March-April, 2002


April 30th--Home--My son, Nathan, and I are Cub Scouters and it was that time of year for the Pinewood Derby races.  Nathan built his car in the shape of a fiery lightning bolt and came in second place for best-of-show.  Dad's get to make a car, too.  So, I decided to try my luck.  The result was The Oreo Blue Express!!!

(And, by the way, The Oreo Blue Express took first place in the Dad's division...it was almost as fast as Gary picking on The Baritone Boogie!)

pic2, pic3, pic4

 

April 27th--Cartoon's--Springfield, Missouri--It was a pleasant return to Springfield for our CD release party.  The best part was having our good friend and Oreo Blue family member, Don Orell, and his family out for the first set.  As many of you long-time OB fans know, Don reigned supreme on the drum chair off and on for the band's first seven years.  He can be heard nailing grooves on the Live By Demand CD and its accompanying video that showcases Don's masterful soloing skills.  Unfortunately, the video is long out of production, but bootleg copies have been known to surface for a generous donation to the Rock and Roll Suburban Repair Fund!

Thanks to Joe and the crew at Cartoon's for making us comfortable and feeding us well.  The food was excellent (I had the Sirloin...of course) and we are looking forward to our next engagement.  

 

April 25th--Jose's Streetside 25th Birthday Bash--Fayetteville, Arkansas--The only problem with playing a show at Jose's is that it has been my favorite Mexican restaurant for over 15 years.  So, naturally, I have to rave about the food.  Well, I'll tell you what...why don't you just go down to Dickson Street in Fayetteville and find out for yourself.  You won't be disappointed in the food or the atmosphere out on Streetside.  Don't forget to load up on the one-of-a-kind salsa and queso.  Yummy!  The show was a blast and the weather was perfect.  Right up until it started to rain on the last note.  Thanks to all of our friends and fans that came out to the show and thanks to Jose's for the grub...

 

April 13th--George's Majestic Lounge--Fayetteville, Arkansas--What was supposed to be a regular show for us turned into a double-bill night with our new friends from Little Rock, Superflux (www.superflux.cc).  Seems as if the inside room was booked up with a private party, so we decided to share our stage with this new up-an-coming group.  It was fun having Steve, Cara, Colter, and Phil up in our town.  Look for them in a hot spot near you.  We played a long middle set sandwiched between their two and the awesome Chris Payton joined us on stage for our set and I must say, she is Northwest Arkansas' best kept secret.  There are few finer vocalist anywhere.  It was wonderful to pull out some old Oreo classics as well as some fun standards.  Amanda Adams joined us as well for Proud Mary and the like.  A fun night had by all. 

Gary as a baby...

 

April 12th--Danny's Blues Saloon--Oklahoma City, Oklahoma--It had been a while since we performed at Danny's at it was good to be back.  The folks here have a strong appreciation for the blues led by their esteemed owner who is a great blues singer and harp player.  We must have made a big impression the last time we performed here since there were a number of folks that had been looking forward to this night for about a year and a half!  Hmm.  Well, I think that Brian and Gary wanted to make sure they would get their money's worth, 'cause they spanked the listeners with some blistering solo work and some real heartfelt and soulful blues.  The drive home after the show was particularly interesting.  It seems that just as Brian and I were discussing never to drive home from OKC after a show again, a tire on the trailer blew and then just disintegrated.  We were without a spare, so we limped on into a gas station and decided to fix it later in the day.  Besides it was after 6am by the time we got off the road.  This all in the same week we learned that the R&R Suburban will require some more repairs (transmission, rear-end, power stearing, etc.)  So, love the tip bucket a little next time we play in your town so we can cover some auto expenses!

image by John Blair

April 5-6th--Cajun's Wharf--Little Rock, Arkansas--What an exceptional setting to perform live music in a club, and then the food, wow, add some wonderful people, old friends, a packed house and great sound and you not only have a run-on-sentence you’ve got a happy band.  Our CD Release Party on Friday night was great.  We would like to thank Cryin’ Brian from KABF in Little Rock for all the airplay he has been giving Oreo Blue and for coming out both nights and introducing us.  It was fun to have so many people come up to us and say they had heard us on his radio show Mondoblues.  Cajun’s is one of the finest restaurants in the state and if you read this newsletter very often you know we love good food.  Hat’s off to the staff of Cajun’s as it is a professional and friendly place to play.  Also, it was great to see our old friends Mark and Marla Hayes.  Happy birthday again to Bill and thanks to all you guys in his crew for digging us so much--Special Insert --Brian Crowne

(editorial note:  Thanks to the Boudreaux's from Conway for coming out to support cousin/nephew Stephen, and to Miles and Judy Stone for hanging for the weekend as well as braving the post-show Waffle House experience with us.)

image by John Blair

 

April 4th--George's Majestic Lounge--Fayetteville, Arkansas--This was our CD release party at George's that was sponsored by the Ozark Blues Society.  We greatly appreciate the OBS for inviting us to perform in their concert series.  Oreo Blue is adamant about ensuring the success of the OBS in Northwest Arkansas and proudly donated $5 proceeds from each CD sold at our concert this evening.  We were delighted to have some good friends come out to the show:  Jim and Suzie, Del Blake, Jed Clampit, Jim Rose, Bruce from FPL, just to name a few.  Grateful, too, were we that some of our contemporaries in the local music scene came out to support us and the OBS.  

