Photography by Tom Dausner
Making a Scene Presents an Review of the Georgia Blues and Roots Festival
by Rhetta Akamatsu
It was a gorgeous Autumn day at Mable House Amphitheatre Saturday for the Georgia Blues and Roots Festival. Music crackled through the air. David T and Friends did a great set for the ones who, like us, could not stand to miss a single thing.
Following their set, Larry Griffith and his band provided another tight set before George Klein, President of the Atlanta Blues Society and organizer of the festival, came on stage to present the Legend of Atlanta Blues award, only the second one ever given, to Ms. Beverly “Guitar” Watkins. The first one was presented last year to Eddie Tigner and his daughter, Sandra Hall, so the board is doing a great job of choosing recipients. Watkins then performed a couple of songs with Griffith and the band and performed her trademark move of playing the guitar behind her back, not something you see an elderly woman do every day.
Next came an Atlanta favorite, Charlie Wooton, with his band, Zydefunk. . Wooton hails from New Orleans and he founded Zydefunk, he said, to make the music he was missing when he moved here. And make it they do, with a great washboard player, guitar player, and drummer. Wooton handles bass and vocals. This day, the band also included guest accordionist Larry English and Kathie Holmes on keyboards and flute. What a gumbo they cooked up!
Following Zydefunk was something entirely different, a group of young men from San Francisco called The Stone Foxes, who played rock with a indie blues influence. They were very good and quite well-received. After all, even though for the most part it was an older audience, many of us came to the blues from rock ‘n roll. The group got what I think was a big surprise when they played their version of “Spoonful” and Ms. Watson joined them for it and fitted right in! After all, whether you are 79 or 21, a fine musician will stay a fine musician!
Next to the stage was Albert Castiglia, who not only is an excellent songwriter but who made us laugh with his song, “Quit Your Bitchin,'” which was written by Mike Zito He said the song got him in a lot of trouble with his wife. It includes a wonderful pretend phone conversation in which his guitar pays the part of his wife. Castiglia obviously plays well with others because he brought to the stage Charlie Wooton,, John Pagano, Lola, and Ms. Watkins to play with him.
Last to the stage was headliner Carl Weathersby, who played with Albert King for years. With experience like that, you know he ruled the stage. He also had tremendous musicians with him. Weathersby wowed everyone with his guitar playing and his smooth, soulful singing. He did a marvelous extended version of “I Would Rather Go Bind” that could not fail to touch every person in the audience. What a great performer to end the show!
Altogether, it was a perfect day, spent in good company with amazing music. The Atlanta Blues Society board and volunteers did an amazing job and created a wonderful experience for us all.