If Chicago Blues is your style, catch the award-winning Baja Blues Boys in one of several gigs coming up in San Diego. But first, get their CD, “Gone Away, Someday.” Blues Lovers United of San Diego said: “This collection of songs is so refreshing and infectious that you never want it to end.” San Diego Folk Heritage said: “One of the most consistently entertaining acts in San Diego.” The CD is available with a link through the band website at www.bajabluesboys.com and you won’t be disappointed, I assure you.
Baja Blues Boys is Bud Mayhew, guitar; Hank Hiskes, bass; Dave Finley, drums; Tim Atkins, guitar (including a cool custom-made 9-string), mandolin, and vocals; Andre Perreault, harmonica and vocals and Tony Matoian, saxophone. All have years of experience, inspired by the genres of Brownie McGhee, Bukka White, Muddy Waters and more. Atkins began at eight and got guitar-serious at 15.
“Andre and I started in 1998 as a duo, me on guitar and Andre on harmonica,” offered Atkins. However, when they formed up with the others in 2005, Baja Blues Boys hit their stride. Finley, the drummer, is the newest member of the band, but it was the late, great Nelson Edward “Mac” MacWilliams, a well-known Ramona resident who beat the skins on the CD. Tragically, he lost his life in a December auto accident. By all accounts, and there were many, “Mac” was a universally-loved and respected guy and his death was a tremendous blow to his family, friends and community.
Today, the Baja Blues Boys have Google hits galore linking to their music, history and appearances, as well as YouTube song performances. The CD has 14 originals and two covers, Robert Johnson’s “Love in Vain,” and “Blues on a Holiday” by Paul Rishell. Atkins notes, “We stay as true to the original form of the Chicago style blues as possible, and, we can play loud and rowdy. If I’m not working up a sweat, even seated in chair, I’m not doing justice to the song. Doesn’t matter to me where the music came from, I’m just glad it’s here because of the way it makes me feel when I hear it, and when I play it too!” The band-written songs include “Roof of Hell,” second place winner in the 2010 San Diego Songwriter’s Guild Performing Songwriter’s contest. Atkins says the inspiration for that song came from the impression a 300-year old Japanese haiku left on him: “In this life, we walk on the roof of hell, smelling the flowers.”
You’ll have several, and continuing opportunities to catch the Baja Blues Boys in concert, starting with a March 3 gig at the Par Lounge at the San Vicente Inn in Ramona; a duo show on Saturday, March 10 at Le Papagayo in Leucadia (lepapagayoleucadia.com/) and a full band show on Saturday March 31 at the Ramona Music Festival, Dos Picos Park; www.ramonamusicfest.org The band website contains more dates in and is updated as gigs are added, so bookmark it. www.bajabluesboys.com It’s just flat-out “feel good” music.
Thelma Houston at Anthology
Join “A Night at Studio 54,” inspired by that legendary Manhattan nightclub, at San Diego’s Anthology on Saturday, March 10 from 5:30 to Midnight. “Under the Mirror Ball,” will feature Grammy-winning singer Thelma Houston performing her top hits, including “Don’t Leave Me This Way,” and “What a Difference a Day Makes.” Dust off the platform shoes and break out the bell bottoms! Tickets are $125 to $500, however, that includes a VIP cocktail reception, a luxury silent auction, and a three-course gourmet dinner depending on the level of ticket. To purchase online go to www.malashockdance.org or call 619-260-1622. All proceeds go to artistic, education and outreach programs.
Michael Jackson Tribute Band at Belly-Up
Who’s Bad, arguably the best Michael Jackson Tribute Band performs at the Belly-Up, also on Saturday March 10, (you’ll have to choose between Michael and Thelma Houston. They should be on the same bill!). Who’s Bad have played over 700 shows in numerous countries and now boast the title, The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Band. Their live performance is a jaw-dropping musical extravaganza that pulls from three and one half hours of Michael Jackson’s catalogue and spans four decades of Michael Jackson’s extraordinary music career. Doors open at 8:30 for a 9:00 p.m. show, and tickets are only $18 or $20 day of show. For advance sales, visit www.bellyup.com