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I live on the outskirts of nowhere, and don't get to hear much live music, let alone harp playing. I sometimes envy people who live in places with Harp Jams, open mike nights, Community Colleges with harp classes, etc.
This weekend though, I loaded the family in the pickup on Friday and we made the road trip down to Savannah, GA, to hear Jerry Portnoy play. Man was it worth the trip! The band was great, all solid musicians.
Noticeably absent in Portnoy's playing are any cliches, or worn out riffs. He played a few warbles, but only a few. Great tone, and his deep, slow vibrato is enchanting! His signature piece, "Blues in a Dream," was absolutely breathtaking.
I should mention that opening for "The Jerry Portnoy Band" was a local group, "The Bluesonics". In the excitement of the evening I failed to note the name of "The Bluesonics" harp player, but I was definitely impressed. The concert was at a railroad museum called "The Road House", we sat there among the tracks and engines, and he played a train piece that was the best I've heard.
Then on Saturday, another road trip, this time to the little town of Beaufort, SC. At a concert in the town park, Anson Funderburgh and The Rockets, featuring Sam Myers on vocals and harp, was playing.
Meyers is getting on in age, almost blind and walks very slowly. An assistant led him onto the stage, and it seemed like he would never make it to the microphone. He did make it though, and when he did he exploded in musical energy that had us all entranced for the next two hours.
Myers wore his trademark harmonica belt, a wide belt worn from left shoulder to right hip, with pockets down the front for harmonicas, ammunition style. Myers' plays with authority and has a deep and throaty tone, dripping in the blues. He makes it appear absolutely effortless and it was clear this was truly authentic blues. Anson Funderburgh is a master of blues guitar, and the group has won several blues awards.
This was actually the first live harp playing I've heard since taking up the instrument. It was a humbling -- and inspiring -- experience!
Marco has been playing harp for just a few months, entirely Internet taught,
and most of that from HarmonicaLessons.com.