The blues duo Black & Gogol are the featured musicians at the 10th Blues for Eric benefit concert, this Saturday (June 8) at The Oaks Restaurant and Tea Room.
Over the past 15 months, the series has showcased standout concerts by local blues stars Bill Johnson, Dave Harris, Deb Rhymer and Victor Wells, SP & Johnny’s Rhumba Kings, David Essig and Sidewalk Trio, jazz vocalist Carol Sokoloff and Patrick Boyle and his Hot Four.
Once again raising funds for the Eric LeBlanc Memorial Scholarship for students in the UVic School of Music’s jazz program, the upcoming Blues for Eric benefit show by Black & Gogol will be another intimate, blues-drenched special event.
Acoustic and electric guitarist Paul Black has been a force on the local blues scene for a decade. The tall, bushy-bearded Black’s influences range from Taj Mahal’s folk blues to Jimi Hendrix’s most adventurous explorations of the form. Black has a muscular, expressive voice and a repertoire of smart, original songs. He has released a pair of recordings as a solo artist and leader of Paul Black Trio, a popular band that also featured multi-instrumentalist, studio wizard and songwriting scholar Wynn Gogol.
In addition to his work with Black, Gogol has produced, mixed and engineered more than 50 recordings at his One Ton Studio including work with Canadian stars like Harry Manx and James Keelaghan. Gogol’s studio magic has garnered Juno nominations and Maple Leaf Blues and Canadian Folk Awards. The veteran musician has also written The Artful Songwriter: The Soul & Science of Creative Songs and taught the craft of songwriting to students at Camosun College and Victoria Conservatory of Music. Gogol’s Dr. John and Ray Charles-inspired keyboards, blues harp stylings and raspy tenor beautifully combine with Black’s concise guitar lines and darker, blues growl.
Black & Gogol have been playing local venues for a couple of years as a duo and are releasing their debut CD, Groov-A-Lator in June. It features nine of the duo’s clever, original songs, their New Orleans-influenced groove, and passionate reimagining of the blues.
Tickets for Black & Gogol’s benefit concert at The Oaks are $20 (cash only) in advance at The Oaks, 2250 Oak Bay Ave. Because there is no reserve seating for Blues for Eric shows and most shows sell-out, fans turn up early to eat and drink and enjoy a good seat for the 7 p.m. downbeat. Get your tickets in advance, meet some fellow music fans at The Oaks’ communal tables, and enjoy a meal and a great blues show. Highest recommendation.