Like our neighbors over at Eating Our Words, Rocks Off would like to tell you about some places that didn't quite make the cut in our few most recent Best of Houston issues (categories change every year, mostly), but that are worthy on their own merits; today we begin our weekly journey with blues clubs. Don't forget to look at all the winners with our mobile apps for both iPhone and Android.
The sad fact is, given its amazing blues heritage, there just aren't that many blues joints left in Houston -- at least not many that offer blues and nothing but the blues on a nightly basis. In 2010, the Bronze Peacock Room at House of Blues was named best blues venue, but only hosts maybe a dozen blues gigs per year, although it has tried to make a go with some Monday blues shows featuring mostly locals, and does grab the occasional national touring act.
But for those willing to dig a little deeper, Houston still offers some fine blues-oriented waterholes where world class musicians keep the blues alive. Keep in mind, for most venues blues is a part time thing, not the bread and butter. Below are the best venues where blues is still happening.
8. D Bar: This recently renamed lounge on historic Dowling Street, not too far from the Project Row Houses and the Lightnin' Hopkins historical marker, has become a local hot spot on the weekends, with crowds spilling out onto the patio and cars parked for blocks.
But the club has recently instituted a Blue Monday program that features Trudy Lynn and Gloria Edwards. Running from 6-9 p.m., the show includes a short set by either Lynn or Edwards followed by a jam. The last time we popped in, we met Texas Johnny Brown toting his guitar in for some jamming with some of Houston's top players in the form of Pops Stewart, Pee Wee Stephens, John McVey and Little Joe Frenchwood.
Once-in-a-lifetime combos like that make this is a very cool scene that we hope will grow some legs and stick around a while.
4409 Dowling, 832-304-4409, Facebook page
7. The Hideaway on Dunvale: Rick Lee, a lifelong Houstonian and serious guitar slinger, fronts the Hideaway's Tuesday night jams which bring out many of the folks who also participate in the jams at Big Easy and Dan Electro's.
The last time we were there, Lee was playing drums behind Eric Demmer and Evelyn Rubio, and those two sax maniacs were trying to blow the roof off the joint. Aside from the weekly blues jam, the club also hosts local and touring blues acts as part of its live music mix. A little off the beaten path, this one is worth finding.
3122 Dunvale, 713-977-3515, Web site