The keg’s about to float

The keg’s about to float
The keg’s about to float
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The River City Blues Society has got the blues…literally. Their long running “Brews & Blues” at downtown’s Capital Ale House has to look for a new home. Started over 6 years ago, the free Friday musical start-to-the-weekend has showcased local and touring blues bands, as part of RCBS’s mission to promote and preserve this distinctly American art form.

 

The great thing about B&B is how accessible it’s made the blues to people that might not be that into it. Because of their extensive beer selection, good food and prime Main Street location, Capital Ale attracts lots of after-work traffic. People that came for a couple of drinks or dinner were exposed to the sounds next door in the music hall – a win for blues. Losing Capital Ale will hurt, according to former board member and longtime society volunteer Shirley Belkowitz, who feels there really aren’t many prime venues for local blues groups to carry on the tradition.

 

 

The Moogly Blues Band played this past Friday to a pretty good house. They actually began as an all Virginia Department of Transportation band and have been around 9+ years with 3 original members. They tend to play more in the Petersburg and Colonial Heights area. Vocalist Bill Cannell started the band and his vocal style is very much in the Chicago blues vein. Acknowledging the end of Brews & Blues, Bill says business is business so it doesn’t surprise him – he feels the “wind is a bit out of the sail,” when it comes to good crowds to play for. “It used to be you knew there’d be a crowd wherever you played, but today there’re so many more venues that the live scene is a bit diluted.” The Mooglys enjoy playing at Capitol Ale because it is a great venue with pro sound and staff support.

 

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Greg Willard, past society president and music coordinator for B&B, says they’re looking into alternate venues, although nothing has been finalized. The society will still be hosting some shows at Capital Ale, with whom Greg feels they have had a great relationship. These include the annual Blues Challenge in June, which selects and financially supports a local blues band to compete in the Memphis-based International Blues Challenge. There will also be one-off concerts featuring high-caliber touring bands.

 

RCBS will give Brews & Blues a proper sendoff September 26 when Tough Deal claims the last 5 – 8 p.m. time slot and then hosts an extended jam featuring musicians that have regularly played the series. Although one chapter is ending, the RCBS will continue to promote great blues in great places and I’ll let you know on SIFTER.

 

Watch Video

 

Moogly Blues:

Bill Cannell: Vocal

Tom Saunders: Bass

Clay Saunders: Lead guitar

Ray Lindquist: Drums

Russ Vergara: Guitar (sitting in from Magnolia)

1 Comment

  1. Well said and much appreciated commentary. Thanks from Ellen, current pres and searcher for the next venue!

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