HPMA Preview: Nobody Leaves Without Singing The Blues Edition
In the movie Adventures in Babysitting, Houston native bluesman Albert Collins inadvertently assists the getaway of young Elizabeth Shue (meow) and her charges from a gang of thugs, but only after she sings. Collins blocks the attackers with the same retort he gave Shue's character before she sang an off-key tale of babysitting regret, "Nobody leaves this place without singing the blues."
Photo by Brittanie Shey Little Joe Washington
All week, Craig Hlavaty and I are previewing the Houston Press Music Awards Showcase and today we honor the Ice Man with this list of six bands performing this Saturday that will do their damndest give you the blues.
But before you get to singing along with "I got a woman, she's a mean old woman," (that's how every blues song starts, right?), buy a ticket or 12. Just click this link and you'll soon be at the crossroads with Robert Johnson...or at Home Plate Bar and Grill with Little Joe Washington. Same diff'.
(PETE'S DUELING PIANO BAR STAGE, 1201 Fannin, 5 p.m.)
Nominated In: Best Soul / Funk / R&B
When you hear Lady Diunna wrap her clear, gospel-steeped contralto around a blues or soul lyric, it's immediately obvious you're hearing the real deal. As leader of her own Blue Mercy band, Aldine native Greenleaf has taken her soul-stirring brand of downhome blues to audiences all over America and Switzerland, Italy, Canada and Asia. Her most recent album, Trying to Hold On, included guest shots from A-listers like Billy Branch, Smokin' Joe Kubek, Rich Del Grosso, "Steady Rollin'" Bob Margolin and Anson Funderburgh. As her nomination category indicates, her live show often finds her ranging as far beyond the style as Sly and the Stone's funky masterpiece "If You Want Me to Stay," but even so, Greenleaf remains steadfastly devoted to the blues, "especially from a woman's point of view." - John Nova Lomax
(BEN'S BEANS, 1302 Dallas, 6 p.m.)
Nominated In: Best Bassist (Daniel Taylor), Best Drummer (Brendan Hall), Best New Act
The Beans' claim to fame seems to be a song about Houston, along with several hundred young, fresh-faced Facebook friends and followers on Twitter. The music is kinda bluesy, kinda psychedelic, kinda they-haven't-figured-out-what-they-are-yet. But the kids seem to like it, as a nice-size crowd showed up at their recent gigs at Rudz and the Continental. Daniel Taylor and Brendan Hall are nominated for Best Bassist and Drummer. - William Michael Smith
Texas Johnny Brown
Photo by Jason Wolter Texas Johnny Brown
(BEN'S BEANS, 1302 Dallas, 8 p.m.)
Nominated In: Best Blues
Immaculate. Tasteful. Classy as a bespoke suit with matching tie and handkerchief, and smooth as iced and aged Cuban rum. That's Texas Johnny Brown, a true hero of blues, vintage R&B and a pioneering early rock and roller. Brown's career spans the decades down from Spotify to 78s -- that's him on guitar with Amos Milburn's Chickenshackers way back in 1946, and that's him behind Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Ruth Brown on many of her seminal Atlantic sessions. As a songwriter, Brown's best known for penning the title track to Bobby "Blue" Bland's canonical album Two Steps from the Blues. Despite that "Texas Johnny" handle, Brown is actually a Mississippi native, and his Choctaw County hometown of Ackerman recently claimed him forever as a native son, placing a plaque there on the Mississippi blues trail. Trivia: In 1941, the 12-year-old Brown, his blind musician father and their guitar-playing dog appeared in Virginia, a Hollywood film also starring Fred MacMurray, Sterling Hayden and Marie Wilson. - John Nova Lomax