Booked several days a week at venues across the Valley, it's clear the Hoodoo Casters are doing something right; they've played nearly every blues-friendly venue in the Valley, along with some in northern Arizona. Their motto says it all: They're "the blues your mama warned you about."
Performing a mix of Chicago and swampy Mississippi hill-country blues, they also play swing and boogie blues. They're one of six groups performing November 24 at the Phoenix Blues Society fundraiser at the Steel Horse Saloon.
The fun starts at one in the afternoon and continues -- well, until they run out of music. The other bands performing at the PBS fundraiser are Big Daddy D and the Dynamites, Tommy Grills and Brickhouse, Paul Cruize Blues Crew, Scatfish, Terraplane Station, and JC and the Juke Rockers.
Jim Crawford, president of the Phoenix Blues Society, said the $5 donation at the door will go toward the Blues Blast, a Phoenix blues festival set to be held March 8 at Margaret T. Hance Park in downtown Phoenix.
Mike Simpson, lead guitarist and vocalist for the Hoodoo Casters, said he loves PBS because they expose the blues through generations and support the local performers. Simpson himself served on the PBS board from 1995-2003, when they had the Blues in the Schools program informing youth about the history of the blues.That program faded away due to the bad economy, but several in the community would like to bring it back.
For now, though, Simpson and The Hoodoo Casters want to do their part to support PBS. The Hoodoo Casters have been together for about a year, performing regularly at Papadeaux Seafood and the Steel Horse. They've also performed at Desert Eagle Brewing in Mesa, Irish Wolfhound in Surprise, Old Sedona Bar and Grill, Rhythm Room in Phoenix, Hideaway in Cave Creek, Ragin Cajun in Scottsdale and The Raven Cafe in Prescott.
"Papadeaux is one of our favorites because it's a friendly atmosphere. We can also take time to enjoy Gumbo," he said. "The Steel House is a good size with a nice stage . . . they have a motorcycle crowd of nice folks, and their Arizona Philly Cheesesteak is great."
With three lead singers, the band -- guitarist Mike Dotson, bassist Maury "Hooter" Saslaff, drummer Mike Hutchinson, and Boyd White on harmonica -- the band pays homage to a variety of sounds to complement their large repertoire.
The Hoodoo Casters will also perform March 29 at the Olde Town Center Blues Festival in Cottonwood.
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