2017 Flathead Lake Blues Festival (day 1 – part 2) – live performance review

Welcome back to the second half of our review of day 1 of the 2017 Flathead Lake Blues and Music Festival, held August 18-19 in beautiful Polson, Montana.

The first half segued into the second with a pair of special events.  First up was a drum solo that closed out the set of Off in the Woods and lasted for nearly 30 minutes.  As the drum solo closed out, we were blessed with the appearance of some Salish and Kootenai native dancers, who celebrated the beautiful night and great music with us.  It was a very inspiring time.

Following the native dance, the second half of the day kicked off with the unmistakable sound of the Kenny James Miller Band.  The band was a three-piece blues rock band that featured Heavy D on bass.  These cats came to play, and truly rocked it out on their original”Cup of Joe,” as well as a sterling cover of “Keep Ur Hands to Urself.”  In addition, they provided the perfect accompaniment for Festival organizer Steve Pickel to wail on “Some Kind of Wonderful.”

Next up was Big Daddy and the Blue Notes, featuring the incredible sound of Steve Kelley.  Kelley is a true Montana blues legend with more than 40 years of performing.  He is also the founder of the Flathead Valley Blues Society.  His music is a mixture of blues, rock, zydeco and world genres, and has even earned a nickname for his style – Blusion.    Besides their renditions of classic blues standards they managed to perform three of their own new songs.

The next to last band to take the stage was Jameson and the Sordid Seeds, who have become quite the legend in Whitefish, Montana. Composed of Brent Jameson on lead guitar and vocals, Sean Cooksey on bass, Joshua Glass on drums and Danny Rifkin on keys, they are a traditional blues band who throw in a little rock for good measure, and stole the show with amazing covers of Paul Simon, Jimi Hendrix and James Brown.  Despite the late hour, they kept the energy up for the closing band, who didn’t take the stage until after midnight.


Last but certainly not least was Mudslide Charley, a traditional “dirty” blues band with the sound of Delta blues, fronted by the one and only Lee Rizzo on washboard, guitar and lead vocals,  Marco Littig on slide and vocals, Phil Hamilton on harmonica, percussion, saxophone and vocals, Roger Moquin on drums, percussion and vocals and Tahj Kjelland on bass and vocals.  They brought their “A” game and kept the party going until after 1:30 a.m.  One of the most dynamic things about this band is watching the chemistry fly between the members, but especially between Rizzo and Kjelland.  Needless to say, nobody wanted to party to stop.  It was the perfect ending to a wonderful day of music.

Courtesy of Mudslide Charley’s Facebook page