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Rock On! This Week's Sound Bites...4/15/21

By Danny Coleman

Rock On! This Week

"You know, if it's not me; I don't think people will like it," laughed blues artist Gina Coleman as she emphasized how personally and deeply connected she is to her music and the blues. "There is a level of authenticity that has to come across for it to be legit for people who want to hear it; not all blues music is sad and downtrodden and I don't want people to slip into that notion. It has to be deeply personal in order to relate to the masses and if it's not personal then I don't feel the sense in putting it out there. So, yes, absolutely, everything I put out there has a personal connection whether it be from my own personal experiences or the personal experiences of people who are close to me."

Gina  started singing, "On a dare from her co-workers" and has now fronted her band Misty Blues for more than 21 years. Over the course of that time she has shared the stage with Charles Neville, Tab Benoit, John Primer, Albert Cummings and more, Coleman and her band have also been finalists in The International Blues Challenge sponsored by The Blues Foundation and have produced 10 studio albums; the latest of which is called, "None More Blue." "The album is 11 tracks; actually, all of our albums are 11 tracks by design because I'm a crazy "Spinal Tap" fan," she said, laughing once again. "Even this album has a nod to "Spinal Tap;" the name of the album, "None More Blue." 

With a pleasant disposition, a gutsy, lower range voice and refreshing talent, Coleman has been gracing stages and making her way across the globe but the journey, like many others, started from humble beginnings. 

"I'm originally from the South Bronx, born and raised; a projects gal, not from any great means or any means at all really," she started in a somewhat pensive tone. "I sort of traversed from the South Bronx, I ended up going away to high school on a scholarship. I ended up in Wellesley, MA as a scholarship recipient and from there I ended up going to college in Williamstown, MA to Williams College and that's kind of where my story begins and sort of the origins of how I started performing blues. After graduating from Williams, I decided to stay in the area which is Berkshire County, MA; it's the furthest western county in the state of Massachusetts. I had an opportunity to perform in a Summerstock Theater production for the Williamstown Theater Festival of "A Raisin in the Sun" and Ruben Santiago Hudson was the lead actor and Viola Davis was the lead actress and I was cast as a gospel singer; I would traverse the stage in between acts so that there wasn't any down time. I would sing these gospel tunes and at the end of the run of that production, Ruben Santiago Hudson said, "You know, your voice is so perfectly suited for the blues" and he gave me this CD collection called, "Men Are Like Street Cars" which was all female blues artists from the early twenties to the mid-sixties and it really transformed me. I was playing in a band at that time that was kind of a folk/funk band but we were kind of trailing off; some of the members were moving out of the area and I went to some of the remaining members and said, hey, let's switch things up; let's become a blues band and they said, "Yeah! We love the blues" and off the top of my head I said, let's call it Misty Blues. That's how I started in the blues and we were primarily doing female blues classics and slowly but surely we started incorporating classic male artist tunes and then writing our own music."

Nearly 22 years in any business is a long time and like any business, bands experience growth and change; has this been the case with Misty Blues"



 

"We've been together since 1999, a long time; we've had change but I still have my original bassist and my original guitarist just retired about a year or two ago. We started out as a three-piece and have now grown to a six-piece and on this last album we brought in a couple of other musicians that kind of fill-in for members when some are not available for shows. I have a back-up bassist, guitarist, keyboard and horn player; I have this bullpen (laughs) of  musicians that I've acquired over the years so, I never have to say no to a gig I want. The cool thing with Misty Blues is that I've been able to have musicians who are dedicated to really keeping on top of our material; whenever I call them up; hey, you've studied up on the latest album, absolutely, I'm ready to go." 

The blues permeates all genres of music and as Coleman mentioned earlier, it is an emotional form of expression. Now, most would say that all music is emotional; opera comes to mind, the symphony perhaps but blues, much like jazz, are at their best when the compositions are freeform and the performers are allowed to interpret what they feel at any given moment; it's rare that any blues song is played the same twice.  Gina relies on that spontaneity to give her recordings and live performances that little something extra but with a pandemic mucking up the works; how did she keep that feel for her recent release?

"None More Blue" was totally written during the pandemic," she explained. "We were really struggling as how to stay creative and involved when we weren't able to really perform out to people like we usually do and the creative juices just kept on going and we found a way to share music and share ideas virtually and then at some point in November we were able to get into the studio and even the studio experience was different because not all of us could be in the studio at the same time. So, a few of us would lay down tracks and then the other half would come back in and lay over that and that was an unusual process for us because generally we really like that live feel, we like to all be in the same room where I can throw solos to folks and they can see my cues and it's really organic that way. I think we actually did a really fine job of still capturing that live feel even though we were not able to be in the same room together. No one emailed anything in, everyone had to physically come into the studio at one point. We just limited the amount of people in the studio and if they were musicians that didn't have to blow a horn or sing then they were masked at all times."

