The room was the same. This is not a young crowd – I don’t feel out of place – but all are welcome. The blues does have some young followers but I’m sure many of these people lived through the years of rock guitar. Cream’s Sunshine of your life was played and my guess is that the performer heard it when it released. But it’s a friendly, easy-going scene, beery but certainly more restrained than I expect these guys (mostly guys) remember from their youth. There were several other make-up bands, people having a jam, maybe friends who’ve played together here or elsewhere before. One was more a country blues style, playing JJ Cale and the like. One was led by the richly bearded ex-Canadian singer-guitarist Danny Mack aka the Cement City Cowboy. Chris Harland led another band with his hot blues guitar. I got to play a few tunes with JVB and Jon from the Cherrypickers and a few others.
It was an entertaining and sociable outing that I plan to revisit. The blues scene around Canberra revolves around the Canberra Blues Society with frequent events and Bucky’s monthly Pro Blues & Roots Jam sessions. There’s plenty of opportunity to hear the blues and it’s great fun. The Cherrypickers are Monica Moore (vocals) and the Jon/Johnnies: John Van Buuren (also known as JVB; guitar), John Coates (bass) and Jon Jones (drums). The Pro Blues & Roots Jam is held monthly at Holy Grail, Kingston and the MC is the garrulous and entertaining bassist Dave (Bucky) Buckmaster. Other players included Chris Harland, Peter Barta, Steve Harnett, Mitch Preston and Danny Mack.