Former owner Doug Nelson and new owner Nancy Feraco was recently on hand to discuss the upcoming music events at Nelson’s Candlies/Local’s Café in Wilton, New Hampshire. This unique venue, Local’s Café, is on the other side of a candy making, candy retailing facility. To the uninitiated, it’s unusual to see a live blues band perform inside a candy store. Yet, those familiar are now unfazed by this unique venue. Both the former and the current owner help organize the store’s music program.
On July 27 this week, Nelson‘s Candies/Local‘s Café will host Dave Fields, a New York City blues guitarist and FMI Records owner. Touring in support of his new album Unleashed, Fields will stop at Nelson’s Candies/Local’s Café this Saturday night where Fields and his four piece band will play ferocious blues rock. Feraco said that she found Field through a mutual friend. “He called us,” she said,” which was pretty fantastic.”
“He’s in the New York City Hall of Fame,” Feraco continues. “I watched a few of his videos. I know he’s considered a blues artist, but I feel that he’s on that cusp or block too where he could appeal to a lot of people.”
Nelson’s Candies on August 3ird will host New Hampshire blues scene notables Otis And The Elevators. Everybody in the New England blues scene knows of Otis Doncaster and his blues outfit Otis And The Elevators. Doncaster is a fierce but also sensitive harmonica player who, when he is not fronting his own outfit, plays the blues harp for Luther “Guitar Junior” And The Magic Rockers.
Doncaster has a special place in his heart for this very unique Wilton, New Hampshire candy store crossed with a blues venue.
“Doug is a great guy. He loves the Music. It’s small but comfortable and a very nice place to get up close with the artists,” the harmonica man said. “The benefits are sweet.”
Like most of the other local area musicians and residents, Doncaster is familiar with most of the Nelson’s Candies/Local’s Café personnel. “I really liked the other manager. Haven’t met the new one yet,” Doncaster said.
Another New York state artist, Chris Beard, will play Nelson’s this summer, on August 16. Beard, of Rochester, New York, will be by to play his passionate blues guitar. Raised by his daddy Joe Beard, a veteran of the national blues scenes, Chris Beard had many great blues artists around the house when he was growing up.
“I grew up in the House of the blues,” Beard said, “listening to Lightning Hopkins. I grew up next door to Son House who’s a Delta Blues artist here in Rochester. Luther Allison, Albert Kind, and all those people. Coming up, I was always surrounded by people like Matt “Guitar” Murphy, Buddy Guy. My dad used to support Buddy Guy and Junior Wells whenever they came through upstate New York. It was those people always around the house. Matt “Guitar” Murphy was like my uncle because they all come from Mississippi, like my dad.”
Beard grew up with old blues at a time when rock and roll was getting more popular. He eventually became more influenced by R&B. His guitar licks eventually came to combine influences from all of them.
“I could say Albert King was my favorite because I loved the way that he played the guitar. It was like a rocket taking off. But then, I love Luther Alison too. I love what he did and just the way that he did it.”
Beard’s need to play blues comes as a source of healing. He’s a recovering addict of almost 28 years. As a teenager, Jimi Hendrix was Beard’s idol, and that is where the drug problems came from.
“Jimi got fucked up, so did I,” Beard said. “I felt that the higher I got, the better I played. But when I stopped getting high, without drugs and alcohol, I found out that my inspiration flowed freer. Me playing, I got high off my music.”
For Beard, blues must be played live to be truly felt.
“Because that’s the feeling, man,” he said. “Playing it live is feeling it. First, you make a record. Today, it’s CDs and everything is turning to technical and computerized, downloads, and all that stuff like that. Really, a CD is like a calling card for an artist to put himself out there and to build fans and lure people out to the show. ‘I love this record. Let me go see.’ I just come from Baton Rouge with Kenny Neal recording my next CD. I’m a guitar player and Kenny Neal said ‘You’re doing a record. You’re not playing live. You know what I mean‘? Because when you’re playing live, you get the spirit and you get the feeling of the crowd and everything, and that just makes for a whole better show. That’s what I expect when I go see someone live, and that’s what I expect when people come see me, to enjoy my show better than they enjoyed my record. I don’t want nobody to say ‘Well, shit, the record was better than he was‘. See what I mean? I want them to say ‘Oh my God. That fuckin’ guy cut up, man. Oh, man he was great. Live is really where it’s happening.”
Beard has not played New Hampshire since a gig many years ago at Tupelo Music Hall in Londonderry. Playing at Local’s Café/Nelson’s Candies will mark his return to the Granite State.
“That’s going to be very interesting because it is a candy store,” Beard said. “That’s the funny part to me and I’m looking forward to it. I’ve heard about it, and I’m looking forward to seeing what it’s like. I talk to the owner. I talked to Nancy. I’m excited about playing there.”
Paul Klemperer and his New Hampshire Ensemble will take the stage at Nelson’s Candies/Local’s Café on August 31st. Paul Klemper was born in Boston and now lives in Austin, Texas but uses a band of New Hampshire musicians when he‘s up north.
“They play every summer in Peterborough,” Feraco said. “The Town of Peterborough hires them. It’s the park over by Depot Square. Paul is a saxophonist out in Texas. He has a great name and a great following out there. For some reason, he does come back here to New Hampshire each summer. He has gathered the New Hampshire Ensemble. They get together every summer to play gigs. One of them had approached me about it. They were playing at the Alborn Mansion a few times. I checked them out online, and they are very good. They have a way of getting people up and dancing.”
On September 28th New Hampshire fans of blues, acid rock, classic rock, and old school R&B will have their plates filled at Nelson‘s Candies.
The event is being billed as Double Your Blues with the L&M Rhythm Kings and the Bees Deluxe. Two Massachusetts bands, L&M from the Metro West area of the Commonwealth and Bees Deluxe,, acid blues band from the greater-Boston area. The L&M Rhythm Kings are playing out in support of their new CD The Lower Level. Bees Deluxe are still playing in support of their Voice Of Dog CD released last year. Bees Deluxe keyboardist Carol Band shed light on how this exciting double billing came to be.
“We suggested a double-bill featuring the L&M Rhythm Kings and Bees Deluxe to Nelson’s Candy & Music Store,” Band said. “We’re both on the same New England circuit playing, most often at the same time at different venues. We rarely get to see our friends play. So we thought we’d book together to share some laughs, share a backline and maybe even close out the night with all eight of us on stage playing a twisted version of ‘Whipping Post’ or ‘Don’t Fear the Reaper‘. We’ll ask the audience what they want to hear. We also arranged for special pricing for our fans who may not be familiar with this fun venue. Tickets are only $10 for two local and distinctive blues bands.”
On Oct 27th, Nelson’s Candies/Local’s Café will get a taste of the land down under. Harper and Midwest Kind features Multiple award winning Australian Singer/songwriter World music and roots harmonica player Peter D. Harper. Known for the haunting drone of the didgeridoo and his Detroit backing band Midwest Kind, Harper brings his soulful vocals and whirlwind blues to venues around the world. His sound is influenced by 1950s R&B, 1960s hippie vibes, and 1970s funk and soul. Harper’s didgeridoo is a primitive wind instrument developed by Indigenous Australians of northern Australia, within the last 1,500 years and is described as a wooden trumpet. Touring to support his Show Your Love CD.
“That’s going to be huge,” Feraco said. “It’s still blues, rock-blues. It’s got something a little different, little something extra, and I think people are going to love it.”