I received an excited email/notice from Mina over at Swamp Water Bluz awhile back that she had been able to locate and book a fellow by the name of Da Bluez Preacher (srv4u Conacher) for a couple of shows in October. That delighted me because I had first heard about this fellow from Roxie not long before that. She had frequented his shows prior to his second retirement from SL about 6 months ago and had said how much she loved his shows, how much fun they were, and, to quote a true Great, Mr. Chuck Berry: "He could play a guitar just like ringing a bell !"
We had also been talking about moving our focus from mainly following existing, known artists, to finding and presenting a few newer artists, or ones that aren't heard from that often. This would help keep things interesting for us and our readers. When Roxie had told me about him, I thought Da Bluez Preacher would be a good fit... if I could manage to do a blog on him. With him taking what could be an extended time-out from SL, I knew that may prove difficult... I am very grateful to Mina and The Gator Queen Phyra at Swamp Water Bluz and their continuing efforts at trying, and succeeding, to stay ahead of the pack and bring us quality entertainment from wherever they can find it! When I heard this news about Da Preacher, I was truly excited to see the man perform.
We got our first taste of Da Bluez Preacher when he was invited by the preceding artist to take the stage and accompany her for her final number. This helped ease the audience into his great warm-up jam, where he said his hellos and explained to us how he does his "back track" a little differently than most.
By using a "loop pedal" he's able to layer up the back track, with every instrument and backup vocal performed live, by Da Preacher. Thinking about it technically, this seems to give Da Preacher a little more flexibility in changing things up on the fly, if need be, and demonstrates this man's virtuosity as a musician and singer.
His intro was something I can only describe as "Bam-A-Lam Madness!" he introduced us to "Wilma," his guitar, and explained how he also likes to do his sets with a lot of audience participation using old time gospel "call and answer," helping make everyone part of the experience. He then started to give us a great set full of fun! As he wound up the audience he got down to a great rendition of Kenny Wayne Sheperd's "Long Gone." He plays effortlessly and with economy of movement that made Wilma howl and scream as he pounded out a version of Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll" It sure helped to make that song his own and showed off his considerable chops.
Next up was Blackstreet's "No Diggity" which immediately set my toes to tappin' giving me what Da Preacher called Funk-itis! I really enjoyed the song mix for this set. When he did some looping to get Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight" underway and layered it up it was amazing to hear it form and to feel the excitement build, and when that loop came around to where Da Preacher started to sing harmonies with himself, I was blown away! I was also loving the tone he was getting from that white gem, Wilma, and how he can take a tune one has heard about a thousand times, and turn it around and play with it till its all his, yet still recognizable. He joins my ranks of one of the best players I have ever seen, anywhere! He can also do a lot of "impressing" for one guy in an hour! Oh Yeah! Da Bluez Preacher has converted me to his version of the Blues!
Before I knew it, his set was past the mid-point of his allotted time and he was rockin' like a maniac through Stevie Ray Vaughan's "The House Is Rockin' " Then he settled into "Tin Pan Alley," tearing the notes sung and played from the very depths of his soul. I am pretty sure, with a first performance, he could amaze even the most jaded Blues followers. As he finished this classic he mentioned "Hendrix" and my ears perked right up.
He played a few familiar notes from "Voodoo Chile" and the goosebumps rose and I was bracing to be overwhelmed by a much different, but recognizable rendition of a true classic. Da Preacher plays like its a gift from his soul to yours with a love of the notes that you can hear. From the most delicate, meticulously picked notes to the loudest, chorded assault that smashed its way into a killer solo that would have made Hendrix smile with pride, this guy can DO IT! and then some... The only thought in my head at that moment was "!WOW!"
The last offering of the night was a great old gospel song, "Flower" (aka Bring Sally Up) that had everyone stomping feet and calling back the catch phrase and anything else that Da Preacher threw out, with smiles and joyous laughter.
This was a unique set experience in my relatively short time as a blogger, and also in my relatively LONG time as a listener and devotee of the Blues. I don't think Da Bluez Preacher is anywhere NEAR showing us the limit of what he can do, and I, for one, am looking forward to Every. Last. Second. of this education!
THANK YOU BLUEZ PREACHER (SRV4U Conacher) FOR ONE OF THE MOST ENJOYABLE BLUEZ/FUNK/ROCK/PSYCHEDELIC/GOSPEL/ BLACK-BETTY-SLAMMIN' SETS I HAVE HEARD FOR SOME TIME! MORE PLEASE! MUCH, MUCH MORE!
AND THANK YOU MINA WEISSBROD & THE GATOR QUEEN PHYRA FOR FINDING AND BRINGING THIS WONDERFUL MUSICIAN BACK TO SL!
Watch for Da Bluez Preacher's next dates at Swamp Water Bluz:
Oct 15 @ 8pm, 16th @ 7pm, then Fridays @ 8pm throughout November
All times are Pacific (SLT)