Wednesday, 29 May 2024

CyberSoulMan: The Sean Carney Band

Sean Carney performs during Blue Monday at the Blue Wing Saloon in Upper Lake, Calif., on Monday, March 22, 2010. Photo by Bernard Butcher.




In a bit of CyberSoulMan sleight of hand and push button technology time manipulation, I was able to broadcast live the interview I did with great Sean Carney even as he cruised at 30,000 plus feet, California-bound for his Monday night Blue Monday gig at the Blue Wing Saloon in Upper Lake. The interview was broadcast on my Monday morning Blues radio show at 8 a.m. on 88.1 FM.


In truth, the interview was taped the prior Friday for broadcast Monday morning. We just set it up to sound live for effect, before admitting toward the end of the segment that it was actually a few days old.


If you missed it or would like another crack at it and are up early enough on Wednesday morning, it will be rebroadcast at 6 a.m. on KPF Zed.


That’s what I said.


The celebrated Sean Carney Band did indeed bring their brand of Columbus, Ohio Blues to the Blue Wing Saloon for this week’s Blue Monday session.


After a minimum of tuning up, three fourths of the quartet disappeared. Guitarist Sean Carney stood at the mic, almost unnoticed by the dinner crowed until he strummed the first chord to Robert Johnson’s “Kind Hearted Woman Blues.”


Carney got our attention by changing the first line to, “I’ve got an evil hearted woman …” The set got better and better from there.


The West Coast Edition of the Sean Carney Band includes his stalwart Columbus, Ohio drummer Eric Blume, San Francisco-based Phil Berkowitz and Tom Bowers on harmonica and bass, respectively. Carney brought them up one by one.


On the second number Berkowitz stepped onstage for a duet with Carney which included the delectable hook thus stated, “I’ve got those Oreo cream sandwich chocolate covered cream filled cookie blues.” Umm, umm, slow groove established, the Blue Wing patrons dined on and started to get into it.


The band did another Robert Johnson song, “Ramblin’ On My Mind” and the slow belly rubbin’ groove continued. No dancers yet, I thought. It was just the lull before the storm.


Punctuatin’ Papa, Eric Blume was holding the keys to the dance kingdom. He clicked it up a notch during the next instrumental. Between Sean Carney's vocal exclamations of “yeah” and stinging, jazz-inflected guitar riffs it was starting to heat up.


On the next tune, the Willie Dixon penned, “Too Many Cooks,” the front door of the Blue Wing opened and the setting sun streamed in light, along with Dancin’ Karen and a cadre of dancers who did kind of a Soul Train line straight to the dance floor. Suddenly the dance floor was filled. Another magic moment at the Blue Wing.


And so it went. The Sean Carney Band smoked for two sets in between a short break.


The sure fire formula was the Blue Monday remedy. Start slowly, warm it up gradually and break out the up-tempo dance tunes so the dancers can keep in shape.


Excuse me, but we needed to break a sweat. Winter is officially over.


Carney did some no-look-behind-the-head fancy guitar work. Everyone in the band soloed admirably.


When the show finally ended, one encore past the designated stop time of 9 p.m., the whole joint was aglow.


The Sean Carney Band appears Wednesday night in San Francisco at Rassella’s. Then it’s on to Mexico and beyond.


Sooner or later they will be back at the Blue Wing. Yes, you yet have another chance.


For more information on the Sean Carney Band go to .


Keep prayin’, keep thinking those kind thoughts!


T. Watts is a writer, radio host and music critic. 



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