By Tammy Watts
GREENVILLE — The rain ended just in time for Darke County Center for the Arts (DCCA) “Barbecue and Blues” on the Greenville Public Library lawn Friday, July 8. Folding chairs and blankets almost completely covered the grass, as a large crowd settled in for an evening of blues and zydeco — the music of Louisiana’s French-speaking Creoles.
Those in attendance indulged in selections from local food truck favorites Nacho Pig, and Wholly Smokes BBQ, as well as Merchant House, with a wide variety of beers, wines, and hard seltzers from Moeller Brew Barn, and Heidelberg Distributing.
Levi Driskell, from Winchester, Ind., opened with Bobby Blue Bland’s “Stormy Monday Blues,” followed up by hard-driving originals “Red Hands,” and “Cry Wolf.” Driskell’s set included covers from country superstar Chris Stapleton, and the Steve Miller Band. His intricate guitar playing, and superbly authentic vocals, impressed the audience. Driskell’s music was available for purchase on vinyl records, an appropriate medium for a great, old-fashioned, blues sound.
Grammy Award-winning Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience took the stage, performing songs from movies in which Simien’s work was featured: “Oh Yeh Yai,” from “The Big Easy,” and ‘Goin’ Down the Bayou,” from Disney’s animated film, “The Princess and the Frog.”
“Do you want to feel the spirit of New Orleans? Well, you can’t do it from your seat, you have to get up on your feet!” Simien encouraged the audience. He tossed beads to those who obliged his request to dance, although the lively zydeco sound was incentive enough to stand up and move. All ages clamored enthusiastically for the beads; from small children running around in circles, to older couples who spun each other around in time to the music.
Simien closed the evening with a rousing rendition of “Amazing Grace,” followed by “Shout.” The band returned to perform “Iko Iko,” for an encore, during which they walked through the audience, forming an impromptu conga line, as everyone followed after them. A wonderful time was had by all who attended.
Contact Daily Advocate Reporter Tammy Watts at [email protected]