Sunday, April 19, 2009

Capital Blues Ensemble Wins DCBS Festival Audition Competition

The Capital Blues Ensemble won the DC Blues Society Festival Audition on Saturday, April 19, 2009, defeating nine other bands in an evening of excellent blues performances.

With its victory, the CBE earned a featured spot in two upcoming blues festivals: the first Annual Silver Spring Blues Festival at Downtown Silver Spring on Saturday, May 9, 2009 and the 21st Annual DC Blues Festival, which will be held in the Carter Barron Amphitheatre in Washington, DC on Saturday, September 5, 2009.

At the Silver Spring Blues Festival, the Capital Blues Ensemble will join the DC Blues Band and internationally acclaimed blues guitarist Memphis Gold in the festival lineup.

From the Capital Blues Ensemble website.

"The Capital Blues Ensemble is all about bringing in a foot stomping, ass-shaking blues-based dance show. They do that with hard grooving songs telling stories of love, sex, money, revenge, lost lives, lost hearts and lost money. That short list of motivations has been the wellspring of the blues and its rock stepchild for nearly a century, and CBE draws on the classics and select gems from that legacy as well as adding new songs to the line.

CBE frontman John Vengrouskie, a guitarist, singer, producer and recording engineer, has worked with drummer, Art McKinney over the last 2 years to put the CBE together the way they've always wanted. John and Art's work with artists as diverse as Jerry Lee Lewis and Bobby Parker drove their desire for a hard-working show band. Bringing on-board one of John's long-time collaborators Bill Carey on bass, an experienced live, tour and session player , locked up the rhythm section. Next drafted was Anthony "Swamp Dog" Clark on harp, an ex-jazz drummer who years ago heard the harp call his name and never looked back. Swamp Dog's appreciation for Sonny Boy Williamson, Jason Ricci and Mark Ford, as well as his work behind Wilson Pickett and current work with producer Grammy Award nominated Kenny Neal, brings another solid piece to the core band. The addition of Brian Falkowski on sax and Gary Hendrickson on trumpet and fluglehorn, with their playing and writing experience, results in a band that grooves hard with tight arrangements.

The songs come from new and old places; original material comes from John, Swamp Dog, Bill and Art as well as pulling from such artists as Albert King, Etta James, Coco Montoya, Robert Cray, Kenny Burrell, Louis Jordan and Jimmie Smith.

The Capital Blues Ensemble takes the blues, some R&B and adds a bit of a swing jazz finesse that is hard-working fun."

The following is a list of the some of the region’s best blues bands who performed at the Festival Auditions: Erbium Blue, Kimiesha & Company, Hugh Feeley & Talk Is Cheap,
Fat Roberta, Jenn & The Tonics, Tony Porter, Rose Between Thorns, Ida Campbell & the Blues Men, and The Sherwood Blues Band.

For more information and directions, check out the SSTCi website at

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