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Published: Monday, 2/14/2011

Bedford library's blues series to showcase blend of influences


TEMPERANCE -- The Macpodz is a testament to why blues is the roots of all American music.

Instead of guitar, the five musicians in the young Ann Arbor band blend bass, trumpet, flute, keyboard, and drums to create a distinctive a style of jazz and rootsy sounds.

The mostly instrumental act will perform Feb. 22 at the Bedford Library as part of the Monroe County Library Systems' month-long blues series that began Feb. 1.

Bill Reiser, library system coordinator, said despite the lack of guitar, listeners can hear the influences of blues in the jam band, and appropriate for inclusion in the library's award-winning Black History Month Blues Series.

"What we have tried to show over the years is how the blues is related to many kinds of musical genres," he said.

Macpodz will perform at 7 p.m. for about two hours. Other events in the series include The (pretty) Big Gig at 7 p.m. Feb. 15 in the Meyer Theater at Monroe County Community College's La-Z-Boy center in Monroe.

The blues series began in 1988 to celebrate Black History Month and promote community spirit and multiculturalism.

"We usually combine national, regional, and local acts. We have presented everyone from blues legends like Willie Dixon, Pine Top Perkins, and Nappy Brown to younger artists like Guy Davis, Rory Block, and Safire -- the Uppity Blues Women," Mr. Reiser said. "More often than not, we have capacity crowds at all the events. People really seem to enjoy it. We have set a standard for quality that is very important."

The library received the Keeping the Blues Alive Award in 2009 in the education category from the Memphis-based Blues Foundation for the series' contributions to the musical genre in Monroe.

"We have been doing this for 24 years. Monroe has definitely earned a reputation for the blues series and certainly has become kind of an unlikely hotbed for blues music," Mr. Reiser said.

All the events in the blues series are free.

The library is supported with a coalition of community sponsors to pay for the programs. "It is a very unique, diverse group of organizations and businesses that come together to make this happen," Mr. Reiser said.

Other events in the series include The (pretty) Big Gig at 7 p.m. Feb. 15 in the Meyer Theater at Monroe County Community College's La-Z-Boy center in Monroe.

The Big Gig, featuring the Holmes Brothers, the Ebony Hillbillies, and the Rev. Robert Jones, is at 7 p.m. Feb. 26, also in the Meyer Theater.

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