Poetry and JazzView By Eric Benson

What’s new with Jazz and the Blues news

Well May is here and everybody get ready for the Cinco De Mayo. Hot Latin Nights last year brought in the New Low-rider’s formerly of the band War, to the Modesto downtown. The back yard family friendly festival will be held in Manteca this year to accommodate a bigger crowd with more room with music fest and car show on Sat May 4th. The 6th Annual will bring in headliner Malo, with Blanca. Some of our best regional acts are also featured: Latin Essence, Cartel Band, Valley Rhythm Section covering the mix of Latin rock, R & B, Funk, old school, Cumbia, and Regeton. Tickets available at a Legal Place, 1228 I Street Modesto, check out www.hotlatinnights209.com for the lowdown.

And another family friendly event heading our way is the Riverdance Farms and Merced River Fair Jun 1 & 2. Featured are live music 3 stages with Bluegrass to Classical, on the bill so far Big Earl & Cryin shame, Poor House Millionaires. It is a beautiful spot with plenty of activities and even camping if you like roughing it, check out www.riverdancefarms.com.

And while being inspired walking around doing the third Thursday Art Walk I had this vision about doing a roving acoustic Vocal Jam with guitars on Art Walk to bring some festivity and playfulness to the downtown. So this month my partners in crime will be 2 members of Beatles Tribute group Third Party, Chris Murphy and Gary Nelson. Want to encourage others to chime in so look for 3 conspicuous guys with guitars with plenty of merriment and jump in and get wet. I want to encourage everyone to come down, our Art Walk has something for everyone, art, food and drink and lots of folks making the rounds looking for a good time. So whether coming down for revelry art or to put the move on the hors d’oeuvres, come down.

More bright moments in store for the month. The State Theatre continues with quality musical offerings. Coming May 18th, the Greg Kihn Band. For those of us expatriates from Bezerkely we used to hang all night long listening the band with their fan base of thousands of babes standing in the front row! We are also excited that our local bands are doing things at the State! So come on down and support the State, check out www.thestate.org.

Another high point guaranteed will be the return of Jimmie Vaughan with his band Wed. May 22nd. Ron & Doug excellent productions are also promoting the gig. Jimmie, brother of Stevie Ray Vaughan is steeped in the same southern Blues and R & B and always tours with a band so tight it will make you holler. The West Side Theatre in Newman brings in, Kelly McDonald, seasoned guitarist singer playing originals and covers in the country idiom. And Sat June 1st Sycamore Slough String Band plays the music of the Greatful Dead in string band format, bring tie-dye and vibes. For the info: www.westsidetheatre.org. Hero’s Sports Bar is drawing well on local talent, Ian Stambaught trio Jazz, and R & B jam every Tues with Johnny Valdez on guitar slinging & singin. Wednesdays with primarily the Blues: 1st Prof Max Smith, 8th Bad Medicine, 15th Jeremy Norris & Dangerous Mood, 22nd Bourbon Legend, 28th Poor House Millionaires. The venue has a nice stage and sound system to showcase music.

Jam sessions are alive and well in the downtown: Barkin’ Dog Grill has Dave Dow, Jazz pianist hosting the Thursday night jam from 7 to 10:00 p.m., all ages, Hero’s Sports Bar hosts a Jazz and popular music jam with Ian Stambaugh Trio featuring Johnny Valdes on guitar Tuesday night’s 7-10:00 p.m., and Wednesdays has rotating Blues Bands hosting an invitational jam from 7-10:00 p.m., wow! So come down and sit in, stand in, or just lay down. And another local boy does good, Johnny Valdez recently did a gig with virtuoso percussionist Derik Rolando, in the band Santana band members, Dave Mathews on keys, Tony Lindsey on vocals, and former member Orestes Vitales on Timbales. Johnny also did two original compositions that day that were well received by the band and the people in the packed room.

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



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About the Author:

Chris Murphy is the President and CEO of Sierra Pacific Warehouse Group and Publisher and Founder of ModestoView Inc. Chris worked globally in the cycling industry returning to Modesto in 1996. He is also the founder of the Modesto Historic Graffiti Cruise Route, Legends of the Cruise Walk of Fame, Modesto Rockin’ Holiday, the Modesto Music History Organization and co-founder of the Modesto Area Music Association. Chris is married to his artist wife Rebecca since 1985 and has two daughters Madison and Abigail, both graduating from Modesto High and UC Berkeley. He is lead singer and guitarist for his band, Third Party that donates their performances to non-profits.