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Rockin' Tuesday Blues Jam at Rhythm & Brews

Max Hightower: This ain't no karaoke!

Published on Tuesday, February 7, 2012

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The stage was already smoking when good friend Taylor Moore set the stage ablaze. With three other guitarists shoulder-to-shoulder, all that lead guitar was like scrambling eggs in an hot iron skillet.- Max Hightower

The stage was already smoking when good friend Taylor Moore set the stage ablaze. With three other guitarists shoulder-to-shoulder, all that lead guitar was like scrambling eggs in an hot iron skillet.
- Max Hightower



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Sign up to jam at Rockin' Tuesdays Blue Jam at Rhythm & Brews at 213 Trade Street. Max Hightower emphasizes:

Sign up to jam at Rockin' Tuesdays Blue Jam at Rhythm & Brews at 213 Trade Street. Max Hightower emphasizes: "This ain't no karaoke!"

Last week at the Rockin’ Tuesday Blues Jam at Rhythm & Brews in Greer, it was like "The Last Waltz" of blues jams with musicians on and off the stage all night long. It’s hard to believe it was only our third jam. And there’s no telling what the fourth one will be like tonight.

Let me set the stage. It’s 8 p.m. on January 31. Tuesday night.

This ain’t no high brow joint, so you feel at home. You’ll see all sorts of folks there  – anyone who likes to have a drink and listen to some rock, country and blues.

With all the talent coming through the door, we just let the cards fall as they may. After Austin, Joe, Mike and I played a set we called vocalist Teresa DeGeer and guitarist Ted Dillard to the stage.

Who says you’ve got to save the best for last?

Teresa had asked us to learn a Bonnie Bramlett song, “Strongest Weakness”, so just before we called her up, I found the song on YouTube and passed my phone around to the guys so they could get an idea of the arrangement. Once Joe got the groove in his ear, it was easy to follow him.

Once again Teresa left the people wanting more of her almost addictive tremolo voice. Then Joe handed the bass over to Cynthia “C-Town” Brashier. You could have called it the Brashier Family Rhythm Section when Austin’s brother Larry got behind the drums. At the end of the song, everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to C-Town and brought out a cake. Happy Birthday C-Town!

Then things really got … interesting. Tony Sewell brought up a flute player. Now, Tony is a longtime supporter of live music in the Upstate and he’s got a keen ear for talent. But a flute player? At a blues jam? I didn't know what to expect.

Can you even play the blues on a flute?

The answer is YES! 

Man, this dude sounded like maybe Jethro Tull and Big Mama Thornton had a love child. He told me he hadn't played in about a year. I thought to myself, “This is crazy!” Musicians like this need to be heard!

And I couldn’t resist myself. There is nothing cooler to me than two horns lockin’ together. I had to go head to head with a flute player on harmonica. This was a first.

You know what? People say Southern Rock ain't Blues. Well, it ain’t, but it is a close relative. You might say Southern Rock is one-third brother to the Blues, especially here in South Carolina. If Toy Caldwell was alive today, I’m sure he would give the Blues the credit it deserves for influencing his style. With that being said, Bobby Nichols sang “Simple Man” and Tony Sherbert sang “They Call Me the Breeze” with Evan “For Real” Boyles and ZB Griswold backing him up on guitar.

That’s about when my man Mike Phillips from Cold Shot took over the bass. The last time I heard Bobby sing was at a karaoke night.

Well, Rockin’ Tuesdays Blues Jam ain't no karaoke, that’s for sure!

The stage was already smoking when good friend Taylor Moore set the stage ablaze. With three other guitarists shoulder-to-shoulder, all that lead guitar was like scrambling eggs in an hot iron skillet.

Unable to get to my amp or keyboard, I just played harmonica through one of the vocal mics as Austin and Taylor took us home. The house was still packed right up to the last note. The funny thing is we were suppose to stop at 11 p.m. It was 12:30 a.m. before we even thought about closing it down.

Here I go, saving the best for last after all. Big thanks to all our friends who came out! And it wasn’t just the musicians that made it such a magical night. Folks like Todd Williams from Party Time Promotions donated his time and sound equipment. Todd even DJ'd between sets. (Hey, if you ever need a DJ, Todd is your man. Check him out at www.partytimeshomepage.com.)

And let’s not forget the folks who came out and cheered us on despite they had to work the next morning. We’ll never forget Mark “Hawk” Holcombe and his Infamous Chicken Dance. Jules Sweatt said that she laughed so hard she almost peed in her pants.

So, yeah, instead of "The Last Waltz" this was more like the First Waltz and with everyone's support there will be many more to come. Come on out this Tuesday night. No matter what your instrument and whether or not you can dance like a chicken, come on out for one of the hottest blues jam in the Upstate.

But get this: THIS AIN’T NO KARAOKE!

Pass it on.

Max Hightower

 

Rhythm & Brews

213 Trade Street, Greer

864-877-1990

Tonight: 4 p.m. - until

Businesses mentioned in this article.

Rhythm & Brews

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