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CHRIS BEARD LIVE AT "BOURBON STREET BLUES"

MAY, 2005 - NASHVILLE, TN
BY PETER "BLEWZZMAN" LAURO, 2005

I recently visited Nashville for the very first time in my life, but it will certainly not be my last. As a matter of fact, while there I spent most of my free time looking at houses. My company has an office there and I am hoping to, one day soon, call the city home. I didn't get to see as much of the city as I had hoped, and although there wasn't a whole lot of time to spend partying, I did discover the place I will certainly become a regular at once I relocate there. That place is BOURBON STREET BLUES.

Our day spent house hunting resulted in the day being very long and tedious. Combining being a bit tired with being very hungry we started out our night much earlier than usual. When we arrived at BOURBON STREET BLUES, we were the first two people there. We just wanted to get somewhere so that we could sit, eat and relax. Having to wait two hrs for the music to start was a non issue for us.

As we took our seats at a table, the pungent odor of last nights stale beer, mixed with the heavy doses of nicotine that filled the air, made us feel like we were actually strolling along Bourbon Street in New Orleans. It was a strange yet familiar fragrance.

Fearing the inevitable onslaught of a frenzied tobacco dependent audience, we quickly ordered dinner. I ordered a Bourbon Street sampler and my wife ordered the ribs. When we were done, both of us expressed how pleasantly surprised we were. We had come here expecting good blues but didn't expect to have an absolutely delicious dinner. My wife, who has had ribs all over the country claimed that she had just had the best ribs of her life and my nearly 300 lb body could not finish the abundant amount of delicious jambalaya, gumbo and red beans and rice that was placed in front of me.

It was getting close to show time and although we were disappointed that we would not be seeing BOURBON STREET BLUES' premier house band the STACY MITCHHART BAND, we were going to be treated to a show by CHRIS BEARD. As it turned out, getting to see CHRIS BEARD was a good and timely thing. First of all, his show was killer and secondly, since I am on the band selection committee for the RIVERWALK BLUES AND MUSIC FESTIVAL in Ft. Lauderdale this November and CHRIS BEARD is one of the bands we were considering hiring, I could now make a more intelligent decision on this matter.

As we turned our consumption of food into a consumption of cocktails, it was now time to turn our attention to the stage. As the band was warming up..........never mind, I retract that statement. There's no warming up with these guys. Within 30 seconds of taking the stage, CHRIS BEARD on guitar and vocals, KEN GARR on drums, LEE LEWIS on bass and ZACK SHELLY on keyboards were all in mid show form. These guys heat up faster than a ship full of sailors back from six months at sea.

CHRIS started off the first set paying tribute to two of his, as well as two of my, all time favorite blues men - Luther Allison and Albert King. During a lengthy and blistering version of "I'LL PLAY THE BLUES FOR YOU", he left the club and played as he strolled down Historical Printers Alley. After several other covers CHRIS did and interestingly titled original called "TEN TOES UP" (TEN TOES DOWN). On this very funky number, the crowd was treated to a real good look at featured keyboarder ZACK SHELLY. Along with his boss, this is one hell of a one-two punch.

Unfortunately, due to a three set show, the first set rapidly came to a close. The all day house hunting, the pile of jambalaya and the cocktails had now taken their toll. There was no way this baby boomer could last any longer. However, we did see enough for a positive recommendation. The following morning, I called our festival promoter and I am very happy to say that I'll now be able to catch the rest of the show that I missed in BOURBON STREET BLUES that night right here in South Florida in November. CHRIS BEARD has been booked.

Thanks to the staff at my future hang out, BOURBON STREET BLUES, for the good service, the good food, the good vibes and the good blues.


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