One of Coleman's talents is not as surprising as it is somewhat rare for female artists; come to think of it, there aren't many male artists who claim this talent either, in comparison to the more traditional methods. 

"I play the Cigar Box Guitar, there are a few of us," she said proudly. "Quite a few years ago, a dear friend gifted me a cigar box and I immediately started playing it; I tuned it to an open G and wrote my first song within minutes of opening up the packaging. That song turned out to be a huge hit for us and ever since there is no way that I can't put a cigar box tune on my albums. Then I started getting endorsed by cigar box luthiers; I own about eight cigar boxes and I don't think I've purchased many of them. I have a cigar box from Sweden, Kansas City, from California and Destin, Florida and all different places. Some of our most popular songs have cigar box on them; "Hear My Call" is that first tune that I wrote with that first cigar box that I owned and on the last album, "Weed' Em And Reap," "No More To Give" which was the single release from that album was a cigar box tune and from this new album, "Days Gone By" and it's a cool tune because it's probably the most traditional what I call "Porch Blues" song that we've ever recorded. It's very acoustic, a rustic tune; in fact, it was the very last tune written for the album. We were in the studio and about two days later my guitarist Seth Fleischmann reached out to me with an iPhone recording of an acoustic guitar. He said, "I have this tune and I know you are always writing and I know we just left the studio; do you hear anything?" I listened to it and I automatically heard this song; I wrote the lyrics to it and put a cigar box part on it and sent it back to him probably within an hours' time. We talked a little bit about it and I decided to pull the cigar box tune we had already put on the album and said, it'll go on the next album; we're gonna put this one in its place. So, I sent my guitarist, my drummer and my son on bass back to the studio and we did a real stripped-down version and it seems to be resonating with a lot of folks."

Due to the current restrictions which have put a damper on the music industry an everything in general; many bands are using the time to create new music, revisit old and find inventive ways to get their product out to their fan base. Misty Blues is no different and they have two albums out since the pandemic hit. So; what's the plan to promote two? 

"I don't know," she said with that now familiar laugh; "I've got two albums that came out during this pandemic. Our last album we released on April 1, so, it's not quite a year old but we had already put it in the can and then everything shut down. So, I said, well, we can't sit on it, we've got to put it out. Then we had nothing else to do so we kept writing and now we have two albums. We are doing our best to try and promote it as widely as we can without having live opportunities but we've tapped into some opportunities to do virtual shows in real venues. Recently we had our CD release concert on February 12 at Universal Preservation Hall in Saratoga Springs, New York and that is a phenomenal venue. The folks were great, great lighting and sound and several camera angles but no audience and that was aired live. There are a few re-broadcast opportunities as well and I think that was exceptionally well received and it gave us as a band the opportunity to be back on a real stage again but other than that we've been faithfully doing, almost weekly, live Facebook livestream shows from my rehearsal space in my attic; not the full band because we can't have that many people in that space and still be safe." 



 

To discover more about Gina Coleman and Misty Blues band, please visit www.mistybluesband.com

That's it for this week! Please continue to support live and original music and until next week....ROCK ON!



