Monday, March 12, 2018

The Future of Blues is Secure

It is beyond words, how wonderful it is when a successful musician and his band take time and effort to help out young and upcoming musicians in their pursuits to reach the same pinnacle of success.

That is just the sort of people that JW Jones and his band are.

For a couple of years, the Juno-nominated Blues artist (his bassist, Laura Greenberg, won the 2017 Maple Blues Bassist of the Year award) has gathered musicians, aged 13 to 18, to show their stuff and perform along side him in his event, #613FutureBlues. Yesterday was the second year that my young drummer, DD14, auditioned and was invited to play.

Irene's Pub was full of proud parents and supporters. We heard a young vocalist, three outstanding guitarists, and a total of seven drummers. JW told me that it's usually a challenge to find more than a couple of drummers (I think that last year, there was only one other drummer than my kid), and this time he was flush with them.

All of the kids come with different levels of experience, and the pressure can be intense. I doubt that at their age, I would have been willing to play my trumpet in front of a crowd, alongside such a powerhouse as JW Jones. You have to hand it to them for gathering the courage, controlling their nerves, and prevailing.

It was also great to see how well DD14 has progressed. Last year, when she performed for #613FutureBlues, JW had provided her with links to three YouTube videos. She had only a couple of days to listen to the music and copy the beats. She was nervous, had never met JW Jones before and had no rehearsal time. She didn't know what to expect, but she pulled it off wonderfully.

This year, JW sent her one song, and she was a little more relieved. Memorizing one song was easier than memorizing three. After JW and his band warmed up the crowd, they called DD14 as their first young guest. She played the song, "I Get Evil," brilliantly.

As she was about to get up and leave the stage, JW told the audience that she would play another number with the band. He walked up to her and told her to play a shuffle. That was it.

I can't imagine how nervous she was.

The band invited another young musician to the stage. His name is Lee, and my daughter played a number with him last year. He's amazingly talented: I can only imagine how good he'll be in a few more years.

Here's the last couple of minutes of that number. Remember: DD14 had no idea of what the song was, had never played it before.

Thanks to JW Jones and his great band for this opportunity.

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