A conflict prevented me from showing up for the One Ton Pig show tonight (Jan. 17) at the Silver Dollar in Jackson WY, but I had a great gig earlier today with George Kilby Jr. George is a very experienced and accomplished blues guitarist and singer, based in New York, whose impressive resume includes a lengthy stint with Pinetop Perkins and upcoming tours with harmonica master Phil Wiggins.

George Kilby Jr.

I performed with a topnotch band of Jackson-based musicians backing George–Andy Calder, one of my favorite bass players anywhere (and coincidentally the bass player for One Ton Pig), Ed Domer on drums, and Ron Harvey on keys and backup vocals–in a one-hour show at the Jackson Hole Community School that laid out the story of the blues in American music, from field hollers through James Brown and rap. It was a lot to cover in an hour, and the material certainly demanded a lot of different approaches. No time for boredom at this show…

I came by this gig by chance–I just happened to be in town when the show came up, and I was glad to make myself available. By good fortune, I had packed two mics, a Digitech RP255, and my casual harp kit with 14 diatonics and a chromatic for this trip, and I had a Peavey KB2 amp ready to go in Idaho, so I had everything I needed to play. As it turned out, I only needed four harps for the show–standard diatonics in C, D, G, and A–so I was well prepared on the gear side. The RP255 and Peavey combination sounded great, and I had plenty of headroom on the amp to work with. (I could have gone straight to the PA, but I didn’t know who would be handling sound for the show, so I decided to bring the amp.)

This is the first show in which I’ve used two mics: a Bottle o’ Blues and a Fireball V. I think it’s going to be my standard setup from now on. The BoB gave me utterly filthy amped tones, and the Fireball was great for everything else. The only thing I’ll add in future is an A/B pedal so I don’t have to plug and unplug the mics every time I switch.

The night before the show, I took half an hour to set the RP255 up with several of my amped blues patches, a low octave double patch, a rotary speaker patch, and a few FX-only patches with reverb and/or delay. In performance, I ended up using four patches: a plate reverb (for the acoustic harp sounds), the low octave double (for the saxophone head on “Choo Choo Ch’Boogie”), the rotating speaker patch (for the New Orleans number “Iko Iko”), and an amped blues patch based on a Fender Bassman model (for a couple of blues pieces, including Chuck Berry’s “Maybelline”). It was great to have so many cool sounds to work with in such as simple setup, and the variety of tones was obviously exciting to everyone involved. That RP is SUCH a cool box. How else do you drop 60 different setups into a shoulder bag and carry it onto an airplane?

Anyway, it was a fun gig, and I’m looking forward to working with these guys again. The only thing I regret is that I remembered to turn my Zoom H4 recorder on, but I didn’t remember to press the “record” button twice, so there’s no recording of the gig. D’oh! So you’ll just have to take my word for it: it was, like, an epic win.