Thursday, January 6, 2011

Honey Bee Blues

Hello Blues Fans,

With a new year comes a new endeavor in my quest to spread the word about America's first original music genre. The Blues. For the last three and one half years I've been the author of a weekly Blues Letter for the Boulder Outlook Hotel's venue, Blues & Greens, one of the best live Blues venues ever! Ok, perhaps I'm biased, but I'm far from alone in that assessment. Now I'm hoping to reach a larger audience with my stories about a musical career I never saw coming.

A bit of history. I began my love of the Blues when I was but a teenager. My brother, Kelly, and I had just moved to Washington, D.C. with our parents, and we headed out one evening to explore Georgetown, the section of the city in which we lived. While walking down Wisconsin Avenue, Kelly noticed a sign for the Bob Margolin Blues Band. Now, being a youngster with limited interest in music beyond the most popular, I had no idea who this guy was. Kelly informed me quickly that Bob Margolin played with Muddy Waters. Ok, more confession; I had no idea who Muddy was. Rather than explain, Kelly simply insisted we go in. Being as I wasn't too keen on walking the streets of a new city by my lonesome, I was pretty much without choice.

We got a table near the front and waited. While I pouted. I'd have much preferred to be out exploring. The band came out, and by the time Steady Rollin' Bob Margolin had completed his first guitar solo, I was hooked. Hopelessly, deliriously, stunningly hooked. I didn't know a guitar could sound like that. I didn't know music could sound like that.

Over the course of the next few years, my brother and I attended countless Margolin shows, during which time we became friends. Bob also pointed us in the direction of other Blues bands playing in the area: The Nighthawks with Jimmy Thackery, George Thorogood and the Delaware Destroyers, Tex Rubinowitz, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, and even the great Muddy Waters. 'Twas a heady time indeed.

Having spent my childhood living in Europe and the Middle East, I decided to return to Italy in 1990. I stayed for a number of years, then returned to D.C. to build my career. It was a professionally busy time for me, so my love of live Blues was put on hold. I still had a kickass CD collection of Blues, and that tide me over.

In 2005, a few years after I'd relocated to Boulder, Colorado, I saw on Bob's website that he was playing nearby. We'd not seen each other in fifteen years! I went to the venue filled with joy and anticipation, and as usual, Bob delivered. He was backed by local Blues heros, the Delta Sonics, and all my love and memories of this soulful music came back as the years evaporated. It was as if I'd never left the scene.

Several months later, I again saw that Bob was playing in the area, only a lot closer. The Boulder Outlook Hotel was the venue for this gig, and I went and discovered a new life (although it would be about a year before this new life presented itself in it's entirety). A year after I'd first re-acquianted myself with Bob and live Blues, he was again playing the Outlook, only this time he was here for two nights. We had the chance to spend some catchup time together, and the rest, as they say, is history. Again.

Not too long after that weekend, I began my professional music career. I started out as the Director of Promotions, helping the owner, Dan King, get this thing off the ground. Being as Dan already had a hotel to run, he didn't have as much time as he'd like to promote the new live music venue.

From that decision, I began my Blues Letter, and shortly thereafter, I took over the booking of the acts; Entertainment Coordinator. I was doing double duty. That's when lifereally got fun. It was just over two years ago, and since that time I've dined with some of the Blues greats: Tommy Castro, Tab Benoit, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, Bob Stroger, Big Bill Morganfield (Muddy's son), Willie Houston, Coco Montoya, Debbie Davies, the late Robin Rogers, Chuck Rainey, Johnny Long, Tinsely Ellis, Mark Wenner, The Insomniacs, Mark Hummel, Chris Cain, Ron Thompson, Duke Robillard, Mike Zito, Jimmy Carpenter, Hamilton Loomis, Trampled Under Foot, Jason Ricci and New Blood, John Nemeth, Candye Kane, Kelly Richie, and even had the great Ronnie Baker Brooks fly in to play my birthday party! Most days I have to pinch myself first thing in morning while asking, "Is this really MY life?"

The answer is "yes." This is my life, and I hope you'll join me on this journey as I update what's going on in the world of the Blues. The Outlook is my primary lifeline to this music, but it's not the only one. So, hopefully, I'll be able to relay my observations at various festivals and special events. There is no sexier music than the Blues, and the musicians hellbent on keeping this genre alive happen to be some of the kindest, funniest, most creative people I've known. Stick with me, and you'll get to know them too. ~Honey Bee Sepeda~

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