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Bob Margolin, Maria Woodford, Gina DeLuca, Jackie Merritt (of M.S.G. in back) and The Wild Roots (Gaye Adegbalola, Tanyah Dadze, and GloriaRain) perform at 'Gettin' Blue.'
BY ANDREW LEAHEY
FOR THE FREE LANCE-STAR
Three months ago, award-winning blues musician and Fredericksburg native Gaye Adegbalola hosted a local benefit concert called "Gettin' Blue." Sponsored by the Democratic Party and held at the Central Rappahannock Regional Library, "Gettin' Blue" featured performances by a number of blues legends--many with ties to Virginia--with the goal of raising money for disenfranchised voters.
Hurricane Sandy swept across the East Coast eight weeks later, leaving much of the eastern seaboard damaged in its wake. Given the success of the first "Gettin' Blue" event, Adegbalola and company began talking about hosting another show, one that reached far beyond the political realm.
With a beefed-up lineup and a new location, "Gettin' Blue #2" will take place this Saturday evening at the Unitarian Universalist church. All profits will go toward Franklin Lakes Restoration Foundation Inc, a nonprofit organization located in northern New Jersey.
"We decided to go with a grassroots organization, rather than a group like the Red Cross," Adegbalola explained from her Fredericksburg home earlier this week. "The people at Franklin Lakes Restoration are in the trenches, providing direct assistance to people who need it. We're talking food, clothing and so on."
Adegbalola will emcee the event, but she's hardly the only star on the bill. Bob Margolin, who just wrapped up several shows with Hot Tuna, is a guitar virtuoso who spent seven years in Muddy Waters' band. Maria Woodford, a throaty vocalist in the tradition of Bonnie Raitt, is slated to perform at the International Blues Challenge early next year. Phil Wiggins, former member of the blues duo Cephas & Wiggins, has been dubbed the best blues harmonica player in the country.
"Out of this group of musicians," Adegbalola said, "you have several Blues Music Award winners, and several more who've been nominated for awards. It's really a wonderful lineup."
Speaking of wonderful lineups, "Gettin' Blue #2" will also include individual performances by all three members of Saffire--The Uppity Blues Women, a critically acclaimed blues trio that Adegbalola co-founded in the mid-1980s. She still thinks fondly of former bandmates Ann Rabson and Andra Faye, calling them "my sisters" and praising the work they've done since Saffire amicably split up in 2009.
"We were a group for 25 years," she said, "so this is a reunion for us, so to speak. They're my sisters, and I call [blues pianist] Ian Walters and Maria Woodford my children. Almost everyone here has worked together, and we all enjoy making music together. I think 'family' is a good name for it."
Additional acts include blues/jazz composer Roddy Barnes, M.S.G.--The Acoustic Blues Trio, world beat ensemble Nubii, and
Although the suggested ticket price is a donation of $20, those who can't afford to pay the full rate are encouraged to give whatever they can.
When asked why the blues lends itself so well to these benefit shows, Adegbalola was quick with her answer.
"None of us have a lot of money," she said, chuckling. "Blues doesn't get any commercial airplay, and although we're national touring musicians, we don't have hundreds of dollars to donate to a good cause. We're hoping we can use our talents instead. The last show was truly wonderful, and I'd like to think--no, I know--that the blues is a real healing music. It's a music that brings people together to get the pain out.
And if ever there was a need for healing, Sandy requires it."
Andrew Leahey is a Virginia musician working in Nashville. You should see him play live.
Cost: $20 suggested donationInfo: uuffva.org