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True Blue from Ellis Kell

Argus/Dispatch blues columnist


I would first off like to thank everyone who contributed and participated in the Jack Seales "Celebration of Life & Music" event held at River Music Experience on Sat., Nov. 13th. The event raised over $2,400 in donations and raffle proceeds, which were given to the family of Jack Seales, the well-known Quad Cities' musician who passed away on October 20th. The event featured many well known area musicians and friends of Jack Seales, and the live performances ran from 1 pm until 9 pm. Dennis Peck of Geneseo won the drawing for a custom-built Fender Precision fretless bass guitar and case, which was donated by Chuck Hanson of Rock Island. Over 200 supporters attended the event held in memory of the late musician. Jack Seales has also been added to the 'earport' database at River Music Experience, where visitors will be able to read more about him and sample his original music for years to come. The event was coordinated by musician Dennis "Shineboy" Hancq and River Music Experience. Dave VanDerKamp, Lanny Clark and Frank Holst provided audio and video support for this musical event. Jack’s heart would have smiled in knowing how many lives in the musical community he has touched, and how he will be missed by us all.

River Music Experience will also host a very special “88 Keys Fundraising Dinner,” on Thurs., Dec. 2nd in the RME's 2nd floor performance hall. Dinner will be catered by Centro, and the evening will officially launch the RME's piano fundraising efforts in association with West Music. As there are 88 keys on a full piano keyboard, asponsorship of individual keys will be available at $500 each. When all 88 keys have been sponsored, the RME will be the proud owner two beautiful new pianos: a Kawai studio upright piano, and a Steinway baby grand for the performance hall. These pianos will be very attractive amenities for visiting performers and artists, and members and guests will enjoy the music performed on them for many years to come. The cost for this event is $30 per person, which includes admission and dinner. Half the price of each ticket goes towards an initial payment on the pianos for RME. The event will begin with cocktail hour at 6 pm, featuring live jazz music from Manny and Tewanta Lopez, with dinner served at 7 pm., featuring dinner music by Steinway artist Dan Knight. Tickets are available now at RME, by phone at 563-326-1333, or can be purchased online at .

RME and the Mississippi Valley Blues Society present a special “Blue Holiday Party” featuring the Blue Band, on Friday, Dec. 3rd, from 6:30 – 10 pm. Pizza by the slice will be available, along with your favorite beverages. Tickets are $7.50 for RME members, and $10 for non-members. Advance tickets are available online at – by calling 563-326-1333, or from the Mississippi Valley Blues Society office in the Union Station annex, River Drive and Ripley, Davenport.

Also on Dec. 3rd, The District of Rock Island presents a “Blue Christmas Holiday Hop!,” featuring artists and specials holiday gift shoppers. Activities will include a scavenger hunt, caroling, decorative windows and Christmas cheer for all ages. The event is free, runs from 5-10 pm, and is presented in cooperation with MidCoast Fine Arts and The District and sponsored by MetroLINK, Illinois Arts Council, RiverCities Reader, The Rock Island Argus, The Dispatch, The Leader, B100, Star 93, 97 Rock, and WHBF-TV4.

New Blues Fer Youz…

cd_african_wind (6K)“African Wind” – Dan Treanor & Frankie Lee (Northern Blues) This new CD is a unique blend of down home roots and original African elements. Tracks include original instruments such as the original blues slide instrument - the diddley bow or umakeyana, the ngoni (African banjo), the khalam (African guitar), and African percussion instruments the kalimba (thumb piano) and djembe (hand drum). This blend showcases some of the earliest elements of the blues as derived from African tribal folk music.

cd_villanelle_l (39K)"Villanelle" - Paul Reddick (Northern Blues) Paul Reddick returns with another unique take on pre-war blues and Americana music. These tracks are very rootsy, and very gutsy - relying more than ever on acoustic instrumental backing. None the less, this W. C. Handy nominee delivers his own signature blend of authentic, no-nonsense blues.

That’s all she wrote, and there just aint no more for this month. Peace, love & blessings to all for this holiday season, especially to our young men and women serving in Iraq. Let’s hope they all return home to us safe and as soon as possible. Until we meet again at this crossroads…

Blues to ‘ya!

Local musician Ellis Kell writes about blues music both local and national in ‘True Blue’, running the first Sunday of each month in Entertainment. He is also on the staff of River Music Experience, a not-for-profit museum and center dedicated to preservation, education and celebration of American Roots music.

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