MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Features

March 13, 2014

Party time in Rentiesville

Benefit for blues festival has seven bands on bill

Darryl Ross has played music since he was a child, inspired by his uncle playing guitar and singing at family functions.

So when a motorcycle accident in 1995 left him temporarily paralyzed in one arm, he thought about giving up on music. But he didn’t.

Ross, who plays bass guitar, and his band, Direct Connect of Oklahoma City, bring their blues sounds to the Rentiesville St. Pat’s Party/Mini Fest Day and Night on Saturday and Sunday. It is a fundraiser for the 24th annual Dusk ’Til Dawn Blues Festival on Labor Day weekend at the Down Home Blues Club in Rentiesville.

Selby Minner, organizer and owner of the club, said Direct Connect is a fun group of musicians. The band is one of seven, including five Oklahoma Blues Hall of Fame inductees, playing in the mini-festival. Direct Connect performs at 9:30 p.m. Saturday.

“They are more of a soul blues type of band,” Minner said. “They are an exciting group.”

The mini-fest is the season opener and fundraiser for the Oklahoma Blues Hall of Fame to get better air conditioning in the club, redoing the fence, and adding a few electric hookups in the lot, Minner said. There will be a silent auction of music posters, T-shirts and more.

“We love these musicians who help us out,” Minner said. “They believe in us and what we are doing here in Rentiesville.”

Ross, who has played at the Dusk ’Til Dawn Festival, said playing in Rentiesville has been very educational for him with all the great musicians that come through there.

“It inspired me ... kept me focused on the music,” he said.

It was his children that inspired Ross to try to play after the accident. He played drums and bass guitar but sticks with the guitar now because it’s easier than drums.

“I wanted my kids to know you don’t give up,” Ross said. “Things may look bleak. You can find a way to do something. Make it happen. That’s what I did. I give it all to Him.”

Ross’ band of about 10 will play jazz, rhythm and blues, and blues. Some of the tunes are original. They are getting ready to cut another CD.

“We enjoy playing and locking in,” he said. “That’s the direct connect — people playing together so the sound becomes one.”

When an audience hears the sounds of Direct Connect, Ross said, the music should relax them.

“They should feel love coming from the music. It’s what’s in the heart that will come out with the music.”

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