NJBS hosted a double-header blues party on Sunday, April 23rd at Muddy Waters Gastropub in Asbury, NJ. The first show kicked off with Mick Kolassa and The Gabe Stillman Band; the second show closed with the Dean Shot Trio.
Kicking off the event was delta blues man, Mick Kolassa, who performed a set of acoustic songs. Mick told some terrific and zany stories about the origins of his songs, and shared some of his life experiences. While Mick was a NJ guy back in the day in Lake Hopatcong, his home for the past 30 years has been Memphis. Mick has released thirteen albums, three of which NJBS reviewed -- For the Feral Heart, I'm Just Getting Started, and Uncle Mick's Christmas Album. Living in Memphis affords a Mick the opportunity to have many special guests collaborate on his albums, such as Bobby Rush, Doug McLeod, and Brandon Santini to name a few. Mick is an extremely generous bluesman -- all of the proceeds from his album sales are donated to two programs run by the Blues Foundation -- The Hart Fund and Generation Blues. By the way, did you know Mick was a former board member of the Blues Foundation?
Next up, the Gabe Stillman Band, who performed an electrifying set of blues to an appreciative crowd. This was the band's first time performing in New Jersey. Meet the members: Gabe Stillman (vocals, guitar), Colin Beatty (bass) and Ray Hangen (drums). Gabe, a graduate of Berklee College of Music, formed the band in 2015 out of Williamsort, PA where Colin also hails from. Ray has been playing drums since the age of 17 has played with numerous bands including Sean Costello, Chris O'Leary, and Bruce Katz to name a few. Ray was inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame in 2018. Ray plays "deep in the pocket" and rounds out this outstanding band. The band landed in the final eight of the 35th IBC, and earned a Blues Music Award nomination in the "Best New Emerging Artist Album" category. The set was composed of mostly originals from their upcoming release that they just finished recording (due out in August), as well as from their last album "Just Say the Word." They also played some excellent material from T-Bone Walker, Barry Goldberg, Sean Costello and even one from Glen Campbell!
Wrapping up the evening was the Dean Shot Trio with the weekly Sunday Blues Dance Party. Band members included Dean Shot (guitar, vocals), Rudy Albin (drums), and Charlie Himel (bass). Dean and Rudy Albin are members of the Fabulous Thunderbirds, and just returned from performing two festivals earlier in the month. The band played two sets of jump jiving blues and had everybody off their feet and dancing! Special guest invited included the one and only Big Mike Davita on harp and vocals -- he always brings a welcome smile.. Dean's Sunday Dance Blues Party is always a consistent, happening good time full of first-rate musical guests with exciting performances.
NJBS is grateful for having such amazing musicians and supportive fans who made this day a very special day of blues. Special shout outs to Greg Lewis for video recording and to Kirk Hansen for photography. Thank you also to Attila Geczi and team at Muddy Waters Gastropub for hosting the event -- the food was outstanding and the service impeccable.
Mick Kolassa recorded by Greg Lewis
1. Meet Me In Memphis 2. Text Me Baby 3. One Hit Wonder 4. My pencil Don’t Write No More 5. The Cheese Song 6. Over My Shoulder 7. Cakewalk Into Town 8. Educated By The blues 9. I'm getting late 10. My Hurry Done Broke 11. One Meatball
"No Time For Me" written and performed by the Gabe Stillman Band; recorded by Greg Lewis:
"Can't Let Go" by Sean Costello performed by the Gabe Stillman Band; recorded by Greg Lewis:
"Gentle On My Mind" by Glen Campbell performed by the Gabe Stillman Band; recorded by Greg Lewis
"Scratch My Back" by Dean Shot Trio with Big Mike Davita recorded by Greg Lewis