Hand From the Past , A Glimpse of the Future
by Ben Cox
David “Honeyboy” Edwards and Michael Frank
Kilborn Alley Blues Band with special guests Dave Faubel and Deak
Brewery, Decatur IL February 28, 2008
Photos by Bob Kieser © 2008 -
Click any photo to see full size image!
To see ALL the pictures of the fun,
“He won a Grammy only a few weeks ago and now
he’s on stage with us in Decatur, Illinois,” said a jubilated Andrew
Duncanson, lead singer of Kilborn Alley Blues Band about his evening
performing with and listening to the legendary Delta bluesman David
“Honeyboy” Edwards. It was truly a night to remember for the packed
house at Block’s Brewery just off Main Street in Decatur. You
couldn’t have squeezed one more person into the place, as you could
feel the room’s anticipation just waiting for a glimpse of Honeyboy
to come out and play.
Earwig Records President and close friend Michael Frank led Honeyboy
to the stage in his ball cap and guitar, even before the first note
was hit, a huge cheer went up. After set-up was done and Honeyboy
had settled in, he and Frank lit up the room for the next hour,
doing a tour de force of anything and everything you could possibly
imagine and hear from the Delta. This man, this legend wasn’t merely
interpreting a genre of music and a story, he was the story
still living and breathing every bit of the blues.
With each jerk on
his guitar and each ear-piercing sting of his slide, howls and
cheers went up. As label-friend Frank would recall later, “I’m the
guy that everybody forgets to introduce,” he’d say with a smile. He
smiled because he knew that Edwards’ praise was just deserts for a
man with a long and storied career that continues to roll on with
each mile he travels to play his next show.
Midway through Honeyboy’s first set, the cold
winter of Illinois unleashed its fury, drenching the outside in a
blanket of snow and cold. The crowd would not be moved and hung on
every note. Honeyboy and Frank then met the crowd of well-wishers,
admirers, and old friends for an hour with autographs, pictures, and
Kilborn Alley started their show a little after
9:30, doing cuts from their latest BMA-nominated album Tear
Chicago Down, kicking it off with “Fighting Fire With Fire” and
a stirring rendition of “Everyday I Have the Blues,” which
watched attentively off to the side of the stage.
joined the band for an hour set, taking them through
Delta-meets-Chicago stylings. The young fellows were a little uneasy
at first, but anchored by the watchful eye of Kilborn’s elder
statesmen Ed O’Hara on the ruff and tumble drums and the king of
groove Chris Breen, the boys managed to keep the groove going.
An amazing point in the show was when
Josh Stimmel and harp smith Joe Asselin traded lead riffs with
Honeyboy. After another hour, Honeyboy turned the stage over to
Kilborn and calmly took his seat at the side of the stage, clapping
and singing along with many familiar Chicago Blues tunes that
Kilborn had in their days before the BMAs. Such numbers like Buddy
Guy’s “The Dollar Done Fell,” Little Walter’s “My Babe,” Muddy
Waters’ “Long Distance Call,” and the seminal “Catfish Blues” which Honeyboy himself had played earlier in the evening and now sang
along at the side of the stage.
Kilborn was also joined by a few special guest,
fellow harmonica man Deak Harp joined the set and played four
numbers, bringing the house down on the final song dueling with
Asselin on “Got My Mojo Working.” Kilborn also had saxophone-man
and Quincy IL native Dave Faubel, whom some may remember from
Kilborn’s first BMA-nominated album Put It In the Alley.
Honeyboy reaped praise on the young men after the show saying, “You
boys have got something. Keep doin’ what you’re doin’. You’re almost
With well over three hours of music, the twenty
dollars at the door was a complete bargain for the history and the
quality of music one was blessed to have heard in the little bar and
grill off Main Street in Decatur one cold and snowy night in
February. For the young folks in the crowd, it’ll become a story
that they’ll tell friends, family, and fellow music lovers for years
to come. They’ll say that they got to hear and shake the hand of the
man who was a part of where all American roots music was born.
Ben Cox is a Blues Songwriter, Musician, DJ and Journalist.