Of all the musicians I’ve seen over the years I wouldn’t be surprised if I saw Ralph de Jong the most. However every concert of Ralph is an experience in it’s own and the energy he brings either on his own or with band makes every concert something to experience. It’s going to be hard to top his previous gig in Borger where he actually got married, but that doesn’t mean the concert should stop and so last Saturday Ralph was back in Vanslag and brought both a band and some guests with him.
The church-turned-venue Vanslag once started out as well… a church. And last night we witnessed a bit of that ‘old magic’ as Ralph presented us with an evening packed with creativity, blues, rock, poetry… and a wedding!
When earlier this year the second edition of the Holland International Blues Festival was held in Grolloo, I was in Barcelona, which unfortunately (as a blues lover) means I’ve missed both editions. Apparently a young English blues musician was making quit the impression and was even performing alongside one of the main headliners: Buddy Guy. Last Friday this rising blues star by the name of Laurence Jones was playing to a sold out Vanslag in Borger and I was not going to miss that!
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.
Ending 2015 in Barcelona with Monica was a great way to celebrate the beginning of of a new year and so why not repeat it? Luckily Monica agreed, so for the last few days of 2016 and the first four of 2017 I was in Barcelona again.
There is a song by Manu Chao called ‘Me gustas tu‘ that -Monica once told me- is used by many people to learn words in Spanish. One of the lines in this song is ‘Me gusta Guatemala, me gustas tu’, and I’d get a change to experience that for myself this year. Monica visits her family every year and when deciding on our vacation plans for this year, we came to the conclusion that it would be a great idea to visit Guatemala together. I’d get to meet Monica’s family and friends in Guatemala and see the beauty of Monica’s country. However when it’s summer in Europe, Guatemala has it’s rain season. So we had to wait a while and on October 23 I finally started on an incredible journey…
Finally I made some time to start a bit of proper testing of the new Fujifilm 18-135 lens, as the vacation is gettin closer and closer… Here a shot of the tower of the Nieuwe Kerk church in Groningen:
Last Thursday evening I was back in Borger again to see Andrew Combs in Vanslag, he came highly recommended by my friends of Roots on the Road and who am I to question them?
Together with Roots on the Road the Vanslag stage in Borger is by now a well known stage for Americana and Roots music, but last Friday I saw that is can more than hold its own in popular music too with the ‘deep house’, loops and full band of Loop Alley.