It was a special night. It was the 10th anniversary of the Bradfordville Blues Club and the owners were celebrating the occasion with a performance by one of their most popular musicians, Johnnie Marshall.
It was also a special night for me. I was visiting my sister, Nicole, and her family in Tallahassee; and being a supporter of Crushing Vinyl, Nicole and her husband, Peter, planned a special night out to see some live music. They got a babysitter, a movie for the kids, and we were off! I couldn’t have been more excited!
They didn’t tell me where we were going until we were on our way – and I was intrigued. Growing up in the 80’s & 90’s with an older sibling, my sister was a huge musical influence on me. Were we going to see some awesome 80’s cover band? Were we going to question life’s purpose with some melancholy alternative music? Nope. Even better. We were going to a historical place (yes, I’m a history nerd) to listen to some music that I wasn’t familiar with. While this may not sound good to some people, it’s the reason why Rachel and I started the blog, so I was touched and inspired that my sister picked such a meaningful place.
Situated on a quiet dirt road lined with Oak trees that are covered in Spanish moss, the Bradfordville Blues Club is part of the Historic Blues Trail that goes from Mississippi to Florida. The one room cinderblock “juke joint” is covered in head to toe memorabilia and painted tabletops with the likenesses of famous blues musicians – most of whom have played the club throughout its history. Admittedly, I don’t know anything about the Blues. So the names and faces on the walls were a mystery to me, but they brought the club to life and seemed like they were additional fans watching the show.
The BBC has the most diverse crowd of people I have ever seen. Hippies, hillbillies and hotties were all in attendance and proved to be some of the most amazing people watching ever! When Johnnie Marshall hit the stage, people of all sizes, ethnicities and ages were there see their favorite local blues band.
The simple trio consisted of only a drum kit, bass and electric guitars, but their sound engulfed the entire room and got the crowd immediately up on their feet and dancing. For over two hours, Johnnie’s raspy and smooth voice belted out iconic blues songs, rock & roll songs and slow songs – the latter being thoroughly (and intimately) enjoyed by the coupled-off crowd. You’d have to try really hard not to enjoy a Johnnie Marshall show. He knows exactly what the people want to hear and travels effortlessly from song to song. Several times I saw people try to sit down in between songs to take a break from dancing, but then had to get right back up because they “LOVED” this song too.
Several buckets of beer later, we knew Johnnie was ending his show soon, so we joined many of the patrons and headed out to the nightly bonfire next to the club and sampled some of the best fried catfish from Miss Ernestine’s little shack. All of these things combined truly add to the uniqueness of the Bradfordville Blues Club and wrapped up together created one of my best nights out for Crushing Vinyl; and absolutely one of my favorite nights out with my sister and her husband.
Alicia’s Takeaway: What I loved most about the club was that so many people from such diverse backgrounds come together at this amazing little venue in the South. For me personally, having such a supportive and fun family has really made this little adventure that is Crushing Vinyl so special.