In Our Backyard
'An excellent representation of Harrisburg's contemporary blues scene'...David Evans (Author, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to the Blues, 2005). ~ In Our Back Yard~ Ask an old-time musician and he'll likely tell you that the blues is a "feeling." Ask a musicologist and you might hear something about the "12-bar" blues. Ask a contemporary blues performer and you might still hear about 12 bars, but now more in terms of where and how often they play in the span of a good week or two. The collection you hold in your hands is a tribute to the working blues musicians of South Central Pennsylvania who crisscross the Mason-Dixon line on a regular basis playing the circuit of bars, hotels, clubs, and showrooms that run from Harrisburg to Philly, straight south to Baltimore, down to Washington, D.C., and back around again. The blues started working it's way out of the South in the 1920s riding on the backs of itinerant musicians and spreading even further via phonograph records and radio. Blues music that "began as an expression of African Americans' rural southern experience," writes the nation's leading blues scholar, David Evans (who has, by the way, family ties in Harrisburg), "migrated to the urban north" and evolved in myriad directions, though always maintaining it's essential character as an "intensely personal music." * As you listen to the tracks on this CD, you'll experience blues across a range of eras and genres, a true reflection of the best players and the kinds of blues popular in Harrisburg's own backyard. Acoustic ragtime, Piedmont and Mississippi Delta, Chicago blues, full-tilt boogie, soul and gospel blues, Texas jump, swamp blues '' it's all here, ingredients in the quintessential South Central Pennsylvania blues mixture. "The standard misconception about the blues is that it's sitting-around, crying-in-your-beer music,' says Mitch Ivanoff of Krypton City Blues Revue. "It is quite the antithesis of that... It's about sharing in the human experience and the joy of knowing you're not alone in this world...Blues is about life, and we're all living it.' ** So, with ace bass-player and producing whiz Harry Werner at the helm, drop this "coin" into the slot and take a ride on the South Central blues line. Jerry Zolten, Author of 'The Dixie Hummingbirds' and Producer, Fairfield Four and Isaac Freemen. From The Blues Society Of Central Pa Six months, 28 musicians, and 17 songs ago the Blues Society of Central PA, Deep Water Recording and Splash Records embarked on a journey to find and document original blues music. They didn't have to go far. They found great songs, great players and now a great recording-right in their own back yard. All of the musicians and bands on this recording live, work and/or perform in the south central PA region. Each week one can find them traveling the roads between Harrisburg, PA and Baltimore, MD or Washington DC or between Chambersburg, PA and Frederick, MD or Lancaster, PA. One can find them in small, hard to find juke joints or on bigger stages at blues festivals or concert halls. Now you can find them on this recording offering many styles of blues. Often folks travel many miles and spend lots of cash to hear great blues, but then, never hear the blues "in their own backyard". This CD hopes to prove that great live blues can be found in anyone's backyard. This recording demonstrates that the blues artists in south central PA can hold their own with anyone nationally and deserve to be recognized as a force that preserves, teaches, and carries on the blues tradition. So, give a listen, then check out the bands websites (or call them) and find out where they are appearing and get out and get ready for some butt shaking blues making. They deserve all the support that we all can give them.....and we deserve all the joy that we can get from them. We would like to thank all the musicians who donated their time and creative energy to this project, all the club owners who continuously support blues bands and blues music and most importantly all of the blues fans who come to the gigs, who buy the CD's and who love the life of the blues. This CD is dedicated to Sonny of the Lochiel for giving the Blues Society of Central PA a home and a great place for our infamous Thursday night jam for so many years. We love you Sonny.