Originally Published: July 3, 2015 1:47 a.m.
It'll be strictly blues next week at the Prescott Center for the Arts as Blues Dawg performs on Saturday, July 11. A pure blues band was founded by Joe Neri, who performs guitar and vocals, about 20 years ago. The band features Bo Wilson on lead guitar, Hutch Hutchinson on bass and vocals and Gino Romero on drums. Part of the show also includes a tribute to B.B. King.
Neri said that he has been into the blues all his life, spending a lot of time during his formative teenage years in Greenwich Village while it was going through its folk and blues revival in the early 1960s.
"I kind of got my guitar feet wet with this genre of music 50 years ago," Neri said. "I've been doing it all my life."
Neri said he loves performing and live music, noting that when he listens to other music, he prefers recordings of live performances. He spoke of the difference in taking the music out of the studio and performing it in front of people, stating that it makes him feel better. Further, he also mentioned mistakes that happen in live performances, adding that a true professional is able to acknowledge it and possibly make it part of the music.
There's also interacting with the audience, which Neri said he likes to do. He said the best performance of his life was at Los Angeles' Roxy Theater.
What separates Blues Dawg from other blues bands, Neri said, is that it's a pure blues band. Other bands, he said, are mostly a blues based performance.
"I try to consciously... stay true to the blues. We don't go off on too many tangents, if any," Neri said. "Despite the many requests for 'Free Bird' and other kinds of things, we just kind of resist that and keep it strictly a blues performance."
Blues Dawg plays Chicago-style blues, which Neri said has two real distinctions from other styles. One distinction, Neri said, is that it's more of an ensemble with moving parts that contribute to a song. The other is that musically it consists of four beats to a measure with the emphasis on the second and fourth beats.
And Neri said he's not trying to be opportunistic about B. B. King's death last month in making a part of the show a tribute.
"B. B. King literally was the biggest influence in my musical life," Neri said, adding that he's not trying to be another King. "It's just the appreciation of what he did for the music. He inspired me to do a lot of what I've done."
Neri said a good third of the show will be dedicated to performing King's signature songs.
Blues Dawg will be at the Prescott Center for the Arts, 208 N. Marina St, on Saturday, July 11 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online at www.pca-az.net.
- by Jason Wheeler, The Daily Courier
Follow Jason on Twitter @PrescottWheels. Reach him at 928-445-3333 ext. 2037 or at 928-642-5277.