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Riverside West Coast Blues Festival features native harmonica player Chris Fast

By in Press Enterprise on October 5, 2017

By Patrick Brien

Blues musician Chris Fast says that he has had a lifelong relationship with music.

“My parents were both musical and always encouraged my musical pursuits,” says Fast, who claims his age as being 66 years old or 66 years young, depending on the day. “I enjoy listening to many musical genres, but the blues has a special place in my heart. The blues is real, and accessible to anyone who takes the time.”

Fast says he was born at Riverside Community Hospital and grew up running wild in the orange groves that used to grow along Arlington, Central and Victoria avenues. He graduated from UC Riverside with a bachelor’s in Spanish. After getting a multiple subject teaching credential, he taught at schools in San Jacinto and Menifee for 31 years before retiring.

Through it all, Fast played music, specializing in the harmonica. He drew inspiration from what he describes as the great harmonica players that he gets to listen to every day, including both modern players and greats from the past.

Fast credits fellow Riversider and blues great Rod Piazza with setting him on the path to becoming a professional musician. Fast played in local clubs and wineries, which remain his favorite venues. He worked his way up to playing alongside such legendary blues performers as Percy Mayfield before going on to serve as the opening act for BB King, John Lee Hooker and Buddy Guy.

“The energy surge and the lift a musician gets when you know an audience is really behind you is simply amazing,” says Fast. “Whether it’s the big stage or a small club, the feeling is equally exhilarating. That’s a big reason why we play music, that connection to the people.”

Fast, who lives in Fallbrook, will return to Riverside for an appearance at the upcoming Riverside West Coast […]    

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