On Saturday June 18th, the laid-back suburb of Fair Oaks, near Sacramento, California, presented its 6th Annual Blues in the Park, The Fair Oaks Blues & More Festival.
It was a nice sunny day and I desperately needed a break from hours of face in front of computer. So, I decided to go check this out. It had been a while since I’d been to a concert in a park, and besides that I found myself being mysteriously drawn to see one of the stars of the show, Van Morrison’s daughter, Shana Morrison and her band, Caledonia.
I had been out of the music scene for some years, since the time I had been managing an incredible Eastern European musical duo around ten years ago, and I am embarrassed to say that prior to this concert I had never heard of Shana Morrison. In fact, I didn’t even know that Van Morrison had a daughter.
I didn’t really know what to expect and I was very pleasantly surprised and impressed. She came out on stage wearing a long black tastefully sexy dress with a slit on one side that went almost all the way up to ….. well, you’ve got the picture. The music started, then she began to sing. And let me tell you, the girl can sing.
Shana Morrison and Caledonia isn’t exactly a blues band, but they do play the blues. It’s just that they do so much more, and it’s not something one can, or should, pigeonhole. I heard blues, rock, funk, gospel, jazz, scat, and you name it. One particular rock number, Drive, has an interlude that is every bit jazz, with a a bit of scat thrown in for good measure. It was very original.
Caledonia is a tight band and its members are very capable musicians, adept at pouring out the tunes in these many genres. As an example, one of the members, new to the group, Mighty Mike Schermer, a blues guitarist with some impressive credits of his own.
Shana has an incredible voice range, both in pitch and in delivery. At times she sings low, and then on one song she hit some notes so high it blew me away. Then she can be singing softly one moment and the next moment she’s really belting it out. She can be sweet or sultry or soulful, and she does it all like it just comes naturally. The bottom line is, Shana Morrison rocks!