A slight detour from grassyland for a shout out for Brian Blade’s West Coast tour with Mama Rosa, a band named after his grandmother and 2009 album. Blade, the versatile Shreveport, LA-born son of a preacher man drummer, rose to jazz stardom with Brian Blade and The Fellowship Band and backing acts like Bob Dylan and Emmylou Harris on drums. Mama Rosa, which has been classified by some as “psychedelic gospel,” features Blade on guitar and vocals, my friend Kelly Jones on vocals, Goffrey Moore on guitar, Chris Thomas on bass and Steve Nistor on drums. The band is currently touring the West Coast, with a show tonight in Oakland, two stops in LA tomorrow and a two more shows in Denver this weekend.
“For some time now, these songs have existed in the solitude of my room, and I got a lot of joy and satisfaction from just knowing that they existed,” Blade says. “But at a certain point I questioned whether it was fear or selfishness that kept me quiet. Facing the music and the mirror, I began to ask if this was the end of the process? What does God expect of me? Maybe someone else might find some inspiration in the songs.”
Here’s “Mercy Angel,” a soulful gospel song and my favorite from the album, which features Kelly Jones on backing vocals. See tour details here.