NKU Blues Night

On a cool Saturday evening in Cold Spring, Ky., several people from around the area gathered at Guys and Dolls Bar and Grill to socialize with friends, enjoy some good food and cocktails and be a part of an audience who bore witness to exceptional blues style music.

The venue is comfortably lit, with an elaborate bar area that grabs the attention of everyone with its changing neon lit exterior. Tonight is no ordinary night at Guys and Dolls. Originally located at the Madison Theater in Covington, Ky., this is a chance for the audience to see Northern Kentucky University Jazz students interact with some of the top blues musicians in the area, along with contributing to a fundraiser program known as EMPOWER.

“It’s a community service program,” said William Brian “Boss” Hogg. “This night also serves as recognition of African American music, as well as exposing our students to professional level musicians.” Hogg is an assistant professor at NKU, the director of Jazz Studies and specializes in Saxophone. Hogg had an opportunity to perform with some of the blues acts that were headlining the night’s performance line-up, most notably King Sonic, the award winning group based out of Louisville, Kentucky.

Several other groups included Dayton’s High School Band, Holmes High School, Dick and The Roadmasters, G. Miles and The Hitmen and of course the NKU Jazz Program. Peppered throughout the audience were locals from around town, friends and family of those performing and occasional NKU students.

“I saw an ad for [Blues Night] and decided to try it out,” said NKU student Amy Noel. “My boyfriend likes blues music so it was cool for the both of us.” Noel is a senior at NKU working toward a Marketing degree and a Business Administrator minor. Other patrons included former students like Mike Bustle, who departed from NKU several years ago after focusing his studies in Construction Management.

“I was referred by a friend to come tonight,” said Bustle. “It was a good atmosphere and relaxing. I’m a huge fan of smaller venues; the music feels a little more personal than say a big arena.”

The event was marketed through a program known as NKU Connections, a branch of the university that gets the community, as well as NKU students, faculty and alumni involved in NKU sponsored activities that are open to the public or sub-set of the public.