In addition to a cover story on Joe Louis Walker (who you might be interested to learn has been nominated for more Blues Music/W.C. Handy awards than any other artist, save Buddy Guy), the current edition of Blues Revue magazine includes a nice write-up on one of the BluesPowR Blog’s favorites, Zac Harmon, as well as a well-written feature on Louisiana Red, who some of you may know spent a few of his formative years here in Pittsburgh. Red’s latest project, You Got to Move with pianist David Maxwell, has generated much enthusiasm, including awards for both Acoustic Album and Acoustic Artist of the Year at this year’s Blues Music Awards.
Granted, the Louisiana moniker (adopted from Red’s favorite brand of hot sauce) probably resonates a bit better with his audience than had he chosen to go by, say, Pittsburgh Red, but it’s still neat to read a little bit about his growing up here and becoming involved in the local blues scene through a club called Loopy’s before Leonard and Phil Chess came to Pittsburgh to take him to Chicago.
The article is accentuated by photos of Red from two big names of blues photography, Dusty Scott and Joe Rosen – both of whom have some strong Pittsburgh ties themselves, including a few shots from a studio performance on Rosen’s “Late Nite Blues” radio show that aired on WYEP from the mid-70s through early 80s.
As such, the article serves as a good reminder of the tremendous talent Pittsburgh has helped to develop and hone, musically and otherwise, even if folks don’t always tend to stick around the city in fully realizing their success. Of the three discussed above, only Dusty still calls the Steel City home, with Red now spending most of his time in Europe and Rosen (who also shot the cover photo of Joe Louis Walker for the June/July issue) having followed the lure of the big city to establish a base in the NYC.
On a somewhat related note, you’ll be able to catch plenty of the region’s current blues talent at this weekend’s Pittsburgh Blues Festival, taking place Friday through Sunday at Hartwood Acres. In addition to national acts Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Eric Burdon, Tinsley Ellis, Sue Foley and Peter Karp, and Chubby Carrier, you’ll also have a chance to hear the likes of locals Mahajibee Blues, Sweatty Betty Blues Band, Ron Yarosz, the Pittsburgh Blues All-Stars, and Miss Freddye and Blue Faze.
And I’m guessing there’s a pretty good chance you might catch a glimpse of Dusty there as well.