 

March 29-30th--Shapiro's--Hot Springs, Arkansas--First of all I would like to say that it is always fun to visit “Spa City” and it had been too long sense we last performed in Hot Springs.  Mr. Schapiro has been offering up a healthy dose of great Blues this season and it was a great place for Oreo to have our Hot Springs CD Release Party.  It was a great show both nights with what has been a steady stream of inspired performances from the band.  This has been an amazing year and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down now.  We are truly having fun making music.  I would also like to thank my future family and friends for making the trip over from Mena.  The Yazzetti Clan along with Lee, Mary Joe, Charlie and Claudia helped make our Friday night especially fun.  It was nice that they are still going to except me after one of our more raucous shows.  Thanks.--Special Insert--Brian Crowne

 

March 23rd--The Two Frogs Grill--Ardmore, Oklahoma-- "Fatigued" is probably the only adjective that suits me this morning.  It is about 7:25am on the Monday after and looking back on this show conjures up quite a few descriptive adjectives:

"Rushed"--the Dallas show was from 3:30 to nearly 5:00pm and we arrived in Ardmore at little before 7:00pm.  The show was at 10, but we had to eat, shake off 7 1/2 hours of driving, and load in all that equipment.

"Anxious"--With the Two Frogs Boogie video, the release of the new CD to some faithful fans, and the write up in the Daily Ardmorite, the show wasn't coming fast enough.

"Giddy"--Well, just being around Gary makes us all that way.

"Overwhelmed"--by a few things:  The strong performances by the band, the sold-out crowd, the lack of rest, the Two Frogs hospitality, and the realization that I had completely lost track of time.

"Honored"--to perform with three world-class musicians in front of the finest fans on the planet.

"Exhausted"--  Funny thing...we played our first set of about an hour and a half or so and we took a break.  It didn't seem long enough (about 10 minutes?) to get the rest before going on with the second set.  As the second set came to a close after what seemed like two hours, I was begging for a longer break so we could rest up for the final push.  Having lost track of time, I didn't realize that the show was actually over.  It was just that kind of night.

The show went fantastic and I know that we had a great time as usual at the Two Frogs.  After loading out, it was time to hit the sack and get up early to head home.  Tune in next week!

 

March 23rd--Dallas Guitar Show--Dallas, Texas--Whirling in after a 5-hour drive and jumping up on the stage is my favorite way to keep the butterflies from even following me out of the truck.  Those pre-show butterflies were too tired from the drive.  Besides...who had time for them?  The Dallas Guitar Show is an awesome event. Like a guitar player's heaven.  Like a desert-wanderer happening on an oasis, or a like a starving Somali child at Donald Trump's Thanksgiving dinner, there were literally thousands of guys in un-tucked shirts with guitar-shaped and flowered prints wandering wide-eyed and aimless among hundreds of thousands of guitars of all shapes and sizes.  After a quick set, we flew off the stage (bumping in to those butterflies) and zoomed north to Ardmore.  

March 21st--Home--Daily Ardmorite Article...In anticipation of our show in Ardmore this Saturday night, the Daily Ardmorite was kind enough to offer up this article.  Ardmore is home to the Two Frogs Grill which has been immortalized by our new CD, Ten Down-Live at the ByPass which contains both the song and the video, Two Frogs Boogie.  The song honors a special place run by special people; frequented by great patrons; and which serves up the best food on either side of the Red River...  

The British Are Coming

Things are heating up over at CD Baby.com where Ten Down-Live at the ByPass is getting bought up by our friends over in the United Kingdom.  Brian is scrambling around to try and re-stock the CD Baby inventory so that the Brits can continue to enjoy some great new blues from Arkansas, USA.  Get your copy of Ten Down right here or visit CD Baby.com for a jolly good offering from Oreo Blue.

 

 

March 15-16th--The Bayou--Rogers, Arkansas--This was our debut at the relatively new Bayou in Rogers, Arkansas.  Rogers is known as a conservative, Republican-type town most well suited for business, good schools, and frequently attending church.  I can say this, because it is practically my home-town.  What it is not known for is a great party time, rocking blues clubs, alcohol-inspired lunacy and the like.  Well...Oreo Blue was in town and things were going to change at least in this little spot for these few people.  As our esteemed leader exclaims, "We are on a mission."  Not the mission from God as seen in the Blues Brothers, but rather a mission to go out and SPANK every new listener with the hardest-hitting blues, the phattest funk, the most powerful rock and roll, and the most brain-dead swing known to us.  Not just to sell the new CD, but more-so to leave no doubt that we are very serious about bringing the highest quality live entertainment to every town we visit.  This weekend witnessed some of our strongest performances in recent history.  Highlights included everybody on Rock Me Baby, Brian on Heaven's Door, Brick House, and the most intense, soulful and powerful version of James Taylor's Steamroller Blues, Rod's requested bass solo on Killing Floor, Gary on Hey Joe, etc., and my so-called "John Bonham" solo on the swing thing.  

