Everyone take a look at your calendar.
If you don’t have a calendar, take a look at your day planner or agenda.
If you don’t have a day planner or agenda... I actually don’t know what you people do. Just...take a moment to carefully consider the future? How does that work? You either have an incredible amount of faith in yourself, or don’t care about anything at all... I’m getting off track.
What are you doing Saturday, June 15? If you don’t have plans — or trust that you can skillfully navigate yourself out of them — consider checking out Defiance’s annual Take Me to the Rivers Jazz Festival at Kingsbury Park.
Out of curiosity, I checked the June 15 weather forecast and got “mostly sunny,” a little cartoon sun with an unimposing fluff-ball cloud stuck to its side. In Ohio this, I’ve learned, means either A. It will be mostly sunny, or B. There will be a Category 2 hurricane. Also, anything in between could happen. I’m hoping for the best.
This year’s Jazz Fest headliner is a Defiance native, Nate Boff. Boff graduated from Defiance High School in 2003 and could be heard playing gigs around the area until 2008, when he relocated to Austin, Texas.
“Actually, my first musical experience was playing drums in the Defiance High School Band,” Boff said. “That was my formal music training.”
Today, the blues guitarist has opened for Joe Bonamassa, Ted Nugent, George Thorogood, Lonnie Brooks, Chris Duarte, and more.
“I picked up a guitar my freshman year of high school,” he said. “I’m basically self-taught.”
A Red Hot Chili Peppers fan, his interest in blues — or, as he called it, “jazz’s first cousin” — didn’t get underway until his senior year.
“I stumbled into blues and kind of fell in love with it,” Boff said. “I was looking up versions of (Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing”) and this guy ‘Stevie Ray Vaughan’ comes up, and I’d never even heard of him...I’m embarrassed to say that. ... I was just blown away by the sounds he could make on his guitar. So he was kind of my gateway into discovering blues music, and from him I just worked backwards.”
In Austin, where Boff said “there’s music going on seven days a week,” he’s part of two musical projects.
“I have a singer who joins me on some of the gigs under my name, then I have another band,” he said.
His other band, The Ruins, has recently taken on a regular Tuesday gig at Austin’s famed Antone’s Nightclub, and Boff is working on songs for his debut album.
“That was one of the clubs that Stevie Ray was brought up in and he kind of made it famous,” Boff said. “It’s like a dream, like a fictional, comic book-type place to me, so it’s really awesome to get to play there, and especially to do a weekly thing there now.”
Boff will be the evening’s third performer, taking the stage from 8:10-9:40 p.m. The Gaetano Letizia Quinet will perform from 4:30-6 p.m., and Barbara Lica will perform from 6:20-7:50 p.m.
Festival organizers aim to encourage a love of jazz music, showcase talent, and honor jazz legends “Wild” Bill Davidson and Milt Buckner, who also have roots in Defiance.
Just to be a jerk, I reminded Boff of the gaping hole where the Clinton Street bridge once was (he’s wisely staying on the south side, so as not to “have to mess with that...”), then to end things on a lighter note, I asked what he’s most looking forward to about a trip home.
“My two spots are always Bud’s Restaurant — I used to work for them in high school, my mom (Rita) is still a waitress there — and I always like stopping at Kissner’s as well,” Boff said.
For more information about the event, visit www.defiancejazzfestival.com.