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If you equate blues music with Robert Johnson, you’re in for a surprise and a treat Sunday afternoon when Sacramento Blues Revue teams with Folsom’s Powerhouse Pub to host the second annual Blue Christmas for Kids, benefiting the Sacramento Children’s Home.
The event kicks off at 1:50 p.m. with the Randy Carey Band, a country blues group, and will finish with Rick Estrin & the Nightcats, a blues/jump band, playing from 6 to 7 p.m. In between, attendees will hear blues/zydeco from GumboStew, blues from Pinkie Rideau & Blind Resistance, rockin’ blues from the Jimmy Pailer Band, and blues/R&B from Sacramento Blues Revue, led by Rick von Geldern.
Von Geldern said he began working on this event back in March and that last year’s event delivered “a couple of vans filled with toys and barrels of food” to an after-school program in South Sacramento.
This year’s event will generate funds for the Sacramento Children’s Home, a Sacramento organization founded in 1867 that provides care to the most vulnerable children and families in our area.
The Sacramento Children’s Home hosts many programs including crisis intervention; home visitation through Birth and Beyond; crisis nurseries encompassing literacy programs and case management; counseling for families; and trauma, residential and transition-age programs that include independent living skills; and various educational programs.
“Christmas is a time for kids,” Von Geldern said. “I know not all kids have families they can share Christmas with, and for those at the Sacramento Children’s Home, I hope their Christmas will be a little bit brighter in some small way from what we’re able to raise from the second Blue Christmas for Kids event.”
Von Geldern is the bandleader and guitarist of Sacramento Blues Revue, past president of the Sacramento Blues Society and committed to blues and kids. In 2003, he was elected president of the Sacramento Blues Society, the same year Congress proclaimed “year of the blues.”
“That’s the first year we put together a Blues in the Schools (BITS) committee and started the program,” he said. “For me, it was a priority to get it started.”
He credits Cynthia Jaynes and her hard work, and the work of others, for helping the BITS program develop through the years. BITS strives to bring musicians, storytellers and educators together in an effort to teach Sacramento youth the historical significance of blues music and its impact on both American and world culture.
While children will not be admitted to the 21-and-over establishment Sunday, adults will enjoy the coming together of names familiar to those who attend local blues events as well as names less familiar. Many genres of blues music will be well represented.
Randy Carey Band is a new group focusing on country blues. Carey is the bandleader and will be accompanied by Zane Toberer, Ron Cook and Paul Whitney.
GumboStew hails from the Bay Area. Led by Stewart Burr who has toured and recorded with Chubby Checker, Sista Monica and others, this band is sure to keep people dancing. Joining Burr are Jim Caroompas who was a featured player with John Lee Hooker’s band and has opened for Van Morrison and Tower of Power, Richard Burgan who plays bass guitar, and Kathy Tejcka who credits Luther Allison’s passionate and powerful performance one evening for a career change.
Pinkie Rideau & Blind Resistance are Modesto-based musicians. Rideau listened to Madame Butterfly, Hank Williams and the Rolling Stones growing up. Her list of non-music occupations range from body builder and power lifter to carpenter and salesperson and include stints at massage therapy, waitressing and wedding planning. Rideau will be joined by four talented musicians, each hand-picked.
Von Geldern calls Rideau a “tremendous talent” who “will put on an excellent show.”
The Jimmy Pailer Band follows with rockin’ blues. A regular at Sacramento’s Torch Club and at the San Juan Club in Fair Oaks, Von Geldern says Pailer is “one of the best blues guitarists. He’s been my hero for many years and has a great voice.”
Von Geldern will lead the Sammie Award-winning Sacramento Blues Revue in nearly an hour of blues/R&B. Ten of the 11 members will perform Sunday, including vocalist Lena Mosley, 2011 inductee into the Sacramento Blues Hall of Fame. Also on vocals are Marshall Wilkerson and Deacon Baker. Joining Von Geldern on guitar will be Jonny “Mojo” Flores, Marty Deradoorian, Charles Williams, Katoya Moore, Mark Heggen and Zot.
Closing Sunday’s event will be the harmonica-driven, Alligator Records artist Rick Estrin and the Nightcats. Estrin said he will be in the studio next Monday working on a new record, the first since 2009’s “Twisted.” He hopes that the yet untitled album will release mid-2012. Joining Estrin Sunday will be J. Hansen and Lorenzo Farrell on rhythm and guitarist Kid Andersen performing their blues/jump style that Estrin calls his “unique stamp” on blues music.
About participating in Sunday’s event, Estrin said “I feel bad for any kids having a hard time,” and hopes that the combined efforts of this event will help.
Six bands, five hours of live music in the funky Powerhouse Pub, a tour of blues genres, and all for only fifteen dollars, proceeds that will benefit the many programs of the Sacramento Children’s Home.