This week's event listings


Arts Council of Princeton     
102 Witherspoon Street Princeton     
(609) 924-8777  
Fri. 7:30 p.m. "Cabernet Cabaret-Emerge from the Dark: Songs To Spring Forth." $25 
Broken Goblet Brewing   
2500 State Road Bensalem, PA   
(267) 812-5653   
Wed. 8 p.m. Open Mic w/ Cara Cartney 
All Shows 21+
Championship Bar   
931 Chambers street Trenton   
(609) 396-5457 
Tuesday 8 p.m. "Jam Night" Hosted by Nikki & Caleb   
Ages 21+
Clubhouse at Mountain View
 (The Patio)
850 Bear Tavern Road Ewing  
(609) 771-0400 
Fri. 6 p.m. Ernie White
COARadio.com     
125 South Main Street Hightstown     
(609) 241-7103
Sun. 7 p.m. "Rock On Radio" feat. Michael Patrick, Mark Farner, Robert Berry, Cristina Vane
Cooper's Riverview 
50 Riverview Plaza Trenton 
(609) 393-7300
Thurs. 7 p.m. Unleashed
Fri. (4 p.m.) "It's 5 O'clock Somewhere Happy Hour" (8 p.m.) WitZend
Sat. 8 p.m. Kindred Spirit
Sun. 11 a.m. "Sunday Latin Brunch" w/ Victor Tarassov
Mon. 7 p.m. "Sunny Monday Blues Jam" 
Tues. 7 p.m. Karaoke w/ Karen and Mark
Wed. 12 p.m. "Wine Down Wednesdays'
All Events Ages 21+
Dacey's Pub 
215 West Philadelphia Avenue Morrisville, PA 
(215) 295-4838 
Fri. 6 p.m. Acoustic Music Night feat. Casey Weldon
Wed. 8 p.m. Quizzo
Dog & Bull Brew House     
810 Bristol Pike (Rte. 13) Croydon, PA.     
(215) 788-2855     
Fri. 6 p.m. Eddie
Sat.   5 p.m. Mike Brill
Sun. 4 p.m. Rachel & Ty
Eddington House Bensalem
2813 Hulmeville Road, Bensalem, PA
(215) 639-1220
Sat. 8 p.m. Keep The Change
Gleason's Bar
6700 Mill Creek Road Levittown, PA
(215) 943-4781
Fri. (6 p.m.) "Happy Hour" w/ (TBA) (9 p.m.) Jukebox Graveyard
Sat. 8 p.m. Karaoke
Great Barn Brewery
12 West Mechanic Street New Hope, PA
(215) 803-1592
Sun. 1 p.m. James Popik
Greenhouse  
90 South Main Street New Hope, PA  
(215) 693-1657  
Thurs. 8 p.m. "Musicians Night Out" Hosted by Lovelight 
Tues. 8 p.m. Open Mic Hosted by Sam Ryan
Wed. 8 p.m. Trivia Hosted by Dwayne Dunlevy
Grounds For Sculpture   
80 Sculptors way Hamilton   
(609) 586-0616    
Sat. 8 a.m. "Member Mornings"
Sun. 1 p.m. Family Meditation
Hamilton Elks 
1580 Kuser Road Hamilton
(609) 585-8610
Fri. 7 p.m. Tiltin' Catz
HG New Hope Pizza
6510 Lower York Road New Hope, PA
(215) 862-1740
Sat. 6 p.m. Stranger Things
Hopewell Valley Vineyards     
46 Yard Avenue Pennington     
(609) 737-4465     
Fri. 4 p.m. "Music & Merlot" feat. Bad Hombres
Sat. 4 p.m. "Music & Merlot" feat. Acoustic DuOver
Sun. 1 p.m. "Jazzy Sundays" feat. Mark Feingold Group
Ivy Tavern     
3108 S. Broad Street, Hamilton     
(609) 888-1435     
Thurs. 9:30 p.m. "Thursday Night Dance Party" 
All shows 21+       
Killarney's Publick House     
1644 Whitehorse-Mercerville Road Hamilton    
(609) 586-1166    
Thurs. 5 p.m. "Girls Night Out" w/ Radio Fiction
Sat. 5 p.m. Mario & Frank
Laurita Winery     
85 Archertown Road New Egypt     
(609) 752-0200   
Fri. 6 p.m. Pasta Night "All You Can Eat." $29  
Sat./Sun. 11:30 a.m. "Wine & Grilled Cheese Party." $11 (Reservations required for parties size 2-6)
McGuinn's Place     
1781 Brunswick Avenue Lawrence     
(609) 392-0599    
Tues. 9 p.m. Karaoke       
Ages 21+     
Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company
909 Ray Avenue Croydon, PA
(215) 458-7081
Thurs. 7 p.m. Seth Rogan Movie Trivia w/ Lunch Money Quizzo
New Egypt Flea Market Village
933 Monmouth County Road Cream Ridge
(609) 758-2082
Sun. 8 a.m. "Scavenger Hunt" Hosted by Butterflies and Heliotrope/Grand Opening of "Tye Dye Amy"
New Hope Winery    
6123 Lower York Road New Hope, PA   
(215) 794-2331   
Fri. 8 p.m. A Tribute to James Taylor w/ "JT Express" (SOLD OUT please check for ticket availability)
Sat. 1 p.m. Ed Wall ( Takes place in the Pour House) 
Newtown Brewing Company
103 Penns Trail Newtown, PA
(215) 944-8609 
Thurs. 7:30 p.m. 90's Trivia Night
