It might be called Paint the Town Blue, but this music series isn’t about bringing you down.
Just like blues music isn’t all sad.
“It’s hopeful and joyful,” Jeff Aston, with the Pikes Peak Blues Community, said. “Even if the song is about a sad experience, people can listen to it and get outside of their problems.”
That’s what Aston loves about the blues. That there’s “happy blues, too.”
He got into the genre by researching the original writers of his favorite rock ‘n’ roll songs, like when the Rolling Stones sang something by Muddy Waters.
Aston, who is 67, also has played the drums since he was 8.
He and his wife, Sabrina, share a love of listening to live blues. They sought it out when they moved here from Tulsa, Okla., three years ago to be closer to their grandkids.
That led to them joining the board of the Pikes Peak Blues Community. Sabrina is the board’s new president.
“I’m the first gentleman, I guess,” Aston said.
Together, they’re used to seeing blues at Benny’s Restaurant & Lounge on Tuesday nights and at Johnny’s Navajo Hogan on Sunday nights, plus the occasional showcase at Stargazers Theatre and Event Center.
“That’s how we’ve met most of our closest friends since we moved here,” Aston said. “We’re bound together for our love for the blues and our desire to see it manifested more in Colorado Springs.”
All of those chances to hear the blues have been paused in recent months because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Pikes Peak Blues Community is bringing back its longstanding summer music series to Thorndale Park on Thursday. The Paint the Town Blues schedule is shorter this year, with only four dates throughout August.
It couldn’t come sooner for Aston and other local blues fans.
“We’re all missing that,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of pent-up interest right now in going out and hearing live music.”
The free series kicks off at 5:30 p.m. Thursday with Eric Boa and The Constrictors, a band out of Boulder. Attendees, limited to 250 in total, will be encouraged to practice social distancing and wear face masks.
The shows are one of the main catalysts for the Pikes Peak Blues Community, which is a nonprofit, to raise money through the sale of merchandise and memberships as well as donations.
“While our events have been canceled, our expenses have not,” the group reminded its followers on Facebook recently. “Please consider attending some or all of the events in this musical series.”
Aston says he looks forward to attending each one, getting energy from the music and seeing friends that have now become like family.
He’s also hoping to see younger faces in the crowd.
“We want to get more young people involved, because we’re not going to be around forever,” he said. “We want to keep the blues alive.”