Feelin’ blue?

By Craig Kelly

March 7, 2014

LIMA — The time has come again for Lima to feel the blues.

Pickle’s Blues Extravaganza 2014 is coming today and Saturday to Allen County Memorial Hall, bringing some of the best names in blues to downtown Lima.

Today’s lineup includes Tom Holland & the Shuffle Kings, bringing the signature sounds of Chicago blues to the stage. James Armstrong will bring his skills on the guitar to the stage, bringing a mix of contemporary electric blues and soul.

Saturday will bring two award-winning artists to the event. JP Soars won first place in the 2009 International Blues Challenge in Memphis. Soars credits a variety of artists, including Guitar Slim, Miles Davis and Black Sabbath, as influencing his sound. Castro “Mr. Sipp” Coleman won the same contest in Memphis earlier this year and promises a high-energy experience for the audience, thanks to his gospel roots.

“Blues and gospel to me are like first cousins,” he said. “We want to try to connect the energy of gospel with that genre.”

At 37, Coleman is one of the younger acts in the blues scene, but that has not deterred him from honoring the history of blues music.

“People are saying it’s so refreshing to see a younger guy sticking close to the roots of the blues,” he said. “I’m not trying to take it too far out from what it is. I just want to add the high energy.”

For organizer Jerry “Pickle” Felter, one of the best things about this event is it has a broad appeal.

“It is the most diverse crowd,” he said. “A lot of other events that go on don’t market to everyone. We get white, black, Hispanic, Oriental, the richest people in the county, the poorest people in the county and everyone in between sipping adult beverages, rubbing elbows and having a big smile on their face.”

All proceeds from the event will benefit the Blues in Schools program as well as music scholarships and the artist-in-residency program for area schools.