People who think blues songs are all about crying in your beer haven’t heard Red Deer’s The Overdue Blues Band perform.
“I tell people, ‘If you don’t like the blues, you don’t understand the blues,’” says local vocalist Tracy Wells.
She plays with The Overdue Blues Band on Saturday, April 27, at the Elks Lodge — along with the Brother Ray Lemelin Band from Calgary.
Wells maintains blues music can be upbeat or even quirky — after all, she regularly hears blues riffs in country, rock and pop songs.
Skeptical? Wells invites doubters to compare the Etta James standard I’d Rather Go Blind with Chris Stapleton’s version of the country tune Tennessee Whisky and try to spot a difference. “They’re the same format!”
The Overdue Blues Band, now in its seventh year of playing around central Alberta and Edmonton, has won over plenty of local fans with tunes that range from the “soul-wrenching” to the comical. Wells explains her group’s original lyrics contain a lot of levity because “we don’t want to leave people crying the whole time…”
The latest EP that The Overdue Blues Band posted to ReverbNation contains at least a couple songs with a sly sense of humour.
Baby Don’t Like My Blues paints a picture of an songwriter who’s obnoxiously playing the same three bars over and over again, to the annoyance his household.
Humour is also evident in God Made Women to Teach Men (The Meaning of the Blues). Whenever Wells sings this song about “bad women” from a female perspective, she delivers the lyrics with a tongue-in-cheek twist.
If it makes the audience chuckle, Wells feels her job is done: “The blues is about making you feel something.”
While she started out as a rocker, Wells now performs with Dean Bruce on guitar, Marcel Meijers on bass, Nick Partridge on keyboards and drummer Mark Workun (or alternative drummer Kent Cadman).
The musicians have day jobs, ranging from a carpenter to a pharmacist to an architectural projects manager, and bring different influences to the table. But Wells says “a band is a brotherhood. It’s like your second family.”
Members of the local group are looking forward to performing with the Brother Ray Lemelin Band.
Lemelin, a Quebec native, grew up a fan of R&B and The Supremes. With James Brown and Wilson Pickett as other major influences, Lemelin has been turning his love of music, dance and singing into a “gumbo” of funk, gospel, blues and soul. He warns, “Better bring your dancing shoes!”
For more information about the show, please visit www.centralmusicfest.com.
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