Coloma Blues Live! rattles
By Mike Roberts | Mother Lode News | June 08, 2009 08:33
Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Joe Louis Walker, Rick Estrin, Mighty
Mike Shermer and Laurie Morvan burned down Henningsen Lotus
Park on Saturday and helped fund children’s arts programs
at the fourth annual Coloma Blues Live!, a benefit for the
El Dorado Arts Council.
Rock-tinged blues guitars ruled the day. Many attendees
felt that Morvan, who opened the show, also stole it. The
clear-eyed former athlete brought guns to rival Michelle
Obama, and proceeded to bend them around her Fender Stratocaster
in a scorching set of original blues rock that left the
early arrivals staggering to the CD sales booth.
Mighty Mike Shermer wisely got her back on stage to punch
up his set, which also featured Bay Area guitar stylist
Chris Cain, who is known for his eccentricities. Cain didn’t
disappoint. Carrying an extra hundred or so pounds more
than his fellow blues rockers, Cain was turned out in overalls
with reading glasses perched low on his nose.
The suave looking Afro Greek in the press package seemed
to be channeling Jerry Lewis more than Stevie Ray Vaughn
on Saturday, but delivered the goods, swapping riffs effortlessly
with Shermer and Morvan to the delight of the late arrivals.
Rick Estrin followed with a harmonica-fueled rock-a-Billy
blues set full of his sardonic songs. Most of the sun-soaked
audience wasn’t listening closely enough to understand
Estrin’s uber-clever lyrics, but ultimately, Estrin’s
reeds-work carried the day, providing a refreshing break
in the guitar barrage which defines modern blues, especially
on the festival circuit.
The day’s exception was Joe Louis Walker, who brought
his own guitar firepower in Linwood Taylor, but measured
the pyrotechnics with his trademark soul-soaked blues vocals
in a tasty set of blues standards and highlights from his
Walker hails from the Bay Area, and was well known to many
in the audience, who appreciated his consummate professionalism.
His measured delivery was the perfect setup for headliner
Kenny Wayne Shepherd.
Shepherd and lead singer Noah Hunt didn’t measure
anything, leaving it all on stage in a searing set of classic
rock n’ roll thinly disguised as blues. The audience
crowded in front of the stage had the predictable psychotic
reaction to the now 31-year-old former prodigy’s relentless
pursuit of Stevie Ray Vaughn and Jimi Hendrix in rock n’
Most of the estimated 2,400 attendees were still present
at the end of a long day of sun and blues to see Shepherd’s
dramatic climax, a bone-chilling rendition of Voodoo Child
that rattled windows throughout Coloma and left a lot of
gooseflesh in Henningsen Lotus Park.
Event coordinator Mary Carrera reported that the event
went off smoothly, thanks largely to over 200 volunteers.
“It went really well,” she said. “Laurie
(Morvan) was the big surprise. Look for her again next year.”