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Sunday, July 5 Entertainment

Blues Beat: Virtual music keeps flowing around the state

As states begin the task of re-opening, the blues world has a sense of optimism. Hopefully, gigs scheduled for August and September will happen, but until then, the virtual world brings in all styles of music from around the country.

The Briggs Farm Blues Festival presents its next virtual concert at 8 p.m. Saturday with Vanessa Collier, a multi-talented musician who feels like family to Briggs fans. She always brings a pulsating, driving intensity that simply can’t be replicated, along with a sincere love and appreciation for her fans. We can’t get enough of her on The Farm. Join Collier for an intimate evening from her home in Pennsylvania, where she delivers a rare solo show, sharing her talents, singing and playing piano, guitar, and of course saxophone, for the Briggs Farm Family.

Music Maker Relief Foundation joins with a number of other agencies to present a livestream version of their annual Freight Train Blues Music Series. Freight Train Blues celebrates the life and legacy of Piedmont blues legend Elizabeth “Libba” Cotten, born in 1893 in Carrboro, N.C. Cotten’s style was unique and highly regarded by many musicians. Some of her best known compositions, like “Freight Train” and “Shake Sugaree,” have been canonized into the repertoires of American popular culture. Blues Beat remembers her from a summer concert years ago in Bushnell Park, where she opened for Taj Mahal. More information at: FreightTrainBlues.com.

In other Music Maker Relief Foundation news, Pat “Mother Blues” Cohen took the spotlight in a PBS NewsHour feature. The music maker artist sings the Coronavirus blues. A partner artist since 2005, she is no stranger to struggle and perseveres through her music. All of her gigs are canceled due to the pandemic, but that doesn’t stop her from playing outside of her brother’s nursing home window, which is on lock down due to an outbreak in the facility. A Bourbon Street mainstay, Cohen was forced out by Hurricane Katrina and moved back to her home in North Carolina. Music Maker has been with her every step of the way providing consistent support.

Join Stax Records in their new Instagram Live series, “Gospel Brunch Live Set with DJ Jared ‘Jay B.’ Boyd,” featuring music from The Gospel Truth Records catalog.

Continuing on the third Sunday of every month @staxrecords on Instagram through August, the new series is part of Stax’s tribute campaign to The Gospel Truth Records and leads up to the release of The Gospel Truth singles compilation in September (Gospel Heritage Month). The compilation will be available on vinyl, CD and digitally. Go to Stax Records’ website for details.

Stax Records is one of the most popular soul labels of all time, and has become synonymous with its gritty, Southern rhythm & blues sounds. Originally known as Satellite Records, the Memphis imprint was founded in 1957 by Jim Stewart. Over the course of two decades, Stax released more than 800 singles and nearly 300 LPs, picking up eight GRAMMYS® and an Academy Award along the way. For more info, visit CraftRecordings.com and follow on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Spotify.

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Many artists are taking this time to record and/or release new works. One that came across my desk was Tom Guerra’ “Sudden Signs of Grace,” a well done CD with songs that had me thinking back to another time, closer to rock. But the quality is worth a listen. Guerra is deep into the guitar and its music. the feel comes through in his songs. I recommend the liner notes with stories that put the songs in perspective.

Another coming CD is Canada’s beacon of the blues scene Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne is set to release a new CD, Go, Just Do It! It will be available in June via Stony Plain Records. Wayne says. “I’m not looking for a different path. I love that jump blues and boogie-woogie. That’s where my heart is at.

“I’m just trying to keep that style alive,” he adds. “That’s classic stuff, and I’m at that classic age so it all works out.”

Inducted into the Boogie Woogie Piano Hall of Fame in Cincinnati, Wayne also lines his shelf with seven Maple Blues Awards, a JUNO Award, three Living Blues Magazine Keyboard Awards, and more.

It is being reported that Ireland may allow socially distanced music festivals to take place as early as August. The country’s five-phase reopening plan specifically addresses festivals.

Ireland’s Roadmap For Reopening Society & Business may be the first government coronavirus recovery plan to specifically address music festivals. Phase Five goes beyond many recent measures allowing seated open-air events. The final phase in Ireland’s Roadmap could begin as soon as August 10th and allows for “festivals, events and other social mass gatherings where social distancing can be complied with. This could mean Ireland’s Electric Picnic Festival, a large-scale outdoor event might potentially happen in early September.

As schedules and times change, it is good practice to call the club and confirm. Any questions or comments should be sent to Domenic Forcella at TWBlus@aol.com.

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