Ring in 2014 with two of Nevada County’s hottest blues acts. Paul Emery Music and the Miners Foundry Cultural Center present a Swinging Blues New Year’s Eve Dance Party with the Jamal Walker Band and Shay Dillon, Tuesday.
The Jamal Walker Band (formerly known as Loose Change Blues Band) has become a favorite in the Northern California foothills music scene because of their hip-shaking variety of blues, soul and rock ‘n’ roll tunes, plus powerful original songs. The group of musical veterans features the talents of Ronnie Talbott on guitar, Sam Cumillucci on keyboard, Mike Blackston on drums, Joe Thayer on bass and vocalist Jamal Walker.
Walker grew up singing the blues. His mother, a classically trained opera singer, first noticed her son’s aptitude for singing and encouraged him to perform for friends and family. He soon discovered soulful singers such as Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Luther Vandross, Van Morrison and Donny Hathaway and found his passion.
“Soul and blues music is about being able to tap into the spiritual nature of music and infuse it with passion and heart, to transcend the listener,” explains Walker.
From outdoor festivals to local taverns, the Jamal Walker Band is best known for inciting dance parties wherever they perform. Their set lists are carefully crafted for the occasion, audience and venue. Walker puts it simply, “We play good music that makes people feel good.”
Co-headlining the night is sultry chanteuse Shay Dillon. Originally from Nashville, Dillon cut her teeth performing in honky tonk bands as well as personal appearances with other working musicians in the Nashville area. Dillon’s earthy, raw mix of blues, soul and R&B and her effortless segues from sweet soulful sounds to a powerful earth shaking belt are evidence of the command Diillon has over her craft.
The songs she writes are about the everyday struggles with life and love, the common thread of the lonely, jilted, the lost and the found. The songs Dillon sings move you.
Last November, Dillon debuted her fourth album “Let Me Burn” to rave reviews at the historic Nevada Theatre as part of Paul Emery’s Nevada City Live Concert Series. She, along with her musical, partner Paul Kraushaar, were joined by a who’s who of talented local Nevada County musicians. Dillon will assemble the same stellar lineup for New Year’s Eve, which will include Bob Woods on guitar and saxophone, James Camblin on guitar, Pat Jacobsen on six-string bass, Gary Epps on keyboards, Ward Clark on drums and Homer Wills on harmonica. Eleanore McDonald and Kimberly Bass will sing backup. Kraushaar will be playing piano and guitar.
The Jamal Walker Band and Shay Dillon will perform their original songs along with favorite blues covers; perfect for shaking and grooving too on the Foundry’s new dance floor.
Tickets for the 8:30 p.m. concert Tuesday are $25 for general admission, $35 for limited reserve, which includes table seating and a complimentary glass of champagne.
Tickets are available online, in person or by phone at the Foundry, 530-265-5040, or at BriarPatch Co-op.
For more, go to www.minersfoundry.org.