A mainstay on the blues scene

Nanette Arndts will re­lease the band’s third al­bum, I Should’ve Said No.


Nanette Arndts was not the best stu­dent at North­east High School, but she was eager to trans­fer to a new school that opened back in Feb­ru­ary 1978.

That school was the Phil­adelphia High School for Cre­at­ive and Per­form­ing Arts. Arndts en­rolled as a sopho­more.

The Bul­let­in wrote an art­icle that we were a waste of tax­pay­er dol­lars,” she re­called.

“We out­lived them. Touch&ea­cute;.”

Arndts, who earli­er at­ten­ded Louis Far­rell Ele­ment­ary School and Woo­drow Wilson Ju­ni­or High, went on to be­come a mem­ber of CAPA’s first gradu­at­ing class in 1980.

“I was a dance ma­jor, but I al­ways loved mu­sic,” she said. “I didn’t pick up a gui­tar un­til I was sev­en­teen, then I got hooked. Learn­ing on the job is the best way.”

Arndts, now 49 and liv­ing in Rhawn­hurst, hasn’t put down that gui­tar in more than 30 years. She formed a band in 1981, and it con­tin­ues to play to this day.

“Some­body called me Sis­ter Blue. It stuck,” she said.

On Sat­urday night, Sis­ter Blue will cel­eb­rate a com­pact disc re­lease with a party at Red Hot & Blue Mem­ph­is Pit Bar-B-Que, a res­taur­ant on Route 70 East in Cherry Hill, N.J., across from Garden State Park Shop­ping Cen­ter and ad­ja­cent to Hol­i­day Inn.

The party runs from 8 p.m. to mid­night. There is no cov­er charge, and chil­dren are wel­come.

The 14-song CD is titled I Should’ve Said No. The WX­PN (88.5 FM) blues show has played three songs: What’s It To Ya, You Lie and the title track.

“So far, it’s got­ten very pos­it­ive feed­back,” Arndts said.

Sis­ter Blue is hop­ing for a lot more pos­it­ive feed­back on Sat­urday night. The CD will be for sale at Red Hot & Blue, a show­case for blues mu­sic.

Af­ter­ward, it can be pur­chased on the on­line dis­trib­ut­or cd­baby.com and at the band’s gigs.

The band’s per­son­nel has changed over the years. Today, it con­sists of Arndts, Mark Fur­man on gui­tar, Tom Donovan on bass and Bob Hold­en on drums. Arndts and Fur­man are both lefties.

It’s not all glam­or­ous. Band mem­bers have to book shows, drive to the ven­ue, carry the equip­ment and deal with in­dustry polit­ics.

Still, they’re hooked. Thirty-one years is a long time for a band to last, with Arndts the main­stay.

“I’ve been do­ing this for a while,” she said.

Sis­ter Blue plays in Phil­adelphia, the sub­urbs, Cent­ral Pennsylvania, New Jer­sey, Delaware, New York, Mary­land and Wash­ing­ton, D.C. The band, which has opened at the Keswick Theatre in Glen­side, also does private af­fairs, in­clud­ing a June 24 per­form­ance at the Frank­lin In­sti­tute.

The band has played con­sist­ently, even after Arndts had two chil­dren and raised them as a single moth­er. Both are adults now.

“I’d book the gig, hire the mu­si­cians, then book the babysit­ter,” she said.

In ad­di­tion to per­form­ances with Sis­ter Blue, Arndts plays the drums, sings and plays gui­tar as a backup for oth­er acts.

“I’ve even played bass on a couple of gigs,” she said.

The forth­com­ing CD will be Sis­ter Blue’s third. The oth­ers came out in 2002 and 2005.

Arndts wrote all of the songs in 2010 and 2011. The CD was re­cor­ded in late 2011 and early 2012. Listen­ers will hear a bunch of dif­fer­ent in­stru­ments.

“They’re all ori­gin­al songs, and they sound amaz­ing,” she said. “There’s a di­versity of blues. It’s a very broad genre, and the CD runs the gamut of blues. When you play blues, the mu­sic is really im­port­ant.”

At the CD re­lease party, some former Sis­ter Blue mem­bers will sit in with the cur­rent band. The band will re­main on stage dur­ing most of the four-hour party.

“There’s a very tight blues com­munity. A lot of these guys, I’ve been play­ing with for over twenty years,” she said. “We like to stay up there once we get warmed up.”

Arndts, who works out at a gym and at­tends yoga classes at Lack­man Play­ground in Bustleton in her spare time, ex­pects a party at­mo­sphere on Sat­urday.

“I hope every­body shows up and has a good time,” she said. ••



Party Sat­urday …

Sis­ter Blue will hold a CD re­lease party on Sat­urday from 8 p.m. to mid­night at Red Hot & Blue res­taur­ant, on Route 70 East in Cherry Hill. There is no cov­er charge.

More in­form­a­tion on the band is avail­able at sis­ter­blue­band.com or the Sis­ter Blue page on Face­book.

You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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