On Saturday November 6th, I traveled from Wisconsin
to St. Louis to see the show Celebrating the Blues
at the Touhill Performing Arts Center at UMSL.
Having recently relocated to the Milwaukee area,
I was quite anxious to get back home and see some
good music. The lineup of artists seemed impressive
with Shemekia Copeland, Dr. John (Mac Rebennack),
and Charlie Musslewhite. Overall, I must admit
I was a bit disappointed with the production.
Dr. John's band was the "house band"
for the show. They are talented, but not quite
as bluesy as I would prefer. First, Dr. John and
his band played, then Shemekia came to join them
and did some duos with the pianist. Finally, Charlie
Musslewhite came out to do some unique solo acoustic
blues ensembles. For me, this was the highlight
of the show. Charlie has been doing his brand
of blues for decades and he is a true showman.
Finally, it was all three acts together as one
I just didn't feel that pull and excitement of
soul grabbing blues that I generally feel when
seeing a live act. Maybe it was because I was
expecting an out and out blues performance or
maybe it was because I realized how homesick I
am! All I can say is that my disappointment isn't
from the lack of talent that was on the stage.
Shemekia Copeland has won four WC Handy awards
and has a very amazing voice (which I am sure
she inherited from her father Johnny Copeland!)
While being born in 1979, I can see a bright future
for this young woman and her talents. I was impressed
with her vocal and stage display, but wished she
had done some more traditional blues tunes. Dr.
John has been around since the sixties and has
played with musical legends including Sonny and
Cher, Mike Bloomfield, and Bob Dylan. He has also
won Grammy awards and has had music at the top
of various hit charts. Lastly, Charlie Musslewhite
is definitely one of my favorite blues musicians.
It's no wonder he's so talented having played
with Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson, and Howlin'
Wolf. He had his first record release in 1967
and is still going strong today with his newest
release "Sanctuary", that is flying
high on blues charts.
The Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center
at the University of Missouri-St. Louis is absolutely
stunning. Though I wouldn't necessarily call it
a "blues venue", it has its own appeal
and character similar to that of a small version
of the Fox Theatre. I was very impressed with
the layout and acoustics of the building as well.
Overall, I would give this show 2.5 of 5 on the
bluesometer. To learn more about the artists that
appeared on stage for this show please visit the
web links below.
| www.shemekiacopeland.com |