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Blues grooves for the Central Frontenac Railway Societyby Julie Druker
Photo: (l-r) Jim MacPherson, Logan Murray, Dave Limber, Renee Richard and Neil Kitagawa on stage for the Evening of Blues fundraiser for the Central Frontenac Railway Heritage Society
The Center Stage Cafe's four-member house band, the Strat Cats, were joined on-stage at the Sharbot Lake High School on June 8 by a talented ensemble of blues players for a fundraiser for the Central Frontenac Railway Heritage Society. Logan Murray, (harmonica/vocals/guitar), Renee Richard (lead and back-ups vocals), and Neil Kitagawa on saxophone joined the Strat Cats, Dave Limber (drums), Terry Reynolds (lead guitar), Jim MacPherson (vocals/rhythm guitar), and Gary Giller (vocals/bass) for an evening of all blues that proved as educational as it was entertaining.
The Strat Cats opened the evening and former teacher Giller traced the origins of this popular genre of music, which began in the Southern United States and transformed the modern music scene. The group opened the evening with the Robert Johnson classic “Crossroads” and played a number of well known popular blues staples including Willie Dixon's “Hoochie Coochie Man”, Johnny Winter's “I'm Good”, and Stevie Ray Vaughn’s “Life by the Drop”.
Murray and his entourage did a great job of filling out the sound on stage and took over the limelight for the second set of the evening, with Murray delivering a number of his own blues originals. Renee Richard also had a chance to shine later in the evening and belted out “Hell on Heels”, demonstrating her natural talent and pitch-perfect, powerful vocals while Neil colored many of the classics with his soulful sax stylings.
The Center Stage Cafe strives to give local amateur musicians a chance to strut their stuff on stage, as well as to give local groups and organizations a means to harness that talent by translating it into fundraising dollars for a variety of local projects currently being undertaken in the community.