2013 Summer Fundraiser
A native of San Diego, BJ “Beej” Estares grew up in Southern California heavily influenced by jazz and big band music, thanks to his dad’s eclectic taste. After moving to music-saturated Los Angeles at the age of twelve, his parents gleefully helped him trade his drum set for an acoustic guitar. He then proceeded to wear out the grooves of every Wes Montgomery LP he could get his hands on. At fourteen, his brother turned him on to Janis Joplin’s “Turtle Blues”. From that day the poor boy has been lost in the blues forever.
Turning to the British Blues scene through the Stones and Ry Cooder, BJ discovered bluesmen like John Mayall, Eric Clapton, John Martyn and their contemporaries. This led him to the Americans that influenced the Englishmen. Artists like Robert Johnson, Muddy, John Lee, and the “Three Kings”: Albert, Freddie and BB, to name a distinguished few. At sixteen, luck, or perhaps, fate put Beej front row-center in front of the legendary bottle neck guitarist Fury Louis. After being helped out on to the stage, the then 78 year old Louis exposed his secrets to all those in the Pasadena City Aud who were astute enough to take notes.
As a recording artist on the Disk Dog Noise label, Beej released his first recorded blues collection in 2010 titled “Full Time Student Of The Blues”. With long time friend, confidante and blues recording artist Jim Adam as mastering engineer, this critically acclaimed CD features a dynamic performance by pianist John Stilwagen on the title track (an original cut written by BJ).
Four classic blues covers on the CD pay homage to Willy Dixon, Robert Johnson and jazz great, Bobby Troupe, with spicy new arrangements. One Americana/Rock cover (The Weight) showcases the versatility of Route 61 as a band, seasoned with a touch of Beej’s secret electric slide sauce. The remaining seven original tracks are so well written and produced that they are often mistaken as covers. This is where the CD really shines with lyrics cut from the heart of a guy well acquainted with the bitter-sweet flavor of life’s sorrows and joys. BJ’s original songs are seasoned with a pinch of irony, a hand full of truth and the love of a strong woman.
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