My best gal and I went to the Kankakee Valley Boat Club on Tuesday for a blues act that my buddy, D’Arcy Ballinger assured me would be a great show.
As a long-time blues music enthusiast, I have been to a few of the shows promoted by the Kankakee group known as “Friends of the Blues” and have never been disappointed. This was FOB’s opening show for the 2017 season. The reason I don’t go to all of them is the acts play during the week, and well, that’s a “school night” and I have a habit of abusing my liver if not locked up at home. I personally prefer blues music played “live” rather than recorded, and I also prefer it to be played on weekend nights. But D’Arcy, ever the trooper, always makes sure to reach out to me to remind me of an upcoming event. And, given his dogged determination, I felt I owed him one to go last night.
The band was The Corey Dennison Band out of Chicago. I have to admit, I have never heard of them. Evidently, among blues aficionado’s, I must be of a minority as CDB is a Blues Foundation Blues Music Award Nominee for 2017. They have played all over Chicago, including the Kingston Mines and Buddy Guy’s. Many a band would kill for a gig at Buddy’s. Their music is even available on Spotify.
Corey, originally from Tennessee, is about 20 years younger, forty pounds heavier and has one more neck tattoo than me. That, and the fact he can play guitar and sing…and I can’t, is what largely separates us. Having said that, if it would guarantee that I could sing and play guitar like he does, I would get a neck tattoo. The man can flat out play and entertain. It was entertaining watching him walking around the barroom shooting guitar licks out as if he plays there every night.
No lightweight himself with it comes to guitar, bandmate Gerry Hundt, originally of Wisconsin, was equally up to the task and adds an interesting guitar counter-punch to this blues act. How often do you hear a guitar music that sounds like an organ? Other than when using a slide, I can’t say that I am familiar with that ability. (But what do I know, I have three guitars in my man-cave and can’t even tune the darn things.)
Joel Baer and Nik Skilnik, both from Illinois, round out the percussion section of the band superbly, although I got to tell you Nik, show some personality, my man. Your bass solo, as good as it was, needed something in the way of facial expressions. With Corey’s larger-than-life stage persona, he over-shadows you, dude.
D’Arcy was right, it was a good show and a great blues band. If they come through the area again, I would recommend plunking down the $10 per head cover charge and seeing them. CDB has a website, http://www.coreydennison.com/index.html, and among learning more about the band, you can hear a few nice licks on their media page. My advice though is to make it a point to see the stage show for the full act. They traveled to Finland on Wednesday, but it appears they will be back at the Kingston Mines in Chicago by April 10th.
You might also want to check out the Friends of the Blues page on Face Book so that you can follow upcoming acts, which includes local venues such as the Manteno Sportsmen’s Club, the Watseka Elks Lodge (on a Saturday!!), Gilman’s Inside Out, and even the Longbranch down in L’Erable. The folks at FOB do a great job of bringing top notch blues acts to the Kankakee area. You won't be sorry.