Posts Tagged ‘Russian River Blues Festival’

We usually attend the Russian River Blues Festival by viewing the proceeds from the opposite side of the river, high above and a good distance from ground zero blues, in the bed of our specially equipped bluesmobile 9see picture way below). But this year we could not go through the complicated procedure necessary to get a primo viewing site alongside Neely Road due to the fact that Gail had to work on Monte Rio Beach. When she got off around 1:30 we got a couple of kayaks and took off to rendezvous with the kids and an altogether different adventure.

How we usually roll.

How we usually roll.

Here are a couple snaps of our adventures yesterday.
Water and music under the bridge and all around.

Water and music under the bridge and all around.

Some folks in the throng were in thongs.

Some folks in the throng were in thongs.

The highlights for me were the Boz Scaggs covers of two of my favorite Willy Deville songs, “Cadillac Walk” and “Mixed Up Shook Up Girl. The low light was pulling the much heavier kayak up themuch steeper incline.

We got up extra-early and loaded up the truck with food, beverages, folding chairs, a blanket, binoculars, camera, radio (to listen to the 49ers game) and an umbrella. We brewed a pot of coffee and filled a large thermos. We postponed breakfast so that we could arrive on the scene and claim our favorite parking place on Neeley Road, on the opposite side of the Russian River, but with a clear view, and more importantly, with optimal sound quality. When we were safely ensconced in our primo parking place we took time to drink our coffee and eat our modest breakfast of blueberry bagels and cream cheese. Breakfast yesterday morning was more visually appealing so I am including photos of that meal instead.

Sunlit egg.

Shimmering bacon.

From our vantage point high above the Russian River we could see the merchants uncovering their wares, the food vendors firing up their grills, the festival staff sweeping walkways, and lots of umbrellas and empty chairs.


We were still gnoshing on bagels and cream cheese when the first act started its set, “Twice As Good”. Next came an excellent gospel-flavored set by “Blues Broads”. By the time “Robert Randolph and the Family Band” were halfway into their set, the denizens of our executive skybox park and watch were starting to swing and sway. The beach below was beginning to fill up and by the time Taj Mahal took the stage the place was pretty much jammed, and stayed that way through performances by Eric Lindell and headliner, George Thorogood.


Ever present was a blimp with hard to decipher graphic advertising. I like blimps so I took a couple of blimp shots.

Blimp high over river.

Comic-style blimp directly overhead.

Just in case you wanted to see a picture of me enjoying myself while trying to contain the energy of a high-spirited dog, here you go.






To round out the first full month of those Amazing Humans let’s depart from my recent trend of choosing old or dead people to draw and write about. As a matter of fact this young woman is a Mississippi Saxophone (harmonica) prodigy. She bonded with the harp at 7 years old. She first caught my eye a few years back at the Sonoma County Fair’s Annual Blues Festival. She must have been sixteen or seventeen then. She shared the stage with an accomplished old blues artist (whose name I can’t recall). As he sang about the joys of squeezing that lemon till the juice runs down his leg, I had grandfatherly protective feelings about this shy little school girl, looking down occasionally, smiling, waiting for her solo. Then her opening came, she jumped right on it. More than stood her own, playing with appropriate nastiness, intensity and skill, way beyond her years.

She’s already played with a lot of the greats including Charlie Musslewhite and Mark Hummel, and I expect you’ll hear a lot more of her in the future. I was going to make a sexist comment about the rarity of cute female harp players but I decided against it. Play on Santana Kirk!

Other Santana Kirk facts (courtesy of  an article written in the Blues Festival Guide, 2006, Carrying On the Tradition, by Robin Thrush Sr.):

– She played The Russian River Blues Festival at ages 12 and 13.

– Charlie Musslewhite guests on her first CD, “Ain’t Kiddin’ Around”.

– She has also shared the stage with James Cotton and T-Birds front man, Kim Wilson.

-She was featured on a PBS program, “Blues Variations” and The Johnny Otis  Radio Show.

And for me, one month in the books, 334 Amazing Humans to go.