Hope and Heartbreak:
A Message from CVBS President King Gypsy
First up, my apologies to the membership for the lack of newsletters and website updates in 2021. All of us have been very busy dealing with real life in the age of CVXIX , making both living and being a musician and/or fan of the musical arts two full time jobs! Change is in full marching regalia, and it's here ,as always, to stay. And despite the optimism that the new year had brought us for a major reduction in the assault of COVID-19, and the slow return to what we'd hoped would be normalcy, all seems for naught now that Delta virus has stormed back, hitting us harder than ever. On the plus, side, I am very pleased that the majority of CVBS members have chosen to get vaccinated so that we can safely and vigorously bring back our jams and regular events to our membership.
We are in a tricky position as a non-profit: we are 'much needed' respite for many from the drudgery of isolation of the past year and a half; we are public-facing organization that encourages the arts and the hands-on, group expression of music with deep roots in the American Experience; and, we have moral duty to make sure that our actions do not cause harm to our members, our communities, and their families.
Did you know we had jams in June and July? We did! At Barren Ridge Winery, and Pale Fire Brewery in H'Burg! And we managed o pull off both these events with safety first and foremost for the musicians and the venues. And that is what we will continue to strive for. Without mandates to protect us, we have an increased responsibility as individuals to protect others....and ourselves! So, if you haven't been "vaxxed", please help us be safe and "mask-up" for our upcoming events.
And thank you helping us be the best the we can, and for being a "part" of our family.....
Keep the BLUES alive!
Rick "King Gypsy" Sheely
Do you have what it takes to sit on the CVBS Board?
Our current VP, Jon Spear, has "officially" retired from the CVBS board this summer. We are very grateful to Jon for his hard work and contributions, and we're now looking for a well-organized blues-lover to step in to continue his work. The main responsibility of the VP is to attend board meetings, to contribute advice and expertise as a member of the CVBS Board, and tp step in if the president makes a hasty departure to Haiti :-). If you're interested, please send an email to email@example.com.
More News from CVBS ...
No Dues in 2021 — No dues for the time being. But please, let's each make it a goal in 2021 to get one person to join CVBS!
BluesFest 2022 — The board announced last night it's intent to begin planning our Blues Festival for Summer of 2022. Ex-Prez Andy Burdesky will continue to be the main planner for this event, and all CVBS members are encouraged to take part and make suggestions to help make next years big event happen!
We've agreed to concentrate on jams for the remainder of 2021, and to have our annual Christmas party in December. Stay tuned for more details..or watch our Facebook page..
ONE LAST TIME – Another top-notch CD from Central Virginia’s Adrian Duke
Review by Jon Spear
One Last Time is the fifth CD from Adrian Duke since 2004, and fans of this remarkable multi-instrumentalist singer/songwriter will not be disappointed. In his latest effort, Duke serves up a delicious New Orleans-spiced roux of blues, soul and funk, along with a couple of slow-burners, all of which display not just his own virtuosity on the piano and organ, but also the talents of a cadre of terrific regional musicians.
Duke possesses a remarkable singing voice that is rich and gravelly and at the same time capable of disciplined wailing and musical shouts – a melodious mashup of Ray Charles and Satchmo with a remarkable dynamic range. Duke is probably a natural baritone but easily hits high notes that would be the envy of any tenor. In terms of style, Duke’s performances invite favorable comparisons to many artists – Dr. John, Ray Charles, Fats Domino, and Randy Newman – but in the end he is truly unique.
Adrian is accompanied on the CD’s 12 original songs by a talented group of guest artists who deliver some superb performances, including by vocalist Theresa Richmond of Durham, NC; bassist Marcus Parker of Richmond; additional vocals by Derek Crowder (Richmond VA); guitarist Damon Brown (Durham NC); drummer Will Tynch (Vienna VA); Sax Rhythm tracks recorded at Darth Fader Studio in Richmond; and Johnny Bishop on harmonica.
