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Brad Vickers and His Vestapolitans
February 7 @ 7:30 pm - 10:30 pm| $5
Guitarist/songwriter Brad Vickers learned on the job playing, recording, and touring with America’s blues and roots masters: Pinetop Perkins, Jimmy Rogers, Hubert Sumlin, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Odetta, Sleepy LaBeef, and Rosco Gordon — to name only a few. As bass player for Little Mike & The Tornadoes, he cut his teeth backing up these elder statesmen, many of whom called on him to work and record with them over the years. Brad had the good fortune to play on Pinetop Perkins’ Grammy-nominated discs, “Born in the Delta” (Telarc), and “Ladies’ Man” (MC Records).
Now his group, The Vestapolitans, offers a good-time, crowd-pleasing mix of Blues and great American Roots ‘n’ Roll. A great new CD, their 4th, “Great Day In The Morning” came out this past Spring. It joins “Traveling Fool” (2011), “Stuck With The Blues” (2010), and “Le Blues Hot” (2008). All three have met with terrific reviews, “Best Of” lists, radio play on 250+ stations, including being XM channel 70 Bluesville’s “Pick2click” choices, where the band’s music remains in rotation. Most important, audiences love them!
Back in the 1800s, refined young people were taught, among other skills, “parlor guitar”. There was one popular piece called “The Siege of Sebastapol,” whose title referred to a town that figured in the Crimean war. This instrumental was what was known as a “character” or stage bravura piece, with sections meant to emulate sound effects like a bugle call, stirring battle sounds, etc. This kind of piece was learned by advanced students for recitals.
Most importantly, it was played in “open” tuning. This tuning caught fire and circulated among players almost at once, and though the piece itself did not become a standard, there must have been enough performances to get the name into circulation. By the 1920s “Sevastopol”, as it was then spelled, tuning became very popular with players from all walks of life, both chord and slide guitarists. As the years went on, the name got bent into all kinds of shapes, Vestopol, Vestapool, Vastopol, Bestapol, etc. In fact, Bo Diddley said that he first learned guitar in “Vastabol” tuning. (Bo favored open E, and would use a capo to vary the key).