By Steven Masone
I have been on the hunt for good blues jam sessions in southern and central Oregon for a while now. I found a Sunday afternoon jam at the Calapooia Brewing Company in Albany, Oregon. Most blues aficionados around the country think of Chicago, New Orleans, Texas blues and the SF Bay area as the talent pools for blues musicians. However, those in the know, the northwest, especially Oregon, has always been a proving ground for great blues artists to thrive and develop their craft because of the acceptance by music lovers from all genre's of the northwest music scene.
The venue at the brewing company is family friendly till 8pm with great food and ambiance. The Jam leader goes by 'Froggy'...and sings a real swampy delta blues style, and plays a great harmonica and steel guitar.
As I listened to their first set, right away it was evident these were mostly authentic bluesmen. In other jams I've attended, most players are firstly classic rock players and as one would imagine gets very loud. Here, it is all blues and all good! I sat in with them on the second set and my amp went haywire and was offered to use a custom Kroker tube amp by Jerry Kroker of Salem.. which I fell in love with.
But the audience was better than most jam session audiences also. Partly, because they are spoiled by the great talent that obviously shows up on these Sunday sessions that start at 4pm every Sunday, and you could tell they were like family. Other core members of the house band with Froggy are Dennis Monroe (guitar and vocals), Bill Lewey (harp), Ron Rochi (drums) and Brian Egan (bass). Well worth the drive if you are far or close by. I hope to try the fare on the menu as well and will update that experience. Bring the kids, friends and family for a unique blues. good food, and musical Sunday afternoon!