The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Life!

August 21, 2013

Brand New Gig:

A festival for jazz and blues lovers is born

Lady D, host of the Groovy 94.1 Simply Jazz and Blues radio show and live Tamarack performances, decided she didn’t have enough to do on her mountainous to-do list. As co-purveyor of 110 Marshall (that bluesy artspace on Marshall Ave., Beckley) and coordinator of West Virginia’s Finest Talent competition, she saw yet another opportunity to cultivate an appreciation for music beyond the country and bluegrass proliferating in the hills and along the banks of the New. The festivals celebrating an increasing number of jazz and blues enthusiast’s tastes were more central and northern to the state. So she, along with blues fan and pal Antonia Ritchie gathered a committee to conceive the first Simply Jazz and Blues Festival, happening at The Drift recreation area this weekend, Aug. 23-25, at Sandstone Exit 139 off Interstate 64.  The three-day event catering to southern W.Va.’s jazz and blues devotees has drawn an incredible lineup of more than 20 performers, including former cohort to legend Muddy Waters, James Cotton, aka Superharp.

“We’re expecting to get a couple of thousand in attendance our first time out. If there’s nobody but me and James Cotton out there, then that’s who will be there,” Lady D admits.

While having fallen in love with the harmonica player’s mastery of his art, she is also interested in connecting to see if the two might be distant relatives. “His last name is the same as mine,” explains Lady Doris Fields nee Cotton, divulging a point about her music festival that is the same with festivals in general and a major part of their charm — the opportunity to get up close and personal with artists and their music, sans bodyguards and pyrotechnics.

“It’s not hard, especially with blues and jazz artists, to get them to come to this part of the country. Jazz and blues aren’t mainstream. These people want to work. They’re just real people performing real music.”

Nothing goes with an artist unplugged quite like the accompanying backdrop of beauty provided by the New River. “This setting is really good for us. When people hear the music and come for the festival on the water, there’s no way they are not going to want to come back.”

For three years now, Lady D has found the jazz and blues audience alive and well in southern West Virginia, with a growing fan base of her own and calls and requests for music she’s not only spinning but teaching about. “I get lots of people calling in to support the show. They always call in when I’m giving away free music, too. They want access to this style of music, they have just never had live performances right here in this area and on a regular basis.”

In addition to James Cotton, the festival lineup includes Roomful of Blues, a New England group described as breathing new life into vintage songs, Zac Harmon, Johnny Rawls, Biscuit Miller & the Mix, and more faces and instruments to apply to the sounds of her Sunday radio show. The weekend full of special guests will include Emcees Martin Staunton, Rhayne Thomas and Dreama Denver. Denver is announcing from the “Nat Reese Memorial Stage” in honor of the late West Virginian blues man; the number two stage will officially be dedicated during Saturday’s lineup.

“There are people called ‘blues tourists’ who plan their vacations around these events, so we are expecting locals and people from out of state. Sponsors have embraced this well, but at $200 to $300 sponsorships. That’s fine, we just had to work harder.” But, she predicts, “Next summer, supporters will be calling us wanting to be a part of this.”

— E-mail: lshrewsberry@register-herald.com

Text Only
Life!
  • life dr Wellness Wednesday: Adding an ‘I’ to TEAM

    Erica Tuckwiller is pediatrician with a deep-seated passion for changing the course of the childhood obesity epidemic.

    “As a physician, good nutrition is one of the biggest challenges I face in the care of our children and I actually have been involved in the fight against childhood obesity beginning with my senior thesis early in my college career at WVU,” she stated.

     

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • bob thompson The jazz man

    If Bob Thompson’s 30-year career as a professional musician has taught him anything, it’s that there are really only two kinds of music.

     

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Leave a good legacy, and respect others’

    The death this week of the Rev. Jerry Falwell led to a network and cable blitz of commentaries on his life. We’ve been bombarded with a flurry of eulogies, criticisms, apathetic shrugs and lots of news footage regarding Falwell’s faith and foibles.

     

    July 26, 2014

  • 072314 Life CrossFit 4.jpg Crossfit Nation: Working out the WOD way

    Just as fashion trends come and go, so do fitness fads, and Cyndie Chinn had tried them all.

    July 23, 2014 3 Photos

  • downsize 1 Living large in smaller spaces

    How is it possible that as your nest gets emptier, your garage gets fuller? Living off the grid sounds tantalizing — the extreme version of paring down. But are you ready for solar panels and growing your own groceries or would a smaller home do the trick?

    July 20, 2014 3 Photos

  • Relishing the faith of little children

    July 19, 2014

  • Guns 1 ‘Guns’ for Life

    With the latest World Health Organization figures showing global life expectancy increasing from 64 years in 1990 to 70 years in 2011, staying healthy enough to add quality to the quantity of life is an important consideration.

    July 16, 2014 3 Photos

  • coconut 4 Crack open the power of the coconut

    Now let’s get this straight …
      We know about Parrotheads. And Cheeseheads. But when did Coconut Heads become cool?
    Move over, argan — you are so last season. Another exotic oil is taking lead role in everything from shampoo to weight-loss supplements. That cast-iron skillet seasoning, stretch-mark banishing essence of the hour is — coconut oil.

    July 13, 2014 2 Photos

  • Free summer serenade concert to be held

    Aurora Celtic, sponsored by Ivy & Stone, presents the free Summer Serenade concert Saturday at 6 p.m. on the Brown House lawn in Summersville.

    July 13, 2014

  • WVU Extension: Healthy summer eating tips for all occasions

    Summer and early fall are the times of year for family reunions, potluck picnics, pool parties and various other celebrations where we like to share food.

    July 13, 2014