“The Blues are true facts of life expressed in words and song, inspiration and feeling, and understanding. ” Willie Dixon
Listening to blues music transports me to a different place in time. If you have the incredible opportunity to take in the blues and it’s variations in Chicago, New Orleans, and Memphis, these experiences are not to be missed. While I typically have not sought out this type of music, each time I am exposed to it, I thoroughly enjoy it. So when a close friend of mine was interested in taking in a blues show at the Westminster Church in downtown DC, I was definitely game.
Westminster Church is a special little place that seats less than 200 people. Every Monday, for a $5.00 entry free you can take in typically a 3 hour show. Dinner is served downstairs for an additional cost with generous portions. Fried Chicken, Catfish, Whitefish, and Smothered Chicken with a ton of sides to choose from. Best catfish I’ve had in a long time all for about $10,00. The Thomas Newman Blues Project was playing. They were amazingly good. It was a fun little slice in time watching a couple in their 80’s dance around the church arm and arm. Seeing the crowd get into the music and take in the performance was a great way to spend a Monday evening. Check out a short clip of the performance here. Quick tips if you are going to check out Blues Monday:
- Arrive by 5:30 to get your seat. The crowd is casual and you can leave your jacket or program on the seat.
- Come hungry! Food was great and nice selection. It would be reasonable to split one dish for dinner.
- There is a 20 minute intermission so if you are cutting it close you can also grab a bite between performances.
- Parking is pretty easy there is a Whole Foods nearby.
- Watch for the welcoming man in the Safari hat. He was very charming and a great part of the experience.
Fun facts if you are interested in learning more about the Blues:
- W.C. Handy was the originator of the Blues. As a child he was forbidden to play musical instruments ,but manage to not only teach himself how to play but successfully start a publishing house and record the “St. Louis Blues” in the early 1900’s.
- Ma Rainey is known as the legitimate queen of the Blues. Famous for her moaning blues style, she started at the age of 12 singing and was recorded at the age of 16. Check out her YouTube recordings.
- There are a number of Blind Men who sing the blues with great names and cool sounds. Check out their stories here at List verse.
- Pretty awesome Blues Blog dedicated to preserving the Blues – visit Save The Blues Foundation at Saveblues.org .