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With over a month having past since the last Blues for a Cause, A
Helping Hand concert, there's been ample time to step back and take a
long look at an event that signifies the unitiy that makes up BFAC.
With the help of Ronnie Cate's and Smoke on the Water as one of the major
sponsors, Joe Powell and a host of blues supporters and volunteers such
as David and Sherrie Hughes from the Spa City Blues Society in Hot Springs, Arkansas, came
together for two days of fantastic blues music. The weekend was truly a
weekend to remember and was marked by both Sorrow and Smiles.
The blues community mourned the passing of the Legendary Willie "Big Eyes"
Smith on Friday night while simultaneously celebrating BB King's
birthday. Reba Russell who closed out Friday night's show paid homage to
both blues greats. Reba sat down on the edge of the stage and the crowd
gathered around her for what was prided by many of her fans, as one of
her best and most intimate performances. On Saturday night Jimmy Thackery
called out and dedicated his performance to his old buddy, Critter Killingsworth,
March's BFAC recipient and cancer patient, who had humbly made his way to
the show with the help of daughter Amanda & brother Ben. Thackery played to a
modest BFAC crowd as if he were performing for a crowd of ten thousand.
As a matter of fact, every act who hit the stage that weekend did so
with incredible energy.
Friday started off with an act from the Oklahoma City area AmyLee
Pettis & Second Line with their rousing & high energy
performance which left your soul quenched, but your heart thirsty for
more, Their "energy" and enthusiasm was unstoppable despite a downpour
that blew across the stage. Also, the Joe Pitts Band who followed
weren't the least bit detoured
by the damp stage and played a show that was totally amazing. Joe has
been hailed as one of the most soulful blues-rock guitarists today. The
transition between bands moved seemingly
effortlessly and left the crowd shouting for more.
The opening act on Saturday, The Saints of Yesterday was incredible.
Mike Parrish, drummer for the Saints of Yesterday, was quoted as saying:
"One would be hard pressed these days to find someone that hasn’t
been either directly or indirectly affected by a catastrophic illness
and it’s potentially devastating financial consequences. More and more
every day we learn of someone close to us that has been touched by
cancer or an equally dreaded affliction. When Joe Powell approached me
about his benefit concert “Blues for a Cause” and asked if our band,
Saints of Yesterday, would be interested in donating our
time to play, we jumped at the opportunity. Looking back, it was without
a doubt one of the most uplifting and worthwhile shows we’ve ever had
the pleasure of being involved with. The camaraderie among all the
musicians was incredible. You could feel that everyone was unified in
making the event a success. I hope I’m given the opportunity to be
involved with BFAC for many years to come. '
Also on Saturday, the Billy
Jones Bluez Band followed by the amazing Tullie Brae & The Medicine Man Revue brought the crowd to their feet
with an entertaining and unique blend of blues each in their own bluesy way. Tullie Brae produces music that makes you groove, move and remember why you love music in the first place, and Billy Jones has been known to take a more restrained and soulful approach while still expressing a deep love for blues music!
No doubt about
it, the weekend was a great success and everyone involved in the event,
especially the fans who made their way to the show, deserve applause of
thanks. In an effort to give a proper "thank you" to all who
participated we give you the words of BFAC founder, Joe Powell:
"To each and everyone of the folks involved with Blues For A Cause, A Helping Hand Blues Benefit & Music Festival,
September the 16th & 17th WE (every one involved) managed to pull off our second benefit
and music festival. Of course there are numerous people to thank, my
wife Tracey for her love & support and undying help & also sometimes having to cope with my attitude, Sandra Sallings
for all she does, keeping me in line & focused & inspired to
achieve more, To Bill & Julianne Bobo & Donny & Amber Graves for their
financial & mental support & their friendship.
To Jim & Debra Simpson for the loan of that incredible motor home & their financial contributions also,
Thanks. Thanks for all of the assistance from the wonderful Debra Dace
& my too cool brother-in-law Todd. To the many volunteers that
helped BFAC, my hat is off to you guys & you know who you are! To Ronnie
Cates with the Smoke on the Water Festival, I certainly don’t think I
could have had quite as good of a show without your help, Thanks. To all of our other sponsors, SEARK College, Stereo Junction, Strong Mfg., Ramada Plaza Hotel, Simpson Education, Graves & Assoc., Bobo Farms, Razorback Printing & last but not least Joe Dempsey Communication, the man who has stood behind me through this whole process, Thanks Joe!! To the
bands that played the festival, what can I say, an amazing show you all
put on!! The contributions that were given back by some of the bands
& you know who you are, I will always be forever in your debt. To
the people that attended the event, you are an awesome bunch of people!!
To the future shows that we do, I only hope that they will be filled
with the love that was shown at this show!!
THANKS SO MUCH!!
Until next time, Best of Blues,