Simi Valley Blues Festival

Written by on May 24, 2012 in Live Reviews, May 24, 2012 - 1 Comment

Simi Valley Blues Festival

By RadChad & NickyMae

Michael John And the Bottom Line (pictured) opened the 7th Annual Simi Valley Blues Festival.

Simi Valley Blues Festival

(Photo By NickyMae)

It was a beautiful Saturday in Simi Valley, Calif. for Michael John’s 7th Annual Simi Valley Blues Festival at the Hummingbird Nest Ranch. This was a family friendly event that was the vision of Simi Valley resident Michael John Basowski. The sun was shining, there was a cool breeze and the masses had gathered for some good old-fashioned blues music.

The Celebrity Emcee for the day was Mickey Jones who is currently on the FX show Justified and has an extensive acting career. Mickey also played drums for Trini Lopez, Johnny Rivers and most notably Bob Dylan.

The first band to play was Michael John & the Bottom Line. The band consists of Michael John on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Mikey Mo on lead guitar, Eddie Z on Sax and backup vocals, Chuck Lee on the five string bass and T-Bone on drums and back up vocals. Michael John has an amazing and soulful voice and the rest of the band has such a soulful, bluesy sound that is just right. This six-piece high-energy Contemporary original blues band has played at many festivals, concert theaters and venues such as The Doheny Blues Festival, Monterey Bay Blues Festival, B.B. King’s Blues Club, Galaxy Theater, Coach House, Ventura Theater and they have shared the bill with Buddy Guy,

Simi Valley Blues Festival

Jonny Lang, The Robert Cray Band, Taj Mahal & The Phantom Blues Band, Coco Montoya, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Robben Ford, John Hammond, Bobby Blue Bland, Solomon Burke, Rod Piazza and Tommy Castro to name a few.  They played the music as such that you could tell the love they have for the music and they did not disappoint. And that’s the bottom line.

The next band to play was The Delgado Brothers with special quest Sherry Pruitt. The Delgado Brothers are eldest brother Bob Delgado on bass, middle brother Joey D on guitar and vocals, younger brother Steve on drums and vocals, David “B” Kelley on Hammond B3 and Victor Bisetti on congas and timbales. The Delgado Brothers have been long held as Los Angeles’ best kept secret. Sherry Pruitt has been singing since the age of six with a solo rendition of “Eyes On The Sparrow” in church and has continued to this day even after a minor set back in 2008 when she had a stroke while singing a gospel set with her mother. Sherry has performed with such groups as The Barry Levenson Band, The Deacon Jones Blues Band, and The Delgado Brothers. Sherry and the Delgado Brothers were in true form this day and had the fans on their feet, dancin’ and singin’.

Sherry Pruitt performing with the Delgado Brothers were one of the many  higlights at the 7th Annual Simi Vaqlley Blues Festival

Simi Valley Blues Festival  (Photo By RadChad) Walter Trout was next up and to say the fans had been waiting to see him would be an understatement. The band consists of Walter Trout on vocals and guitar, Michael Leasure on Drums, Sammy Avila on keyboards and Rick Knapp on Bass. Trout’s practical schooling in blues started when he arrived in Los Angeles in 1973 and got gigs behind Joh Lee Hooker, Big Mama Thornton, Finis Tasby, Pee Wee Crayton, Lowell Fulsom, Percy Mayfield and Joe Tex. In 1981 he joined the remaining original members of Canned Heat. But the real turning point was his tenure with British blues giant John Mayall. Trout became part of the Bluesbreakers’ lineage of great guitarists along with Eric Clapton, Peter Green and Mick Taylor. Trout began leading his own group in 1989 and cut his debut album Life In the Jungle, rapidly becoming a star in Europe. His first Stateside release, 1998’s critically heralded Walter Trout, made him start down the road towards becoming the fixture of the American blues-rock scene that he is today. I would have to say my favorite song that he played was “Saw My Mama Cryin’” a loving tribute to his mother who struggled to raise him by herself. Another highlight was when he brought out Sammy Avila’s two sons to play with them. I was truly amazed at the talent these two young men had. Walter is a phenomenal musician that has surrounded himself with such talent that makes him just that much better.

The one and only Walter Trout (left) thrilled the Simi Valley Blues Festival crowd with music from his new CD, “Blues for The Modern Daze.”                                           Simi Valley Blues Festival            (Photo By NickyMae) Curtis Salgado got the crowd the moving with his soulful 60’s R&B Blues sound. Salgado’s been perfecting his craft since he first began playing professionally in the late 1960s. In 1977, comedian/actor John Belushi was in Eugene, Oregon filming Animal House. During downtime from filming, Belushi caught a typically balls-out Salgado performance. Afterwards the two got to talking and a friendship grew. Before long Salgado began playing old records for Belushi, teaching him about blues and R&B. Belushi soaked up the music like a sponge and soon developed his idea for The Blues Brothers, first as a skit on Saturday Night Live and then as a major motion picture and a best-selling record album and concert tour. The album, Briefcase Full Of Blues, is dedicated to Curtis Salgado, and, as a nod to Salgado, Cab Calloway’s character in the film is named Curtis. Salgado tours heavily playing festivals all over the world. He is definitely a must see. And last but not least was the soulful blend of blues, R&B, soul and roadhouse rock of The Tommy Castro band which includes Tommy Castro on guitar and vocals, Randy McDonald on bass, Byron Cage on drums, and James Pace on keyboards. TCB has been nominated for 5 BMA’s. Tommy has been nominated as B.B. King Entertainer of the Year and Contemporary Blues Male Artist of the Year.  The Tommy Castro Band has been nominated for Band of the Year.  Tommy actually had security scrambling at one point when he went out into the audience while playing. TCB closed out the show with surprise quest star Johnny Rivers.

All I can say is what a day it turned out to be. Thanks Michael John and to all the volunteers who made this spectacular day possible! A birds-eye view of the approximately 4,000 people who attended the 7th Annual Simi Valley Blues Festival on April 28. (Photo By NickyMae)