Updated Thu, May 22, 2014 4:40 pm
Comedy routines and horseback riding might not be the first things that come to mind when discussing blues music. Then again, Uncle Buck's Riding Stable and Dance Barn isn't your normal everyday music venue.
For more than a decade, Uncle Buck's has been offering guided horseback rides, food, beverages and live entertainment at its Zaleski State Forest location. For this weekend's show, owner David McPherson decided to try something different: Blues and comedy.
"I was sitting around with my friend Carlin Hagerty, a local comic that promotes 'The Studs of Comedy' shows in Southeast Ohio, and who had put on a couple of very successful comedy shows at Uncle Buck’s," said McPherson. "First we considered Carlin and couple of his comic friends, along with my band Blues Cowboys."
Then the pair thought of Columbus, Ohio-based Long Tall Deb and The Werewolves of Alabama (featuring acclaimed guitarist Colin John), who are playing dates in support of Deb's debut album, Raise Your Hands.
"Carlin and I are mutual friends with Deb and Colin, and with the success they have been having with Raise Your Hands, we thought they would be a perfect headliner for the event," explained McPherson.
McPherson and Hagerty aren't alone in their admiration for Raise Your Hands. The album has drawn praise from several publications, such as Blues Music Magazine, which hailed the release as being "strikingly original" and "breaking new lyrical ground."
According to Deb Landolt, the band and album evolved from a series of impromptu writing sessions, known as "Music Club," that began in fall 2011. The resulting collection of songs was later enhanced by the talents of Nashville producer Dave Clo, as well as veteran blues musicians Jimmy Thackery, Reese Wynans, Colin John and members of the legendary Roomful of Blues, including Philip Pemberton, Doug Woolverton, Rich Lataille and Mark Earley.
"To complement the deep textures of the music, it made sense to build an outstanding ensemble cast to deliver the goods," said Landolt, who tried to "push the envelope" during the sessions.
"It's risky for artists to go beyond what people expect," she explained, "but I think if you just play it safe, the music becomes stale and uninspired."
When asked about the band's plans for the rest of 2014, Landolt replied that a slot at the Ottawa Blues Fest (North America's second largest music festival) and a tour of Italy have been scheduled for this summer, as well as a return engagement at Buddy Guy's blues club, Legends, this fall.
The group will also be showcased as a Reverbnation Featured Artist and their song "Hush Your Mouth" will be included on the soundtrack to the film Contrast, to be released next month.
For his part, McPherson is thrilled to present this weekend's show, and encourages everyone to check out Long Tall Deb and The Werewolves of Alabama in a unique, intimate setting.
"According to the forecast, it's going to be a beautiful day," he said. "Folks can bring the entire family for horseback trail rides, smoked barbeque, cold drinks, comedy, a great local band and the best blues band in the state of Ohio."
Show time is 7 p.m. this Saturday. Visit Uncle Buck's Facebook page for updates and ticket information.