There is going to be a lot of celebrating this weekend, so you might as well start your Fourth of July festivities early with some incredible live music. Kat Riggins and her Blues Revival band will perform at Blue Jean Blues this Thursday to get your Independence Day weekend started off right. At her “Red White and Blues Revival” event, Riggins will be singing with international blues star Joey Gilmore, drummer Doc Allison, keyboardist Steve Zoyes, and saxophonist Doug Treen.
Dressed in red, white, and blue, the band will play old-school, high-energy blues music and some Americana songs, like “America the Beautiful,” so that people can dance and celebrate.
Riggins is especially excited to celebrate freedom since she can now share her joy of being married with other gay couples. Riggins married her wife, Victoria, on May 15 of this year, just after the law was passed in Florida.
“I bawled when I read the last two paragraphs of the decision by the Supreme Court,” Riggings says. “It’s worded so beautifully that every time I read it, I cry. The significance of that for us is that now we are considered human. The sanctity of marriage is serious, and it’s something that everybody who is in love should have. The ability to present a partner as 'This is my wife' or 'This is my husband' is something that people who are in love hold dearly. And now that we have the opportunity and the right to do that too — and to have that same pride and joy when we present our partners to somebody else — is amazing. So there is going to be a lot of celebrating on Thursday.”
About three years ago, Riggins toured with a Top 40 cover band in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. She got to experience other cultures and see how other countries are not as accepting of homosexuals. She appreciates the fact that she has the freedom to be herself at home in the USA.
“It makes me more proud to be an American,” Riggins says. “I feel blessed that I’m here — that this is where I call home. There is still a lot of growth happening in the world, but I see the future, and in the future, I see my family, and we are happy and walking down the street, and we are not being stared at like we are pariah. It’s going to be a great future.”
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Riggins’ event on Thursday is not just about celebrating freedom for all and being an American but is also about celebrating blues music and revitalizing the blues community. She calls her band “Blues Revival” because that’s her mission — to bring the blues music scene back to life and to get younger audiences interested so that they can pass the music down to future generations.
“I’m bringing a blues revival no matter who plays with me,” Riggins said. “So if it’s a superstar like Joey Gilmore or Darrell Raines or George Caldwell, it’s still Kat Riggings Blues Revival, because I want to wake it up again and introduce it to people my age and younger. I feel like blues is an endangered species right now, so I’m trying to save it.”
Riggins’ love of blues music came from home. She grew up in Miami in a household that played a lot of different styles — like Tina Turner, Johnny Cash, and Etta James, to name a few. She started singing in church and then for the first time professionally when she was 23. At first, it was hard for her to find her own style — being born with “the voice of a man,” she says. But when her father encouraged her to create her own style, she felt the freedom to just be herself.
“I fell in love with singing the blues when I realized that was what my voice was meant for,” she said.
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Up next for the band is a new album, which she is currently recording, and “hopefully more touring and gigging,” she says. She is also releasing a single called “Love Is Louder” about love being greater than hate, a song she wrote for her wife.
Her long-term goal is being on Joey Gilmore’s level as a blues superstar. She is thrilled to be performing with him on Thursday and wants the community to be more aware of local talent like him.
“Hopefully I’ll see everybody on Thursday all decked out in their red, white, and blue,” she says. “And remember to support live music, because if you don’t, you have to settle for YouTube.”
Red White & Blues Revival: Thursday, July 2. Blue Jean Blues, 3320 NE 33rd St., Fort Lauderdale; 954-306-6330. No cover.