On August 3rd the Comstock Residents Association presented a concert by Grammy winner and premier slide guitarist Roy Rogers and the Delta Rhythm Kings at the 783-seat Boldrick Theater in the Carson City Community Center. The concert was a benefit to support the effort to preserve the Virginia City National Historic Landmark, and the lead-off event in Carson City’s month-long JAZZ & BEYOND Music Festival. Our impresarios Joe McCarthy and Beau Guthrie arrived early to assemble the inner workings. The ticket desk was opening and a still moment was caught in conversation. Ukuloco, the best damn ukulele trio ever to come out of American Flat — Jim Allander, Barbara Peck and Robin Cobbey — got things rolling with a welcoming serenade as the afternoon sun slid slowly into a lovely summer evening. As they belted out “Love Potion No. 9” the audience began to enter, and by the time the last plaintive note of “Summer Wine” was floating gently over their heads, the crowd was rolling in with an air of sweet anticipation. The group became a foursome as Susan Stornetta sang the curtain down on the first act. The crowd condensed around the bar and the booze began to flow as the sun bid good night through the great glass windows. Lonesome Tom Ward followed with a pair of lap steel guitars, swinging into his blues-rich tunes from who knows where. This brought the crowd all the way inside and soon the room was filled with an assortment of music enthusiasts. While Lonesome Tom sang and slid his bottle top over his guitar strings, the ticket desk finished out the evening booking, serving a line of buyers. Tom was masterful, but as good as this was, the crowd was surely anxious to get its seating. As Tom finished his session, his audience hurried to the bar for a last round of spirits before entering the theater. Finally the lights dimmed and the m.c. stepped up to the mic. The crowd hushed to hear him praise CRA’s efforts in filling the room with an enthusiastic crowd. Gave credits where credits were due and introduced the opening act, Ignition. Ignition is a band from Reno playing a variety of Blues and Classic Rock hits. Ignition immediately got into business and busted out in round of Classic Rock tunes from the greatest rock bands of all time like Led Zeppelin, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Jimi Hendrix. Their seasoned guitar player and bassist Steve Funk had an abundance of antics to show off their skill as a blazing rock n roll act. The trio added a singer in the last part of their session to finish off their set and get the crowd ready for the main event. Anticipation was at its peak and with almost no delay, Roy Rogers and the Delta Kings came out and began to deliver a blistering ensemble of blues. Roy was in rare form and began to cook the up the gumbo from acoustic southern blues to Dixie blues all in slide. The bass player was on key the timing of the drums was perfected, this band showed their excellence to the onlooking crowd and for a moment the Boldrick theater felt a bit more like Carnegie Hall. About half way through the show, Roy told the crowd about his experiences in receiving his Grammy award, some personal stories and little flavorful tidbits of music industry musings. To finish out the show Roy and his Delta kings cranked up the volume to play some of his favorites and a few of the oldest of blues tunes from artists like Robert Johnson. It was a great evening of music, and of harmony on every level, and it raised some serious money to use in defense of the Landmark. It was also, we hope, the first in a series of benefit concerts by major artists to be presented by CRA for the same good purpose.
To see all the event photos click here