July-August, 2003

 

August 31st--Party in the Mountains--Higgins, Oklahoma--The incessant rain just keeps on trying to wash out our weekend.  However, no amount of rain can keep us from enjoying our time on stage.  The folks with the Eastern Oklahoma Bikers Association can throw a pretty cool party out in the middle of nowhere.  We hope things dry out for them next year, because we certainly appreciate their enthusiasm for cheering in the rain.  Just imagine if it were dry...

 

August 30th--The Rib Room--Ft. Smith, Arkansas--Thanks to JJ and the Giants for swapping dates with us so that we could get one more night at the Rib Room before the summer ended.  It was well worth it as always.  The Rib Room has the best barbeque in the land.  No kidding.  I am just glad it is an hour and a half from where I live or I would eat Nuemeir's barbeque every day.  The rain held off this time so that we could get our show in.  The crowd was awesome and attentive and the band was on fire.  Steve Lane and Chris Payton joined us again tonight to spice up the fun.  I was fortunate again to sit out a few tunes while Steve thumped away on my kit.  Gary's solo on The Sky is Crying (in honor of the rainy weekend) was tremendous.  Gary has a way of making your lip snarl with his tone.  His rendition of Voodoo Child proves that Gary can keep bringing it in a fresh way night after night.  Brian took Heaven's Door to a new place getting the crowd to stand and cheer.  We closed out the night with a stirring medley of Gary's version of Play that Funky Music, that ended with Chris' Crazy Train.  I am still exhausted a day later...  

photo John Blair

August 29th--SPA City Blues Society Pub Crawl Kickoff--Hot Springs, Arkansas--We zoomed into town trying to stay ahead of the rain.  Our show was outdoors in the park near the historic Arlington Hotel.  As hungry blues listeners gathered on the lawn, we threw up our sound system and without a moment to change clothes, started the power blues set.  About an hour into the set, the skies opened up and dumped a monsoon-like blanket of water on the band.  Troopers that we are, we played through the downpour as long as our equipment could stand.  Unfortunately, we had to shut things down and get dry.  We certainly appreciate the great blues fans who stuck it out with us.  We look forward to a drier and longer stay next year.

 

August 22nd--OBS Blues in the Natural State--George's Majestic--Fayetteville, Arkansas--What a fun night of music.  In its first installment, the OBS Blues in the Natural State Festival came up a little short outside on the feature stages, but things were hot and heavy inside the beer garden at Georges where Oreo Blue hosted the festival jam.  "Z" had the system thumping as Dave Stiles and Jones Crusher began the night.  When Oreo Blue took the stage, things rose to new heights for the evening.  Sitting in with the band were OB alumni, Chris Payton and drummer Steve Lane as well as the aforementioned Bryan Martin.  Later, a young newcomer, Kory Montgomery played some tasty blues on his guitar.  Chris Payton's cousin, blues singer Charlotte Taylor showed that the family genes produce some of the hottest vocals around.  As the night progressed, soulful singer and guitarist from the Tablerockers, Baby Jason, joined us on stage.  This guy has soul oozing from his veins.  Finally, Alligator artist and one of the best blues guitarists on the planet, Michael Burks joined Oreo Blue to close out the show.  Special happy birthday wishes to Judy Stone and many thanks to the dozens of familiar faces who shared this night with us.  Too many to name here, but it is nice to see all the friends, family, and performers that make it a point to stick around for our shows and appreciate what we do.

photo John Blair

August 16th--The Kitchen Pass--Joplin, Missouri--One of the nice things about Oreo Blue is that it is a family...not just a band.  Throughout this newsletter, you see former members of the band sitting in or filling in, like Don Orell, Mike Lovelady, and Chris Payton.  Oreo Blue's original guitar player, Bryan Martin, has seen a lot of windshield time since leaving the band a decade ago.  Actually, he is a truck driver and literally has been burning up the road.  I must admit that I did not hear him perform with the band those many years ago, but I am fortunate that the family welcomes him on stage whenever he is in town.  Bryan is a tasteful guitarist with plenty of chops.  He sat in for the entire last set tonight and performed admirably.  Too bad his hands have gotten soft.  If we can get him land-locked to Northwest Arkansas, I am sure you will see more of Mr. Martin.

