The 18th annual Lowcountry Blues Bash kicked off this weekend with a plethora of gigs scattered around the Charleston area — from downtown to the east islands to North Charleston and the west side. On Friday evening, I joined City Paper staffer John Zara and caught two sets from Carolina blues champ Drink Small (a.k.a. The Blues Doctor) at Sticky Fingers on Meeting Street.

They had him set up in the front window next to the hostess station. He was barely visible to most of the audience. Seated with his hollow-body guitar in hand and tip jar to the side, Small was swingin’, playing a mix of old-school boogie, slow-shufflin’ original tunes, and clever reworkings of old blues and rock ’n’ roll standards. The place was packed with a rib-nibbling dinner crowd, most of whom probably had no idea who the guy by the front door was. But by the end of the first set, Small had the entire crowd clapping and hollerin’.

“For those lucky enough to get a seat — hell, even getting a glimse of him was tough — Drink Small delivered authentic stlye blues, scratchy voice and all,” Zara says. Indeedy.

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