Well, I spent the morning doing edits and proofing on the Createspace version of TALES FROM THE OUTYONDER…I wanted to have it available in actual hard copy format for those folks like to hug and squeeze and call books George.
Then I worked on the layout of THREE ACES FROM SATAN’S HAND. Miss Sherri Dean is hard at work on the 2nd Draft of the final story…name TBA….about Annie Oakley and Buffalo Bill at the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893 so I wanted to be ready with a Createspace submission as well as a Kindle version because our Ms. Sherri lurfs her some paper books!
My last project I spend some time on was revising SHADOW HEART my horror novel originally published LONG ago which I plan on re-releasing in early September as a Kindle and Createspace selection. I am having hell with finding decent material to create the cover, however. I am thinking that once I do all the fiddling around with the easy stuff, that it will take a solid week of hard rewriting to whip it into the shape I want it to be for publication.
At about 1:30 in the afternoon, my wife Sally and I got on the motorcycle and headed to Skiatook to meet Mark and Kathi Harper for lunch in Hominy, Oklahoma at a place called Wild Country Meats. They are a butcher shop with a dining room and restaurant annexed on to the side. The annex is actually made of repurposed semi cattle trailers…no lie. And they did a great job. The food is outstanding. I think if you are a vegan perhaps you should avoid this place. They don’t quite let you dress up like Leatherface and slaughter your own animal with a chainsaw, but close. They are unashamed carnivores.
After that, Sally and I proceeded to spend $20 bucks at a casino, then roll in to downtown Tulsa on back roads all the way to the historic Cains Ballroom, home of Bob Wills. There, we attended the 10th Annual Tulsa Blues Challenge put on by the Blues Society of Tulsa (of which I am a member.) For all of $5, staring at 4pm and running till 11ish at night we listened to some amazing bands, eight in all. They also had donation ticket sales good for raffle items such as gift certificates, tickets to blues festivals, CD’s and even a fender guitar at the end of the evening….alas, I didn’t win any swag. However, it all goes to a great cause, promoting the blues in Tulsa and helping pay the way of the winning band to Memphis for the International Blues Challenge. CLICK TO SEE INFO ON THE CHALLENGE The was a stellar group of judges including Dustin Pittsley who has been sent to Memphis as a winner several times and, of course, Little Joe McLerran who has WON the Memphis competition and is a fantastic bluesman.
There was a full bar and Oklahoma Joes BBQ is on the side of the ballroom. It is a no smoking venue and was for all ages. There were little kids running around dancing their butts off and in general it had the feel of a Sunday picnic and family reunion with amazing music. Full on fun, food and all around Oklahoma entertainment. This is the first year that I attended, but I won’t miss it again if I can help it. Those of y’all in Tulsa need to come with me next time.
Here was the lineup:
Showcase performance by Tulsa’s own Scott Ellison. His music is being featured in upcoming episodes of JUSTIFIED and other Hollywood projects…he can really bend that guitar.
The contestant bands were:
The Salty Dogs—featuring an alto, tenor and baritone sax and a sultry female lead singer in a saucy red dress. Bluesy jazz and hot grooves. These guys are great musicians and there is such a dynamic bond between the lead singer and the keyboardist that it jumps off the stage. They had a wall of sound from those saxophones which was a joy to hear. Great musicianship all around. Go see them at Cimarron on Sundays starting about 5pm for the jam session…one of the best in Tulsa.
IIIRd Degree—Wow! These guys are great blues style Southern Rockers. They do a lot of local gigs and I keep missing them; I won’t miss them again.
The Home Brewed Band – This was a quintessential Tulsa trio. The drummer was loaded with cool attitude, sporting a native American ribbon vest over a tuxedo t-shirt. The lead guitar was a lanky cowboy type with a Sam Elliot vibe and a sense of dry humor that you couldn’t help but love. Every song was, as he put it, “about a woman.” The bass player was dead on and they did a solid job. Not quite up to snuff for Memphis, but this kind of solid talent is what makes Tulsa such an amazing place for music.
Black Cat Benders—Wow! Good guitar licks and a cute as a bug lead female singer. She has a young voice, not quite as gritty as most blues singers, but she nails the notes with ease. She did a version of “Hurt So Bad” that was note for note Susan Tedeshi, but alas…perhaps that was the problem. There was too little of her and too much of the CD in the rendition. Still, I can’t wait to hear how she develops. She blew me away.
Mojo Sonata—three diva female vocalists really took charge of the stage. They were outstanding and honestly, vocally blew everyone away. The crowd was on its feet dancing. But alas, they didn’t have the driving guitar sound that would have set them up to win…you gotta have that smoky, heart rending power of a moaning guitar to go to Memphis. But damn, I would pay to hear you anytime.
Sunday Moan—Big crowd favorite as the beer was flowing and they played some soul and blues standards that really got everyone going. They had great ensemble talent. The lead guitar and the bass player were both great vocalists. There was a lot of talent to go around.
Alien Blues Alliance—These guys were good. Damn good. Solid blues skills and some great original work. These guys really did an outstanding job and to tell the truth, I thought they were in the running. I felt a great dynamic with them and the crowd. They were full on great.
James Grove Blues Machine—Well, this was an unstoppable combination of guitar power and blues majesty. They won the competition and it was clear to see why. The raw unleashed blues energy that was exploding out of James Grove’s guitar licks was impossible to ignore.
The final results were: Winner – James Grove Blues Machine (Totally expected that)
Runner Up—Sunday Moan (A surprise for me, but hell, they were all so good it had to be a rough call)
Anyway, back to work. I can legitimately say that all this was research for WAR GOD BLUES, the next adventure for my reluctant blues playing war diety camed Carl. I am in the plotting process on that one so see, I actually “wrote” all day…LOL
On a serious note, if you guys appreciate the blues, please join your local blues society…they truly help “keep the blues alive”…in Tulsa it is $20 a year, here is the link: http://www.bluessocietyoftulsa.com