It's about life, death. love and crepes (5 photos, updated)Wednesday, August 15, 2012 by: Carol Martin
Joel Poluck is a musician with a special talent for freezing the heart and spirit of blues on photo paper and on sheet music.
He has a lot of talents.
For the past ten years he's toured the world with the Floyd Lee Band, all the way back to Lee's own roots in the Mississippi Delta.
Along the way Poluck has seen, heard and experienced things that have left deep and lasting impressions on him.
Impressions he's sharing with Saultites at Frida Cafe & Art Espresso Bar & Art Gallery for just one more day, this Saturday, which also just happens to be crepe day at Frida.
His week-long show, Blues is a Beautiful Woman, wraps up and comes down on Saturday at 6 p.m. when the cafe closes for the day.
But between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. visitors are encouraged to step inside and take a look at life through the eyes of Joel Poluck.
He'll be there, too.
Poluck has been described as willfully obscure but his photography is anything but obscure, at least at first glance.
Much like the songs he writes, it's a pretty raw display of the spirit of blues.
As the viewer digests the nuances of the folk art beside the photographs and the stories they depict the first flash of raw simplicity gives way to the inevitable obscurity and deep well of blues Poluck is known for.
"It all connects," he says. "It's about life, death and love."
Blues is a Beautiful Woman is also a song title from the latest Floyd Lee CD
It was recorded while Full Moon Lightning, an award-winning documentary by John C. Gardiner was in production.
The film, which premiered at the 2008 Shadows of the Mind Festival in Sault Ste. Marie, documents Lee and Poluck's journey, discoveries and losses as the two very different men come to realize in two very different ways the profound frailty of life.
"A spiritual four year journey through heartache, abandonment and racial divide told through the parallel stories of two blues artists," says the film website. "One seeking to discover what will make him whole again while the other is desperate to hold onto what he already has."
The film won Living Blues Magazine's Award for Best DVD of the Year in 2010.
The CD, Doctors, Devils and Drugs, released on Poluck's own label, Amogla, was especially poignant for Poluck.
During the filming of Full Moon Lightning, his girlfriend of 19 years, Nella Zaccaria succumbed to cancer.
Poluck wrote much of the material on the CD, played guitar, managed the band and produced all four Floyd Lee records.
Doctors, Devils and Drugs has been hailed as the band's best and one of the best blues CDs to be produced in years.
Legendary blues drummer, Sam Carr also contributed his formidable talents to the Floyd Lee Band's line up for the past decade.
He passed away in September 2009, not long after the release of Full Moon Lightning/ Doctors, Devils and Drugs and a glimpse of what he meant to Poluck can be seen in the show Blues is a Beautiful Woman at Frida.
Not only did Carr win the respect and hearts of his band mates, he also was awarded a Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts from the state of Mississippi in 2007, and multiple awards from Living Blues magazine.
Shortly after Blues is a Beautiful Woman wraps up at Frida, Poluck will be, once again, hitting the road with Floyd Lee.
They will also, again, be joined by accomplished bass player Brad Vickers.
Al Webster, formerly of the Jeff Healey Band, will be picking up the sticks after the loss of Sam Carr.
The band will reunite at Salmon Arms Roots and Blues Festival in Salmon Arms, British Columbia next weekend, August 17 through 19.
Poluck says he's looking forward to performances from blues and roots greats like Blackie and the Rodeo Kings and Robert Randolph and the Family Band among many others.