Fri. 7 p.m. Go Ham 
Nick's Roast Beef
4501 Woodhaven Road West Philadelphia, PA
(215) 637-5151
Thurs. 6 p.m. Joe Plush
Fri. 6 p.m. Jamison Celtic Rock
Sat. (4 p.m.) "3rd Anniversary Celebration of Life for Chris" (6 p.m.) Secret Service Band
Sun. 4 p.m. LeCompt (Full Band) 
NJWeedman's Joint
322 East State Street Trenton
(609) 437-0898
Sun. 4:20 p.m. Cosmic
O'Fowley's Tavern & Grill
200 State Road Croydon, PA
(215) 785-6998
Fri. 8 p.m. DJ Entertainment
Palmer Square
Nassau Street Princeton
Sat.12 p.m. Kindred Spirit
Pasquale's Sports Bar
9078 Mill Creek Road Levittown, PA
(267) 202-6268
Fri. 5 p.m. Happy Hour feat. (TBA)
Sat. 7 p.m. DJ or Live Band Entertainment 
Tues. 7:30 p.m. Quizzo
Wed. 7 p.m. Open Mic
Patriots Crossing     
1339 River Road Titusville     
(609) 737-2780    
Thurs. 8 p.m. Open Mic Night
Wed. 7 p.m. "Quizzo"   
Ralphie's
2295 2nd Street Pike Newtown, PA
(267) 491-5408
Fri. 7 p.m. Tuesday Night Special
Sun. 3 p.m. Buzzer Band
Recklesstown Farm Distillery
2800 Route 206 North Columbus
(609) 784-8046
Thurs. 6:30 p.m. Trivia
Revere Restaurant
802 River Road Ewing
(609) 882-6365
Fri. 6 p.m. Brian Elliot
Wed. 7 p.m. David Boyd
Rose Bank Winery
258 Durham Road Newtown, PA
(215) 860-5899
Fri. 8 p.m. "Yeast Coast Comedy" feat. Missy Hall, Pat Rocchi. $40/$80
Rosedale Mills
101 Route 31 North Pennington
(609) 737-2008
Sat. 1 p.m. Outdoor Line Dancing. $10 (Rain date Sundays 12 p.m.)
Sav'Aged Designs
110 South Main Street New Hope, PA
(609) 937-6104
Sat. 10 a.m.The Art of Adriana Groza
Spellbound Brewing
10 Lippincott Lane #12 Mt. Holly
(609) 832-0077
Sat. 6 p.m. Dave Murray
1675 Spirits
2685 Bristol Pike Bensalem, PA
(215) 645-1445
Fri. 6 p.m. Brian Filone
sat. 6 p.m. Brian Elliot
Sun. 2 p.m. Fish Out Of Water
Tara's Tavern    
1 Cookstown-New Egypt Road, Wrightstown     
(609) 286-2300     
Fri. 9 p.m. Barbara Lin
Temperance House     
5 South State Street Newtown, PA     
(215) 944-8050     
Tues. 8 p.m. Trivia w/ Righteous Jolly 
Wed. 7 p.m. Open Mic Night w/ Cara Cartney 
Terhune Orchards  
330 Cold Soil Road Princeton  
(609) 924-2310  
Sat. 1 p.m.  "Weekend Music Series" feat.Jerry Monk
Sun.1 p.m. "Weekend Music Series" feat. Jerry Steele
The Buck Hotel
1200 Buck Road Feasterville, PA
(215) 396-2002
Fri. 7 p.m. Love Junk
Sat. 9 p.m. Soul Cruisers
The Cool Cricket     
216 Burlington Street Fieldsboro     
(609) 291-9110     
Fri. 9 p.m. Karaoke     
Sat. 8 p.m. El Ka Bong
The Morrisville Tavern
376 West Trenton Avenue Morrisville, PA
(215) 295-5310
Mon. 7 p.m. "Country Night" 
The Sycamore Grill     
255 North Sycamore Street Newtown, PA     
(215) 908-6326     
Sat. 8 p.m. Monique & Rj Duo
Tindall Road Brewing Co.
102 Farnsworth Avenue Bordentown   
(609) 526-8651    
Fri. 6 p.m. Recklesstown (Acoustic) 
Triumph Brewing Company (New Hope, Pa. Location)     
400 Union Square New Hope, Pa.     
(215) 862-8300     
Thurs. 8 p.m. Trivia   
Sun. 7 p.m. Open Stage 
All shows 21+  
Vault Tap Room
19 West College Avenue Yardley, PA
(267) 907-8550
Fri. 7 p.m. Danny Lynch Project
Sat. 7 p.m. Ric Rey
Water's Edge Gastropub and Lounge
1067 Totem Road Bensalem, PA
(267) 332-2095
Thurs. 7 p.m. Cornhole "Blind Draw." $10 
Sat. 7 p.m. "Comedy on the Crick" 
Working Dog Winery     
610 Windsor Perrineville Road Hightstown     
(609) 371-6000 
Sat. 1 p.m. Kevin McGowan
Sun. 2 p.m. Frank Cervantes
WWFM 89.1 FM HD2 Radio
MCCC Old Trenton Road West Windsor
Jazzon2.org
Mon. 7 p.m. "Danny Coleman's Got The Blues" 


Danny Coleman is a veteran musician and writer from central New Jersey. He hosts a weekly radio program entitled “Rock On Radio” airing Sunday evenings at 7 p.m. EST on multiple internet radio outlets where he features indie/original bands and solo artists.


originally published: 04/15/2021


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