My deepest apologies!
This is not something I really want to write. Many of you are aware I was booked to open for ZZ Top along with Bad Company and Cheap Trick on Saturday May 18th at Cynthia Woods Pavilion here in Houston. Trust me, the contract was signed by all parties and it was a 100 per cent go - that is until I received an email from the Live Nation rep around 4PM Monday informing me there was a sudden scheduling conflict and my band had been cancelled. And to add insult to injury, my band was replaced by a deejay. (Insert ha ha funny)
I spent a great deal of my time scanning and signing contracts, drawing up stage plots and providing information to Live Nation. I also worked hard putting together the best band and best set list of my original songs I felt I could. Embarrassingly, I also plugged it on social networking and word travels fast in the Houston blues community so it was all over KPFT Radio last weekend. I did everything Live Nation asked of me. I put my heart and soul into the whole deal. I produce events too and it's just my opinion but I would be thrilled to have someone like myself work that hard to accommodate. It had nothing to do with me or the Live Nation Houston office.
The whole experience has been humiliating because I really stuck my neck out on this and I am trying to get over it as I write. As great an opportunity this was, I know the lay of the land and I even warned my band mates to go in confident and be prepared to be humbled. Anything can happen. I just didn't expect to get knocked off the bill.
But don't get me wrong. As hurt as I am, I am not assigning blame or lashing out at Live Nation because several people I realize went to bat for me and its not something they were happy about at all. Also, I have friends on the concert production side and they told me a few others things were slashed so it wasn't just me. Stuff happens.
I felt the need to explain to all the folks to were cheering me on as best as I can the why and how it all went down - at least as far as the information I'm privy to. It's business and that's all. Plain and simple.
For most blues artists, this would have been a great opportunity. It's something I could have built on. For me personally, it was a jolt I needed and the sort opportunity I am looking for while I'm writing new songs and prepping for a new album. The Live Nation rep told me she would keep me in mind for perhaps another opportunity so at least I'm on their radar.
My commitment for several years has been to not walk out the door for the music business unless I can do something good. Gratitude and appreciation is an essential part of my value system. It's my lifeblood and my source. Anything good in my life has happened because of gratitude. After a few tough days, I am getting some perspective and hopefully I can get back to work make more good stuff happen. I am certainly more than aware being healthy between the ears is as important as being a good performer regardless of the hills I am still climbing.
Thank you Live Nation, my supporters and the fantastic blues musicians I am so blessed to be able to work with. I have had to be more than understanding of a tough situation. I am hopeful you can allow me to share my feelings and understand too.
Sonny Boy Terry
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THANKS FOR ANOTHER FANTASTIC BLUES FOR FOOD CELEBRATION!
So I have been hard at working overtime and teaching this week while taking care of family commitments but I am certainly obligated thank all of you for the enormous volunteer support we had for the 29th Umpteenth Blues For Food last Sunday November 11th, 2018
First, every year the music is excellent and the bands all treat it like a real gig. This year was no different. Given how strong the local blues and roots scene in Houston these days, I just try to be inclusive as possible and hopefully bring a few new twists the program each year. Every time I do a line up I always wish I had thought of someone else earlier to put on the show. Then I put their name in the hat for the next year. I really loved all the acts performances this year. I thought No Refund and Anthony Terry were really strong. Ricky Jackson is one talented cat and a really nice guy. Dee Dee Bret really pulled at my heartstrings because I have known her for so long from her days with the comedy troupe The Ebony Lunatics back during my Kinney Abair days. She brought a fine R&B band with her. I know I always tell the bands I am here to serve them and I really try to have everyone's back but they are the one's who lift me with their musicianship and easy going support. They all show up on time. It's NOT like herding cats at all! There is some confusion here and there but they roll with it.
Last year the house PA couldn't handle the packed room all day with different acts and different styles so this year I used a more powerful mixer and we used powered monitors so everyone never had a problem hearing vocals. Times have changed from the days of Big Roger Collins overdriving the vocals on a small PA and a cheap microphone. I was extremely pleased. It wasn't perfect but it gave me real solutions and something to build upon. Also, our emcee, the wonderful R Christian Tucker's talent and ability to take ownership makes my job much easier and keep the show flowing during set changes. As good as he is, he is an incredibly kind human being. 30 minutes of and 15 for a stage change is not always as simple as it looks. Microphone cables get yanked on some things like keyboards take time. Also Keith Alan Little Joe Washington CBG was beautiful. The weather was bad most of the day keeping many away but I hope the person who won the geetar can actually play. But it is still a beautiful mantle piece for someone who wanted to help a worthy charity. Keith's work is worth much more than we got last Sunday though which makes me think even the it's storming, I need to look at doing a better job marketing the CBG perhaps through social networking or an online auction. If we can get 1K for a Lightnin' Hopkins CBG, we certainly should be able to come close every time. His work truly is special. How much good can we say about the Shakespeare Pub, the staff and owner Jason Sandman! Great BBQ. Great host and lots of hard work went in to all that!
