Griff Hamlin and the Single Barrel Blues Band performed in Yucaipa for the first time. The inaugural performance wowed the crowd for the duration of the two-hour set on July 25, at Yucaipa’s Community Park’s outdoor amphitheatre.
“The Yucaipa Concerts in the Park just got better,” said concert attendee Ben Coleman. “I could’ve listened to them all night.”
Yucaipa resident Deb Walls concurred.
“I’ve been following them and the band is loaded with talent,” said Walls. “Blues music is my absolute favorite and they really rocked the park tonight!”
The big horns, guitars and energy came to play at the outdoor stage. Dancers went to the front of the stage and showed their appreciation, as Hamlin belted song after bluesy song.
The band even gave a shout-out to Calimesa resident Rose Martinez, who was there celebrating her birthday. The audience sang along, as Martinez received a personalized rendition of “Happy Birthday.”
“It was a true surprise,” said Martinez. “The band is wonderful and it made for a wonderful birthday.”
The weather at the summer concert was uncharacteristically breezy and cool, and a perfect formation of cumulonimbus clouds looming overhead threatened to put an early end to the concert. Fortunately, the rain didn’t start until 8:35 p.m., a couple of minutes after the concert ended.
Leader of the band, Hamlin, said he started his life-long love of music as a heavy metal aficionado. That quickly changed however, when Hamlin heard B.B. King and Stevie Ray Vaughn.
His favorite song is a Freddie King song, “Me and My Guitar.” To hear him sing it, there’s no wonder why.
“I started playing the blues professionally in 1993 and I have played that song at just about every concert,” said Hamlin.
The band members are originally from Corona but moved to Texas, where they currently reside. They have roots in So Cal.
“My wife (bandmember Laura) plays alto saxophone and performs at Disneyland,” he said. “She goes back and forth on weekends.”
On April 26, 2019, the album, “I’ll Drink to That” debuted at No. 2 on the iTunes Charts, then went to No. 1 in just a few hours. A couple of weeks later, the album officially hit the Billboard Music Top Blues Albums chart with a debut in the Top 10 at No. 9. An eight-piece big horns blues band played mostly their own original music.
Griff Hamlin - Guitar/ vocals
Mark Smith - Bass (original band member)
Chris Atchley - Drums
Eric Bell - Keyboards
Jon Bradley - Trumpet
Eric Letta - Alto/ tenor saxophone
Kevin Hicks - Trombone
Laura Hamlin - Baritone saxophone
Hamlin and his band agreed they like Yucaipa.
“Playing for the city was a treat,” said Hamlin. “The crowd was super fun and appreciative, and it is an idyllic location for a summer evening concert ... we would not hesitate to do it again.”
The next scheduled gig for GHSBB is in Texas on Oct. 2.
The next Concert in the Park, The Kings of 88, will be held at Yucaipa Community Park, 34900 Oak Glen Road, on Aug. 1, at 6:30 p.m. As always, the concerts are free and include free parking. Guests are asked to bring their own chairs and/or blankets. There are various food vendors available for those who want to purchase snacks or dinner.