Local band to headline Blues festival in Brownsville

Local band to headline Blues festival in Brownsville

Posted: Friday, May 27, 2011 8:01 pm

By KEVIN BOWDEN
Staff Reporter
This weekend’s blues festival in Brownsville will have a decidedly Obion County flavor when the Blind Red Rooster band hits the stage Saturday night.
The local band has been playing together, on and off, for the past seven years.
Blind Red Rooster is being billed as the headline act for the Exit 56 Blues Fest and will perform from 7-9 p.m. Saturday at the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center off I-40, just west of Jackson.
The stage the band will be performing on is actually the front porch of the legendary bluesman Sleepy John Estes. One of his signature songs, “Going to Brownsville” will be performed Saturday night.
Blind Red Rooster consists of frontman Joe Watts, who plays guitar and sings, and behind him is his son Coby Watts on guitar, Rick Casey on bass and Rob Kingrey on drums.
“We love doing blues festivals,” Kingrey said.
“Blues just isn’t that popular in Obion County so we’ve had to go out of the county to play,” he said.
A blend of Texas and Delta blues with a rock influence is how the band Blind Red Rooster describes itself.
 “We don’t like to pigeonhole ourselves into a certain style. All of us are diverse music lovers and love to jam to anything that’s good music,” according to Coby Watts. “We are known for having all day jam sessions until the rooster crows, and that’s where we get our name — a Blind Red Rooster crows all night.”
The band has performed at events in Paris and in Nashville as well as other venues across the Southeast.
Up until a year ago the band went by the name Smokin’ Joe and the Delta Cookers, but it was decided a name change was needed because of a misconception that the band was a cooking team.
Now Blind Red Rooster is making a reputation for itself with a memorable name and a signature blues sound.
Kingrey said the band has about 50 songs in its repertoire, including hits from Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughn and the late bluesman Freddie King, who had a major influence on Clapton’s music.
Blind Red Rooster also performs several rock classics from the 1960s and 70s.
All four musicians bring a unique individual musical style to the band, and together they deliver a powerful and entertaining blend of blues melodies.
Joe Watts has spent the last 45 years fine tuning his guitar playing skills with many of West Tennessee’s best bands from rock in the late 1960s and ’70s to country in the 1980s and blues from the 1990s to today.
He has been compared to some of Beale Street’s finest by former Muddy Waters guitarist Bob Margolin, who sat in with Blind Red Rooster for the Tennessee Music and Film Commission Celebration in 2006.
Coby Watts learned to play guitar at an early age and has been playing alongside his father for 20 years. Casey is recognized as the best musician in the band and Kingrey is a former record executive for Mercury Records.
Staff Reporter Kevin Bowden may be contacted by e-mail at kmbowden@ucmessenger.com.

Published in The Messenger 5.27.11

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