We spent yesterday at the Hot August Blues and Roots Festival at Oregon Ridge Park. And to say that it was hot August blues would be an understatement. A roasty toasty day in the sun sweating it out with some steamy blues and funk would sum it up quite nicely.
We got to the festival nice and early a little after 11 in the morning and scored a nice spot to put our blanket for the day. The day started with the Tom Larson band, a bluesy slide guitarist from the Eastern Shore. We stuck around for a bit, but then headed to the falaffal stand for some lunch so we wouldn't miss the next act. J. Roddy Walston and the Business, a Baltimore based band, cranked up the heat one more notch with their raucous rock and roll. Following was Kings Go Forth, a relatively new dirty soul group that we were really looking forward to. However, their live act was not incredibly spectacular and, we both agreed, a bit of a letdown. Looking back, they should have had J. Roddy follow Kings Go Forth.
Robert Randolph and the Family Band continued the show in the early evening, stepping up with the flavor of funk and grooves that Kings Go Forth lacked. This was our fourth time seeing Robert Randolph, and he and his band are absolutely amazing. We were lucky to most recently have seen them at Eric Clapton's Crossroad Guitar Festival last summer in Chicago. Robert plays amped up pedal steel and his family literally backs him up-- his sister is on backing vocals, his cousins on drums, bass, and guitar. There is no denying that they're family either-- they're all the spitting image of each other. The whole group is amazingly talented not only with their instruments, but with their vocals as well as each took on a lead at some point in the show. One thing that I love about watching them is that there is not a single moment that they aren't enjoying themselves on stage. Robert is smiling nearly the entire time and the rest are dancing and getting down just as much as the crowd.
The closers of the festival were the Tedeschi Trucks Band. Another group that we'd seen at Crossroads last summer, I highly anticipated seeing them again. It was complete luck to have seen them then. The Allman Brothers Band was to have played until Gregg Allman just happened to get a liver donor for his transplant the weekend of Crossroads. So instead, Eric Clapton brought the Tedeschi Trucks Band aboard. Personally, I couldn't have been happier. I was much more glad to see them than a washed up group that I wasn't entirely into.
Susan Tedeschi is by far one of my favorite musicians-- she has an amazing voice comparable to Bonnie Raitt and is an incredibly talented blues guitarist. She recently has paired up with her husband Derek Trucks, another amazing blue guitarist, and his band to round out the Tedeschi Trucks Band. They are probably the most humble musicians I have ever seen perform. They're extremely gracious and appreciative of the talented members of their band and give huge credit to each and every member. There's no gloating or crazy showmanship from either of them, especially Derek, as he has little to say, but flawlessly and effortlessly lets his guitar to do the talking. They closed out the night wonderfully and yet again blew me away with their musicianship. All in all a great day and a wonderful way to end my summer break.