Rear View Mirror
Guitar Mac and the Blues Express at Picnic in the Park on 4 April 2007 .
Guitar Mac and the Blues Express were set up next to a large patio with tables, chairs and the beer and wine concession, and across the park lawn from the Farmer’s Market shelter with its farmers, merchants and food vendors. The Blues Express was Rick on guitar, Tammy on bass, and Eric on drums. There was no sound system, just the amplifiers for the band’s instruments.
True to his name, Guitar Mac had five guitars (that I could see) - everything from a steel hollow body to a rectangular solid body reminiscent of Bo Diddley’s guitar. For the most part Guitar Mac played slide guitar - not the Roy Rogers style of maximum notes in the minimum time, but a style with a slower blues feel “sho nuff.” The play list spanned the blues genre from Robert Johnson to Jimmy Hendrix and included quite a few Elmore James and Jimmy Reed songs, “yes, yes.” Some songs were played to the traditional arrangements while others were played to the band’s own arrangements. I’d say that feelings are mixed regarding some of the band’s arrangements, but they do get one to give the songs a fresh listen. Rick played at least one extended solo in each of the three sets while Guitar Mac took the tip jar through the audience.
The size of the audience impressed me. The lawn and patio were filled with a cross section of the Davis population (and a few interlopers). There were several toddlers and preschoolers, brought by their parents or grandparents, jumping and turning to the music – a new generation of dancers learning to appreciate the blues. Two adult couples danced near the beer and wine concession for a time, but the Picnic in the Park is mainly a place to kick back and enjoy food, drink, good weather, great company and good music.