The Blue Ribbon Boys with special guest Miss Tess

The Blue Ribbon Boys played at Jason’s Upstairs – a bar in Hudson – on Friday night. The band has played at Jason’s Upstairs a number of times before, and although it’s not as fun a place to see them as, oh say, The Main Street Public House, I just can’t pass up an opportunity to see The Blue Ribbon Boys. Not only that, but playing with them on Friday was special guest Miss Tess, a blues singer and guitarist from Boston, MA. The whole mix of musicians sounded really good together, which is even more impressive considering the fact that The Blue Ribbon Boys and Miss Tess had only gotten in a couple of hours of practice together, the night before the show no less! If they sounded as good as they did under those circumstances, I would love to hear what The Blue Ribbon Boys and Miss Tess sound like if they decide to play together again. As Seth Travins, the upright bassist of The Blue Ribbon Boys joked, “I know Miss Tess passed the audition, I don’t know if we did…” Julia Gottlieb, the usual female vocalist of The Blue Ribbon Boys, moved to Los Angeles a few months ago. The Blue Ribbon Boys have been playing shows without her (they started out as a self-proclaimed “boy band” anyway), although she has flown back a few times to sing with them at some of their gigs. With the cost of air fare as high as it is though, I don’t think she’ll be doing that anymore. Julia not singing with The Blue Ribbon Boys on Friday wasn’t the only change in the band’s usual line-up; Scott Clark was playing drums, Lyon Graulty played clarinet (he sits in with The Blue Ribbon Boys from time to time), while Pete Adams filled in on lap steel guitar for Teddy Weber, who is on tour with one of his other bands at the moment, called The Wiyos.

The Blue Ribbon Boys opened their set with a Cajun two-step. Cajun is not a style which The Blue Ribbon Boys usually play, but I certainly hope they add more of it to their repertoire! The two-step they played sounded great, and was a nice choice to open the show with. They continued from there with a polka, which was slightly manic, but in a good way. Unless of course you were trying to dance to it, as my sister and I were… The boys were then joined by Miss Tess, who through the course of the evening sang and played a number of songs she wrote, a bunch of tunes written by The Blue Ribbon Boys, and a few covers of classics such as “Trouble In Mind” and “All of Me” thrown in the mix for good measure. My one complaint against The Blue Ribbon Boys is that they were rather reserved in their playing. A little more passion might have done both them and the music some good (which is not to say I didn’t enjoy myself, I did). The people who were at the show had fun and filled up the dance floor, and I bet if you were there, you would have been dancing too. That’s what happens when you listen to The Blue Ribbon boys, even when they’re not at their finest, and no matter who’s playing in the band.

Videos from the show:
All Of Me
I’m On Top of the World
Trouble In Mind

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