Bowlful of Blues stirred old memories

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013 11:36 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013 11:37 a.m. CDT

As a child, I was spoiled rotten, unappreciative, and completely oblivious to the greatness that was taking place in my own back yard. I used to hate going every year and would complain the entire time until we finally would leave.

Every summer in Kansas City there was a big blues and jazz concert that took place at Liberty Memorial, which is also home of the National WWI Museum, and someone in my family would drag me and a bunch of my cousins to it.

Usually, the culprit was my mom or my Uncle Mond. Uncle Mond to this day is still a big blues hound. As a kid, I couldn’t appreciate the music or the fact that I was getting to see it live. Heck, to me, at that point in the time, the greatest composition ever scored was “Go, Go, Power Rangers,” the phenomenal theme to Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.

So sitting there listening to blues wasn’t exactly my cup of tea. In fact, I didn’t really give blues and jazz a fair listen until my 20s. I had let those childhood memories of family members depriving me of the chance to play outside, prevent me from truly experiencing two of America’s original art forms.

Seriously, I almost want to have a sit down chat with young Ty. How can a kid that has such great taste in TV shows (Power Rangers, Pokémon, TMNT, Doug, Rugrats, Family Matters, Full House) not have the ability to recognize such astounding music? The only valid excuse I can come up with for young Ty is: It was the ‘90s.

Saturday, if you weren’t at Maytag Park for the “Bowlful of Blues” festival, you missed a treat. As I sat there and watched couples slow dance to Shaun Murphy and toddlers and little kids dance on stage to John Primer, I realized what I had missed out on as a kid by not embracing those opportunities.

My Uncle Mond was trying to expand the minds of us kids and let us experience some real culture and we couldn’t appreciate it. When Primer started singing “Mustang Sally” the only thing I could picture was just how much my uncle would have appreciated this show.

I know how happy and proud of me he was when I interned at the American Jazz Museum, so I could only imagine the thrill he would have had watching live blues and seeing his nephew in action and interacting with all of these blues musicians.

Speaking of the musicians, that line up and those performances were incredibly impressive.  They gave it their all at “Finally Legal” and I was so happy to have been there for it. Members of the South Skunk Blues Society thanked me and NDN for all of our work with the preview stories, but I have to thank them for putting on a show of this caliber here in town.

I spent an entire summer last year helping plan the festival formerly Rhythm & Ribs at AJM, (It’s now Kansas City’s 18th and Vine Jazz and Blues Festival), so I know how much work goes into something of this magnitude. You guys did a wonderful job and were great to work with.

With all of that said, I’m inviting my Uncle Mond to attend next year’s 22nd installment and I also want to cast my vote for Samantha King to perform. King is a Kansas City girl, who is in her 20s and about the size of one of my legs. However, her pipes are big enough to blow all three little piggy’s homes down and deafen the Big Bad Wolf.

Saying she’s got talent is an understatement and doesn’t adequately describe her stage presence or vocals.

SSBS said their mission is to keep the blues alive and this festival was a great example of it. You can help the cause by checking out the shows here at the Speakeasy or at Cadillac Jack’s in Baxter and supporting other regional festivals. Check our go-guide regularly for details on the local shows and SSBS has links to other blues societies in Iowa on it’s website.

Another good option is to check out the festival in KC I mentioned earlier, which takes place Saturday, Oct. 12. If you run into Chris, Ms. Karen, Glenn, Ms. Donna or any of the other AJM employees, tell them Ty sent you.

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