March 2010, Who We Are

What is the Chippewa Valley Blues society? According to the by-laws it is an organization dedicated to:

1. To preserve, cultivate, and support the blues.
2. To communicate current blues news and events for members
3. To increase awareness of and appreciation for the blues through Society sanctioned educational efforts, and
4. To provide a network of association for area blues lovers These are very simple ideas. What we are is a widely diverse group of folks from all facets of society.

There are many different personalities, characters and economic abilities that have at least a single common interest in a wonderful product of the American experience, a musical expression of a myriad of emotions….the blues.

Almost all modern forms of music have their roots in the blues. Some may protest and others may rebel, but this music that snuck out of the cotton and cane fields, at the very least, lent it’s soul to the foundations of every genre from jazz to rock, from Motown to rap. You find it peeking through in bluegrass and certainly in country music, both modern and traditional.

Someone once said the blues aint nothin but a good man feelin bad. The music was a way to escape the melancholy and often deep depression that hard times can cause. That doesn’t mean the music is melancholy or depressing, though it sometimes can be, the sky can be crying with tears runnin down the street, but it can rock, and it sure can boogie, it can be seductive or it can brag, it can beg and it can express almost every emotion that real people feel. It almost always makes you feel better, tappin your toe, swayin your hips and wanting to hear more.

I have heard people say I don’t really like the blues, and it always makes me ask, do you know what the blues is? Have you ever listened to the blues? Most often, probably not on purpose, almost always without knowing that was blues they were rockin to. I heard Luther Allison the first time at the University of Minnesota in 1970 and I was struck by what he said at the beginning and end of that concert. “If you don’t like the blues you got a hole in your soul!” I saw him several times after that and he repeated it at every performance. I Believe! You may like some music, and love or hate others, but the blues will touch you if you let it.

These are just some of the things members of the Chippewa Valley Blues Society have in common. Some are more passionate than others, some interested, and some of us can be downright obnoxious! We all love the music and want to promote it in the region. We want to promote the artists that play it and the venues where it is performed. We want to honor the music and encourage others to listen to it. Last summer at one of our free concerts in Eau Claire a gentleman told me that he didn’t even know he liked the blues until he came to one of our concerts. He said he had heard many of the songs before, but didn’t realize that that was blues. That night he said it was quickly becoming one of his favorite genres.

We try very hard to offer opportunities for people to get a chance to try this music out. Last summer we had weekly concerts and again this year their will be free concerts in Owen Park in Eau Claire every Tuesday from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The music starts at 6:30 at the band shell for “Tuesday Night Blues on the River”. We have an excellent lineup of talented musicians and it’s a wonderful time. There will be food vendors like 9 Degrees Ice Cream, Famous Dave’s Barbecue, The Weenie Wagon with dogs & brats, a popcorn guy, and more. The admission is free. Through the season we hope to promote some special events to correspond with like a bike show, some non-profits like the Vet’s Center at Klein Hall, and a handful of others.

Later on this summer we will be supporting and promoting the 3rd Annual “Blues On The Chippewa” in Durand. The first full weekend in August at Memorial Park there will be two entire days of great music in the park, as well as a car show on Saturday. The music carries on into the night with many of the day’s bands performing in the local bars. Again, the price is right, it’s free admission to the park!

We are always looking for new members. Check out our website at A $10 Membership fee is a small price to pay to help promote all the ”free” music we put on.  The Blues Society doesn’t have many perks to offer it’s members yet, but we are working on it. If you want more info contact Mike at See ya round!