Jimmy G band
joins musical fray
Brent, Robinson in mix
for constant blues music action
Helen E. McKinney
(August 2012) Jimmy Gaetano, front man of
the band, Jimmy G. and the Sidewinders, likes to play what inspires
him. Music is my way of expression and it could sound like anything,
Gaetano, who runs a music store in New Albany, Ind., says he is not
bothered with titles and categories. Whether you are Garth Brooks,
Jimi Hendrix, Mozart, Miles Davis, David Gilmore, Angus Young, etc.,
if any of these musicians play a G chord, its still a G chord.
It makes no difference to me who is playing or what title you put over
it (country, rock, jazz, blues, folk, and bluegrass) its still
a G. chord. Its still music.
G. & the Sidewinders includes
(from left) Hank Dobson, Jimmy
Gaetano and Tom Murray (drums).
The Jimmy G. and the Sidewinders will join several others
on the Madison Ribberfest Blues Bash stage Aug. 17-18 to entertain the
crowd at the 11th annual festival on the Madison riverfront. Others
include Madisons own Jimmy Davis, Trampled Under Foot, Tyler Mac,
Eden Brent, Tad Robinson, and Johnny Hoy & the Bluefish. Nick Moss
is the Friday night headliner and Robert Cray headlines on Saturday.
Gaetano began playing when he was 12 years old in 1979 and I knew
the guitar was my instrument. He later attended the GIT/Musicians
Institute, a music school in Hollywood, Calif. It took me over
10 years of playing until I found the blues. It was what I was always
He credits Stevie Ray Vaughan, whom he saw perform live, with making
it cool to play the blues. He was so passionate it was undeniable
he loved what he did. Gaetano lived in Dallas for three years.
It was there that he really learned how to play the blues by hanging
out with professional blues players.
I think some people are born with a certain type of soul that
needs music and or an instrument, to express emotion, said Gaetano.
A blues player, to me, has no other motive in their music but
to express what they feel. Its not about a display of technique
or of knowledge.
Gaetano started Jimmy G. and the Sidewinders in 1990. Before that, he
had played with The Crawl, a blues band started by Mike Morgan.
Last year, the Jimmy G. and the Sidewinders played in the Madison Regatta
Parade for the Madison Blues Societys float. So well liked was
the band that they were booked to play in this years Ribberfest
Blues Bash. We are dying to play for a crowd that appreciates
the blues, said Gaetano.
Gaetano shared the stage before with last years Blues Bash headliner,
Buddy Guy. People seem to dig our energy and the reality in our
music, said Gaetano. These two things are intangible. You
feel it but dont see it.
Now in its 11th year, the Blues Bash portion of the Madison Ribberfest
excites crowds as much as it did when it first began. Spectators look
for the varied lineup that provides a versatile, lively unforgettable
Its definitely a blues festival, said Dave Butler,
one of four individuals who comprise a band committee that choose the
acts each year for the Blues Bash. The blues is quite varied;
definition of the blues can be expansive.
Friday nights opener, Jimmy Davis, is a repeat act. He played
the event for the first three years, said Butler. The committee
tries not to book a lot of repeat performers, but Davis was such a crowd
pleaser that they kept inviting him back. He takes the stage at 6 p.m.
Mac is an Anderson, Ind.,
native who now resides in
Pensacola, Fla.. He spends much
of his time on tour throughout
the United States.
Known regionally and nationally, Davis is a singer, songwriter,
session guitarist and virtuoso performer. At 34, he is a veteran of
the Midwest music scene. His live shows are an eclectic mix of original
blues, funk, rock n roll and cover selections. He has two
new CDs out, Butler said.
Davis will be followed by Trampled Under Foot at 8 p.m. This band won
the 2008 International Blues Challenge. Trampled Under Foot is comprised
of siblings Danielle, Kris and Nick Schnebelen. Hailing from Kansas
City, their grandmother, Evelyn Skinner, was a big band singer.
Butler said that after the 2012 Ribberfest is over, the band committee
will probably meet in September to begin working on next years
lineup. Headlining acts are chosen first because the big names
are the hardest to pin down.
Other factors to consider when selecting the lineup include availability
We get a lot of input from other bands. Were overwhelmed
with press kits that have been sent from people wanting to play at the
festival. Word of mouth and recommendations by friends are other
sources the committee relies on to find talent.
We generate a list of performers, go through it, and lay the show
out so that it makes sense, Butler said. We want a new,
fresh show every year. Tickets went on sale June 1.
A mobile stage is set up at Madisons Bicentennial Park for this
event. Tiered seating lets the entire crowd enjoy the entertainment
from wherever they are sitting.
Were gonna have a good show, said Butler. Its
a great festival. Blues may be the biggest draw for the festival. It
brings people in who are not necessarily coming to eat barbecue. But
once they get here, they enjoy everything. It all goes together. There
are so many good things going on.
Madison Ribberfest director Kathy Ayers said, We try to make sure
we have locals in the lineup. She called Jimmy G and the Sidewinders
a great kickoff band for the Blues Bash because we try to have
people come in with a local following, like Jimmy G., who is based in
Tyler Mac, an Anderson, Ind., native, follows Jimmy G. at 1:30 p.m.
Mac began his professional career at age 13 and was touring internationally
by age 18. Now a resident of Pensacola, Fla., he has shared the stage
or opened for such artists as Joe Bonamassa, Van Morrison, Johnny Winter,
John Rich and The Allman Brothers.
Mississippi jazz artist Eden Brent takes the stage at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
Brent draws in her listeners with her earthy meld of jazz, blues, soul
and pop. She puts a little different spin on the blues,
Butler said, by drawing in a boogie woogie sound.
As part of her musical experience, Brent underwent a 16-year apprenticeship
with late blues pioneer Boogaloo Ames, whom she credits as having taught
her to boogie woogie. She was named the 2010 Pinetop Perkins Piano Player
of the Year.
Singer, songwriter and harmonica player Tad Robinson follows Brent at
5:30 p.m. Butler characterizes Robinson as more of a soul singer,
but soul that is based on the blues.
As a songwriter, Robinson has contributed to the success of several
major motion pictures that include Under Siege, A
Perfect Murder and The Guardian. This New York City
native is a five-time Blues Music Award nominee.
A returning crowd pleaser is Johnny Hoy & the Bluefish, who will
perform at 7:30 p.m. Formed in 1991, the band first played Ribberfest
in 2006. They are a really good harmonic-based band, said
The band is based in Marthas Vineyard and it is a treat to have
them since they dont tour a lot because they are busy there,
he said. Everybody really enjoyed them.
The night finishes with headliner Robert Cray. Weve wanted
Robert for years, said Butler. What a Robert Cray or Buddy
Guy will add to the festival is name power. Last year, when we had Buddy
Guy we had our biggest crowd ever.
Butler guessed close to 10,000 people attended the Blues Bash portion
of Ribberfest last year. We had a lot of pre-sales for Buddy Guy.
It was a boost to the crowd.
Back to 2012 Ribberfest