The strongly thematic nature of this CD is reflected in its title – One Last Time – and focuses on persons, places and things that have endured a lot of adversity and been knocked down a few times, but are not ready to give up. The opening track, “I’ll Make it Run,” is an ode to a classic old Lincoln automobile which may be a little worse for the wear, but still has plenty of stuff to left to strut if just given a chance. Duke’s words, “Girl, I’ll make it run for you” convey this a sense hope and determination, set to a steady rolling New Orleans beat, serving notice that the stately old Lincoln is not out of miles yet.
In that same vein, “The Old Madison” is a gospel-tinged ballad that pays tribute to Detroit’s storied Madison-Lennox Hotel. Built around 1900, this upscale edifice prospered through the roaring 20s, and later survived the trauma of the 1967 riots and a rising tide of urban decay before finally succumbing to an illegal demolition in 2005. Duke’s lyrics enigmatically weave in references to notorious Detroit hitman Chester Campbell and a fictional girlfriend named Henrietta, adding an air of mystery and dark humor to the song, while lamenting the loss of this Detroit landmark singing, “They tore down the old Madison and it just don't seem the same.”
“Gone” is another song where we find a strong enduring figure standing against the onslaught of time – in this case it’s a “staid old willow tree,” tall and twisted, that watches the world from a neglected alley but whose long branches can still evoke a song. As with the other tracks on this album, hope still shines through: Maybe it’s “too late for dreaming” and “too late to begin” but WTF, “We got a bottle on the table and plenty of time!” The optimism embraced by “Gone” brings to mind the resilience of places like New Orleans, with its many ancient willow trees, that somehow manage to survive and which Duke honors so ably with his voice and musical style.
But just as Duke’s songs can be deep and introspective, they can also be fun. “Mama Don’t Like You” swings big-band style and reminds me of Lyle Lovett in terms of rhythm and tongue-in-cheek lyrics. It also boasts some red-hot guitar licks and a great jazzy sax, along with well thought out dynamics. If you can listen to this song without getting up to dance, there is something wrong with you.
“One in a Crowd” takes us to the other end of the emotional spectrum as a song of love, joyful abandon, and dropping pretenses – you can be happy as long as you don’t take yourself too seriously. The refrain “When love comes fallin’ down we’re gonna throw our arms wide open, we’re gonna laugh out loud” floats on a joyous cloud of congas, vocal harmonies, and horns.
“Make the Best” is another song of hope and endurance about two lovers who have nowhere else to turn except to each other. Down on their luck, Duke asks: “If I make the best of your bad situation / Would you make the best of what's left of me.” Again, Duke hits the theme of the album of people who’ve still got a lot to offer, and in the process provides us with a memorable Ray Charles-style high howl.
“Deloris” is a torch song about love and lust, with thoughtful and clever lyrics about two lovers who know that their relationship can never work but it doesn’t stop them from letting their mutual attraction overcome their common sense.
“Gone Too Far” evokes a classic Curtis Mayfield vibe, and features some terrific work on horns. “Somebody” is another song with a great rockin’ groove, carrying the message that maybe we need to be torn down once in a while in order to see reality for what it is, whether we like it or not.
Additional songs on the CD include “Home to Me,” a happy upbeat love song about the feeling we get when we know we’ve met the right person; “Store Bought Teeth” is a funky groove about how a shiny new smile and a loose slot machine can add up to a second chance; and the CD closer entitled “Old Bones” is a heavy driving fully-orchestrated rocker with strong almost cinematic choruses.
Although Duke’s musical soul is in New Orleans, his home is in Central Virginia and we feel very fortunate to have him here. We hope that the title of this CD – One Last Time – is strictly rhetorical. His creativity and musicality derive from a deep well of talent and emotion, and we are quite sure there’s a lot more where that came from. This one is a keeper. It will be officially released to all the major streaming services on October 1, 2021, but is available now at www.adrianduke.com.
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Attention Musicians and Venues --
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