Anyone who has been around the West Michigan blues and festival scene during the past decade is certainly no stranger to the award-winning Blue Moon Blues Band. In one incarnation or another, these folks have been part of the Kalamazoo Blues Festival and WRKR’s wintertime blues series at the State Theatre for years, sharing local and regional stages with the likes of Bernard Allison, Smokin' Joe Kubec, Son Seals, Hubert Sumlin, Lonnie Brooks, Jimmy Johnson… the list goes on and on. Blue Moon was also awarded a WYCE radio “Jammie” for best local blues album debut.
But last Wednesday’s performance at Central Library – show number seventeen in KPL’s ongoing Live Music series – was a unique chapter in this versatile band’s history. With equipment stripped to the bare essentials – share n’ hi-hat, acoustic guitars, piano and all, Blue Moon gave the crowd of sixty or so a chance to hear some band favorites, unique covers and homegrown originals in a more intimate than usual setting. For many of us, this was also the first opportunity to witness the band with its new lead vocalist, Bryan Michael Fischer. What a treat! These guys have grown from an adequate cover band into a true performance powerhouse. WMUK’s Mark Sahlgren (Grass Roots) summed the show up in one word… “Wow!”
Highlights included some rippin’ cover tunes like “Pinetop’s Boogie Woogie” (Clarence Smith), “My Babe” (Willie Dixon), “Bring It On Home To Me” (Sam Cooke), and a blistering version of B.B. King’s “The Thrill Is Gone.” The show also featured several band originals, including public debut of the brand new, somewhat Santana-esque “Heart Has Turned to Stone” - a very cool tune. And of course, they dedicated “Miss Ann” to our library director!
“Thanks so much and please tell everyone at the library that we were honored to perform there and we had an awesome time!” – Bill LaValley, Blue Moon Blues Band
Check out Blue Moon CDs from the KPL catalog, and visit the band’s MySpace page for some recent pix and tasty song samples. Be sure to catch the band’s final performance (sniff...) on November 14 at Bell’s Eccentric Café.
And… there’s plenty more music coming at KPL, too… don’t miss a special performance by Stacey Earle & Mark Stuart on November 1st, and be sure to visit (and bookmark) KPL’s music page for highlights of past shows and more terrific upcoming performances.
Blue Moon Blues Band