18th Jefferson Street Jazz and Blues Festival

The Saturday night audience at the 18th Annual Jefferson St Jazz & Blues Festival

By Peter White

NASHVILLE, TN  — Kids bounced inside the inflatable playhouse and a couple of boys threw a football in the grass at Bi-Centennial Mall Saturday afternoon. High school senior Bella Dotson played the Haitian Fight Song on her stand-up bass. A train trolley with a blue engine painted like the Little Engine That Could took people around the mall.

The two-day event was sponsored by the Jefferson Street United Merchants Partnership, J.U.M.P. HCA Tristar Health, the Fifth Third Bank, Advance Financial, Nashville General Hospital, Kroger, AT&T, and Hall Strategies gave financial support.

Food vendors and other merchants peddled their wares and some early birds set up

lawn chairs with umbrellas in the amphitheater. The Total Eclipse Band and Gale Mayes played first and Richard Waters and the Sweetwaters Band took the stage around 6:30. They were followed by a girls dance troupe, the Jewels of Distinction.

Clarence Carter and the SOS Band closed the concert.

Waters and his band played a couple of Muddy Waters tunes and one Waters wrote. Nobody gets out of this life alive and “Crack That Bible” is about heaven and hell. The song has a message.

“I try to get people to actually open the book and read it,” Waters said.

The tune is standard 12-bar blues and the lyrics are more ironic than pitiful. Waters talked a bit to the audience about getting his first guitar at age 12 and watching the sun set on so many heroin addicts he once knew. He thanks God, music, and spaghetti for his salvation in that order. At 64, Waters has an unlined face and could be Australian. He’s got no worries because he puts his faith in the Lord.

“I’m a secular blues artist but because I’m a Christian I always give a little bit. All artists are going to give you a piece of who they are. And who I am is somebody who believes Jesus Christ is the Son of God,” he said.

Waters and his band will play at 3rd and Lindsley at the Blues Gathering June 29th at 1 pm. They will perform at the Beachhaven Winery in Clarksville July 28th.

“I’ve got a great band. Those musicians are top notch, every single one of them. I’d hire any one of them any time for any gig,” he said.

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