A coworker and new friend, Frank, took me out for some Blues last night and I have to tell ya, I feel like I’ve finally found St. Louis. I’ve been so wrapped up in work and house hunting that this weekend was my first chance to stray into the city. All my other excursions have kept me in the ‘burbs.
Frank is wired into the Blues community here in St. Louis. He was a long time owner of a Blues club – he is St. Louis Blues Society Member #1. He knows his stuff and the players. We had a fascinating conversation about the history of the Blues and St. Louis’ place in developing and supporting the art. Turns out that some of the hottest Blues and R&B musicians have come out of St. Louis and St. Louis music is responsible for influencing many of the soul, R&B, and rockin’ rhythm and blues you hear today.
We had dinner at a place called Norton’s Café in an area of the city known as Soulard. This is a historic area of town bustling with shops, pubs, restaurants, and the like. It was a great place to eat. I started my meal with fresh gulf oysters on the half shell before moving on to tortilla crusted red snapper. Boulevard Pale Ale was my beverage of choice. Note when you hit the link to check out the place: Their menu changes daily – a large chalk board in the entry communicates this. The menu you see online are their staples but only a sampling.
After some engaging conversation Frank guided me to BBs Jazz, Blues and Soups, a St. Louis staple and world renowned Blues club. The club is NOT named after BB King but one of the original owners of the club dating back to the late 70’s. We rolled into the club at a little past 10pm as the opener was closing. We rolled out at a little past 1:30am as the place was just starting to get hot. It was amazing.
The music and history is incredible on its own. But the diversity of the people enjoying the music was a whole ‘nother layer of special. There were guys in suits and ties right next to Harley shit kickers. Ethnicity oozed from every brick. Everybody was happy and delighted to be in the place. No one felt out of touch with the environment. A very cool atmosphere to say the least.
After being in Waynesboro for so many years it certainly feels as though we’ve broken free. Finally a town that can offer what we’ve been seeking from culture, to family activities, to sports, to music. And I’m just scratching the surface. Frank also gave me some good butcher shops to hit once I get the BBQ pit built.
I can smell the smoke now.