Award-winning blues guitarist with Dayton roots expands band

Noah Wotherspoon performs Saturday in Centerville.

After more than 25 years of playing the blues, mostly in a trio setting, Noah Wotherspoon is relishing the opportunity to lead a larger ensemble. When he brings his group to The Hidden Gem Music Club in Centerville on Saturday, Sept. 17, the rhythm section of Tom Rastikis (bass) and Brian Aylor (drums) will be augmented by newer collaborators Da’Rosa Richardson on keyboards and the Just Strange Brothers Horns.

Wotherspoon, who formed his first band in Dayton at 13, won the Best Guitarist Award at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee, in 2015. He recently checked in from Cincinnati for an update.

Reflection time: “We performed right up until everything hit in 2020 and we didn’t play out at all after March of that year. I was, actually, ready for a break. I’ve been playing out pretty steadily since I was 16 so I really enjoyed aspects of it. It was a time to reflect on different things, reorient and think about where I wanted to go next once the world would allow it. There are aspects that were really good as far as soul searching and figuring out my course.”

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Out of lockdown: “My blues band has been kind of on a slow crawl back to the middle since 2021 and 2022. We were able to get back to work and play festivals again in the past few months. Here in the fall, we’ll be doing a little bit of touring. The show in Dayton will be the first time we’ve had all seven pieces so that should be a great night.”

Brass alterations: “We’ve been working off and on with the horn section since the end of 2019. It’s a collective out of Cincinnati led by Danny Manning. It’s been really interesting working with them. Danny writes the charts and he’s the impresario and gets the horn arrangements together for each thing we do. It’s usually three horns, alto and tenor sax and then a trumpet. Ever since we started working with them, it has altered the whole energy of the band.”

Soul infusion: “We’ve also been working with Da’Rosa Richardson. He’s a great keyboard player who has been in Dayton for a long time. He’s played with a few different blues bands but comes from more of a gospel/R&B background. He has opened up the musical possibilities a lot in that band. He’s a virtuous, amazing spirit. He infuses this huge positive energy into the whole thing and really elevates us.”

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Contact this contributing writer at 937-287-6139 or e-mail at donthrasher100@gmail.com.

HOW TO GO

Who: Noah Wotherspoon Band with acoustic opener Chris Yakopcic

Where: The Hidden Gem Music Club, 507 Miamisburg-Centerville Road, Centerville

When: 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17; doors open at 6 p.m.

Cost: $10

More info: 937-829-4874 or www.hiddengemdayton.com

Artist info: www.noahwotherspoon.com

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