For our date night this month my husband and I ventured back to an old stomping ground and saw one of our favorite performers.
The Mill in downtown Iowa City has forever been one of my favorite spots. When I was young, my mom would drive to Iowa City to go shopping and we’d always stop at The Mill for all-you-can-eat spaghetti. So, when I attended the University of Iowa , I found myself naturally inclined to frequent the familiarly of The Mill (although most of my girlfriends preferred the dance clubs.)
The Mill has all the things I love in a bar – it’s dark, it’s unpretentious, and they have live music. They also have pretty good food, although I must admit this standard has dropped a bit since the new owners took over. But, that said, the pizza and the cheesey garlic bread still are wonderful.
Throughout my four and 1/2 years working toward my undergraduate degrees, The Mill introduced me to dozens of impressive, local artists. Some of my favorites include: Dave Zollo, who is the perfect mix of country and rock ‘n roll (rockabilly?) – and an amazing keyboardist, Bo Ramsey, one of the trailblazers of Iowa’s blues-rock hybrid sound; Kevin B.F. Burt, one of the Corridor’s best R&B musicians (and let’s face it, I’m a sucker for a guy who plays harmonica,); and Wild Nept-for the times you just want to drink whisky and sing Irish jigs. And then there’s our beloved Catfish Keith.
Catfish is an acoustic blues singer. He’s a talented songwriter. And he’s plays slide guitar – something that is a rarity today and a sound that must be witnessed in person. He is one of the most exciting country blues performers I’ve ever seen, a complete original, and he’s from right here in our own backyard.
He doesn’t just enjoy a local following; Catifsh goes on extensive European tours ever year, and according to his Web site he is also adding a long Mexican excursion to his tour dates. So the few times he graces us with his presence my husband and I feel obligated to attend his shows. I suggest you do the same.
I was excited to learn that Catfish is going to be inducted into the 2008 Iowa Blues Hall of Fame. Congrats! It’s an honor well-deserved.
So, if you’re in the mood to hear some great live music, check out The Mill’s calendar – I’d highly recommend any of the above mentioned performers. Also, don’t be afraid to take a chance on another act – The Mill usually has a pretty good track record of uncovering local talent.
posted by: heatherjoy77