Blues Matters Magazine - UK (April/May 2017 Issue)
The Misty Blues band hail from Berkshire County Massachusetts and have been on the music scene since 1999. The core band consists of lead vocalist extraordinaire Gina Coleman born to sing the blues sings with gusto and pure vibrato. Also, features Jason Webster on guitar Bill Patriquin on bass Ben Kohn on keyboards Jeff Dudziak on guitar Rob Tatten on drums and finally Aaron Dean on saxophone. The release has eleven songs written by the band nine by the lead singer herself. They mix up jazz blues funk Cajun to produce a very effective and tight sound very infectious and has a sound groove to it. The title mixes dark tones on such songs as the ballad Will My Blues and mirrors this with sauciness of Dirty Laundry Blues with fine accordion backing by David Vittone.The sassy laid back approach to Fly With Me is certainly a favourite. There are obvious female blues singers influences such as Koko Taylor on tracks like the opening shuffle number Next Time Is The Right Time but it is the big band feel that makes this release so good. Kohn To The Bone has a Latino feel with fine guitar by guesting Matt Berger a jazzy instrumental. Another tempo change is on funky If I Didn’t Have You with again powerful vocals over riding sharp saxophone and guitar licks. Finishing with the bass infused catchy chorus on Doom Dom Doom with deep vocals jazzy piano licks and fine tone this really is a grower. Consummate band at the top of their game a real treat.
Misty Blues - With All Due Respect - New Release Review
I just received the newest release, With All Due Respect, from Misty Blues and it's solid. Opening with a classic blues track / R&B classic Stagger Lee made popular by Lloyd Price, Gina Coleman on lead vocals settles in a nice groove. Benny Kohn lays down a nice key line and Jason Webster and Jeff Dudziak rip a few nice guitar riffs followed by Aaron Dean on sax. Nice! Another blues classic,Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out, is up next and Coleman shows her vocal chords nicely. Benny Kohn really does a nice job of highlighting the piano lead on this track and modern guitar work shines. Again Aaron Dean steps up with a hot sax solo to seal the deal. 44 Blues stays true to it's roots and again Coleman's voice is well adapted to the job. The specific guitar solos aren't noted in the liner notes but there are some particularly nice guitar solos on this track. Randall Bramblett like piano solo's on this track give it a slightly more modern feel. On Taint Nobody's Biz-ness, Dean again steps up with a really hot horn solo and Kohn lays down some really nice piano lines. Coleman's vocal versatility profiles nicely over the solid bass lines of Bill Patriquin. Take This Hammer is an old school revival style track along the lines of Will The Circle Be Unbroken. Nicely done. House Of the Rising Sun follows closely the Animals version of this classic. Coleman really handles the vocals nicely with a crisp guitar solo, hot horn solo and nice organ backing. Rollin' and Tumblin' has it's classic bounce with original hollerin' style. I particularly like Kohn's key work on this track. Baby Won't You Please Come Home has a real nice easy swing to it and the guitar phrasing on the solo riffs is particularly fluid. Dean again steps up with some ultra tasty horn work floating on smooth key work from Kohn. Going Down The Road Feeling Bad has a lot of the Delaney and Bonnie feel but with a bit more rock. Along with solos from Kohn and Dean, Webster, Patriquin, Tatten, Kohn and Dudziak all contribute to the vocal harmony. Very nice. WC Handy's St. Louie Blues holds with a jazzy blues feel. Coleman stays in the lower register of her range giving the track a particular feel. Stylistic guitar riffs and light piano work contrasted to the crisp horn overlay by Dean gives this track a particularly cool feel. Wrapping the release is Down Home Blues with a feel not unlike a Jimmy Reed tune with it's easy sway. The entire gang joins in vocally and instrumentally with a summary jam. Very nice ending to a cool release.
Misty Blues rock the juke joint with new CD
by Seth Rogovoy
(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass., January 8, 2003) – By day she works in the admissions office and as the coach of the women’s rugby team at Williams College. But at night, Gina Coleman goes into a phone booth, changes her outfit, and comes out as a blues singer in the tradition of classic blues divas like Big Mama Thornton, Dinah Washington, Georgia White and Rosetta Tharpe.
Coleman didn’t always sing the blues. She performed in the region for the better part of a decade as lead singer of the rock group Cole-Connection. Then about four years ago, she played a gospel singer in a Williamstown Theatre Festival production of “Raisin in the Sun.” The actor Rubin Santiago-Hudson told her he thought her voice was suited to singing classic female blues. “He turned me on to some great female blues music collections,” says Coleman, “and I was hooked.”
For the last three years, Coleman has been the lead singer of Misty Blues, which celebrates the release of its first CD, “Electric Juke Joint,” tonight at Joga in North Adams at 9:30.
The recording features 11 smoking electric blues songs, rockers like “Key to the Highway” and “Who’s Been Talking” and ballads like “3 O’Clock Blues.” The album includes songs written by Lonnie Mack, B.B. King, Howlin’ Wolf and Willie Dixon.
Coleman is an expressive vocalist with a big low end and colorful upper register. She growls her way through “They Call Me Big Mama” and “Blow Top Blues” and purrs through “Men Are Like Streetcars” and “3 O’Clock Blues,” and she has enough sense of humor to pull off ribald numbers like “Hot Nuts” and “Wang Dang Doodle.”
“What drew me to these songs, especially the ones made popular by the female artists, was the strength and humor of the lyrics,” said Coleman. “These women got away with singing some of the bawdiest things ever mentioned in public without totally offending the masses.
“I can identify with these women because I came for a similar background as many of them. I was born into a poor black family in the South Bronx. I didn’t have an easy childhood, but I managed to do well for myself by working hard and having a good sense of humor.”
