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A little rain, a little pain

Profile image for By Lucinda Breeding / Features Editor
By Lucinda Breeding / Features Editor
Curtis Salgado, a blues singer and harmonica player from Portland, Ore., will perform Saturday evening at the Denton Blues Festival.Courtesy photo/Paul Natkin
Curtis Salgado, a blues singer and harmonica player from Portland, Ore., will perform Saturday evening at the Denton Blues Festival.
Courtesy photo/Paul Natkin
Sugar Blue closes out the Denton Blues Festival on Sunday at 7 p.m.Courtesy photo
Sugar Blue closes out the Denton Blues Festival on Sunday at 7 p.m.
Courtesy photo

Blues fest promises good times, bad love

The National Weather Service is predicting rain on Saturday, the opening day of the annual Denton Blues Festival.

But the blues is no stranger to the rain, and blues fans should bring rain ponchos and prepare to let the music work its magic.

The two-day festival, presented by the Denton Black Chamber of Commerce, brings to the stage national and regional artists and local talent for a jam-packed weekend of heartache, pain and barbecue.

The festival has vendors to feed the soul and the belly, with plenty to do for all ages.

The zestiest stuff, though, will be served up on the main stage.


Curtis Salgado

The Oregon native requires one thing to howl at the moon and make the harmonica wail.

He needs his breath.

Imagine how the blues singer, songwriter and harmonica man must have exhaled when he woke up from surgery on July 18. A surgeon removed a cancerous growth from one of his lungs, and doctors announced that the bluesman would make a full recovery.

That wasn’t Salgado’s first tangle with the Big C. He had a similar mass removed from one of his lungs in 2008. In 2006, Salgado beat liver cancer with a transplant.

So if it seems like the artist is celebrating through the sorrow on Saturday, let the man have his moment — Salgado’s got a lot of fight left in him.

Salgado comes to Denton with a brand-new album, Soul Shot. Thick with triumphant brass and funky guitar riffs, the record gives Salgado plenty of room to testify about love. He starts the record with a bout of indecision, “What You Gonna Do?” and creeps into comfortable — maybe too comfortable — territory before having to put up his dukes one more time. Anything to retain the right to love the one he’s with.

Salgado prefers it loud, rarely wasting his hard-won breath on a hum, whisper or a croon. Salgado says the record is a soul album, and his soul is full to bursting.

The Portland blues musician opens for the headliner, Bernard Allison.


Bernard Allison

Fans of Chicago blues should make a date to see Bernard Allison at the Denton Blues Festival, if for no other reason than to hear this son of the Minneapolis music scene let his musical DNA rip.

Allison exemplifies a Chicago blues-influenced guitarist. This is no B.B. King — let that big man from Berclair twang and mourn on Lucille’s sturdy back. Allison, who was born and bred in Chicago, lets the instrument boogie and shimmy.

Allison’s shallow tenor is ho-hum when compared with the cat-and-mouse game he plays with the ragtime-sounding piano. Buzz saw distortion stutters through tunes like the nine-minute-plus “It’s a Man Down There.” On the longer and labored “Bad Love,” Allison’s guitar comes through the noise like Paul Bunyan’s ax.

And for blues enthusiasts who love it when the guitar responds to the singer’s call, Allison will bring home some walloping lines.

Should the guitarist call up a weariness that hurts so good, he comes by it naturally.

Allison grew up stealing moments on stage with his blues guitarist father, Luther.

He recorded for the first time at 13, and almost the second he gripped the high school diploma out of a school leader’s hand, he was recruited to play lead guitar with Koko Taylor.


Buddy Whittington

Dallas-Fort Worth musician Buddy Whittington has a lot in common with a lot of Denton indie musicians. He recalls finding his early musical inspiration on records by the Beatles.

Another bit of his resume that rings true to indie rockers of Little D: lots of hard and nearly anonymous work in bands of his own making — or of his friends’ making.

Weaned on the sounds of Western swing, the King and the British Invasion, Whittington learned to dance between the genres and then landed a gig with one of his influences, John Mayall.

Whittington made his first solo record in 2007, and now tours and plays with a band of his own.

LUCINDA BREEDING can be reached at 940-566-6877. Her e-mail address is .


  • What: Free festival presented by Denton Black Chamber of Commerce, with music, food vendors, a talent contest and children’s activities
  • When: 1 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 9 p.m. Sunday. Gates open at noon both days.
  • Where: Quakertown Park, 321 E. McKinney St.
  • Details: Admission is free. Parking will be available at the Wells Fargo Bank parking lot, 101 S. Locust St., and near the park.
  • On the Web:



Main stage

 1 p.m. — Straight Street Blues Band

 2:30 p.m. — Blue Jay Soul

 4 p.m. — Brian Wilkinson

 5:30 p.m. — Lance Lopez

 7:15 p.m. — Curtis Salgado

 9 p.m. — Bernard Allison

Community stage

 2 p.m. — High school musicians and groups

 3:30 p.m. — Hip-hop and rap by D’Vaughn, Innasense, Maestro and Aaron Mitchell

 5 p.m. — Steve Eustice Band, Rumill and Aaron Mitchell

 6:30 p.m. — Perry Middleton & the Tune Pilots



Main stage

 1 p.m. — E-Flat Porch Band

 4 p.m. — Voodoo Blue (tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan)

 5:30 p.m. — Buddy Whittington

 7 p.m. — Sugar Blue

Community stage

 1:45 p.m. — Spoken-word performances by D’Vaughn and Maestro

 2:30 p.m. — Comedy by Charles Bell, Bubba and Juice

 4:15 p.m. — Bone Doggie & the Hickory Street Hell Raisers, the BoomBachs and Michael Todd Young

 6:30 p.m. — Denton’s Got Talent