Beautiful Cigar Box Guitar honoring legend Little Joe Washington by Keith Alan was donated for Blues For Food benefitting the Houston Food Bank
Which reminds me, those who came and got their hair messed up thank you. I saw many many friends and blues fans there and I am eternally grateful. it was cold and wet outside but not unbearable and the music sure was cookin' inside. Oh gosh, the Robert Taylor and Barry Feldt from Bluestown Shakedown really helped with the drums and bass rig not to mention making the digital poster. Dennis Clapp loaned the stage monitor and Charlie Sanders Jr. loaned us the wireless m for the emcee. Guy Schwartz and Roger Tausz produced another fine radio spot for KPFT. Turned out the house bass rig was broke and I found out at 4AM the night before. The sound overall was a major improvement. No clipping at all.
The Houston Blues Society provided great volunteers led by Anthony Terry and Jack Henderson. They always have nice people in charge and this time was no different. I've also make a conscious effort to include more sidemen's names on the promotion so they can see their own musical accomplishments be appreciated with some recognition.
(left to right) Brian Shopell and Adam Burchfield of the Octanes, drummer Eldridge Goins and event producer Sonny Boy Terry
Like I said, it's important to be as inclusive as possible. It's not my personal gig. It's about a Houston blues tradition of putting on a kick ass blues show and feeding folks during the holidays. it's always been about raising awareness of the Houston blues scene and showing appreciation by giving a little back. I'm really happy Adam Burchfield and Octanes made the trip from Austin to perform. He is a dear old friend and a really good guitar player. He brought Brian Shoppell with to play drums who we also call Little Johnny Nash so that added to the fun. Vin Mott performed great with Trudy Lynn's up-tempo blues. What sweet guy too! Happy to be a part of his blues pilgrimage through the deep south. I really appreciate Larry Fulcher lending his name to the event. Lord, what a seasoned bass musician! Glad he is calling Houston home! Tony Vega along with Screamin’ Kenny invited on stage with them, which was a real treat. Tony is always top drawer.
I do have one negative to share with hopes we can turn it into a positive. Bassist Alfred Kennedy played with 3 different bands only to find his own bass guitar come up missing. We don't know if it was a mix up or outright theft. Regardless, one way or another we will make sure Alfred Kennedy gets a replacement of equal or better value. I am also asking everyone if you might have a hunch about how that bass came up missing please let us know. And please folks, stealing is always wrong but stealing from a hard working blues and jazz bass player who is donating his time to charity is something even the worst thieves would consider passing on. You are hurting the wrong guy. That is a first at Blues For Food. Lets make that the last.
To everybody, thanks once again for keeping a Houston Blues tradition alive and thriving! And lastly, thank you KPFT for giving blues an outlet and voice. None of this would have ever happened had it not been for you!
Oh and we did raise by my loose estimation 500 bucks via facebook through their charity donation button. I say loose estimation because every time I made a share, I had to add the button and they all had amounts donated. I’m not all that fond of Facebook’s events and message sharing but as the cliché goes I guess it is what it is is. I’m not complaining though. If it helps, it helps.
If there is one thing Blues For Food needs is a way to raise more money and food beyond what the club can provide - like and online auction or a crowd funding campaign to market and generate excitement. If anyone has ideas or the natural ability to help set something like that up, let me know. I would really like to add something like that as a new twist next year.
Sonny Boy Terry joins big KNON radio Texas blues harmonica celebration in Dallas on July 30th, 2016.
" Getting invited to perform in Dallas every few years for KNON Radio's annual Blues Harmonica Blowout is always huge fun and a special honor", says Sonny Boy Terry who will join legend Lazy Lester, and top drawer performers Paul Harrington, Hash Brown, Mike Morgan and others for another fine fundraiser for KNON Dallas public radio. This line up is born and bred on good honest blues, so if you are close by, you don't want to miss it. Check out this poster or visit www.knon.org for more details.