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Bridgeville braces for Jill West and the Blues Attack

| Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013, 7:55 p.m.
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Jill West and the Blues Attack will perform at Bridgeville Public Library on Sept. 13, offering a sound she describes as a mix of third-generation Chicago-style blues 'with a Pittsburgh kick.'

Bridgeville has the blues.

Pittsburgh-based Jill West and the Blues Attack will bring their self-described edgy blues sound to the Bridgeville Public Library Sept. 13.

West and the band have performed throughout the tri-state area and are locally known for headlining the former Carnegie Blues Festival (later the Arts & Heritage Festival), something library fundraising coordinator Joyce Heinrich hopes will draw a crowd.

“This is the second year without (the festival),” she said. “Jill West was one of the biggest draws, and so many people are fans.”

West said she thinks libraries offer a unique venue for concerts.

“I think it's kind of a nice idea,” she said. “It's a nice, intimate setting without a whole ton of seats. You get a nice, up-close look no matter where you sit.”

West was introduced to music at an early age, she said, by an elementary school music teacher who “played more than just kid songs and actually taught music.”

Her attraction to it, she said, came from her love of the spotlight.

“It was a show-off at an early age, and music seemed like a nice was to do that,” she said. “I stayed with it and sang everything form show tunes to wedding songs and even some classical.”

She was introduced to the blues through a band with whom she was singing.

“I came into blues late,” she said. “I was in my late 20s. The first album I picked up was Koko Taylor, and I thought, ‘Wow. Screaming rock and roll is fun, but this is more me.'”

West said she immediately immersed herself in the music of other female blues artists.

“I started noticing what these women are doing and thought, ‘I might be able to do this,'” she said.

From there, she said, she just kept with it.

“I slowly grooved along, and everything fell into place,” she said. “I was able to make it work working a full-time job and singing in the evening. Then I made it work with a part-time job and singing in the evening. Now I'm a retired woman who is still singing.”

She encouraged people to give blues a try.

“There is a preconceived notion as to what the blues are,” she said. “If you're talking current contemporary blues, most of that is more of a formula than an emotion. Blues from way back in the day, that was an emotional expression.”

She called Jill West and the Blues Attack an up-tempo dance blues band.

“It's a mix of about third-generation Chicago-style blues, and it has a Pittsburgh kick,” she said. “There's a vibrant R&B sound with our keyboard.”

Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5810 or mguza@tribweb.com.

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