CHESTERTOWN, MD— The 2011 Washington College Riverfront Concert Series will conclude on Thursday, July 21, with an evening of blues, jazz, and swing, courtesy of one of Washington, D.C.’s hottest duos, the Blue Rhythm Boys.
Sponsored by the College’s C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, the concert will begin at 6:30 p.m. on the riverside lawn behind the Custom House, located at the corner of High and Water streets. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own blankets, lawn chairs, and picnics. Lemonade and cookies will be provided free of charge, and special picnic dinners will be available at Play it Again Sam (108 S. Cross St., 410-778-2688; please call the café for details). Special assistance is provided by Yerkes Construction.
In case of inclement weather, the concert will take place in The Egg, a performance space in Hodson Hall Commons on the main Washington College campus, 300 Washington Avenue.
Blending the blues with the “hot club” swing of Django Reinhardt, the Blue Rhythm Boys have delighted audiences with their tight vocals and hot guitar playing since 1997. Tom Mitchell and Jim Stephanson’s smoky mix of jazz and blues has won them a wide following, and a recent spot on National Public Radio’s Talk of the Nation with Neal Conan. (Click here to listen to the interview.) Each of the two has also established an impressive career on his own.
From 1993 to 2002, Tom Mitchell toured with the legendary dan Hicks and the Hot Licks, playing guitar on the group's acclaimed 2000 album, Beatin' the Heat. Featuring guest appearances by Bette Midler, Elvis Costello, and Brian Setzer, Beatin’ the Heat was named one of the “Top 10 CD’s of the Year” by TIME Magazine, and received 3.5 stars from Rolling Stone. Mitchell also plays with vintage jazz group Ann Savoy & Her Sleepless Knights, with whom he has recorded two albums, If Dreams Come True (2007) and Black Coffee (2010).
Drawing on the influences of Mississippi John Hurt, Les Paul, and Chet Atkins, Jim Stephanson’s unique guitar style has made him one of the most highly regarded musicians in the Washington, D.C. roots music scene. He has played with Hillybilly Jazz, Jimmy and the Blue Dogs, and local rockabilly legend Billy Hancock. His first solo album was released in 2010. A collection of original roots rock music, Say Go was produced by NRBQ’s Terry Adams. As the Blue Rhythm Boys, the duo has recorded three albums, including Monday Morning Blues, released in 2002, and Come On If You’re Comin’, released in 2010. For more on the duo, see http://www.bluerhythmboys.com.
The concert sponsor, the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience at Washington College, explores our nation's history, particularly the legacy of its Founding era, in innovative ways. Through educational programs, scholarship and public outreach, and a special focus on written history, the Starr Center seeks to bridge the divide between the academic world and the public at large. For more information on the Center, visit http://starrcenter.washcoll.edu/.
Photo: Guitarists and vocalists Jim Stephanson and Tom Mitchell are The Blue Rhythm Boys.