Cammies: Country/Folk Showcase

The Blue Merles perform during the first night of the Cammies music festival on Thursday at LaSalles in downtown Chico. Photo credit: Caio Calado

Thursday night was the start of the 2015 Cammies, the Chico Area Music Awards, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Four genres of music were showcased, fitting anyone’s favorite’s list.

The place to hear some good old-fashioned country music was at LaSalles, where it hosted the folk and country showcase. The stage was set on the outside patio where a stream of brightly lit lights hung loose above a night of live music.

Fans of both folk and country got a taste of two bands that brought their enthusiastic love of music to audiences both young and old. As a crowd slowly gathered, music from a DJ filled the room while the opening act began to get ready.

Brad Petersen and Friends took the stage first to kick off the night, and although they were opening up for the selected nominees, they played as though they were bringing it to win. As someone who hadn’t played at LaSalles before, Petersen planted on stage and took it over as if he knew exactly what he was doing.

Before leaving the crowd, the band performed the classic “Folsom Prison Blues” but with a slight difference with the lyric change, “I shot a man in Chico.”

The first band was a collective group of men who called themselves The Blue Merles. To start off their set was a familiar song, John Prine’s “Take a Look at My Heart,” and it was followed up with songs like “Live Forever.”

Each band member was playing as one. The music grabbed the audience and had them dancing in between chairs.

With all the musical instruments playing at once, there were times when it was hard to hear the lyrics. This may be because the microphone was too soft, or it may just have been the audience and its loud enthusiasm.

Sometimes when a band or singer comes on stage, there is an immediate idea of how they might sound in one’s head. The moment Michelin Embers stepped onto stage and began to fiddle around with their instruments, there was a touch of deja vu.

Like The Blue Merles, Michelin Embers were playful and energetic.

The sound that the band brought was what would be expected from a country band. Some songs that were performed were “Looking for a Hole,” and a favorite, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.”

There was something hypnotic about watching someone pound away with a washtub bass that brought a new experience into this writer’s life.

It was a night filled with live music done right, and those who performed on the LaSalles stage truly know country music.

Erin Vierra can be reached at [email protected] or @gingersmurf85 on Twitter.