This is a group of photos and my recent of conversations with pending receivers on Sunday. I first learned of Michael Packer and his band through friends Robin Murray and John, and now have attended several events in Tannersville at the Orpheum, at Pauly’s Hotel in Albany, and at Club Helsinki. I have many a picture and some great memories already from these events and look forward to many, many more.
Photos and article by Wanda Callagy
A long list of performers will be receiving blues awards by Ambassador Michael Packer in a setting set by the river and home to much talent and the acoustics to shout it out to all near and far. Recipients Sonny Rock and Gary Mckeever will be on hand to assist Packer and his band make that joyful noice on stage at Club Helsinki Hudson on Sunday@6PM.
Dave Heinlein will be there and is honored and thrilled to be receiving the recognition. A guitar player in the Woodstock area for years, and is playing now with the D-Squared Blues Band. He became serious when learning to play @ age 10, and later, as he listened to some of the Blues roots players he found a balance between the hard work of playing and learning through theory and lessons He has traveled through the states including Western California and Tulsa and extensively through the northeast region. Heinlein spends time working with his hands, but finds music to ‘a big part of my life’. He encourages others learning to play to ‘never give up.’
Debbie Davies is pleased and honored and also celebrating her drummer, Don Castagno who will also receive applause as not only her band’s main percussionist for 35 years, but in his own merit has made many contributions to music. Castagno and Davies have just returned from New Jersey where they participated in a benefit for Walter Trout. In days ahead summer festivals and songwriting are ahead for both. Davies is known well in this area and draws a crowd everywhere she performs.
Castagno spoke of the sometimes grueling moments of traveling night after night to gig after gig, being sleep deprived and wondering at times what state or country he may be in.
” But there is a moment or two there, where you can focus in on that little motel room…your whole world is compartmentalized and in order. There is a gig ahead, and that is what you focus on. Everything else…home, bills, the job, everyday life, is on hold for a little while. A zen moment. Music and art. It’s all good.”