CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The enduring and easy friendship of the longtime members of Blues Du Jour is as relaxed as their opinions about their play list.
"We really enjoy a varied palate of music and that is what we play," said singer Julie Adams. "We're more 'du jour' than blues at this point."
Shh, don't tell Otto Lens. He's the harmonica player, who has since moved on to other endeavors, who started the band back around 1990.
And he was a stickler for the blues. By the time Adams came around a few years later, the sound already had started to evolve. Not that this band — now featuring Steve Broughton on saxophone, Al Peery on trombone, Rich Katz on keyboard and trumpet, Paul Flaherty and Josh Barrett on guitar, Stan Lynch on bass and Steve Dreyer on drums — has lost its blues roots.
It's just that the musicians enjoy a broad range of music — from 1940s "jump-blues" like Louis Jordan to 1960s bands such as the Allman Brothers and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, along with a little Aretha Franklin, Van Morrison and The Band.
"We might have one song that is in the 2000 range," Adams said. "We do some Randy Newman songs — we admire the great songwriters."
Friday night for the band's gig at Live on the Levee, David Porter will step in on trombone for Peery, who can't attend. It's still all in the family, as Porter used to play in a band called Still Portrait that featured Peery, Flaherty and others.
Adams, perhaps best known for her role in the Mountain Stage band, is married to Barrett, whom she met back in the 1980s when she heard him playing guitar at a downtown bar. At the time, she was new to town and singing in bands that included The Twister Sisters and Stark Raven.
When Blues Du Jour came knocking, looking for a female singer, it was Adams' first venture into singing blues, though she'd certainly done rock.
She recalls being introduced to the blues in the music of Billie Holliday, which spoke to her.