Blues group at Asheville music fest wrapped in OR roots

By Jo Hunter
July 14, 2002

Last week this column told about the artists booked to perform in Asheville's Bele Chere festival. People who know more about the Westcott Brothers blues group, which will perform at 3:15 p.m. Saturday, July 27, on the Battery Park Stage, informed me of a local connection.

Imagine my surprise to learn that our own famous government photographer Ed Westcott is the father and grandfather of half the band members! Dave Westcott, son of Ed, was drummer for the Oak Ridge High School band and graduated from ORHS in 1962. He studied music on scholarship at Middle Tennessee State University and played at several clubs in the Knoxville area. He became a document imaging and records manager.

It was during a stint at the Federal Center in Asheville that the family's musical talents gained notice. Son Andrew picked up a guitar, began strumming it and discovered he just naturally could play the instrument. Ed credits the fine musical programs offered in the North Carolina schools for reinforcing his sons' interest when they attended Owen Middle and High schools in Buncombe County, N. C. He encouraged his sons to focus on blues music.

The family moved to the Washington, D.C., area two years ago where Dave Westcott soon became a director of the D.C. Blues Society. As the guys played at various blues clubs they became friends with Horace "Black Magic" Turner, a native of Eufaula, Ala., then living in the Baltimore area. Turner had set his harp aside for many years, but now he and the boys have joined together in their love of blues.

Black Magic is featured on harp and vocals - and he writes their lyrics. Andrew, 17, is described as a "monster blues guitarist" and vocalist. Brothers Philip, 15, plays bass and Mike, 32, has laid his sax aside to play second guitar. Uncle Billy Herrington switched from rhythm guitar to drums when the group began to travel a lot, and now their father is manager instead of percussionist. They have added Jeff Coulin on organ.

Earlier this year the Washington Post described the group as a "nightclub-gigging, festival-showcasing, professional blues band." and D.C. disc jockey "The Gator," described them as phenomenal, adding they "certainly have their finger in the blues spot, ain't no question about it." Papa Ed will be among the crowds of admirers when the Westcott Brothers Blues Band takes center stage for Bele Chere.

  • Plans are under way for Hot Pots/Cool Art at the Art Center. The Art Center's day of public raku firing and celebration of the ceramic arts will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17.

    On Friday, July 19, the Lunch and Learn at the Art Center will offer the public its first opportunity to see the collection of works available for purchase to the highest bidder at the Hot Pots/Cool Arts Art Auction. Center director Leah Marcum-Estes will conduct a gallery tour to discuss the offerings and the characteristics typical of each item.

    The Aug. 16 Lunch and Learn, led by Bill Capshaw, will expand on July's program. Capshaw will discuss the characteristics of excellence in ceramics and will discuss raku and the firing process to be featured on the following day.

    Lunch and Learn is open to the public on the third Friday of each month. Bring a bag lunch at noon, and the Art Center will provide coffee and tea. We'll bring more information about Hot Pots/Cool Art in a future column.

  • Open Show 2002 begins Sept. 14 at the Oak Ridge Art Center. Prospectuses for participating artists have been mailed. If you would like to have work juried for consideration call the Art Center at 482-1441. Only recent works, 1999 to the present, are eligible.

    The Art Center has added a special class offering a rare opportunity for artists to work with a model in a desired medium. Each Wednesday evening, artists can draw, paint or sculpt from the model. The classes are noninstructed. The fee is $40.

    A six-week course in traditional watercolor begins Aug. 6. Kenneth Dunlap will instruct from 6:30 to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays.

    Also, ORAC board member and pottery instructor Susy Moesch will be featured artist of the month for August by the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Knoxville. The public is invited to attend the opening reception from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 2, on the seventh floor of the Candy Factory in World's Fair Park in Knoxville.

    Moesch also will lead a tour of the Knoxville Museum of Art's exhibit "Lure of the West" on Tuesday, Aug. 6. This touring show from the Smithsonian Institution offers 64 paintings and sculptures dealing with the American West from the 1820s through the 1940s. More information is available from ORAC; call 482-1141.

    Jo Hunter may be reached at 482-5268 or