But this isn’t just a singer’s album. Working with Coleman, a Williams alumna, are some of the Berkshires’ finest musicians, including guitarist/vocalist Jason Webster, bassist/vocalist Bill Patriquin, drummer Mike Basiliere, harmonica player Matthew Swanson and guitarist Jeff Dudziak. Together the sextet, which performs two or three times a month in North County, is a powerful, versatile ensemble, with Webster and Swanson particular standouts – they do a veritable dance on “Hot Nuts,” featuring a very twangy solo by Webster.
Williamstown lady sings the blues, too
By Karen Gardner, North Adams Transcript
WILLIAMSTOWN — Men aren't the only ones who get the blues, as a local woman focuses her music on influential female performers of the genre.
Gina Coleman of Williamstown and her band, Misty Blues, will perform Friday night at 8 as part of Massachusetts College of Liberal Art's "Blues and Funk Festival" in the Church Street Center.
By day, Coleman is Williams College's associate director of admissions, but weekends and nights she and Misty Blues perform around the Northern Berkshire area, as well as at the Charlemont Inn, the first Sat-urday of every month.
Misty Blues is an off-shoot of another band Coleman had — Cole-Connection, which played a mix of blues, folk and funk for more than a decade in the Berkshires during the mid-1990s. But after one of Coleman's guitarists moved away from the away, working with the Williamstown Theatre Festival as the lead gospel singer for a production of "Raisin in the Sun" left her loving the blues.
Rehearsing the play one day, a cast member, Rubin Santiago-Hudson, commented on how Coleman's voice was suited for the blues and urged her to sing more.
"He turned me onto this collection of old female blues singers called 'Men are like Streetcars.' I got the collection and I knew right away that I needed to form a blues band to give some props to all the female blues."
Along with her group — Jason Webster of Adams on the guitar, Bill Patriquin of Lanesborough on bass, Mike Basiliere of Dalton on drums and Jeff Dudziak of Boston on guitar — Coleman performs the work of blues musicians such as Billie Holiday, Big Mama Thornton and Dinah Washington.
During the summer months the band travels to various performances, which often includes those at weddings.
"We used to play quite regularly at Joga, but now we turned over and started playing at Gideon's (on Eagle Street in North Adams)," Coleman said. "And, we had a very regular stint at the Firehouse Cafe in Adams."
At MCLA's festival this Friday night, Coleman said the band wants to "keep the energy up high."
"We know Papa Grows Funk's music and they're really amazing," she said. "We want to get the energy up with some of our peppier, dancier jigs. But, we'll still hold true to what we primarily do, which is traditional blues."
In addition, Coleman said she has something up her sleeve for the festival, just for Friday night.
"I can't divulge the big secret, but it's going to be great," she said.
Friday night's concert also will feature a performance by the college jazz band, as well as music by Papa Grows Funk of New Orleans. The festival will continue Saturday with performances by local band Conor Meehan Blues Quartet and Michael Hill Blues Mob of New York City.
The Blues and Funk Festival will take place on Friday and Saturday nights at 8 in the Church Street Center. Admission is $10 per evening or $15 for both nights, $3 for MCLA faculty and staff. MCLA Patrons of the Arts and students are free.
Friday and Saturday, Gideon's Luncheon & Nightery at 23 Eagle St. in North Adams will feature a blues jam session from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. in conjunction with the festival. Admission is free. For reservations, (413) 664-0404.
WILLIAMSTOWN -- Gina Coleman and the Misty Blues Band have established a reputation as one of the best blues bands in Berkshire County, and probably beyond. The band consists of Coleman on vocals, Jason Webster on guitar, Bill Patriquin on bass, Jeff Dudziak on rhythm guitar, Ben Kohn on keyboards, and Kali Baba McConnell on drums. They have played throughout Berkshire County, in New York, Connecticut and recently in New Orleans. Coleman discussed her band and her musical influences in an interview.
Q: When did the Misty Blues Band begin?
Gina Coleman: We began playing in 1999.
Q: How did the whole thing get started?
GC: Well, I'm also an actor, and I was in a play at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. It was a singing part. Gospel. One of the other actors, a guy named Rubin Santiago-Hudson, heard me sing and said to me, "You have an incredible voice. You'd be an incredible blues singer.He turned me on to a classic blues album, ‘Men Are Like Streetcars.' And I was hooked."
Q: I've heard of it, but I don't think I've ever listened to it.
GC: It's an amazing record. It's a collection of songs by female blues singers from the 1920s and 1930s.
There a lot of them on there you've probably never heard of. But it's a really great record. I recommend it.
Q: And how did the band get its name?
GC: I have to admit, we pretty much pulled it out of our sleeves.
Q: Which is fine. What type of songs do you guys play?
GC: At its core, the Misty Blues Band pays homage to the classic female blues singers throughout musical history: Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Big Mama Thornton. But for the past few years, we've expanded our repitoire to include songs by male bluesmen like Willie Dixon, B.B. King, Howlin' Wolf.
Q: Your latest album was "Between the Stacks." released in 2012, and it features Charles Neville, better known as the sax player for the Neville Brothers. How did that come about?
GC: Well, it was kind of lucky. When we started recording the album, I had hired a sax player to work with us. And almost at the last minute, he called me, very apologetic, and told me he had double-booked, and that he couldn't be on our CD. "I had so many songs with sax on it, so I was a little frantic. Charles lives in Huntington now, and someone suggested the band contact him. We did, and he agreed to play. And he was tremendous.
Q: Do you have any favorite places to play in the area?
GC: We play all over Berkshire County, but I really like this little bar in Worthington, which isn't quite in the Berkshires. But it's a great place, a little hole-in-the-wall, and the people there are very supportive. The name of the bar is Liston's.
Q: I kind of want to go now.
GC: You should. We're playing there at least once this summer.