Dou Brings Fourth of July to Life

The “Front Porch Blues” feted East End neighbors to 90 minutes of live music, which enlivened an unusually subdued Alameda Fourth of July, with their audience safely ensconced on front porches and in their driveways.

Guitarists Dennis Cole (left) and Greg Kaufman performed mainstay tunes that included, “Muddy Waters, “Hoochie Koochie Man” and Howlin’ Wolf’s “Little Red Rooster” at the front door of Cole’s home. 

The two have played together, along with three or four others in a larger incarnation, “The Circuit Breakers,” for 30 years at scores of multiple Bay Area venues including the Park Street Fair and, just before COViD-19 closures, at “The Local” coffee house in Alameda.

The show was inspired by what Cole described as the low-key, local joy emanating from a Marin County tradition where musicians of all stripes play tunes on their front porches. That practice became the genesis of the downsized group’s new name.

Given the strictures imposed by COVID-19 on live music gatherings, and the dampening effect on people’s moods that followed, the two decided to find a way to go on with the show to help lift people’s blues by singing the blues.

“Greg and I have always shared the love for traditional blues music, which was originally all acoustic in its roots. We just needed to do something for the community,” said Cole.