The first annual Blythe River Blues Festival was held May 26, 2012 at Quechan Marina. The festival featured Paul Winer, Blythe's own South Main Street Blues Band, Bernie Pearl Blues Band, 7th Sons with Bill McFadden, Deacon Jones, and Fran Banish.
Over 400 came out to enjoy this event on the river. Stay tuned for next year's festival.
BLYTHE - Three friends hanging out and listening to John Lee Hooker on old vinyl records led to the creation of The Record Company, a very young blues band with a unique old school sound. Together for only a year and a half, The Record Company has been making a name for itself in the blues industry, playing blues festivals throughout the States and Canada.
The band includes Chris Vos on the lap steel guitar, harmonica and vocals, Alex Stiff on bass and Marc Cazorla on drums.
Born on a dairy farm in Wisconsin, Vos came to Los Angeles three years ago, around the same time as the Philadelphia-raised Stiff, and Cazorla, who hails from upstate New York.
Vos, a lifetime musician, was advertising for a band when he met up with Stiff who was friends with Cazorla since his teenage years. The three didn't immediately start a band but instead hung out listening to records together for a year. The band mates all had a similar taste in music but it was when they heard John Lee Hooker's album with Canned Heat, Hooker in Heat, they decided that was the direction they wanted to go musically.
"We wanted to do something around our love of the blues - as raw and live as we can do it," Vos said. "The Record Company name came about from how we came together spinning records."
Vos said the band's style is reminiscent of another age and time, when the blues were heard only on scratchy records or in rundown bars.
"We sound like we're about 50 years too late to the party," Vos said. "We kind of got a raw blues influence and sound that we play and record live to try to catch the spirit of a song in its purest form, if we can. It's about one thing - it's about trying to have a good time."
Vos said the music comes from their collective hearts and that the band brings an active spirit to their shows, engaging people that want to have a good time.
"Our music is about fun, about enjoying life, but the songs can be above board lyrically," Vos said. "We try to keep a good beat and a good melody."
Videos found on their website, therecordcompany.net, reflect the band's mindset and drive to create the old raw, bare roots form of blues music.
"We record everything the old fashioned way - we sit in the same room together and play and let it roll," said Vos. "It's all about the music with us... about us playing and experiencing the music together. We like to hang out with some records and play. We're just normal guys who have played music all our lives and gone through that struggle of being original musicians. The Record Company is a vehicle to put all that experience together in the kinds of music we love the most - blues and blues influenced."
Vos said the band was looking forward to its date with the Blythe River Blues Festival, May 25 at Quechan Marina on the Colorado River.
"It's awesome and we're looking forward to it," Vos said. "Every show has been its owns thing."
Eric Gales will headline the Blythe River Blues Festival this year, a fundraiser for the Blythe Area Chamber of Commerce and the Joe Wine Recreation Center. Joining Gales and The Record Company will be Junior Watson and Cadillac Zack. Fran Banish will be returning along with Blythe's South Main Street Blues Band and Quartzsite's Paul Winer and his boogie-woogie blues.
Gates open at 9 a.m. and music runs all day and night from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Tickets are $15 and available at the Blythe Area Chamber of Commerce, 145 N. Spring Street, (760-922-8166) the Joe Wine Recreation Center, 127 S. Main Street, Desert Music at 246 W. Hobsonway, or online at blytheriverblues.com.
The venue is on the Colorado River so beachwear is appropriate. Only water is allowed in coolers. Beer, sodas and food will be sold at the event. Bring your own chairs, blankets, towels and pop-ups.