Wooden Blues, February 19: Delta Duo and Chris Yakopcic

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Wooden Blues Logo

Wooden Blues, February 19: Delta Duo and Chris Yakopcic

Wooden Blues returns this Friday, February 19 to J&J Winery / Noble Order Brewing, in Richmond, Indiana. The music begins at 7 PM with an opening performance by Achilles Tenderloin. I’ve included a map below for any  first timers, out there.

This Wooden Blues concert series features a different pair of the region’s absolute finest acoustic blues artists each month, selected and hosted by Achilles Tenderloin.

February’s featured acts are Dayton’s Chris Yakopcic and Delta Duo, of Indianapolis. If you’ve heard me go on about either, you know they’re among my personal favorite living blues artists anywhere.

You local folks might remember Chris and the Duo from a blues festival we held at the winery in 2014, as well as from Achilles Tenderloin’s Roscoe’s Odyssey series in February 2014. I’ve included some photos from the event, below.

Chris Yakopcic

Chris has been stirring up excitement in the blues world for years. He’s a phenomenal picker, to put it mildly, and one heck of a songwriter, to boot.

Chris Yakopcic at Roscoe's Odyssey
Chris Yakopcic at Roscoe’s Odyssey. 2014-02-15. Photo by Nate Stevens

His latest album, The Next Place I Leave (2015), has received momentous acclaim, internationally. In addition to terrestrial and internet radio stations around the world, it’s also part the regular rotation in my own home.

As for Chris’s unique playing style, I trust him to explain it better than I can. Here’s a brief description from chrisyakopcicmusic.com — a more personal and detailed description is available from the About Me section of the site:

Chris Yakopcic is a fingerstyle acoustic blues player, vocalist, and songwriter inspired by pre-war delta and piedmont players. His guitar playing builds on the rhythmic and often high energy thumb-bass picking patterns innovated by Robert Johnson, Bill Broonzy, and Blind Blake (among others).

Chris performs regularly at bars and listening rooms mostly located throughout Ohio and Pennsylvania. He has also performed on the main stage at blues festivals in Dayton and Cincinnati. He has recently started teaching and holding workshops on acoustic blues guitar at venues such as Taffy’s in Eaton, OH.

Additionally, Chris has twice qualified for the International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis, TN after winning the regional competitions held in Pittsburgh (2011) and Cincinnati (2012). In 2011 he recorded his debut album “Done Found My Freedom ‘fore My Technique” and is currently working on his second release.

Delta Duo

JJ (guitar & vocal) and Irina (violin) will make your heart skip a beat or three with soulfully unique stylings of rare and classic delta blues, from Son House to Skip James, Chalie Patton, and Robert Johnson. Tuinal Blues, one of the duo’s compelling original songs, is a personal favorite of mine.

Delta Duo
Delta Duo

The duo is a cornerstone of Indianapolis’s growing and vibrant acoustic blues scene, rooted in the city’s historic Irvington district. There, they host a number of festivals and regular concert series, including a monthly First Friday event at 10 Johson Avenue Coffee, where I had the pleasure of joining them earlier this month.

Here’s a little more background on JJ and Irina from Delta Duo’s profile on Reverbnation:

Pre-WWII Mississippi Delta blues with an Eastern European flair. The Indianapolis-based Delta Duo marries the raw tone of a National resonator slide guitar to the sweet purity of the classical Russian violin.

Russian violinist Irina Povarova was formally trained in classical violin at the Kazan musical conservatory in Tatarstan, Russia. She has toured throughout Europe with the Symphonic Orchestra of the Radio and TV Company of Belarus and more recently has performed stateside with the Carmel Symphony Orchestra and her chamber music quartet in venues across central Indiana. Offstage, Irina is a highly-respected instructor of violin, viola, and piano.

Born and raised in Chicago, blues guitarist and retired Naval officer JJ Stenzoski is a devotee and scholar of early acoustic blues and brings his passion for these musical roots to each performance. He has performed in Russia, Belarus, and in venues throughout the United States, intent on bringing the acoustic blues tradition to all generations of music lovers. JJ studied blues guitar under the personal tutelage of world-renown artists Stefan Grossman, Woody Mann, and acoustic blues master Rory Block.

Map to Wooden Blues

Here is a map to Wooden Blues at J&J Winery / Noble Order Brewing, in Richmond, Indiana.


Photos: Chris Yakopcic & Delta Duo at Roscoe’s Odyssey

Here are some photos of Chris and Delta Duo taken by Nate Stevens at Roscoe’s Odyssey in February 2014.

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