Ralph de Jongh might very well be the hardes working bluesman of the Netherlands. Releasing two double albums last year, there’s a triple-album out now: Trilogy – ‘Dancing On a Vulcano’. And the touring schedule with solo performances, duo-performances and full band gigs is long. He performed at Vanslag with full band last Saturday to a well filled venue.
Heartbreak hurts, but it can also be the inspiration of terrific songwriting. Luke Winslow-King had to go through some heartbreak when his partner and band-member left him last year. And when you have the blues, when you feel the blues, you play the blues. At least that’s what Luke did and it resulted in a terrific album that’s firmly nestled in blues.
With the Mastersons in January I had a careful start of the new concert-season, but February will kick it off for real and to get a good start, the Blues Avenue Revisited started off the month in style: Blues in Vanslag!
Being a lover of Jazz -both the traditional and the more swinging, funky kind- I look forward to the Swingin’ Groningen festival every year. The festival has been put on hold a few times as it’s a free festival and money is tight, but if they’re on and I have a chance I wil absolutely check out some of the band and so it was I was in Groningen last night.
A long, long time ago, not far away from here (in the Witte Bal in Assen actually) I was taking photos at a concert by The Long Winters. It was back in 2004 and there I met Dietmar Leibecke and his wife Marion, who came all the way from Germany for that concert. Dietmar and I have kept in contact over the years via the Facebook and so learner about each others musical discoveries and concert-experiences. And now Dietmar has organised a festival of his own: the Static Roots Festival and he was kind enough to invite me.
Last weekend was Pentecost and as usual that means that Raalte holds it’s annual Ribs&Blues weekend. Three days of music, beer and food. For the kids there’s a good sized funfair so they can have some fun while mommy and daddy are screaming old rock-songs at the top of their lungs…
When it comes to music Assen and Drenthe are almost synonymous to Blues. On big events her in Assen there’s a really good chance you’ll find a bluesband or two playing on a stage. And so yesterday, while we celebrated the Kings Birthday, we had live music on various stages and on one stage nested between terraces and restaurants the Mississippi Kings did their thing.
As if a long day at the track wasn’t enough I thought I’d end the Sunday afternoon with visiting a concert in Café 1809 Lodewijk Napoleon in Assen. Ralph de Jongh had a small gig there and as it was on my route from the circuit to home, it was a nice stop along the way.
I love the Swingin’ Groningen festival: it’s a terrific free festival in the heart of Groningen and brings a mix of swinging Jazz, Soul, Blues and R&B. It was a huge shame last year’s edition had to be cancelled, but I was happy to be able to attend the Friday evening part of this festival (had to give Saturday a miss, you can’t always do everything…).
As I drive into Groningen, I could see the huge Ferris Wheel of the May Fair on the Vismarkt popping out over the buildings, the sun was slowly setting and with the first official summer-temperature day of 2015, it was a lovely evening. But I wasn’t in Groningen for that… I had completely missed the announcement of Daniel Norgrens gig in Vera until a friend pointed me to that. Quickly checked it out and it sounded great, so onwards to Groningen!