King of OC Blues: Papa J

Written by on August 22, 2013 in August 22, 2013, Gigs / Tours / Events, Interviews, Music and DVD Reviews - Comments Off on King of OC Blues: Papa J

…Discusses Real Blues Festival 4, Orange County Blues Society, and His Love Of Music

King of OC Blues: Papa J
To many Southern California-based music fans, Orange County remains little more than an area south of Hollywood/L.A. where a handful of good bands come from and little else. Truth of the matter is, there’s actually a happening music scene – especially regarding the Blues.
Papa J (real name: Jeffrey Hudson) has, for the last dozen years or so, almost single-handedly nurtured, cultivated and developed the Blues scene “behind the Orange Curtain” – first creating the Real Blues Festival of Orange County four years ago; then forming the Orange County Blues Society last year, all the while performing with his band in high-profile venues such as the House of Blues Anaheim, The Coach House, Malone’s and The Old Ship, among others.
With the Real Blues Festival of Orange County taking place in a few weeks, All Access Magazine (AAM) Editor and Publisher Debra Stocker spoke with Papa J. Here’s how it went.

AAM: The Orange County Blues Society just celebrated its one-year anniversary. How are things going with the OCBS?

Papa J: You know, I think we have made a lot of progress. We have open Jams twice a month at different locations and you never know who will show up. Most jams draw around a hundred-plus people of all levels of abilities. It gets a little crazy but everyone has a great time. We have done two “Blues in the Schools” programs this year, where we go in and talk about the music, where it started, why it started, you know – a little of everything. Then we play a few different songs. We have had great response from teachers and parents.

AAM: You’re now heading into the fourth year of presenting the Real Blues Festival of Orange County, on Sunday, September 8. How has the festival changed and/or grown over the years?

Papa J: It has gotten to be a lot more work, but that’s’ ok, it’s a labor of love. As we have generated a little more attention each year we are able to get some bigger acts to come in and helps bring in a few more people each time. We are trying to keep ticket prices down to decent level so everyone can come enjoy.

King of OC Blues: Papa J

AAM: Let’s take the pulse of the live music scene, particularly in Orange County, in 2013. How’s it going for gigs there?

Papa J: There is a lot of classic rock places, but as far as the blues it is almost non- existent. Now there are places that will allow you play the blues but there is no real blues scene. That is way I started the OCBS to help make the Blues relevant in Orange County.

AAM: Who have you seen and identified as some of the new young faces in the Blues coming out of the OC?

Papa J: The one that comes to mind at the moment is fifteen-year-old, Chase Walker. Here is a kid that not only wants to be a great guitar player but a great blues player. He and young people like him are what the OCBS is all about. They are the ones to keep this art form alive!

AAM: You’re also part of the “Blues and Booze”  Festival currently playing nine different coastal towns in the OC. How did this get started?

Papa J: I was contacted by Gary Hicks from BD McGees, a local promoter in Orange County. He was being asked why there was not any good blues in Orange County. So we put our heads together and came up with the Blues and Booze tour idea. It is a great way to get more people into smaller places to listen and fall in love again with the blues. The Blues is the condition. Blues Music is the cure. A portion of all proceeds will help the OCBS’s “Blues in the Schools” program.

King of OC Blues: Papa J

AAM: What do you personally get more satisfaction out of – running the OCBS and Real Blues Festival, or performing – and why?

Papa J: Being on stage will always be what I love to do the most. It is like a part of a large family when everyone is on the same groove. But giving back to the Blues Family is cool as well.

AAM: What’s next for Papa J in the near future, and where can people find out more about you and the OCBS?

Papa J: I will keep trying to sing, play harp and promote the blues. The OCBS would like to send an artist the next IBC Challenge. Try to put on shows that highlight the local talent in Orange County Ca. Maybe this year put out another CD. Keep in touch with everything going on with the Orange County both at www.orangecountybluessociety.com, and also our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/OrangeCountyBluesSociety.

(The Real Blues Festival of Orange County 4 takes place Sunday, September 8 at Malone’s in Santa Ana. Performers include Rod Piazza and the Mighty Flyers; Alastair Greene Band with Special Guest, Frank ‘Paris Slim’ Goldwasser; Peach with special guest, Joey Delgado; Chase Walker Band; Crosscut Delux; and Papa J and Friends. Tickets $20. In advance, $25 at the door. Info/tickets: www.orangecountybluessociety.com).