Thursday, December 13, 2018

A Review: Blue Shimmay~Gypsy Jump Blues

Joe Simbari, Guitar and Vocals -Nancy Meston, Violin-Frank Tarantino, Bass and Vocals-  Arron Michaels, Percussion and Drums

 by Steven Masone

Music is therapy. I needed music therapy today more than I usually do. I actually had a speech to give at a luncheon today on music therapy. My car broke down and I had to walk several miles to get to my mechanics because no taxi was available in time for me to get to the luncheon. So I put my headphones in and played my favorite blues tune to de-stress and calm down my anxiety about not being on time. I hate to be late! I hate when others are late. But I made it to the luncheon on time and overcame my anxiety and hitched a ride back to my car where I was to meet the tow truck. However, my car started up and I got to my auto repair facility without using up my limited tows Triple A gives me. Four hours later my car was finally fixed. I rushed home to fix dinner for my fourteen year old and got ready to go to the Rainy Day Blues Society's Christmas party where Blue Shimmay was playing. I have worked with Joe Simbari, and Arron Michaels at several jams before and was looking forward to hearing their band for the first time live.

 I listened to their single..."You're the Sugar in my Coffee" which I loved! So when I arrived to hear them at the club, I realized I left my wallet and phone at home. It was one of those days where I really need some good music to straighten the rest of my day out. Blue Shimmay started with a nice tune that from where I was seated needed more volume. Then they switched gears and started playing their arrangement of Freddie King's "Tore Down." I felt "Tore Down" I drove the few blocks home to get my wallet so I could get back and get me some music therapy to help me get my mojo back. They played a great "All of Me"..and the more I listened the more I was being resurrected from the day's tore down toll on my spirit. Joe Simbari was showing a tastier jazzy side to the excellent guitar work I have heard him do many times and the violin of Nancy Meston added a dimension and tone, to the very cool Gypsy Jump sound they have developed, carving out their own lane in the northwest blues scene. Arron Michaels on drums is as solid a drummer as there is and with Frank Tarantino on the stand-up bass, coalesced their rhythm section and sold their retro sound as authentic... where others would have fell short trying to pull it off with only a cheesy version. 
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If a girl came by with a box selling "cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos," I would not have taken a second look as this band is believable!  They will make you believe Their brand of blues is as powerful and exciting as the many blues bands who play at a much higher volume level... They will make you believe you can bluesify old standards yet keeping them true to the original magic  that we all love.  They will also make you believe you better keep an eye on them because the lane they are carving out has just begun and there is nowhere else to go but up for this very unique and very talented band of musicians!    see more at

Monday, December 3, 2018

School of Blues Presents: Guitars For Vets Benefit Blues Show!

School of Blues Presents: Benefit Blues Show!
Fri Nite December 14th 2018, 7pm with Marco Peña & Resurrection Blues Band.
Jalisco Mexican Restaurant... 941 Pearl St. Eugene. Buy one dinner entree get next ½ price.. Show starts at 7pm Fri Nite Jam starts at 8:30pm Call (541)735-4772 for dinner reservations, (541) 517-5224 for show and jam .

Monday, November 26, 2018

Friday Night Blues Documentary Short

School of Blues Short Documentary

School of Blues Presents: Skip Jones @ Fri Nite Blues Jam Nov 30 - 7pm w/ Resurrection Blues Band! Jalisco Mexican Restaurant 941 Pearl St Eugene. Over the last 20 years, frontman Skip Jones has enjoyed working with such bands as: The Coasters, The Drifters, The Platters, Joe Houston & Bo Diddley. He toured with the great Canned Heat in 1985-86 holding down Larry Taylor’s bass position. , James Thornbury, James Bradshaw and Henry Vestine.

 Project PRO/AM  (PPA) & School of Blues

PPA is a pilot program where professional artists
and business people teach young people, both
academically stable, and those at risk... to learn
all phases of a Dinner Theatre and a collaborative
Performing Arts Program. The professional food
and beverage component will be a culinary school
training program that will prepare students to not
only become skilled in all phases as workers, but
also provide entrepreneurial training and hands
on management opportunities. Then if desired,
cross trained in Theatre Arts. And vice-versa.

As an after school and summer program, PPA will

utilize family, community and school personnel to be
involved with students internship and participation
in PPA. The Executive director of PPA will
coordinate and act as case worker as to students
progress, liaise with family, educators, and
any other relevant person or agency involved in student's
counselling for future school and or job placement.

PPA will initially outsource much of the class room

curriculum with established culinary and business
programs in local high schools and college/
technical schools where resources are available.

