By Marilyn Delk

Summertime is, hands down, my favorite time of the year, and always far, far too short for my taste. I love sunny days and warm and balmy evenings.

All year long, I look forward to just being outdoors, wearing comfy summer clothes without needing confining heavy wraps. Summer days whiz by way too fast; soon after they arrive, it seems they vanish, leaving summer lovers like me to mourn their passing for far longer than we celebrate their existence. So I try to cram as many celebrations of summer into my life as humanly possible; and that’s one reason that I am eagerly anticipating Darke County Center for the Arts annual summertime fundraising event “Barbecue and Blues” at Turtle Creek Golf Course on July 17.

For as long as I can remember, music has always spoken to me. Although I have discovered a couple of genres that I truly don’t enjoy, most music evokes joy even when it moves me to tears. And (ironically) no music form makes me happier than the blues. Perhaps it’s the chord structure that tugs at something deep inside, or the bare-bones rawness and honesty of the songs, or the sincere and heart-felt performances by blues artists—but when the blues begin, I can’t sit still and I can’t stop grinning. I cannot not have a good time at a blues show (and I am not alone in that reaction.) And that’s another reason I am looking forward to DCCA’s “Barbecue and Blues”—a performance by the Doug Hart Band.

Doug Hart is a relentless live performer who has been a major force in the southwest Ohio blues scene for the past fifteen years. You will feel the passion in his guitar playing and the soul in his voice as he blends his blues and rock influences into a unique sound. He is faithful to blues heroes of the past while blazing a path into the future with his own compositions. Completing the ensemble, bassist Mike Hausfeld, drummer Keith Cozart, and keyboardist Mike Jordan amaze audiences with their blazing skills. I’m pretty sure that you will have a good time with these guys; in any case, I know that I will.

Tickets for “Barbecue and Blues” are just $10, which gets you into the show. But if you, like me, want to enjoy some of that barbecue as well, plenty of food will be available (at an additional charge). The Thirsty Turtle’s special menu for this event includes barbecue pulled pork sandwiches, fried chicken, hamburgers, and hot dogs, plus delicious sides. Desserts and a specialty summer bar drink will also be available.

But wait, there’s more! The fun begins at 6:30 p.m. when the rightfully popular local band The Green DeVilles open the show playing their patented good and dance-able music. In addition to tunes “from Sinatra to Rihanna,” the highly talented group will add some blues tunes to their set list for this special occasion. You can expect Bill Westfall on guitar and vocals, Will Stacy on bass guitar and vocals, and lead vocalist Cindy Mathews Slick, plus Jeff Barga filling in on drums to create just the right atmosphere for enjoying music outdoors on a summer night. I can hardly contain my mounting excitement at the prospect!

If you, too, relish being outdoors during the summer and reveling in good music, get your tickets for “Barbecue and Blues” now; they can be reserved by contacting DCCA at 938-547-0908 or [email protected] or ordered online at www.centerforarts.net, and are available for purchase at Greenville Public Library, Readmore’s Hallmark, Darke County Welcome Center, and at Turtle Creek Golf Course. Tickets will also be sold at the gate. Get happy with the summertime blues!

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