 

August 15th--George's Majestic Lounge--Fayetteville, Arkansas--It's nice to be back home.  I've said that before, but it's always true.  It had been a long day with the drive back from Ardmore and the quick set up for happy hour.  It was nice to have some familiar faces at the club as well.  Brian's sister, Cindy and her new husband, Robert, Ben, Miles & Judy, D Hall, Ant, Carter, Z on the sound board, Brandon, Day, Bryan, and a host of others.  Just nice and warm.  

 

August 14th--Heritage Hall--Ardmore, Oklahoma--When you are a kid and you first pick up an instrument--guitar, bass, drums, saxophone, harp, piano--there are few expectations.  Mostly, you just want to make some noise with it.  Get people's attention and then try to organize the noise a little.  Eventually, you are making music.  That's when it hits you...  People respond to the music you make.  Whether it is spiritual, emotional, or purely physical, the people respond.  As you perfect your instrument, you begin to dream that dream of being on the big stage performing in front of thousands.  Tonight, we performed at the Heritage Hall on a pretty big stage in front of two-thousand folks who came to see two bands that have lived the dream and became legends--Kansas and Paul Rogers' Bad Company.  This is not our first time on a big stage, but it seems that each time we are given the opportunity to do so, it helps us hearken back to those childhood days when the dream was bigger than life itself.  Imagining being a household name.  Imagining thousands of people singing along to the songs you wrote.  The dream is not dead.  We know that every time we step on the big stage and see those folks cheer after every song.  Kansas and Paul Rogers were amazing.  They performed all their classic hits.  I sang every word to every song that I knew by heart.  Someday...

 

photo John Blair

August 9th--Bob's Birthday--Elkins, Arkansas--Happy birthday to Bob Teague, From Oreo Blue.  Bob has a great family and an absolutely beautiful view from a beautiful home.  It was great fun to perform for you all.

photo John Blair

August 8th--Darwin & Tiffany's after-wedding party @ The Kitchen Pass --Parsons, Kansas--The inimitable DJ Darwin and his lovely bride, Tiffany, had just returned from Maui, Hawaii and their honeymoon.  So, why not have a party?  DJ Darwin is cool and he and his wife deserve to keep celebrating their union.  Parsons is always fun and this was, of course, no exception.  Tonight, we invited our former lead singer, Chris Payton, with us.  You have heard us rave about her awesome vocal prowess many times in this newsletter, but Chris might have been above her game tonight.  Stormy Monday Blues rose to religion through the chords of Ms. Payton.  John Blair captured some great moments which can be seen in the Image Gallery.  (Thanks, John)  Congratulations to DJ Darwin and Tiffany...may your best nights in public always be in the company of Oreo Blue.

photo John Blair

August 5th--Phil and Tim's Excellent Adventure @ the Rib Room--Ft. Smith, Arkansas--Phil and Tim turned 50 and Oreo Blue was fortunate enough to help them launch their next half-century tonight.  Fun-loving guys with a mass of friends can be the envy of every man.  It is the way it should be.  They are doing it right and, of course, they have great taste in music.  It was Rod's turn to have the night off and local bass journeyman, Tim Martin was kind enough to fill in.  Tim did a masterful job covering all the necessary grooves to keep the party flowing.  Not to slight the party, but the Rib Room food still has this magical way of wishing I had worn a larger shirt.  

 

August 1st--Rhythm & Brews--Jackson, Mississippi--First of all our hard working drummer and webmaster Stephen Boudreaux had to take the night off to deal with some crucial day job emergency.  We figured two nights in four years that he's asked off, why not.  Stepping up to the drum chair for the night was our old friend and former Oreo drummer Mike Lovelady.  Mike has always been one of our favorite drummers and is always a pro with this night being no exception.  He did his homework and stepped up to the plate and the groove was on.  Mike has the nickname "The Groove Machine" for a reason.  The boy has got some serious mojo behind the kit.  It was great fun to visit and play with an old friend.  Also, getting to see Mike's lovely bride Kelly and there children. ~  Now for the gig, Beth and the crew at Rhythm & Brews rolled out the red carpet again for the band.  Many venues and managers should take a lesson from these folks on how to treat the entertainment.  Thank you for all the little things, turning on our AC at the hotel, snacks and soft drinks in the rooms, a deck of playing cards, the scented candle, and did we mention the Kick*** BBQ for dinner and a late night snack.  My goodness it was by far the best smoked beef ribs this sax player has eaten.  It's always a pleasure to perform for the Oreo Blue faithful, and they were out in uniform and in force.  It seemed their were more people wearing our colors than civilians that night, and we like it that way.  It's safe to say that we'll be looking forward to another return to Rhythm & Brews this winter.  Until then, thank you for making a long trip so worth while and gratifying. --Brian Crowne     PS. Beth, thanks for remembering our troops!

