Taylor Made Blues Band coming to Riviera Theatre this month
By Robert Tomlinson
Taylor Made Blues Band, a blues band “from the heart of the Mississippi Delta,” will be coming north to entertain Riviera Theatre on April 19 at 8 p.m.
This is the second year in a row that the band, led by Mick Kolassa, is coming to the Riviera, and for a good reason. Coming up to St. Joseph County is akin to a homecoming for the man dubbed “Michissippi.”
“I was raised in Sturgis, went to Glen Oaks Community College, and I’ve got so many friends in the area,” Kolassa said. “My sister lives in Three Rivers, and one of my best friends just moved there. I lived in Schoolcraft for a few years, and I’ve worked in Kalamazoo in the past, so it’s all home.”
Kolassa said the band started three years ago. Originally, the other two members of the band were from Taylor, Mississippi, but Kolassa said that he’s the only one left from the area. For the Riviera concert, he will be joined by David Dunavent, a Sumner, Mississippi, native, on guitar and additional vocals; Seth Hill, an Atlanta native, on bass; and Lucy Kate Piper, a Great Britain native, on drums.
The biggest inspiration to start the band, Kolassa said, was his overall fascination with the blues and his musical upbringing.
“I went to Mississippi almost 30 years ago, but I’ve been a blues fan my whole life,” Kolassa said. “I’ve been a musician and performer since I still lived in Michigan. Got together with some guys and did an album of trout fishing songs. So, I’ve always been a musician. When I moved to Mississippi, it gave me the opportunity to be in the heart of the blues scene. I got deeper into it, and as a performer, I got into that and played more of it.”
Kolassa has been on the Board of Directors of the Blues Foundation in the past, and has been active with Blues International. 100 percent of the gross profits of his album sales goes to the Blues Foundation, whose mission is “to preserve blues heritage, celebrate blues recording and performance, expand worldwide awareness of the blues, and ensure the future of the uniquely American art form.”
Kolassa said that his main influences are blues musicians Muddy Waters, the “father of modern Chicago blues,” and Howlin’ Wolf, one of the best-known Chicago blues musicians. Kolassa also said where he grew up influenced his music as well.
“It’s a special place growing up in southern Michigan in the late 60s,” Kolassa said. “We had Motown and we had rock and roll, and I could listen to blues coming in from Chicago, so I was influenced by a lot of that.”
Kolassa said that he’s made blues covers of classic songs from his teenage years, such as Three Dog Night’s “Mama Told Me Not To Come.” One of the biggest projects he did was create a blues album covering Beatles songs.
“We did a very slow, sad version of Lady Madonna on the album, which is about a single mother who couldn’t afford her rent,” Kolassa said. “I got a note from a friend who told me Paul McCartney said we did a great job with the song.”
Kolassa said that audiences should expect to have a good time with the show.
“We have a good time on stage,” Kolassa said. “We will introduce most songs, and the background and where it came from, we’ll engage in a conversation with the audience, and we’ll show them our stuff.”
Tickets for Taylor Made Blues Band can be purchased on the Riviera Theatre website. Tickets are $10 in advance, and $12 on the day of the show. The show starts at 8 p.m., with doors opening at 7 p.m.
Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 23 or TRCNrobtoml@gmail.com.