Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Nadine Rae: Gaining momentum like a slow locomotive.....
Taking the stage Monday for “Blue Monday,” the series of weekly blues performances held at Washington, D.C.’s Westminster Presbyterian Church, singer Nadine Rae showed fans and supporters that she is “gaining momentum” in her recovery from serious injuries she sustained in a car crash last December.
The three-hour concert, in which she appeared with saxophonist/keyboardist Deanna Bogart, was the latest in a series of performances and dates that have brought the respected blues and gospel singer back to the local music scene.
Rae had to stop performing after the accident, but has been playing at local clubs and festivals since May, when she shared the stage with singer Patty Reese at this year’s Chesapeake Bay Blues Festival.
"We opened for Buddy Guy and Chuck Berry and Chuck Berry started singing 'Nadine' to me," she said. "I got pictures of that! I'm looovin' that!"
In June, she opened for Bobby Parker and Chuck Brown when they played together in suburban Virginia. And in September she participated in a blues workshop held at the D.C. Blues Society's annual festival.
Since then, she has played the Greenbelt Blues Festival, the Eastport Democratic Club in Annapolis and the Old Bowie Towne Grill, among other places.
“I’m gaining momentum, you know, choo-choo-choo, like a slow locomotive,” she said.
Also joined on Monday by Michael Pryor on bass, John Bell on guitar, Andy Hamburger on drums, Anthony “Swamp Dog” Clark on harmonica and David Ylvisaker on keyboards, Rae delivered renditions of “Mustang Sally,” “Nighttime is the Right Time,” and “At Last.”
Rae also performed “Heartbreak Savings Time,” a song written by former band mate Sam Miller. She will include the song on her next CD, she said, the music list for which is almost complete.
“It’s just a matter of when I go to the studio and start paying those men and women to be engineers and do the thing and get the musicians in there," she said of the project. “I already got lined up who's going to be in there with me. But I don’t want to tell it too quick, because then there’s nothing to look for.”
Rae was hurt after her car rolled over several times while she was in Anne Arundel County.
Her comeback has not been easy.
The medication she took after the accident created a fluid build-up around her heart, causing her to gain weight, she said. “It was to the extent that I had congestive heart failure,” she said. “So the bottom line was, I had to change my lifestyle. So now I’m dieting and I’m eating what I want, but it’s just watching what I eat and counting my calories and exercising.”
Though nothing in her performance Monday night reflected such a problem, Rae said she has trouble breathing. But her weight loss is improving her breathing, she said.
She said she may require more cosmetic surgery. Still, people tell her they “are amazed at the level of expertise” in the reconstructive surgery done so far, she said.
Many musicians have supported Rae through her recovery. Some, including Clark, have helped organize fund-raisers for her.
Musicians on Monday talked about how much they enjoy working with her. “I get a side view of her, so I always see her face, I see where she’s going, I see what she’s feeling” said Ylvisaker. “Then she looks over at me with these sort of demure little eyes, and sort of winks at me, sticks her tongue out at me or whatever and we have a blast on stage.”
Bogart, who enlisted Rae to back her up on Home Run Holiday, an album she produced that features holiday songs sung by former Baltimore Orioles catcher Rick Dempsey, said the recovering singer called her a few weeks ago to ask if she would join the gig.
“I said ‘I’d love to, I’ll bring my horn, I’ll do whatever you want,” she said.