Richard Metzner has a dream.
The Kootenay Blues Festival, as he envisions it, would be a daytime event in a park, moving to shows in clubs in the evening.
In the meantime, says the veteran Nelson blues promoter, the West Kootenay already has a vibrant blues scene.
“I have a friend, a blues musician in Vancouver, and he says I can’t believe you guys, you are bringing in more quality acts than we see in Vancouver.”
Over the past few years, Metzner and his collaborators have brought in John Mayall, Sue Foley, Sonny Rhodes, the Golden State Lone Star Revue, Terry Hanck, David Vest, Alabama Mike, Country Pete McGill, and more.
This activity has been nurtured over the past 17 years by Metzner’s Make Room for the Blues show on Kootenay Co-op Radio.
It’s all part of a growing blues scene that led to the formation, a year ago, of the non-profit Kootenay Blues Society which now has 180 members.
In March the society is putting on two nights of the sixth annual Blues Blues and BBQ as a fundraiser for Co-op Radio.
On March 1, it’s Mystery Train at Balfour Beach Inn at 6:30 with newly-local acoustic bluesman Sam Hurrie opening.
“Sam Hurrie has played internationally,” says Metzner. “He was in a band that opened for Muddy Waters and for Blood Sweat and Tears.”
Then on March 2 Finley’s will serve up brews and BBQ with Mystery Train and special guests Clinton Swanson and the Flaming Aarvark Quartet.
Singer-songwriter Judy Brown has lived in Nelson three years and is on the society’s board.
“I am a crossover, not a straight-up blues singer,” she says. “Blues has been a primary part of my musical interests and I am one of those musicians strongly influenced by the blues.”
When she arrived in the Kootenays three years ago she says local blues musicians were “instant support for me, and I know Sam Hurrie gets the same treatment. They are encouraging — it’s quite remarkable how supportive the Nelson blues community and the music community in general is.”
Tickets for the Finley’s evening are $25 (beer and food separate). Reservations are available for dinner. Tickets are available at Finley’s, Kootenay Co-op Radio and Otter Books.