Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Rick Stel memorial concert scheduled

Rick Stel (Photo by Wolfgang Spider)
A tribute to blues musician Rick (Stel) Salansky has been scheduled from 6 p.m. to midnight on Sunday, May 4, at the Blue Goose Inn, 28911 Jefferson Ave., in St. Clair Shores. Stel passed away on April 8 at age 60.
The evening will open with sets by the Rick Stel Project,  the Yazoo Brothers, and Jim McCarty and Mystery Train. There will be other special guests and a jam session.
Members of the Rick Stel Project -- keyboardist Mark LoDuca, bassist Jef Reynolds and drummer Dave Marcaccio -- will be joined by guitarist Paul Carey and the Wicked Horns four-piece horn section.
Stel's brother Dale will perform with the Yazoo Brothers, one of Rick's early bands. Noted guitarist Jim McCarty, who played with Stel for 20 years, will lead the Mystery Train band.
"When we found out Rick wasn't going to be with us much longer, we decided we would do a musical memorial or tribute," Marcaccio said. "Rick was all about the music, that's what he loved most. I can't imagine we wouldn't do something like this for him.
"It's going to be real strange to do this thing this weekend because he won't be there. It will be like, 'Where's Rick?' But, he will be there in spirit."
According to Marcaccio, Stel's son Eric approached the band about a tribute concert.
"Everyone wanted to be a part of this," Marcaccio said. "It's a collaborative effort."
There's no admission charge. A bucket will be passed to benefit the Detroit Blues Society.
"That's another thing Eric wanted to do," Marcaccio said, "to help keep the blues and music alive in this area."

Click to see previous blog posts:

Detroit blues world mourns passing of Rick Stel

To send info to JB Blues, please email Joe.Ballor@dailytribune.com

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Save Detroit Benefit Show

Paul Miles has the "Spirit of Detroit."
Blues musician Paul Miles knows that no one person can solve the problems Detroit is experiencing. But, he also knows that great things can result from small beginnings.
Miles presents the "Save Detroit Benefit Show" at 7 p.m. Sunday, April 20 at NextWave Media Lab, 950 Stephenson Highway in Troy.
“We want to make an effort to lift Detroit up, socially, and focus on what we are able to do and go ahead and remedy and fix,” Miles said.
“The show we’re doing is like tossing a pebble into a pond here and starting the wave of compassion. There are lots of organizations and people doing positive things in Detroit, and if what we’re doing encourages people to go up and do something in their own realm, then we’re doing our job.”
Paul Miles
Featured artists at the benefit show will be singer-songwriter and storyteller Michael on Fire, country music singer Julianne Ankley, blues musician Carl Henry, and singer-songwriter Michelle Held. Miles, a singer-songwriter and guitarist, will also perform and will serve as co-master of ceremonies with musician Emily Rogers.
“I wanted a nice mix featuring different people and different sounds,” Miles said. “Julianne was happy to jump on board, Michelle is a newcomer who is doing a lot of good things here in the folk acoustic style, and Carl, who is nominated as the best acoustic artist at the Detroit Music Awards and represented Detroit in Memphis (at the International Blues Challenge), has always been a community minded person and contributed to many projects in the past.”
Miles is especially pleased that Michael on Fire is on the bill.
Michael on Fire (Photo by Greg Sadler)
“Michael has toured more than any of us, collectively, and he’s generally out of town and doesn’t do that many shows here. He has performed with Stephen Stills and lots of other people you would know and is an award winning songwriter.”
Donations will be accepted at the door.
Money raised at the event will be donated to the general fund of the City Of Detroit. Available at the event will be copies of the song "Save Detroit" with all proceeds going to the City of Detroit. Each artist is donating his or her time for this event.
“We’re doing it to raise the social consciousness of what is going on in Detroit,” Miles said. “We’re not getting into the politics of who is doing what, or where the money is going. Our intention is to highlight what people are going to go ahead and do.”
For information on the concert, or if you are unable to attend but would like to make a donation, click pauljmilesmusic.com.
Blues at the library
The Jazz and Blues Series at the Southfield Public Library continues at 6:30 p.m. tonight (April 16) with a performance by Jo Serrapere, John Devine and Friends.
Serrapere’s music blends elements of modern and traditional folk music, old-time and electric blues, roots rock, garage surf, swing, and alt-country. Devine, trained as a classical guitarist, developed a love of traditional blue styles of the 1920s and ‘30s.
Admission is $5, with a discount for Friends of the Southfield Public Library members. Admission is free for children under age 12.

Detroit Blues Society jam
The Blue Cat Band hosts the Detroit Blues Society Monthly Meeting and Jam on Saturday, April 19, at the Sky Box Sports Grill in Highland Township.
After a set by the host band, jammers take over the stage and there is always a lot of local talent on display.
There’s no cover charge.

Smokin’ Saturday blues
This Saturday, the annual Carrick Guitars for Kids concert comes to Callahan’s Music Hall in Auburn Hills.
A fantastic lineup, including the Bobby Murray Band, Peter “Madcat” Ruth and his Madcat Midnight Blues Journey, Drew Nelson, School of Rock Rochester, Chris Degnore, and Erica Mourad, will perform.
Tickets are $15 general admission, $25 for preferred seating. All proceeds from ticket sales go directly to purchasing guitars for children. Click atcallahans.com for ticket information.

Also on Saturday, fans of the J. Geils Band will enjoy the tribute band Raputa at the Packard Grill in Shelby Township. They promise to "blow your face out!." Click packardgrill.net for info.

