For the 25th year, the city of Seaside's Sunday Blues in the Park continues to deliver quality musical acts and art for the enjoyment of the general public, free of charge.
Held on the beautiful grassy expanse at Laguna Grande Park, across the street from the Seaside City Hall on Canyon Del Rey, the event features four weeks of fun in the sun beginning this Sunday with Lydia Pense & Cold Blood and Red Beans & Rice.
From 1 to 4:30 p.m., folks are invited to spread out a blanket, set up lawn chairs, dance or just hang out with the crowd for the afternoon.
Although there are only four weeks of concerts compared to last year's five, and six before that, the fact the City of Seaside can still deliver this wonderful event is something to celebrate at a time when so much is being cut back or eliminated.
The ensuing weeks to come will feature Barbara Morrison with Rockin' & Rollin' (July 15), Walter Trout with Chicano All Stars (July 22), and Chris Cain with the Broadway Band (July 29).
Lydia Pense & Cold Blood are in the same league and lineage as East Bay Area legends Tower of Power. Both bands continue to actively tour and perform their brand of music labeled East Bay Grease, a mix of funky rock and soul with a kick that will make your backbone slip.
Pense and her band came to light in 1969 and performed at Bill Graham's Fillmore Auditorium during its initial heyday in San Francisco.
Graham was so impressed with the diminutive lady's dynamic performance and the sound of the hard-grooving band he signed them to his new record label.
Early hits from the powerhouse group include "You Got Me Hummin'," "I Just Want To Make Love to You," "I'm A Good Woman," and "Down to the Bone."
More than 40 years packing clubs and venues across the U.S., with a short break along the way, the veteran band makes its return engagement to Seaside with the renowned award-winning Red Beans & Rice. This double-bill will get the summer series off to a great start.
Barbara Morrison is a performer that inspires great love and admiration, for her wide-ranging vocal abilities and styles she employs as well as the warmth of her personality.
Not only a soulful blues singer but also an accomplished and creative jazz, gospel and pop singer, Morrison has endeared herself deeply with local audiences through her many Monterey Bay Blues Festival appearances and at this annual affair in the park.
Unfortunately, due to health problems last year, she missed her scheduled appearance. But she's worked her way back to health and undoubtedly she will be welcomed back with open arms for her appearance on July 15.
The Los Angeles-based singer hosts jazz jam sessions and concerts at her Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center, and the Sunday before her appearance in Seaside, she will be performing with the BMPAC All Star Big Band at the famous Los Angeles jazz club Catalina's, delivering "A Tribute to Dinah Washington, Queen of the Blues." A relatively new local blues band, Rollin' and Tumblin', will open the show.
Walter Trout is a modern blues guitar master, gaining his status and skills through years playing with a number of influential blues leaders such as John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and Canned Heat.
He's also played in the bands of John Lee Hooker, Big Mama Thornton and Joe Tex. His latest and the 21st in a list of great recordings, "Blues for the Modern Daze," addresses many issues that cut close to the bone of what our lives are filled with today.
Trout's blues road started in 1965 when his brother turned him on to the first Paul Butterfield Blues Band album, inspired especially by the two guitarists, Mike Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop.
When he arrived in Los Angeles in 1973, he began practical schooling sitting in the bands of Hooker, Thornton, Tex, Finis Tasby, Pee Wee Crayton, Lowell Fulsom, and Percy Mayfield.
After a few years with Canned Heat, he became part of the Bluesbreakers' lineage of great guitarists along with Eric Clapton, Peter Green and Mick Taylor.
Beginning in 1984, he shared six-string duties with Coco Montoya in the band, bringing the legendary British bluesman's ensemble to new heights and back out onto the international blues touring circuit.
It's an honor to have him at the Seaside park event once again on July 22, this time with the always-entertaining Latin blues and groove band the Chicano All Stars.
Chris Cain has grown to a level of appreciation around the U.S. that doesn't always translate to his loyal fans here on the West Coast.
The San Jose-based guitarist/singer has always been a part of the music scene and was always considered one of the best in our area. But there's no denying his amazing abilities to play his jazz-tinged scorching blues solos, with his deep B.B. King-style vocals complimenting his musical prowess.
He grew up with blues music playing at home constantly. His first concert was with B.B. King at 3, at age 8 he taught himself to play guitar, and he began his professional career at 18.
He studied jazz at San Jose City College, and went on to add the piano, bass guitar, clarinet, alto and tenor saxophone to his bag of musical tricks. His most recent recording is titled "Hall of Shame" (2003).
For the closing concert of the season July 29, the great Broadway Band, featuring John "Broadway" Tucker on vocals will show everyone just how soulful the blues can be.
There isn't one program that should be missed in this four-show series that celebrates 25 years of generosity from the city of Seaside to the community at large.
There's always a good crowd, food and art vendors, and a great sense of civic pride that goes along with these shows.
Come and make your contribution to keep the good times rolling at Laguna Grande Park. Concerts are sponsored by KWAV 97FM, Monterey Peninsula Avenue of Flags, Rabobank, and the Monterey Bay Blues Festival.
Beth Peerless can be reached at email@example.com. GO!
What: Sunday Blues in the Park opening concert with Lydia Pense & Cold Blood, Red Beans & Rice
Where: Laguna Grande Park, Canyon Del Rey and City Hall, Seaside
When: 1-4:30 p.m. Sunday, July 8
Tickets: Free; no dogs, no barbecues