Ocean Blues had a unique buzz last night. You could feel the anticipation in the air as the crowd waited for Lauren Mitchell to take the stage. Lots of folks hadn’t seen Lauren in awhile. She had just returned from her first international tour which included stops in Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and our neighbors up north in Canada. And, as ever, she and her band were smokin’ hot!
When I came through the door and picked up on the electricity in the air…without a doubt, a Lauren Mitchell moment, I knew it was going to be great. There’s always this feeling of heat and firecrackers going off, minor and major explosions all around you when Lauren is being all woman – sexy, just a bluesy, emotionally-charged happening, unfolding before your eyes. Make no mistake…she’s no ordinary run–of-the-mill tap-room singer. Lauren is a star, an amazingly shiny, sparkly, getting’- down- and -out, singing- the- blues- like- she -wrote -the -book kind of star.
I’ve said it before…she doesn’t just sing the song, she becomes the song, she IS THE SONG, along with just the right amount of drama and emoting. Every time you see her it’s like the first time. Silver gathers tarnish, but gold shines through every time. And we’re talking 24k! She sang a few of her favorite songs, like Come to Mama, and Little by Little. It doesn’t really matter what she’s singing. She seems to have a renewed energy that is charged by the appreciative audience, so Voo Doo Woman and It’s Raining were equally as supercharged as the songs that went before. And, Mike “the Professor” Hensley, well, what can I say? When he’s behind his Hammond B3, it’s like sweet and silky, and then BAM! And he goes into one of his insanely masterful solo’s. He pulls us into his groove with his magic hands.
Also playing with Lauren last night were Howlin’ Bob Fieberts on guitar, Mike Snyder on base, and Lenny Balistreri on drums. This group sounded like they had played together forever. The songs on Lauren’s new record (as she likes to call it instead of a CD) are starting to get play. Our own Sarasota sister being played all over the country…isn’t this what we were all waiting for?
As for “Leaving Town”……the word is getting out about Lauren and the Boys. They already have another tour planned for August and are booked to play in Frankfort, KY at the Capitol City Blues Fest on August 10. (Do I hear road trip?) Lot’s more out of town gigs are in the works. Check their schedule at www.laurenmitchellband.com. Catch one of their local gigs before it’s too late..…Our Lauren, and the Boys are going over the bridge and who knows when we’ll see them again. Best of luck to the band and Lauren. Don’t forget us down here in Sarasota!
Thanks to Tim Britt for this great photo!