To send info to JB Blues, please email Joe.Ballor@dailytribune.com

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Bandmate recalls Rick Stel as 'a source of inspiration'; memorial service set

Rick Stel (Photo by Wolfgang Spider)
Bassist Jef Reynolds has been friends with singer-guitarist Rick (Stel) Salansky for 30 years or so, starting when they were part of a network of friends from Utica, Mich. that were in their 20s and “all about the music.”
Stel’s death from cancer at age 60 on Tuesday prompted lots of calls and messages to Reynolds, who played with Stel for years in the Rick Stel Project band.
“(The list) is a mile long, you hear from everybody,” Reynolds said Wednesday. “You know how it is when you’re longtime buddies and friends. When you hear about it, you say ‘damn!’ There have been long discussions and lots of reflection. Rick and I have gotten really close the last 7 or 8 years.”
Reynolds and his Rick Stel Project bandmates – keyboardist Mark LoDuca and drummer Dave Marcaccio – expect to be involved in a memorial tribute to Stel at a yet to be specified date.
“Rick’s son Eric (Salansky) said he would like for us to be involved when we do a tribute,” Reynolds said.   “Everybody in our network is in the same generation and we all have the same friends. A lot of us are in the Detroit Blues Society.
“We’’ll try to find the most common thread, maybe at a Detroit Blues Society function, or maybe at Callahan’s (Music Hall) where Rick played with us, with Jim McCarty’s Mystery Train, or sometimes with The Millionaires (swing band).”
Reynolds is working on completing production of a video of the Rick Stel Project performing at a festival last fall.
“Rick did a lot of music in town, but there’s not too much of this type of high quality documentation,” Reynolds said. “It looks pretty nice, he’s happy and he’s playing really good guitar.”
Reynolds described Stel as “a fun man to work with.”
“As far as his music, he was really a source of inspiration to all of us,” Reynolds said. “A lot of the music he wrote was based upon his life experiences. He was divorced, but he would write about it in a humorous way. He wrote songs called ‘My Wife Don’t Cook’ and ‘Chasin’ Women Blues.’ There was some remorse, but he would make fun of himself and write tongue in cheek. That endeared him to all of us who played with him.”
Reynolds, a retired engineer from Chrysler, had another bond with Stel, who was still working as a design engineer for GM. Marcaccio is a car guy too.
“I would characterize him as a roll up your sleeves type of guy, a blue collar guy,” Reynolds said. “He was pragmatic and hardworking. A lot of us came from the same culture from cars.
“We’re all buddies from that different side of life. We do the car thing during the day and come out at night and play the blues.”
According to Reynolds, Stel was the type of person everyone could relate to.
“He was kind of a Walt Whitman type, a plain spoken and poetic person.”

Rick’s Stel’s passing prompted lots of comments on social media, many from the top musicians in Detroit, a tribute to his talent. Here are a few excerpts.
“You were a true blues man who will be missed by many. Thank you for all the great years of music!” – Dylan McCarty
“Rick Stel was as kind as he was talented - a truly sweet soul and I am proud to call Rick my friend.” – Bobby Murray 
“I didn’t know him well, but every time you saw him he put a smile on your face. And that my friends is the greatest legacy perhaps we can hope for.” – Carl Henry
“A strong & swinging blues guitarist, a fine singer, he was also a talented blues piano man. ... He was a damn good person beyond his musical abilities. A major loss in our community.” – RJ Spangler
“He was a hell of musician and a fine, soulful singer who was a VERY important part of our music scene here, for many years." – Erich Goebel
"Rick was an excellent guitar player and a multi-talented musician. He was a class act and had ZERO ego. He will surely be missed."  Steve Allen

To see a previous blog post with comments from Jim McCarty about Rick Stel, click here.

A memorial gathering for Rick (Stel) Salansky will be from 4-9 p.m. Friday, April 11 at Lee-Ellena Funeral Home, 46530 Romeo Plank, Macomb Township. A service is planned at 7:30 p.m. For information, click lee-ellenafuneralhome.com

To send info to JB Blues, please email Joe.Ballor@dailyrtribune.com

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Detroit blues world mourns passing of Rick Stel

Jim McCarty, center, with Rick Stel,  2nd from right.
Guitarist Jim McCarty has had many musical cohorts over his legendary career, but none of his collaborations lasted longer than his partnership with singer-guitarist Rick Stel, who passed away this morning at age 60 from cancer.
“What makes it heartbreaking is that he was a guy who never abused himself,” McCarty said. “He never used drugs or alcohol. I don’t think he even smoked. It makes you wonder why?”
McCarty and Stel first played together in the Detroit Blues Band when Stel took over for bassist Billy Landless. Their musical collaboration took a big step forward when McCarty formed his group Mystery Train.
“Memphis Smoke wanted me to put together a band as the house band,” McCarty recalled.
Stel moved over to his main instrument, guitar, and was the main singer in the band. The two guitarists instantly clicked, according to McCarty.
“He was terrific. We always had that understanding. It either fits or it don’t. It has to be there. I’m not sure it’s something you can work on. We had it right out of the gate.
“Rick came from the jazzy blues and I was doing more of the blues rock thing, but I listen to jazz at home more than anything else, so we had a deep bond with that.
“Over the years, things would get fine tuned and it just became second nature. I knew what he was going to do before he did it.”
McCarty described Stel as a “good guy, a straight ahead guy.”
“You could always count on him. He was always on time and always did the job.”
The interplay between Stel and McCarty was featured on the 2013 recording “Jim McCarty & Mystery Train Live.”
“I’m really glad that CD is there,” McCarty said.
“Twenty years is the longest I’ve played with anybody, even (drummer Johnny ”Bee”)  Badanjek. That’s a lot of notes. It’s a real drag.”

To see a blog post with comments by Jef Reynolds of the Rick Stel Project, click here.

To contact JB Blues, please email Joe.Ballor@dailytribune.com