Before I get into the gigs this fortnight, take some time on the 15th of April to think about Bessie Smith.
She was born on that day in 1894 and began a show business career as a dancer, where she met Ma Rainey who introduced her to the blues. She had an amazingly successful career, at one time making about $2,000 per week. To get around the racist segregation laws when on tour, she had her own railroad car that she and her entourage lived from. Over her career she made 160 recordings and was billed as the “Empress of the Blues.”
She dies in a car crash at the age of 43.
Despite her success, she was buried in an unmarked grave until a tombstone was erected on August 7, 1970, paid for by the singer Janis Joplin and Juanita Green, who as a child had done housework for Smith.
Last issue I mentioned the Green Room, and this time I want to mention Brian Fraser playing there later in the month.
But first, Sleepy Hollow has Nathan Beretta down this month.
Nathan Beretta is the funnest blues musician this side of the Great Divide! He made his mark in the Australian blues scene with multiple award-winning blues band Blue Eyes Cry. Beretta’s debut release “Where I Belong” hit No.1 on the Australian blues and roots charts, and is already gaining respect from blues lovers all over.
Growing up with blues jazz and soul in the household, Nathan was influenced by artist such as Ronnie Earl, Albert Collins, Albert King and Buddy Guy. He brought his own unique style to the table and plays from the soul with a “all killer no filler” approach.
After taking a year of music Nathan is back on a mission to put the “edge” back in into the blues, with vibrato bending guitar solos and emotion. The Nathan Beretta band is a known, yet new act on the scene and is not to be missed if authentic blues is your thing.
Moving from Nathan to Brian …
Geelong’s Brian Fraser is a multi-award winning artist with over 30 years’ experience in the music industry. He has been awarded Australian Blues Album of the Year -Chain Awards 2000 (solo award), Male Artist of the Year -VicTas Awards 2003 (solo award) and Australian Blues Band of the Year – Brian Fraser Trio, Chain Awards 2006.
Those of you with long memories may also remember the local band Turning Blue, which featured Brian along with Andrew Crossley, Ron Hilla and Dave Keelings.
He spends many months of every year touring Australia, performing at festivals, hotels and a multitude of other venues, which is why it’s always good to have him at a local gig.
Brian has released three solo acoustic albums and an album with the Brian Fraser Trio (with Mick Reid, harmonica and backing vocals and Benny Owen, percussion, didgeridoo and backing vocals), ‘Passing the Time’.
Brian Fraser is at the Green Room on the 21st, and Nathan Beretta at Sleepy Hollow on the 28th.