2014 Bluesmasters At The Crossroads

2014 Bluesmasters coverage, this is my one non-car thing I do each year and the reason there is no major car coverage this week on the site. For 17 years the Blues Masters At The Crossroads has been held mid October in Salina, KS at the historic Blue Heaven Studios. In 1999 I attended for the first time as a spectator, bummed that I had missed the 1998 inaugural event. I had spent most of the week in Phoenix looking at apartments for my upcoming stint at the Conservatory Of Recording Arts & Sciences. We hammered the throttle down to get home in time for me to attend that 1999 event. Fast forward to August of 2000 and I’m returning to Salina from Phoenix to complete an internship at Blue Heaven Studios to complete my schooling. More after the break…

This post brought to by the 2015 Calendar For Charity, click the image to order.

So it’s 2000, I’m a lowly intern at a studio devoted to the blues and analog recordings. I was there when we got the Neumann lathe and we had to carry it into the building and get it set into position. The lathe is how you make a record. Audio comes from the control room either live from the stage (the way we do it) or from a master tape, through the console and into the lathe to make the master recording into a record sized and shaped piece of aluminum coated in black lacquer called… get this, a lacquer. The way we do it gives you the best possible recording quality, straight from the artist, through the mixer to the lathe, then the lacquer goes to our pressing plant a few blocks away for production.

The full story of Blue Heaven is too long to tell today but the short version is that the building was built as a church in the 20’s and finally in the 90’s the church was ready to move to a new facility. So Chad Kassem, owner of Acoustic Sounds, a Salina based mail order and internet record shop bought the building with the idea of turning the massive building into a warehouse. As fate would have it that never happened, before you know it, he had himself a world class recording studio and a great performance space.

So this was the 17th year of the Blues Masters At The Crossroads concert, a festival that over the years has put most of the living legends of the blues on the stage and more importantly putting their performances and their life stories to tape so that we can archive them for all time. Starting in 2000 I was the stage manager, making the stage show ready and keeping the show going. After tragedy befell our staff when we lost our head engineer I was bumped up to run the tape machines that record the shows. Our 2nd engineer was bumped up to the head spot and we kept the show going, because this is show business and the show must go on.

There you have it, some of the history behind this non- car weekend that I do each  year. If you’re a blues fan, put this on your calendar now for next year and I’ll see you there.

Here are some photos from this year’s show.


Gus Skinas running the only digital that we allow, the DSD systems. Super high resolution digital recorders.


Moreland & Arbuckle on the stage on Friday night


Katsu Naito on the mix for the recordings

My job for the weekend is to keep the 2 ATR ½” tape machines rolling throughout the action on stage.

Legend Lazy Lester at center stage

Seth taking a break from the stage to go over the notes for the next set change.


Big George Brock at center stage with Marquise Knox.

 A silly toy that I found the first day I was at the studio in 2000 now oversees everything we do.


Marquise Knox, first hit our stage at 16 years old. Now at 23 it’s been a treat to watch him mature as an artist and a performer.

Yes I know what every button and knob does, it’s really not that big of a deal.


Salina Mayor Aaron Householter watching the control room action, as he does most every year.


Shot from the control room through the double paned window, Joe Beard on the stage on Saturday night.

Lazy Lester joined later on Saturday.

Sonny Green with an amazing suit.


Saturday headliner Bernard Allison was amazing.


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See you at a show,


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