The show must go on | VailDaily.com

The show must go on

Cassie Pence

Special to the DailyEric Lindell, right, and Company (bassist Aaron Wilkinson, slide guitarist Chris Mule and drummer Jake Brown) will perform at Samana on Thursday. Its a benefit concert for the band, whose members lost their home, touring van, amps, guitar and master recordings in Hurricane Katrina.

VAIL – Hurricane Katrina took the van, the guitars, the amps and master recordings. But what musician Aaron Wilkinson is most concerned about is whether the storm will take away the New Orleans way of life that first attracted him to the music Mecca.”I feel saddest about, not necessarily the places that have been ruined, but the way of life,” said Wilkinson. “New Orleans is like no where else. People live for the music. People live for the moment. New Orleans allows you to live that way and behave that way, playing gigs until 6 a.m. any night of the week. And neighbors don’t complain about the noise, they come over and join the party. I’m wondering if it’s ever going to get back to that.”Wilkinson plays bass with New Orleans-based Eric Lindell and Company. The band was on tour in California when the hurricane hit, so all the members escaped with some clothes and at least one instrument. Wilkinson, songwriter Lindell, slide guitarist Chris Mule and drummer Jake Brown will perform a show at Samana in Vail Village Thursday night. The $10 ticket will go directly to the band.”The biggest challenge is figuring out how to get gear together and keep working,” Wilkinson said. “It’s more about the stuff that’s irreplaceable, like the master recordings. It’s hard to book gigs with no promotional material. It’s very complex. I imagine it’s that way for every walk of life. There’s just so many far reaching effects from something like this.”Lindell and company just played the Telluride Blues and Brews festival this past weekend. The band said Colorado’s support has been overwhelming.

“People come up to you with tears in their eyes wanting to take you into their house,” Wilkinson said.Lindell, who heads up the group, specializes in R&B songwriting and rock ‘n’ roll. He also plays guitar. Lindell was first inspired by the blues of ground-breakers like Junior Wells and Albert King. He also has a penchant for R&B legends like Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles. The soul of these players comes through in Lindell’s sound, as does his own experiences in his songwriting. Lindell won the John Lennon Songwriting Competition in the R&B category for his song “Kelly Anne” in 1999.On the current tour, Lindell and company have been writing on stage, spontaneously singing and playing about the city and its devastation. “It puts things into perspective,” Lindell said. “Our families are safe, everyone we know is safe. And we can still keep working. New Orleans is an amazing place. I’m sure we’ll make it come back.”For more information about Thursday’s show at Samana, call the lounge at 376-3433.

Arts and Entertainment Editor Cassie Pence can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 618, or cpence@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado