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2016 Mystic Blues Festival Review

The Mystic Blues Festival… A Delightful Saturday of Great Blues – by Phil Coco

Be on the look out for the launch of Phil Coco’s blog, The Southeastern, CT Music Adventure! Photos by Phil Coco. Article republished with permission.

On Saturday, The Mystic Blues Festival continued its weekend schedule in the midst of the intense heat and humidity.  None the less, the performers did not miss a beat and the brave music goers enjoyed a lot of fine music.

The opening performers were the Waterford native, Tosh Sheridan, and his band.  Primarily, they performed instrumental jams, which included a mean cover of the Beatles’ Norwegian Wood.  Sheridan was very gracious, despite a small crowd for his set.  He concluded with his song, Love Song.  This song featured a lead vocal and was introduced as a sarcastic song, which had a refreshing dry sense of humor.

phil-vipersLater on, the local favorites, Neal and the Vipers (pictured) took the stage.  There is no doubt that they continue to put on strong performances because of the their consistency with a classic blues guitar sound.  Furthermore, their set had great variation, including sharp jams, mellow songs, and even a little hillbilly rock.

Although the Festival has the Mystic banner, the festival took place at the North Stonington Fair Grounds this year.  One performer, Greg Piccolo, a North Stonington native, played a tight set with his band.  Their full title is Greg Piccolo and Heavy Juice.  Primarily, Piccolo performed with a saxophone.  They set the perfect tone for the final two acts of the day, as the sun began to set.

The music shifted to a New Orleans style with Canada’s, Blackburn (pictured below).  Blackburn is the last name of several of the band members who are brothers.  Greg Piccolo set the tone with his saxophone.  Blackburn featured a sax and a trombone player.  As night fell, more music goers made their way to find a spot and it was pretty packed for the upcoming headliners Dr. John and the Nite Trippers.

The intense heat and humidity, in the midst of a sparse crowd, was a distant memory, as 75 year old, New Orleans native, Dr. John walked across the stage with his cane.  The crowd had filled in and the conditions were delightful.  The set included classics, including Right Place, Wrong Time, Such a Night, and the Led Belly cover, Goodnight, Irene.  There was even the special guest, Christine Oldman- a former Saturday Night Live singer.  Dr. John might be 75 but he can still put on a killer show.  His fellow musicians were impressive in their own right, which certainly added to the high quality performance.

In closing, as a North Stonington native, I never thought the day would come when there would be high quality national music acts in my hometown.  The Mystic Blues Festival Board and their numerous volunteers ought to be commended for their efforts in putting on such a entertaining festival. -PC

Phil CocoPhil is a lifelong resident of the area. Currently, he works in social services as a job coach with disabled clients. In addition to music, he enjoys watching sports, especially football, and always has a good book going.

Keeping visitors and locals up to date with what's happening in and around 06355!

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