Local bluesman Gary Mendoza performs before a large crowd at the District56 center on March 12. 

The Blues Revue concert was held on March 12 where many musicians came together at the District 56 center to play different kinds of blues music accompanied by a historical narration of the genre as well.

The event was organized by Elk Grove Arts Commission Chair Nan Mahon and Sacramento blues veteran Mick Martin who were both in attendance of the concert. Gary Mendoza emceed and performed the event, while Gerry Simpson narrated the historical context of each type of blues song that was played that day, ranging from Woman Blues, Piedmont Blues, Piano Blues, and many more.

Despite heavy rain that day, the venue was packed with an excited audience that enthusiastically listened to the passionate musical performance offered by the artists onstage.

Attendee Ginger McKim said she “loves the blues,” and came out to the event to help support the music in her neighborhood as much as she could.

“This is a brand-new venue for us, that’s pretty exciting! I’ve never been here,” McKim said.

Before the concert, artists and event organizers were interviewed about what the blues means to them.

Mendoza said in a Zoom call on March 9 that the blues to him “is like a snakebite remedy. It takes the blues to cure the blues.”

“When you’re feeling bad, then you can get out and listen to some blues, and shake your leg and forget about it,” he said.

Mahon said in the same Zoom call that she likes “the energy of it,” despite being a jazz fan who believed that the blues was “low class” back when she was younger.

“It has this of way of transporting you to a happier place, when that guitar hits that first downbeat, there’s a kind of thrill to that. There’s that thrill to the blues, that energy, that everyman kind of feeling,” she said.

Guitar player Derek Fresquez said right before the concert that the blues is the foundation of so many genres and that it allows him “to emote through [his] music much more effectively.”

“It has just such a deep history and all the kinds of different subgenres of blues. You got Texas Blues, Chicago Blues, you got West Coast Blues… it’s a wide spectrum, a different style and all of them allow you to emote,” Fresquez said.

A total of 17 songs were played over the course of an hour and a half, mostly cover songs from legends such as Stevie Ray Vaughn, Charles Brown, and B.B. King.

Singers like Pinkie Rideau, Katie Knipp, Marcel Smith, and Mendoza demonstrated soulful and earnest renditions of the songs they were performing, while musicians like Fresquez, Steve Freund, and Sid Morris electrified the crowd with the mastery of their instruments.

Most of the artists were backed up by members of The Blues Revue Band, who brought to life each song they performed that day in way a that honored the legacy and heritage of the blues genre, while injecting their own personal style within the songs’ DNA.

Towards the end of the concert Mendoza along with Beth Reid Grisgby, Katie Knipp, Pinkie Rideau, and The Blues Revue Band came up on stage to give a powerful rendition of Muddy Water Blues, followed by a full cast performance of “Turn on Your Love Light” that erupted and roared in the room where the concert was held.

Concertgoers left with content smiles on their faces as they left the building after witnessing the energetic performances that day.

Attendee Tim Rauser said he was “impressed” with what he saw that day and thought there were several acts that don’t get better than that.

Another attendee named John Webster who was performing in the lobby before the show said they that they were incredible and “that they were all different, they were all great.”