The Theatre Arts program will be a first phase,

where students will be involved with production of
a  musical chosen where the professional theatre
 company will have trained and rehearsed all
students involved as cast members, and all other
aspects of show. However, the professionals will
appear and perform in the shows that will be
competitively priced and staged like any regional
level Dinner Theatre Operation.

The student productions will then be performed and

produced by the students themselves  for
the amateur non-profit program. And where appropriate;
gratis pricing. ( As inducement for underprivileged
youth to encourage their participation.)

The long range goals of PPA will be to coalesce the

program into a School for the Performing and
Culinary Arts. The students will be challenged to
work towards completing their formal education
while gaining invaluable experience, skills, problem
solving, in an atmosphere designed to instill self-
confidence and social interaction and team work
with peers in a culturally diverse environment.

Students will learn valuable customer and human
relations, with cross training in the guest
relations aspects of Theatre, Food & Beverage
and Hospitality Industry.

PPA will use resources available to evaluate
students skill level and proficiency to assist in
capitalizing on their strong areas and develop
leadership skills with internships at participating
organizations and businesses PPA will partner

PPA will utilize a mentor-ship model where college
level students will mentor the younger students
and tutor those who have need to bring their
academic scores to acceptable levels as "staying in
school" will be a requirement for participation in PPA. School of Blues is a Blues focused component for aspiring young musicians mentored by working Blues artists and educators.

Contact: Steven Masone
(541) 517-5224

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Walter Herleman & Howlin Dogma - Rising Northwest Original Blues Band

A Review by Steven Masone

Blues is all about singing and playing the Blues away....not feeling sorry for yourself and complaining about your pain, struggles, misfortune and traumatic life events. For Blues musicians, trying to make a living doing what they love the most, has a lot of pain, struggles, misfortune and years of paying your dues before getting anywhere near the top of the Blues performing strata that many good and even great acts never achieve. There is no "blues one top forty hit" that can launch a career overnight like there is in pop music, Country, R&B etc...  The Blues communities all over the world are more critically discriminating then any other genre. It truly is a long road of the "School of hard Knocks" to get to a level of acceptance and acclaim by your peers.

 Headlining at Blues festivals is really the pinnacle for bluesmen, yet they still have to play all the big and small nightclub venues to keep their record sales moving onward and upward. But they need to play mostly original blues music with their own unique sound and style, rather than playing all the cover blues songs fans hear every week at blues jams and clubs. Walter Herleman & Howlin Dogma out of Eugene, Oregon are carving out their own lane with great original and authentic blues music. 

While Walter and wife Vicki have only been in the northwest since 2015, Walter and Band Howlin Dogma are a bright and fresh addition to a rich and storied blues tradition here in the northwest. 

 Walter was born in Hollywood CA, and lived in Independence, Ca until 2015. Walter started singing in church at age 5. Walters first band was in 1981 and fronting his first band by 1983. Walter started writing and creating Music from the beginning. His first album called "All Mine" was released in 2005.

 "Toke of Rhythm" won best Blues song two years in a row. 2008 for the AMMA's and 2009 for the GMMA's. Walter continued playing music around Mammoth lakes, lake Tahoe, Bakersfield, Death Valley, Eastern California, Western Nevada. 

His second album "American Music"  was recorded in 2013, but not officially released until 2017. 

Walter recorded the American Music album in So. California at Pacifica Studios. Walter's singing and harmonica skills are second to none. he has put together an allstar blues band with Morgan Cagle, lead guitar and vocals, Charles "Doc" Foreman Rhythm guitar and vocals, James Badalich bass guitar, Danny Miller drums. 

I have reviewed both CD's and without exception, they are all "top shelf" blues inspired spirits for the soul! Self describing their sound as "Blues based Rock & Roll mixed with a little Pentecostal very apropos. Walter's vocals range from a  heavy, powerful bass voice with a steely timbre, to a rich baritone for the jumps and swing centered songs to a lower registered storytelling, then hitting high falsetto swampy hollers effortlessly. His harmonica is one of the best sounding ...not only in skill-set, but also in tone and originality on the blues scene. He actually makes his harp sound like a howling wolf at times...thus..Howlin  Dogma ala Howlin Wolf! Walter recently stopped by School of Blues Fri Nite Blues Jam, and tore the house up!

Can't ask for a better lead guitarist than Morgan Cagle...I could listen to his guitar all night!The rest of the band are all in a class of their own as well. I first heard this band in a venue that does not have great acoustics, yet they still stood out and impressed me. Both CD's are great, and it's hard to pick a favorite song, but the award winning song; Toke of Rhythm is one I really like. Mystified is another as well as Jinx Jinx. But it's all good! However, we all have our own tastes... so listen to their samples on Reverbnation and go to their website and hear for yourselves and buy their music! Look for their playing dates at venues and catch them live.