Toots Lorraine & The Traffic

Tuesday Night Blues Club

Event: Tuesday Night Blues Club
Location: Dirty Reds’, 1451 Atlantic Blvd.
Date/time: Tuesdays at 7pm
Contact: www.facebook.com/dirtyredsfla // (904) 374-9438

In the early 20th century, traditional blues traveled by word-of-mouth from one performer to another through the Mississippi Delta. Artists would infuse old songs with new lyrics, with simple hymns sung in the fields growing into what are now considered the foundation of modern blues music. Many of Jacksonville’s most talented blues musicians today also rely on word-of-mouth via social media to generate what is quickly becoming a sought after weekly gathering of local players. The Tuesday Night Blues Club was born of the collective desire of area musicians to have a weekly event to showcase their craft. The event is held from 7-10pm every Tuesday at Dirty Reds’ in Atlantic Beach (www.facebook.com/dirtyredsfla).

Blues guitarist Jack Corcoran, a veteran of several local bands and the current three-piece Smokestack, says this year, the message boards were humming following the blues jam session after the Springing the Blues Festival at Mojo Kitchen in Jacksonville Beach. At the traditional jam, festival performers are encouraged to show up and perform with local musicians. The event has always offered up moments of impromptu magic when the top performers throw down with skilled local players. This year, the collection of local players easily competed with the number of artists fresh off the daily lineup. “A lot of the performers showed up, but we had a lot of local people, too. We had a good time and a good crowd,” Corcoran says. “It was a lot of fun.”

In the days to follow, area musicians still reeling from the post-festival buzz were blowing up social media with suggestions of a weekly blues night for local players at a local venue. “Everyone was talking about it,” says Corcoran. “Why not start a blues night around here?” With the skillet still hot, they approached a couple of Beaches venues about hosting the weekly event without much luck. Mike Kaufmann caught wind of the idea and contacted Corcoran about the possibility of holding the blues night at Dirty Reds’ Restaurant, a New Orleans-style spot in Atlantic Beach. “I almost turned it down,” he admits, noting that he was busy trying to get his own band off the ground. “It seemed like too much work.”

Fortunately, Corcoran says Kaufmann continued to press him on the venue, and his persistence won. Hosting a blues night on Tuesdays allowed the flexibility to book weekend gigs and hopefully generate business on a slower night. Convincing the management to extend the closing time took some work, but so far, it’s paying off in spades. “I didn’t think it would be that crazy at first,” says Corcoran. “But then 40-50 people showed up and surprised me. It was a really good crowd and a great group of musicians.” He is careful not to categorize the event as a “jam,” but more of an open master class of serious blues musicians.

“I wanted it to be a draw for the kind of people I want to play with,” he says. To date, the Tuesday Night Blues Club has welcomed such artists as Kim Retiguez, Frank Allen Sr., Toots Lorraine & The Traffic, Ralph LaPerna, formerly of Ralph E & the Jammers and current group Low Ton Jack. They even received a surprise visit from jazz horn player, Longineau Parsons.

Corcoran alternates hosting responsibilities with Chad Mo, one half of the husband and wife team that make up Toots Lorraine & the Traffic, but he still shows up every week to play with, “no set breaks. Just a constant flow of musicians. It’s been a pleasant surprise.”

Like many of the other musicians, Corcoran maintains a 9-5 gig to pay the bills so when he shows up on Tuesdays, he knows it won’t feel like work. “I want to enjoy it, and I’ve enjoyed it so far,” he says. “We have some of the same people show up each week, and that’s very refreshing. It makes you feel good. Everybody’s there to hear the band.”

Keeping it east of the ditch is convenient for Corcoran and other Beaches players but as the Tuesday Night Blues Club continues to evolve, outgrowing their current location is not really a concern. Corcoran admits that the event is definitely getting legs, but he’s not looking for a new home any time soon. “It’s one of those deals that I’m not going to fix it if it’s not broken.”

About Liza Mitchell