Hot August Blues held it’s annual one day blues and roots festival in Cockeysville MD on Saturday, Aug 20th. This was the 19th show going back to 1993 when it was just Charlie Musselwhite and Brett Wilson. This year’s lineup had 10 amazing bands and two stages to keep folks dancing into the night..
Kicking the day off was Lennon La Ricci and the Leftovers on the side stage. This band is somewhat of a family affair. At the age of 10, Lennon the youngest, tears it up on his keyboard in this classic rock gourp. Lennon’s Dad plays guitar as part of the Leftovers. It was unbelievable to hear that Lennon has only been playing keys for only 2 years! This kid has an amazing natural talent and is definitely one to look out for in the futute.
Following Lennon La Ricci and the Leftovers on the side stage was a band called Lawnchair. A four piece band from Baltimore that mixed some acoustic and electric guitars to bring a nice mixture of rock-n-roll and alt- country.
We had the chance to interview the Jesters of Kindness who also played the side stage. The Jesters played with a blues harp player they met just 5 mins before the show started. The best way to describe their sound would be Cyndi Lauper in a jam band. The Jesters puck rock front lady, Sarah Boan, had great vocals laid on top of some nice jams. With a little bit of funk infused with jam and rock, The Jesters brought a little something for everyone.
Sweet Leda, who’s stellar strong blues vocals come from Julie Cymek, made a return visit from last year’s fest. Playing songs “Can’t Stand” and “Let Her Love Her” from their newly released CD titled Need the Music, bring a soul, pop and rock sound that resemble Janis Joplin mixed with Lauren Hill. Sweet Leda is gaining a nice following in the Northeast region and actually has a track that will be featrued in an upcoming movie. Eduardo Sanchez and Haxan Films (the makers of the Blair Witch Project) along with producer Mark Ordesky (Amber Entertainment), recently shot their latest film Lovely Molly in MD. At the request of the film’s director and executive producer, Sweet Leda arranged and recorded the song, also titled “Lovely Molly”, for end title credits. The film will premier at the Toronto Film Festival next month. More info on the film can found at facebook.com/lovelymolly until the web site is completed.
Headlining the side stage was Lower Case Blues who get there influences from Buddy Guy, The Allman Brothers and ZZ Top. They played a strong set showing why they were named the best band in Delaware in 2009.
The main stage was just as much fun as the side stage. Opening the day was the Tom Larson Band. Larson, a driving slide guitarist with 10 albums to his name, was seen playing his slide with items from the audience. He used things like a crutch and a lawn chair to belt out some serious blues slide solos.
Bands like J. Roddy Walston and the Business are another reason that rock ‘n’ roll is here to stay. They put on a great live show where J. Roddy himself may remind you of what Jerry Lee Lewis would look like with long hair. This Baltimore, MD band is signed to Fairfax Recordings/Vagrant Records and have played festivals like Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, and SXSW. Their also playing at this year’s Austin City Limits and we’ll be on tour through mid- October. If you have not heard of J. Roddy Walston and the Business, you better get on it because these guys are amazing and they’re going to be huge.
Kings Go Forth is a 10 piece band from Milwaukee. They brought the funk/soul hard to Hot August Blues to mix things up a little and get the crowd up and dancing. This band is a live performance must see. The band is always dressed in matching or similar urban 70’s garb, sometimes complete with fringe. The King’s from man, Black Wolf is definitely an entertainer. He danced with many girls in the crowd and even broke down to his knees on some tracks becasue they were bringing the funk so hard.
Robert Randolph and the Family Band is truly a family band. With Robert’s little sister singing backup and cousins playing in the band, this well known power group has been touring and playing the festival circuit for years. Robert Randolph is a master at the slide guitar and always sits front and center stage. Robert never disappoints in getting the audience involved in the show and he did not disappoint anyone at Hot August Blues. The crowd absolutely loved Robert and his family band. There’s was not a single patron not on their feet dancing. Robert Randolph and the family band were the perfect segue into the headlining act, Tedeschi/Trucks Band.
After having separate careers Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks have joined forces to form one, not only in marriage, but as the Tedeschi/Trucks Band. Derek Trucks who maybe one of the best slide guitarist out there today, is the nephew of Butch Trucks, a founding member of The Allman Brothers Band. Susan Tedeschi not only has a great blues voice, but she is a strong guitarist herself. Playing such songs as “Coming Home”, “Bound For Glory”, “Space Captain”, “Any Day” and “Midnight in Harlem” she resembles a young Bonnie Raitt with her vocal style and guitar ability. Even though the band is called the Tedeschi/Trucks Band, the 8 piece from Jacksonville, FL admits that their song writing process is truly a group effort.
Tedeschi/Trucks Band we’re definitely the highlight of the fest and what most patrons were there to see. What a fantastic way to end Hot August Blues 2011. Hot August Blues each year over all is such a great festival. It always has a lineup that delivers through and though with a really nice crowd, top vendors, as well as tons of charitable partners. So if you missed it this year, be sure to mark you calendars for 2012!Photos & Write-up by: Don McGurrin