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Lake Martin’s 2009 Jazz Fest Will Start And End Strong

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Lake Martin’s 2009 Jazz Fest Will Start And End Strong

The Alex City Jazz Fest continues to provide the Lake Martin area with the best value in music and entertainment.  Since the Jazz Fest is free, it’s hard to beat that value.

You can also make the case that, on the Lake Martin concert scale of things, the Jazz Fest offers some of the best music, regardless of price.

A look at prior years’ Jazz Fests rosters shows you talent that you might pay heavily to hear: Joe Bonamassa, Derek Trucks, the Neville Brothers, Dr. John, just to name a few.


Don’t be late to downtown Alex City on Friday night, June 12, 2009.  The first act is old style delta blues master Kent DuChaine.   He starts at 6:00 PM, so you better get there early.

Kent is a throwback to the blues pioneers of the pre-1950s era.  He plays an old steel Dobro, with a slide, of course.  He plays anywhere, anytime.  In fact he has been in the Netherlands or something playing the week before Jazz Fest.  Kent has headlined blues festivals in Europe and the US, but (for some reason) you can still see him at local bars (Marty’s in Birmingham) and private parties.  He plays hard no matter if the crowd is 10 or 10,000.

I won’t go on and on about his impeccable blues lineage, except to say that through his days with Alabama blues legend Johnny Shines, he has a direct tutorial line to Robert Johnson.  In fact I think he plays Johnson’s tunes to perfection.  Most musicians I hear, even self billed blues players, do horrible justice to Robert Johnson songs. Most feel the need to try to have a modern interpretation that just falls flat.  Or, they attempt acoustic and just sound weak, tinny, and condescendingly corn pone hokey.  Kent plays Robert Johnson’s blues not exactly how he sounds on the Library of Congress recordings, but how he would have played them in a beer joint outside of Clarksdale, MS on a sweltering summer night. Think Clapton’s Unplugged “Rollin and Tumblin.”  Rip-roaring. Brazen.  Pillaging the countryside. Unafraid of the Crossroads.  Mocking the hell hounds.

DuChaine also expertly covers the Chess era of the blues.  Muddy, the Wolf, Sonny Boy, and the like. He switches effortlessly between the boasts of “Red Rooster” to the solemn wail of “Death Don’t Have No Mercy.” Kent also mixes in his own material with the masters.’  Solid Gold.

I’ve heard Kent play probably 30 times in my life.  He only gets better. Do yourself a favor and get a taste of real authentic delta blues.  I almost hate to label him like that, for fear that some may judge too quickly.  But, as my wife –  who “does not like Western movies”  – sobbed uncontrollably through the last 2 hours of Lonesome Dove, I think that most people won’t realize he played delta blues, they will just know they loved it.


Susan Tedeschi will be the last act for 2009 Jazz Fest, Saturday Night at the Lake Martin Amphitheater.

She is super talented.  I hear her a lot on the Sirius – XM Blues Channel.  From her recordings, I think we can expect more original stuff than covers, but that’s OK by me, because she’s really good.  It seems like every time I hear a strong, soulful female voice singing on the Channel, I check the artist’s name and it’s her. Tedeschi also just so happens to be married to former Jazz Fest headliner Derek Trucks.

Did I mention the Jazz Fest is free? Don’t let my lack of ink on the other acts deter you.  I’m trying to say that it wil all be good.

Full 2009 Alex City Jazz Fest Schedule

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