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Coloma Blues Live! rattles windows

Many attendees felt that Morvan, who opened the show, also stole it.

Mountain Democrat, 6/8/09 - blues festival review
by Mike Roberts

Mountain Democrat - Blues Festival Review

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Coloma Blues Live! rattles windows

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 19-album discography.

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’ roll heaven.

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.”

 
 
 
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