Tuesday, July 18, 2006

New Orleans Blues in Maine

July 15-16 was the North Atlantic Blues Festival right here on the coast of Maine. It's an annual event that we always attend. You couldn't ask for a better setting—right on the town landing with sailboats and fishing boats behind the stage and two lighthouses in the distance. My dh is a major blues fan, and I've developed more of a taste for the blues as we've seen more and more live performances here. The weather suited the music—hot and sultry, but most of the crowd of 8000 stayed until the end both days.
The Saturday theme was Tribute to New Orleans, and a chunk of the proceeds will go to help New Orleans musicians who lost their homes and instruments. That day included a dynamite line-up of Louisiana performers.
Marva Wright could've belted out her songs without a mike. She brought a tear to my eye when she told of having to evacuate the city and learned from her son later that her house had been washed away. Still she's determined to return. Kenny Neal is the oldest of ten musical children, and two brothers play in his band. Great guitar and harmonica.
The headliner was Marcia Ball, whose song "Let Me Play with your Poodle," on the CD of the same name always makes me smile and sing along. That lady plays a mean boogie-woogie piano and sings the way we all wish we could.
And if you don't know Tab Benoit and his music, honey, you haven't lived. That sexy Cajun could charm the gators out of the swamp with his smile and by just talking to them with that velvet voice. And when he sings, whoa. Can you tell I'm a fan? He talked to the appreciative and sympathetic crowd a bit about the problems still facing New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf coast. About the disgrace that searchers are still finding dead bodies in their homes. About the slow progress in repairing the city and infrastructure. It's already hurricane season and there's a long way to go. He urged people to go to New Orleans on vacation, to support the city and its people by spending your money there instead of sending it to politicians who might waste it or worse. The destruction of this historic city is a national disgrace that must be rectified and never duplicated. Let's do what we can.

Susan Vaughan


doctorj2u said...

Thank you for the thoughts of my hometown. Benoit is right. If anyone asks what they can do to help, it is to visit the city and have a wonderful time. I did just that the Fourth of July weekend and I never felt better about tipping.

Cheryl Bolen said...

I simply cannot understand why more hasn't been done for one of America's four "Unique" cities. It's closing in on a year since the devastating flood of New Orleans -- which didn't take Katrina's direct hit. A pity more wasn't done to shore up the levees before Katrina, but that's (no pun intended) water under the bridge now.
Please continue to celebrate New Orleans.