Bringing a close to the 2023 Reckless Steamy Nights concert series held at the Red Bank Woman’s Club was our annual visit from local favorites, the band Goldenseal. Led by former board member and legal counsel, Joe Hughes, this five – piece combo was celebrating their 22nd year together, having been formed not too long after our late past President Dennis Eschbach conceived of the idea to partner with the Woman’s Club to put on these monthly shows. On this evening, the walls were covered with the beautiful works of water media artist, Yan Cao, www.yanswatercolors.com. Prior to the show, the artist and her husband arrived with some additional pieces as well as an array of postcard size prints.
Getting back to the music, the band consists of guitarist and lead vocalist Joe Hughes, Pat Martucci on drums and vocals, Jesse Kessler on bass, Art Hoffer on lead guitar and vocals and Lee Sanderson on sax and keyboards. They are a tight-knit ensemble that covers many different styles but always mixes it up to keep their legion of fans happy. On this night they opened with a stirring rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” as a tribute to Dennis, marking a year since his passing as well as Joe’s good friend, sometime bandmate and former JSJBF board member, Danny Rongo who is valiantly battling cancer. The first half of the set consisted of ballads, highlighted by Joe’s heartfelt rendition of his original, “This is My Home”. From there, things ramped up with a song Joe said spoke to how he and the band felt annually playing this fundraising event, “I Feel Good.” The remainder of the set was designed to get the crowd up from their seats and it did, turning the library into a dance floor with our members Ned and Carol leading the way. We also found out that Yan Cao could cut a mean rug as well as paint!
At the intermission, we raffled off a basket full of Halloween goodies donated by members Juel and Jim our lighting man. Then the chairperson of the foundation’s Community Outreach program, Christine Zemla, spoke briefly about our connection with Clarksdale and the Mississippi Delta, including the change in our scholarship program which has us awarding one to a deserving student in that area this year. She is also working with the state’s tourism board to put together a trip to the area to explore the birthplace of the blues in March. More details to follow. Then Joe, as he has done in the past, presented me with a check from his firm to be used to help keep the Reckless event going in 2024, so that we can generate funds to help revive our Blues in the Schools program as well as awarding more scholarships.
The second set was a shorter one but certainly just as musically diverse and enjoyable, including the song Muddy Waters made famous, “Hoochie Coochie Man”. It was highlighted by some excellent guitar by Art and growling vocals by Joe. The Stray Cats “Rock This Town” had the dancers up again and was followed by another original, “Rock This Place,” which contrary to the lyric, “leave no trace,” the band had left more than a trace of musical fun with a good cause behind it, to all who attended.
If you want to see and hear more of the band Goldenseal, go to their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/p/Goldenseal-100063713694461/) and check out their YouTube channel.