Darke County Center for the Arts’ summer fundraiser has always been a highlight of the season — good music, good food, good times — ranking with way more costly events as something to look forward to, enjoy, and savor the memories of. But this year “Barbecue and Blues” is stirring up even more excitement than usual! Of course, the fact that the community can once again gather together to enjoy music, food, and fun is cause for celebration; however, that’s just one of the exciting factors contributing to the buzz surrounding the July 9 festival.
Due to the first Friday of July falling during the weekend celebrating Independence Day, Downtown Greenville’s festive First Friday event will move to the second Friday of the month, fortunately coinciding with “Barbecue and Blues” taking place on the spacious and inviting lawn of Greenville Public Library starting at 6 p.m. So shoppers savoring the offerings of downtown businesses can check out what’s happening on Broadway, and then wander one short block west to savor the food and music.
And the music, which is always fun and invigorating, will be great! Leading off, local favorite Jeff Rearick will entertain with the soft rock stylings which have won him a loyal following. Next up, three-time Detroit Blues Champion John Latini will take the stage with his engaging presence, energetic personality, and rocking blues.
And then, the Noah Wotherspoon Band will take the stage. Noah has been a force to be reckoned with in the blues community since he was a young teenager, blowing away local audiences in the Dayton area before moving on to wowing crowds and winning accolades at the Chicago Blues Festival and other high-profile events.
Noah is a guy who is also kind, humble, and all-around nice. But when he takes the stage, he transforms into the blues superstar that he is. His playing is deeply expressive, his guitar breaks adding something to a song rather than dominating it. Noah has also developed into a prolific songwriter, interweaving diverse influences into a unique style rooted in the ever-evolving tradition of the blues while exploring new territories. Noah is eloquent when describing the blues, saying: “The blues is so elemental… it’s like earth, water, air, fire and it never seems to die. When played honestly, it’s a direct line to the soul.”
At a very young age, Noah was enthralled with Stevie Ray Vaughn; he then moved on to revel in the recordings of the blues greats that had inspired Stevie Ray, hearing the riffs and basics of the music but also the spiritual underpinnings of the folklore behind it all. First picking up the guitar at age 11, the young guitarist almost instantly became noticed as a remarkable blues musician. When he was 13, Noah opened for Derek Trucks; by age 16, he had jammed onstage with Bobby Blue Bland and opened for Leon Russell and Boz Scaggs. At age 19, Noah released his first album; in 2015, Noah received “Best Guitarist” at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tenn. (yes, that’s international, as in throughout the world), and has since continued to earn praise as he tours the nation and around the globe.
Making a night of great music even more exciting, Noah and his trio will be joined by a horn section, adding extra dimension to the pleasure of a summer night spent with friends and neighbors gathering together to enjoy music, food, and being together. Food vendors include Merchant House, Nacho Pig, and Wholly Smokes Barbecue, with Moeller Brew Barn and Heidelberg Distributing providing adult beverages; soft drinks will also be available.
Tickets for “Barbecue and Blues” are $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under; food and drink are not included in the ticket price, which is a donation to DCCA to support the arts in our community. Tickets can be reserved by contacting DCCA at 937-547-0908 or purchased online at www.darkecountyarts.org, and are on sale at Greenville Public Library, Readmore’s Hallmark, and Darke County Welcome Center. Don’t miss this celebration of summer, community, and great music!