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January 05, 1996 - Image 58

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1996-01-05

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

i onight, sometime after
7, Ferndale will become
bluesville. The 2nd An-
nual Deep Freeze Blues
Festival takes over the Magic Bag
on Woodward, and for the entire
weekend the winter chill will melt
away at the hands of gritty veter-
ans such as Big Daddy Kinsey,
Lucky Peterson and Eddie Shaw,
and a host of top-flight local kahu-
nas such as Robert Noll, the But-
ler Twins, Unde Jessie White and
It'll be three days of sizzling and
diverse blues stylings — and a re-
minder that the blues today are
as healthy as ever. They even have
their own chart in the music-in-
dustry trade bible, Billboard.

Rock artists continue to pay
tribute, too. Eric Clapton's From

the Cradle is an affectionate
homage to his musical roots.
Bonnie Raitt's new live album,
Road Tested, showcases legends
Ruth Brown and Charles Brown,
as wellas the Fabulous Thun-
derbirds' Kim Wilson; it also in-
cludes a rendition of Mississippi
Fred McDowell's "Kokomo Med-
ley." And British modern rock
diva PJ Harvey draws liberally


from the blues music she heard
as a child.
Fresh blues talent abounds, too,
in the form of (comparatively)
younger artists such as Sonny
Landreth, jazz convert Robben
Ford, Corey Harris, Bob Margolin
and Dave Hole. The Los Angeles-
based House of Blues has cham-
pioned the music with its record
label and syndicated TV series.
And the result of all this is a
greater mass consciousness for the
blues. "Hell, you even hear blues
slide guitar in truck ads," notes
The Detroit area has followed
suit, with more bands playing th e
blues and more clubs opening to
accommodate them.
"It's very healthy," says Mark
Pasman, host of WCSX-FM's "Mo-
tor City Blues Project" on Sunday
nights and a member of the group,
Mudpuppy. "We've got exciting
new places to play and cool new
bands playing as well."
Scott Forbes, owner/manager
of Mr. B's in Troy and one half of
the Forbes Brothers country duo,
also sees "a real scene happening.
Blues is one of the original Amer-
ican music forms; so many other

musics cross blues, it appeals to
Ironically, the Detroit blues
scene's growth in 1995 comes af-
ter one of the area's hottest blues
clubs shut down. Sully's in
Dearborn called it quits ear-
ly last summer due to fi-
nancial problems.
"That was more an
emotional blow than any-
thing else," Pasman
says of the club, which routine-
ly offered the hottest lineup in the
city. "They'd have four or five na-
tional bands there a week, not just
on weekends. They'd also book a
lot of up-and-coming acts, too."
The void has been filled, how-
ever. New dubs, such as Memphis
Smoke in Royal Oak, have opened
their doors. Existing establish-
ments, such as the Fox & Hounds
in Bloomfield Hills and the Li-
brary Sports Pub in Novi, have be-
gun booking blues acts. And more
are coming— the upstairs at Roy-
al Oak's Fifth Street Billiards is
expected to become a blues room
in the coming months. As Koko
Taylor enthused during her recent
performance at the Majestic, "Hey,
hey, the blues are here to stay."

Here's a quick overview of some of the metro area's best
places to get the blues:

Q CLUB, Pontiac: Blues and
billiards area perfect mix in this
second-floor bistro, which has be-
o come popular enough to expand
1 — its food service to the first floor.
't 29 S. Saginaw, (810) 334-7411.
FOX & HOUNDS, Bloomfield
Hills: This upscale restaurant,
best-known for its hot Friday
night bar action, has turned up


the heat with regular blues book-
ings — including frequent ap-
pearances by singer Kimmie
Horn. A tasty oyster bar and

massive beer selection are dis-
tinctive bonuses. 1560 N. Wood-
ward, (810) 644-4800.

GRILL, Novi: Blues have taken
over the weekends, and the post-

college football crowd makes Sat-
urdays particularly hot. The only
drawback is when a major sports
event on the bar's 11 TVs com-
petes with the band. 42100
Grand River, (810) 349-
Troy: Another
sports bar that's fea-




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