By Gabi Mendick
The Telluride Blues and Brews Festival was a blast. What a way for the Music Maker Foundation to “dip our toes” into live gigs again! Thank you to the festival for having us back, to all the folks who came out to enjoy some great brews and amazing blues, to the volunteers who helped make it all possible, and to the Music Maker Blues Revue and the Gospel Comforters, who put on killer shows throughout the weekend.
Before the festival, this iteration of the Music Maker Blues Revue — Sugar Harp, Robert Lee Coleman, Herman Hitson, Albert White, Fred Thomas and Ardie Dean — had rehearsed only twice, once in August and then again after they landed in Telluride. So it was hard to predict how this group would mesh on stage and whether they would put on a good show at Telluride.
But from the moment the festival began on Thursday night, it was clear this band had special chemistry on stage and off. Altogether, the Blues Revue played eight sets in Telluride, and my biased opinion is that they stole the show. Even though the musicians were mostly unfamiliar with one another just a couple of months ago, they have tons in common, all having played alongside some of the top R&B, funk and blues acts of all time. The guys had tons to talk about, stories to swap, journeys to share. Because these artists are all seasoned sidemen and instrumentalists, they naturally learned and played one another’s songs. It’s not always a guarantee with musicians, but all of these men were gracious and supportive of one another, happy to share the spotlight and cheer their bandmates on.
Before the festivities began, harmonica player Sugar Harp reflected on playing a large live show after such a long hiatus.
“It’s absolutely overwhelming,” he said “I feel like a caged tiger being let out, and I’m gonna eat it all up. And as a matter of fact, I think I’m gonna outdo myself.” And he surely did.
When the festival came to a close, Sugar said he would never forget this weekend.
“The scenery is beautiful and then you run into the people that are even more beautiful,” he said.
If you couldn’t make it to Telluride this year and are feeling a bit left out, don’t worry! We will be sharing photos, videos and stories from these musicians in the coming weeks and months, so stay tuned.