LIMA — Memorial Hall wails this weekend as the 11th annual Pickle’s Blues Extravaganza pumps the real deal blues into the always-packed party.
And this year’s line-up is one Jerry “Pickle” Felter has been scouting for a few years.
“I saw Corey Dennison four years ago playing back-up guitar for Carl Weathersby in Chicago. I’ve had to wait on him to have some free time since then. He’s young, and so hip, and his playing is incredible. He could play 900 mph, but he doesn’t. There’s so much to be said for silence between notes,” Pickle said.
“Peaches, I saw three years ago, but she was going to Europe at the time. She’s got a terrific band, they’re so tight. And, they even enjoy doing a little bit of zydeco,” he added. As for Peaches? “She’s got a voice that really fills an auditorium. I can’t wait to hear what she can do at Memorial Hall.”
Saturday, Tee Dee Young kicks off the party. “You wanna hear the blues? Once this guy gets started, he won’t stop. His energy is phenomenol. He plays 90 minutes non-stop. His music is upbeat so people will be dancing from the first number on,” he said.
And former Blues in the Schools mandolin player Rich DelGrosso joins Jonn Del Toro Richardson for a blow-out final stand to close the festival. “Del Toro Richardson is an incredible guitar player. He walked away from the 2005 Albert King Awards beating over 200 blues bands, he was the best guitar player there. And Rich, he plays slide on the mandolin, which in all my travels I’ve never seen,” Pickle said.
But that’s not all at this extravaganza.
Large-scale, color saturated paintings of blues artists, done by students at Liberty Arts Magnet, will be on exhibit that night in the hall. These are some of the projects benefitting from the event. As always, all proceeds return to the local schools in the form of music scholarships, Artist in Residencies, and Blues in the School programs.
And as always, there will be plenty to eat and drink to keep the party going.
But this night, it’s all about the music.
“I always look for good players that can put on a good show. This stage at Memorial Hall has held the best: Cab Calloway played there, so did Duke Ellington and Count Basie. These guys have a respect for that. These are also incredible players,” Pickle said.