Blues artist Dr. John to help inaugurate Aurora’s new RiverEdge Park
By ERIC SCHELKOPF - firstname.lastname@example.org
The legendary Dr. John will help inaugurate the new RiverEdge Park in Aurora when he takes the stage at 9 p.m. Friday as part of the 17th annual Blues on the Fox festival.
The festival is the first musical event to take place in the new venue at 360 N. Broadway Ave., Aurora. Aurora has a rich blues history. In 1937 and 1938, Sonny Boy Williamson, Henry Townsend and other notable Bluebird artists made recordings at the Leland Hotel in downtown Aurora.
Other artists set to play Friday and Saturday as part of the festival include JJ Grey & Mofro, The Stone Foxes, Tommy Castro and The Painkillers, Robert Randolph and The Family Band and Buddy Guy.
Tickets range from $10 to $50, available at www.riveredgeaurora.com.
Kane County Chronicle reporter Eric Schelkopf did a phone interview this week with Dr. John, who was in Brazil for a festival also featuring Chicago’s own Buddy Guy and Shemekia Copeland.
Eric Schelkopf: Your latest album, “Locked Down,” received a Grammy award for best blues album. Was that a surprise?
Dr. John: Well, I was surprised that it fell into that category, to be quite frank. I didn’t think it was a blues record, per se.
ES: What category would you put it in?
DJ: I don’t know. I’m not good with that. I think there’s only two kinds of music, good music and bad music.
ES: Black Keys guitarist Dan Auerbach produced the album. Why did you want to work with him on the album? What did he do that you liked?
DJ: He did a lot of good stuff. I’m glad he’s open to doing different kinds of stuff. That’s a real good thing.
I’m interested in people who are open to different kinds of music.
ES: You’ve appeared on the show “Treme.” Do you think “Treme” portrays New Orleans, your hometown, in an authentic light?
DJ: I don’t know. I don’t own a television, so I don’t get to watch those shows.
I like the fact that they let me roll with something, whatever it was.
ES: Talking about New Orleans, what do you love about New Orleans?
DJ: It’s my home. Even with all of the problems it has had, including Hurricane Katrina, it’s still there.
That’s where I got started at, and it’s always a good feeling being around there.
ES: You’ve been on the scene for a while now. What keeps you going? What do you think about today’s music scene, as opposed to when you first started?
DJ: I think a lot of stuff is different, and I don’t know if it’s better or worse. I’m not too fond of what they call pop music.
When I grew up, my father sold records from his store on Gentilly Road. He only sold race records, which was R&B and blues, and he sold gospel records.
He also sold jazz, which was traditional jazz, Afro Cuban and Bebop, along with hillbilly music, which was country.
ES: You’ve done so much and worked with so many people. Do you have any dream collaborations?
DJ: I always feel like things will naturally happen. If things ain’t natural, they ain’t going to happen.
ES: I know a lot of people are anxious to see you in Aurora.
DJ: We’re going to have a spiritually hip time.