|Illustration by Bill Buchman, our evening's piano man.
My Guy and I attended Art of Blues, a concert held in the display gallery of the local art center. The venue may have been small, but the sound wasn’t. I’d forgotten the joy of live music – sound that reverberates right through your bones and triggers involuntary foot tapping.
The main elements of the five-piece ensemble were guitarist and singer Steve Arvey – a native Floridian who’d spent much of his career in Chicago and had played with Bo Diddley, and Bill Buchman, piano man, who not only played a mean boogie woogie but was also an artist and instructor at the art center.
The rest of the group included a drummer, a bass guitar (whose next gig was backing up Ricky Lee Jones), and a spectacular woman harmonica player.
Like every other event around here, the audience was on the mature side, but there were plenty of whistles and cat calls throughout “Ain’t Nobody’s Business,” Calvin Carter’s “I Ain’t Got You,” and John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom Boom.”
There was also the common thread that runs through every gathering over 50 people. Outside the Ladies during intermission was the steady 8 to 9 people waiting in line. When I joined them, a man emerged from the Gents and a woman asked him if anyone else was in there. When he said no, two of us went in and I guarded the door.
Of course that meant that immediately after, a man walked up, ready to enter. We explained the situation and he took the news like a gentleman and waited with the rest of us.
I had to bite my tongue not to tell him that he could probably blend right into our line.
Unlike all the other gray and white-haired men in the audience, he had long flowing blond hair to his shoulders.
Here's some of the group from a performance in 2014 at the same venue.