 

Even Dogs Love the new Hendrix Tribute DVD

Lacy the Dog photo John Blair

 

July 27th--4th Annual Bowling Party @ Edgewood Bowl-- Neosho, Missouri--Momentum dies when overconfident infallibility meets its match.  Thus, Brian retains his bowling title again this year.  The series is now at Stephen 2, Brian 3.  Having bowled a blistering 180, it appears that Oreo Blue's own bowling shark is pulling away from the pack. Rumor has it that the PBA is thinking about sponsoring the band's next project if only the sax player will give up Monday nights to participate in the tour.  Thanks to the great folks at the Edgewood Bowl for having us again this year for the "battle of the sexes".  Apparently, the women will never win that battle (according to sources).  I was bitter after last year's loss to Brian.  However, after witnessing him bowl a 180, it would be like being upset at Michael Jordan for beating me in one-on-one, or at Lance Armstrong for pedaling too fast, or at Roger Clemons for striking me out.

 

July 18th--Player's--Texarkana, Texas--Our return to Player's was highly anticipated both in the local media and in our minds.  As a matter of fact, I believe that the crowd this night was at least twice as large as our debut show.  Many of our new fans were in attendance as were a few other bands to see what the fuss was all about.  Post-show reports were overwhelmingly positive as many exclaimed that it was an amazing show, or the best they'd ever seen, or they were rendered breathless.  An added feature for this show was Marshall, Texas' Wes Jeans who sat in for a few adrenaline stoked numbers.  Thanks to Wes and his gal-pal, Kristal, for making the trip up.  The whole gang is hip at Player's.  Check 'em out when you are in town. 

 

July 12th--Shapiro's--Hot Springs--This town has a notorious history.  Crime bosses used to traverse the streets of the Spa City, take in the baths, hear a little music, drink a little spring water, and keep their profiles low.  Their buddies and partners in crime would get the tip they were coming to town and roll out the red carpet for them.  I like to think sometimes that when we roll into town, we have a little notorious celebrity of our own.  Somehow, groups of people know we are in town and roll out to join us.  Some come from far away and some are locals.  We appreciate them all, of course.  We have no criminal intentions, but the history is fun to think about...

photo John Blair

 

July 5th--Two Frogs Grill--Ardmore, Oklahoma--*Please reference the dozens of other entries in this newsletter for all of the accolades given to Two Frogs for the amazing food, unparalleled hospitality, and the great fans.  For our Hendrix tribute DVD release party, we showed up early to partake in a bit of voodoo steak and apple dumpling.  And it was a good thing, so we could let the food settle before hitting the stage.  Along for the ride was hired-gun sound engineer, "Z", who made our performance so much more comfortable.  Some folks drove up north from Texas and west from Arkansas and south from OKC to see the show.  Oreo Blue cannot say how much we appreciate those folks who endure the windshield time to see the band.  Miss Amy and her band from OKC dropped in for a bit.  Check them out when you are in their neighborhood.  But mostly...get to Two Frogs Grill today, tomorrow, or the next day, but just get there.  It's a cool vibe and great food.  www.twofrogsgrill.com.   

photo John Blair

July 4th--The Greens--Fayetteville, Arkansas--This date was a late add to the schedule so that we could help the cool folks at the Greens in Fayetteville celebrate Independence Day.  The primary condition for performing was that we be able to share the day with our families.  Eat great barbeque, swelter in the heat, thank God for living in this country, and watch the reflections of a fantastic fireworks show in my children's eyes.  I mean...these folks rolled out a 20 minute barrage of fireworks that was a finale from start to finish.  It was nearly exhausting.  Thanks to some motor-bikers that rode all the way up from Ardmore, Oklahoma, to share in the fun.  Thanks to the Greens staff for hosting a great time, and thanks to our families and friends for letting us boys celebrate the holiday the best way we know how...by performing our music.

 

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