R&B, Blues, Originals; a hunch pays off for great Monday night music with Issac and Val at BB Kings

I’m batting a thousand on following my hunches the last week or so… First, Jamie Rasso, who I hadn’t heard, blew me away at O’Sheas.  Then I was curious about Issac and Val (and that’s all I got from BB Kings Calendar — Issac and Val).  I thought that if it was the same Issac and Val Woods I found in a Google search, they might not be too bad.

They were playing to a medium-size crowd at BB King’s side venue, Lucilles; but they had the quality to be playing to a thousand people. Val’s vocals were dead on, and Issac’s guitar vibe and vocals were channelling a little bit George Benson, a little bit BB King.  His guitar work wouldn’t be eclipsed by either, however; he can really hold his own with most top-tier guitarists I’ve heard.

They played a tasty selection of covers, but had a great mix of their own material mixed in.  And all their own material is catchy, well written, and (like Issac’s guitar and Val’s vocals) holds its own with any of the great hits they cover.

There’s cover bands — some good, mostly bad — and there’s tribute bands  — some good, mostly bad.  There’s the “wedding bands,” the bands that are stratospheric in musicianship, have a great stage show, but play all the same songs the same way as the other “wedding bands.”  Then there’s the ideal band; a good selection of classic songs, with creative interpretations/arrangements, and a mix of listenable and singable originals.  Twice in four days I stumbled upon bands like that, with Jamie Rasso at O’Shea’s and Issac and Val at BB Kings.

And all this on a Monday night…




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