivers, and the new band showcased her perfectly.
The Cazanovas closed things out with an energetic, electrifying set of harmonica and guitar driven music and Maurice Nazarro's riveting vocals. Both The Cazanovas and Mary Raindrop had to compete with quite a few trains, but that just added to the atmosphere for me and gave both singers a chance to prove they can sing louder than a freight train!
It was the best way I can imagine to spend a summer evening. I can't wait to attend the festival next year!
If you want to learn more about The Cazanovas and The Breeze Kings, I have a new page at Squidoo about Georgia Blues Musicians which features them and The Little G Weevil Band. Check it out!
Be sure to look at the slideshow for a glimpse of the festivities!