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Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

MCLA "Blues And Funk Festival"

12:00AM / Monday, January 15, 2007

Carey Bell
North Adams – The Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts will bring the cool sounds of its annual “Blues and Funk Festival” on Fri. and Sat., Feb. 2-3, at 7:30 p.m. in the Church Street Center on campus.

This year’s performances will feature Roomful of Blues and the Carey & Lurrie Bell Blues Band, as well as local groups Sky Smeed Band and the Conor Meehan Blues Band. In addition, the MCLA Jazz Band will perform on both nights.

Opening up the festival on Feb. 2 will be the Conor Meehan Blues Band. Conor Meehan was a founding member of Catfish Blues. A drummer, Meehan currently is on tour with teen jazz artist Sonya Kitchell, and appeared with Kitcell on the David Letterman show.

The Carey & Lurrie Bell Blues Band features harmonica legend Carey Bell and his son, guitarist Lurrie Bell. Carey Bell performed on the electric guitar and bass with the likes of Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, John Lee Hooker, Earl Hooker, Robert Nighthawk, Eddie Taylor, Lowell Folsum, Jimmy Dawkins, Honeyboy Edwards, Johnny Young and Big Walter. By the 1980s he was established as a blues harmonica player and toured around the world, recording on Alligator’s Grammy-nominated album, “Living Chicago Blues.”

In 1990, Carey Bell recorded the W.C. Handy Award-winning “Harp Attack.”

The Chicago Tribune said Carey Bell had a “jaw-dropping technique …
stunning intensity, elegantly lowdown. A reigning Windy City blues harp master.”

On Feb. 3, Sky Smeed Band of Great Barrington will open for Roomful of Blues.

Sky Smeed’s latest album, “Mill River,” is “a rollicking bunch of songs, with Smeed stretching emotionally, compositionally, and hitting every mark full stride,” wrote Metroland’s Paul Rapp. “With ‘Mill River,’ Sky Smeed goes toe-to-toe with the great Texas singer-songwriters like Jack Ingram and Robert Earl Keen. He’s that good, and he’s that distinctive. He’s got the kind of sweet voice that’s recognizable after a first listen, and he writes unforgettable songs.”

Roomful of Blues’ rocking blues sounds span the country from Texas to
California, Chicago to New Orleans and Kansas City.

Described by Blues Beat Magazine as “a party’s party band,” “Roomful works its lauded horn section and smoking axeman for some infectious, jumping blues, soulful blues, swinging blues and jazzy blues, too,” wrote Freetime Magazine.

The Boston Herald said Roomful’s latest album, “Standing Room Only,” is a “pulsating joy that captures the energy of the band’s live performances. The material optimizes the vocal power of singer Mark DuFresne and the guitar work and songwriting by leader Chris Vachon. The band’s signature horns remain a driving force, the signature to Roomful’s blues.”

In addition to Vachon and DuFresne, Roomful consists of upright and
electric bass player Dima Gorodetsky, drummer Ephraim Lowell, pianist
Travis Colby, saxophonists Rich Lataille Mark Earley, and Bob Enos on the trumpet.

General admission to MCLA’s Blues & Funk Festival is $20 for both
evenings, or $12 per evening. Tickets are $5 for MCLA faculty and staff, and free for MCLA students and Patrons of the Arts.

For more information or to order tickets, (413) 662-5543, or go to www.mcla.edu/patrons.

To become a patron, contact 413-662-5224.

The Church Street Center is between Porter and Elmwood streets, on Church Street in North Adams.
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