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Misty Blues band in Overdrive at The Stissing Center

Kevin T McEneaney

May 19, 2024

Misty Blues rocks the house at Stissing Center

Misty Blues band performed at The Stissing Center in Pine Plains to great acclaim two and three years ago. Last year they were on tour in England and were not available. Based in the Berkshires, the band eludes classification. Yes, singer Gina Coleman sings the blues better than anyone on the current scene, yet the band can also perform jazz, salsa, and even country western.

The band has so many talented wrists and elbows that they can take various musical traditions and turn them in new directions due to their ability to create lively arrangements with quirky originality. Over the past two years, they have published four albums. “Shake These Blues” is currently at number 4 on The Roots Music Report Chart for the week of May 11, 2024. That cut is number 4 on their new album Silver Lining, a celebration of the band’s twenty-fifth year, released last Friday, their fifteenth CD.

Gina still has great voice range: her lyrical wallop extends to gut-bucket blues and soprano lift. The band has slightly improved over the past two years and delivers impressive unity with nuance and some surprising riffs. Gina was no longer playing guitar and now has three guitarists, including Diego Mongue, her son.

There was no set theme for the program. The band enjoys such a large repertoire that anytime you hear them play, one is unlikely to encounter a repeat. They played four cuts from their new album: “Shake These Blues, “How Will I,” “Nothing in Vain,” and “Blues Never Ends” written by her son Diego. If Gina is not performing covers of classic blues or other genres, she sings her original impressive lyrics.  

Instead of David Vittone on piano, they had Ben Kohn who had a touch of Jerry Lee Lewis to his stride and mighty fingers. Aaron Dean on saxophone blew with mountainous authority and amazing, tender nuance. Front tenor guitarist Seth Fleischmann was as sharp and nimble-fingered as ever while underneath that essential throbbing bass-guitar undertow was supplied by Bill Patriquin. Drummer Rob Tatten was new to me; he was a significant asset who laid down a tremendous beat.  

From last year’s live-album tribute to Odetta on Guitar One Records, Gina sang “Blues Everywhere I Go.” She followed up with an amusing anecdote at The Bottom Line in the Village when she sat next to Odetta and didn’t know who Odetta was. (I’ve remained an Odetta fan since the day in the Spring of 1968 when I heard Odetta sing.) She performed a new song for their next album “I’m Too Old For Games” which is something Odetta said.

Gina grew up in the South Bronx amid a Puerto Rican neighborhood with the cultural ambiance of Motown and Latino music. “Tell Me Who You Are” is a terrific new song with autobiographical color for her next album. “Roller-coaster-land” was another new song with superb high-energy which reminded me of “Freight Car” from her 2022 album One Louder, while this new primarily instrumental work offered an incredibly powerful and memorable arrangement with thrusting orchestral momentum.  

Gina Coleman’s songs are available on Spotify and other streaming formats. She has a free Apple Podcast that presents the history of major female blues singers. I have often listened to it and have enjoyed the podcast immensely; samples are free at the Misty Blues website.

P.S. If you missed this concert, you will have a second chance: they are playing at Daryl’s House Club on Route 22 in Pawling on May 23, this Thursday, with a clear full-moon night that might deliver an extra howl.

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