Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Roots & Blues & BBQ

Columbia has hosted an annual Bluesfest for the past four years.  Now, any food-lover knows you can't have the Blues without BBQ... and I've mourned my absence every year!  This year, I managed be in town and joined my Uncle Ray from Houston for the Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival
Uncle Ray is a blues loving fanatic and can quote, chapter & verse, all manner of blues history and legend.  His vacations are spent festival hopping... complete with hat!  I don't claim any stake in the genre other than it's the background music to every BBQ joint I've been to... So, when Uncle Ray made a specific trip up to Columbia's first Blues Fest, I knew they were on to something good.  In fact, I remember Bonnie, Ray's daughter/my cousin, talking about going to hear blues music with her dad and thinking, "Now, that's gotta be something on my bucket list."  Fast forward four years... I'm in the country and Ray's made plans again to come to RBB... scratch one off the list!  Hoorah!
Now, I love live music.  There's something about being in a crowd with a connection to a performer that's just organic on the simplest of levels.  Wipe away all the lights and gear and massive staging and we're back around our ancestor's campfire with an a cappella storyteller spinning lines of lore, captivating the kids and keeping the adults up late into the night.  These types of events bring us out of our home theaters and back under the stars where we belong.  We're social creatures, by & far.  It's good for us to communicate at eye level.
I didn't know what to expect from the performances, but I tucked myself into Ray's back pocket and tagged along through his set list, the big draw being Tab Benoit from Houma, LA.  We set up on the center line in the intersection of Locust & Seventh and enjoyed a decent performance from one set, endured an awful performance from a second set and then nearly froze through Tab's set.  In between shows, I sampled Smokin' Chick's and Lutz's brisket & pulled pork (way too fatty and decent, respectively), plus a bag of mini donuts, fried on the spot and covered in cinna-sugar.  (I also hit the portapotties 3x... it was cold!)  By all accounts, it wasn't "laugh-out-loud, goosebump good" as Uncle Ray would say (I missed Saturday's much better performances), but I was terribly impressed with Boone County National Bank's vision and Thumper Entertainment's organization to put on what's become an annual and very successful festival.  We may not have a cypress swamp nearby, but last weekend there were some good times in bayou off Broadway!  Check out the rest of the night here...

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