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Jazz & BluesView Blue Monday’s back in town. By Eric Benson

Well out with the old and in with the new, year that is. The hollidaze pass with feverish pitch with all the extracurricular affairs of friends and family and well wishers. Wow I need a nap right about now. Time to reflect on the resolutions and salutations to bring us into the next go round. Hoping that all of you survived the holidays with health and poise and that you got out of the mall alive.

We had a Blue Monday reunion Christmas party in December with a packed house so while once a year is too long and every week is too often we are bringing back Blue Monday Party once a month in the downtown. Please come down Monday Jan 6th to the Barkin’ Dog Grill at 6:30 and hang with Ultra Lounge, Jam, listen, dance, or hoist a glass and enjoy!. We would love to have you help continue the tradition in the downtown.

One highlight for December I went to was a private party at Urbano Restaurant, (formerly of Clayton’s/Jax Restaurant), in which Spencer Day played duo to a packed house with great food and beverage. Richard Mulholland hosted and the demographic was folks 40 yrs and up. The hope is to do more quality shows for us that shall we say are not going to the disco, and too young to be card-carrying AARP members. More shows to come at Urbano in the New Year.

The State Theatre, home of the MAMA awards continues with some community friendly booking. Jan 24th John Corbett in concert comes through.

The Gallo continues to amaze me with their booking: Yellowjackets, Three Dog Night, Blues Traveler, Straight no Chaser, wow! For January: 10th with Forever Tango, 11th Ricky Nelson Remembered.

Another place for a quiet listen to music in ambient environment that is catching on is DEWZ Restaurant’s Wine Bar. The Saturday night music is from 7:30 to 10:00 or so and features solo and small groups of musicians playing at acoustic volumes in the informal environment with folks enjoys wine tasting and a little noshing bites. In January: 4th: Francesca Bavaro, 11th Pat Durr of Home Grown, with special guests, 18th John King & Robin Montgomery dueling Jazz guitars, 25th the mighty Tim Allen piano & vocals with the best of Elton, Billy Joel and the standards. Come any night you won’t be disappointed.

The new invigorated Hero’s sports Bar is booking rock, punk and some world shows. The highlights for Jan 11th Singer song writer showcase hosted by the marvelous Patty Castillo will feature Francesca Bavaro, Victoria Boynton, Steve Vasquez, Patty and other TBA, Jan 25th Brew Ha Ha comedy showcase, Jan 30th Guttermouth, Jan 31st Mofo Party Band with opener Big Earl & Cryin’ Shame. If you luv the Blues come down for Mofo and watch John on guitar walk the bar while shredding on the guitar.

On the one night stand side of things: the Sunday afternoon series at Congregation Beth Shalom concert series Jan 19th brings in Home Grown. The group has great 3-part harmony and a gazillion songs sung over 2 decades together. The west side: West Side Theatre brings in some Blues and roots music with some tributes that do justice. In Jan 18th on the Zydeco and Cajun side Tom Rigney & Flambeau serve up some music to dance to: two-steps, Waltz’s, low-down Blues, and New Orleans Funk. A little drive but well worth it once you get there with a wonderful vintage theatre converted into music & arts venue. If you’re willin to travel, up the hill the 35th Annual Columbia Jazz Artist series features our local Jazz guitar slinger Johnny Valdes Jan 19th with band. Johnny is coming out with a CD of Jazz guitar with special guest John Stowel of Seattle area in January. Johnny Valdes one of the better Jazz guitarist ever to grace this town is doing a master class once a month in a house concert environment with food and beverage. January date is Sunday Jan 26th, call me for location: cell 918-7033.

On the kickin out the jams side: Barkin’ Dog Thursdays with Dave Dow, (Jazz), Queen Bean Sundays hosts jam with acoustic, rock music.

Need to get, give me something to promote get me at: mbenson@fire2wire.com, or cell 209-918-7033. Peace out, Eric Benson

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