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Eight is the magic number

WANT TO GO?

Blues Du Jour with Rubber Soul

WHERE: Haddad Riverfront Park

WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Friday

TICKETS: Free

INFO: www.liveontheleveecharleston.com

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- According to singer Julie Adams, there are really only two problems with having a band like Blues Du Jour: it's hard to find a place to play, and it's even harder to get everybody together for a same show.

When it comes to band members, eight really is enough.

The singer laughed and said, "Oh, I can't keep track of us. After you get past that magic number of five people in a band, it's hard to keep up with everyone."

Blues Du Jour, which headlines Friday night's Live on the Levee, is an eight-piece ensemble, which would be hard enough if the members were just twenty-somethings working entry-level jobs or shuffling through college.

Instead, the R&B, swing and blues combo has two lawyers, an accountant, a dentist and a psychologist, among others -- busy people with seriously complex schedules.

"It's a good thing because when you have eight people in a band, you're not going to make any money," Adams said.

The singer, who is most frequently seen and heard on "Mountain Stage," said Blues Du Jour is mostly for fun, though they take their fun pretty seriously.

"We have a standing Tuesday night date to rehearse," she said. "Not everybody can make it all the time. Steve Broughton is a dentist in Clarksburg. It's kind of a drive for him to come down every week, and we don't really want to send him back home late."

Getting dental work from a sleepy dentist, she thought, sounded like the makings of a good nightmare.

Despite the size of the band and the geographical and scheduling challenges, Blues Du Jour has been a band longer than Adams can remember.

"I'm going to say I've been in the band over 20 years," she said. "I'm not really sure. I do remember that I joined when I was still doing the Twister Sisters, so that's got to be 1991 or 1992..."

Adams said Blues Du jour was founded by harmonica player and singer Otto Lenz, along with drummer Steve Dreyer, bassist Stan Lynch and guitarists Paul Flaherty and Josh Barrett.

A blues purist, Lenz saw Blues Du Jour as a straight blues band. However, not long after the band founded, Lenz was offered a job out of the area.

Adams and trombone player Al Peery were brought in to replace him, which also shifted the sound of the band.

"When the blues purist left, so did the pure blues," the singer joked.

Later, the band added keyboard and horn player Rich Katz.

"He's been with us, I think, 12 or 13 years," Adams said. "I forget."

 She said Blues Du Jour plays blues, but because of its horn section, the band leans more toward R&B than blues.

"When we're really cooking, we have such a big sound," she said. "Playing with a horn section is such a blast. It's such a dramatic sound.

"And we have a lot of singers, so we can do things with harmony. It's just fun."

Adams said the band was looking forward to Live on the Levee Friday night, though she acknowledged not everybody in Blues Du Jour is going to be there. Peery will be sitting this one out, owing to a family reunion.

"The good news is David Porter is sitting in on trumpet," she said.

Porter plays with the West Virginia Symphony, is a music instructor at Concord University and has played with Big Planet Soul.

Adams said Porter's performance was just a one-off.

"Though hey, if we've got eight, why not nine?"

Well, no, she added. Probably not. Reach Bill Lynch at lynch@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.


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