September 20, 2003
By Maureen Hayes, Da Blues Traveler

Wow!  What a day of great blues in Sonoma County!  It all started around 2:30 pm in Sebastopol, and didn't stop ?til 2 a.m. at the Tradewinds!  The annual bash, held in a different setting this year, was too much for words but we'll give it a shot.

It took place under a huge, crooked oak tree and a tall fragrant eucalyptus tree, in the dirt and gravel next to an old barn.  The setting couldn't have been more real.  The food---great chicken from Ronnie Martin and Rasta Dwight.  Salads and such from various people.

It was a hot day with some even hotter blues.  It started with LEVI LLOYD and friends.  JAMES FOSTER would be the only drummer for the whole day.  He kicked ass!  Yeah, he didn't know some of the old standards but he was there and as the day went on, he really warmed up.  GLENN so & so, got up and blew some harp.  DEE WILLS got up and sang some soulful blues.  He would be the sound guy the whole day and Dee always keeps it soundin' great!

JUSTIN ?YOUNGBLOOD? MacCARTHY was there and he blew ALL of us away!  This kid was showing everyone how it was suppose to be done.  He was too much.  Like this old seasoned guy up there just takin' it around and around.  I kept thinking, "Ok, this is the end of this solo" and he made them go around again and again.  Were they too long?  HELL NO!  He took us on some pretty incredible guitar solo journeys.  DAMN YOUNGBLOOD, I had forgotten just how good you play dat guitar there, kiddo!  This kid needs to be frontin' his own band and giggin'.  Just don't get to hear him enough.  I know one thing and that's that he must be practicing 'cause the guy is HOT!!  Glad you got a chance to come up and hang with the Sonoma County scene, Youngblood.  It was real good to see ya.

JAKE RICHMOND came up, and brought another amp, thank God, and he and Youngblood did some guitar battling.  It was a lot of fun.  They played real well together.  Jake and Levi would just be shakin' their heads in disbelievement, at this kid.

Jake later came up with his band and what a blast.  He really tried hard to stick to dem blues and it worked. ;)  Sometimes he'll venture over to the rock side but he can get away with that.  He and his band did some great numbers.  Original material that had all the changes and arrangements of some real good song writing.  Jake and his gal followed the crowd to the Tradewinds afterwards and danced the whole night away to MICHAEL BARCLAY Great dancers.  He?s a darn good player, singer and songwriter, this Jake Richmond.

A red Cadillac drove up and there was JOE LOUIS WALKER!   He was visiting his bass player, ROB WATSON, who lives next-door, and he came over with Rob and jammed.  It was all too unreal.  He sat in on the keyboard and sang.  Then he strapped on dat guitar and belted out some gospel-tinged blues.  He and Levi had a guitar battle that was killer!  Sebastopol?s finest came knockin' at that backdoor.  The back of the stage was literally along side the road.  So cars drivin' by were behind the stage.  The cop said to turn it off in an hour.  Joe commenced to singin' some blues about the policeman comin' and takin' Levi to jail and this whole long spiel about the cop and he was beamin'!  He had to walk out from behind so everyone could see him.  Justa beamin', man.  It was cool.  After that he said just to turn it down and we could party on!

STEVE LONG blew some nice trumpet on & off.

PHIL AJIOKA!  This guy here is my favorite slide player in the area.  Never got to hear Phil at previous bashes and I am sooo glad he got to get up there yesterday.  "Do the Madison Blues!"  This is one of the worse case scenarios of that same old song about "unsung heroes". He needs to be frontin' his own band with nuthin' but PHIL, PHIL, PHIL!  He is in a couple of different bands like, LOS BLUES and HELLHOUNDS, but he never steps up like he did yesterday.  If I got to hear just that for a whole night, I'd be following this guy around ALL THE TIME.

ROCKIN? ROGER SCOTT came up and man do I miss that guy?s playin'!  He is the guitar player for BONE DRY.  A local blues/rock favorite that has split up.  They do reunion gigs once in awhile. Oct 17th and 18th is their next one! The Tradewinds is the place and it will be partyin'!  He broke out into "Stoop Down Baby" and the band did pretty good following along.  We were all justa smilin', dancin' and reminiscing of them good old days.

There were so many players and just about ALL the musicians got a chance to get up there.  LEVI LLOYD did the stage-managing and he did the best job yet!  He got everyone that wanted to play, up there.  What a great host.  Usually, a handful will get a chance; some will get to play more than others.  Levi had it movin' along in a very smooth manner.  I want LEVI to do the stage managing from now on.  I usually walk away frustrated from these things thinking of all the players in the crowd that didn't get to get up there.

Thanks Tammy & Donna for putting this together.

It was a bashin' bluesin' blast!

After washing the dirt off my feet, I changed clothes and ran over to the Tradewinds for some MICHAEL BARCLAY.  TERRY BAKER was back on drums!  Great night and Michael tore it up.  It was a decent crowd and then it thinned out.  I was wanting to drive down to Ted's for Horton and Paule, but I was wiped.  Barely movin' along, I did manage to stay on my feet ?til 2 a.m.!

The King of Sonoma County Blues, Michael Barclay, just proved again last night why he carries that title.

...da Blues Traveler