It was a beautiful day in Blue Ridge, GA. The sky was clear and the temperature was moderate. The air smelled like BBQ and filled with music. It was a blues lover’s dream. It was the Blue Ridge BBQ and Blues Festival and the theme was “Women Of Da Blues” so every band had a strong woman included, which made it perfect for a write like me, who celebrated women in blues in T’Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do,” a book I wrote a few years ago which is still available on Amazon.
The first group to perform was The Mudbone Turner Band, with L’Tanya “Sugarlips” Turner. Mudbone and “Sugarlips” Turner were celebrating their first year as a married couple. The group has built quite a following in and around Atlanta and they put on a great show at Blue Ridge, though since they played early they did not get the crowd they deserved. Still, the people who were there were very enthusiastic and the band earned a lot of applause and shouts of approval for both members o the happy couple and the rest of the musicians
They were followed by the youth group, No Komment. My husband and I have seen this group periodically since 2010, when they were pre-teens. Now they are all teens, and the biggest surprise in the lead singer, Max, who has developed a gravelly voice that we did not expect But it is very distinctive and gives the group a whole new sound for those of us who haven’t seen them in a few years. The group also features two female guitarists and singers, so they fit the theme perfectly.
After them came Breaking Point, a group from Blue Ridge who were a wonderful surprise because we knew nothing about them. They were tight and put on an energetic and enjoyable show, and their female singer was very talented They seem to have no web presence which is a shame because I would love to learn more about them.
As the evening approached and the crowd gathered, Rollin’ Bones hit the stage. They were marvelous, and their singer, Sherry Paul, was sublime. Her version of one of my favorite songs, “I’d Rather Go Blind,” had me in tears just because it was that good! They also had the crowd up and dancing with their more upbeat songs. What a great group!
Then it was time at last for the headliners: Markey Blue!. It takes something extraordinary to properly cap a great festival like that and Markey Ric and the rest of the group are just the ones to do it! As usual, my husband took a multitude of photos of Markey in action and every one of them came out blurry. That happens every time because Markey never stops moving, not for a moment, once she hits the stage. When she’s not singing and dancing or leaning admiringly in to listen to Ric Latana on guitar or one of the other members of her fabulous band, she is introducing songs while gesturing and waving her arm about. It seems she ought to have to be carried off the stage, but she is a high energy person. Latana steps forward for his fabulous guitar solos, but the rest of the time the rest of the band just stays back and give Markey room to move and wail! We have seen Markey Blue a number of times over the past two years, and they are always marvelous.
Kudos to all of the organizers and sponsors of the Blue Ridge BBQ and Blues Festival. It is a favorite of ours and always one of the best festivals of the year.