 

March 13th--Home--Oreo Blue learned this week that it would get a return invitation to the prestigious King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena, Arkansas this coming October.  Through no small part by Brian Crowne and his continued marketing efforts, Oreo Blue was awarded the rare return invitation coming off the heels of last year's performances that created a buzz and a stir throughout Helena and blues lovers from all over the world.  You can read about last year's highlights in the September-October, 2001 Issue of this newsletter and after October...read about the 2002 hightlights.  We are honored to get the invitation and look forward to the show.

March 8-9th--Eureka Live--Eureka Springs, Arkansas--As the CD release parties roll on, we find ourselves sponging up new fans by the droves and giving new life to old fans.  Eureka Live is the kind of place where anything might happen or maybe nothing will happen at all.  This weekend was a combination of both.  When inspiration is not found in a crowd or in the atmosphere of a venue, it is often found within.  After a mildly lackluster night on Friday, the band struggled to make certain that Saturday night was more fulfilling.  The great thing about Oreo Blue is that musical energy can be found within the confines of the four band members.  So much so, that a performance for one can equal the performance for ten thousand with regard to musical magic and passion.  IMHO, it is what makes performing with Oreo Blue so special and I can imagine it is what makes each Oreo Blue performance so successful night in and night out.  I mean...Brian played so hard that he snapped the neck of his prized tenor saxophone right apart!  That's giving it up...

image by John Blair

March 4th--Online--Oreo Blue learned this weekend that we were invited to perform at the Greater Southwest Guitar Show (aka the Dallas Guitar Show).  This is an unbelievable honor for us and a great tribute to our own fabulous guitarist, Gary Hutchison.  For anyone that has seen and heard Gary perform, it is apparent that he stands tall amongst guitarists around the world.  His is an audio and visual event each time he takes the stage.  A performance by Gary is studded with the all the rich sounds of guitar history as well as his own storied past.  And he can bring the modern interpretation as well as the youngest shredders around taking each note to its audible potential either by cramming it right down the listener's throat or feathering each note on the listeners ears like a butterfly kiss from a six-year-old.  As Oreo Blue is honored to be able to perform at the Dallas Guitar Show, rest assured that the folks in attendance will have been honored to see one of the guitar world's best kept secrets in Gary Hutchison.

February 28th & March 1-2nd--The Elephant Run--Tulsa, OK--With a three-day weekend show, we decided to pull out all the stops and come out with three radically different approaches for the folks in Tulsa.  On Thursday evening, we celebrated our CD Release of Ten Down--Live at the ByPass and performed most of the cuts from the CD as well as like-genre tunes that gave the show a blues flavor and an original composition makeup.  On Friday, the crowd was raucous and wild and was looking for something strong and grooving.  Oreo Blue became a power-trio styled rock and dance band and pulled out a number of classics as well as some fun dance songs to keep the people moving.  Over night, the weather went foul.  Our hotel room phone started ringing about 8:45am (early for musicians) with people saying, "Man, you gotta look outside!"  and "Have you seen the snow?"  First of all, none of us were interested in getting out of bed even if there were elephants running (get it?) up and down I-44.  As you have read time and again in entries past, Oreo Blue leaves nothing on the stage during a performance and, well, let's just say we need our beauty rest...  After finally crawling out of bed we saw that the snow was a good six inches deep and the forecast was calling for sub 10°F  temperatures.  Prospects were grim for having a decent crowd for Saturday's show.  Fortunately, we had a number of die-hard fans that had driven in from as far away as Parsons, KS and Oklahoma City to see the band for the weekend and we all went to lunch at the Mexicali Border Cafe (I must say it was excellent.  I had a mixed burrito con queso with beans and rice...yummy!).  We were entertained by the legions of automotive-challenged drivers attempting to scale and descend the ice-covered hill outside our restaurant window.  Not long after lunch, Brian fell ill to some sudden fever and was down hard.  The show looked even more grim from here.  But it was show-time and it seemed a few crazies found their way to the club to see what the buzz was about from the last two days.  Brian became the trooper of the night and performed like never before and Gary stepped up any usual antics to get the crowd into stitches.  Gary had us and the crowd laughing so hard that we all had to catch our breath before going on to the next song.  Musical highlights were many this weekend and probably too many to single out.  Saturday's show was riddled with quirky antics and songs we had never performed prior such as Jumpin' Jack Flash and Tequila.  It appears that the crowd left satisfied and we left exhausted and content with making folks happy and yearning for more.

image by John Blair

                 

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