May-June, 2002


Dave Armstrong sitting in at the Run

photo by ©John Blair

 

June 28-29th--The Elephant Run--Tulsa, Oklahoma--It's summertime and it's hot, but the Elephant Run is cool.  Way cool.  I'm talking mainly about the staff.  They are so appreciative of our music and remain as hospitable as they come.  It was Ken's birthday this weekend and a grand time was had by all.  We were joined on stage by local bass man, Dave Armstrong, who led us through a few standards.  In a town rich with quality musicians, Tulsa has a gem in this great bass player/singer.  John and Sandy Blair joined us once again as we made the now ceremonial pilgrimage to the Mexicali Border Cafe on Saturday.  John, our Authorized Midwest Photographer was snapping away with his keen eye and busy camera.  All of the "quality" photos on this site are courtesy of John Blair.  Look for pictures of you on our photos pages...Also at the show this weekend was Gary's lovely wife, Camy, who joins us back at a show after a year and a half or so.  You see, she was a little busy...having a baby.  Er...Macy Gail to be exact.  I'll try to swing some current photos of the little darling for next entry.  In the mean time, here's Camy and Gary's oldest daughter, Jordan having a time:

Camy and Jordan

photo by ©John Blair

 

June 22nd--The ByPass--Joplin, Missouri--Whew!  What a game...what a season!  Nathan and I appreciate Don and the band for letting me be a part of a wonderful experience with my son.  Saturday night was HOT...and HUMID!  Ugh...  The ByPass, as has been stated many times, is a premier venue for us.  In the summertime, the band gets to perform out back on the really neat deck.  Problem is...the deck is sandwiched between two city buildings and the cool summer breeze has a hard time finding its way to the stage.  Can't dampen our groove, though.  When Brian kicks off that Rock Me Baby groove, the chill down my spine could cool off the Amazon River Basin.

 

Special Insert--June 21st--The Kitchen Pass--Parsons, Kansas--As always we look forward to playing the Kitchen Pass in Parsons, not only for the great food but because of the great fans.  These include patrons and employees alike.  Dave, Darwin and the crew always take care of us so well.  This Friday night would be different, but not like you might think...  Stephen our trooper drummer for over three years now asked for his first night off since coming to work with us so long ago.  His son Nathan had finished his baseball season undefeated and was in the City Championship Finals and dad need to be there to witness the victory.  Congratulations to Nathan and all his teammates on finishing their dream season.

Stephen's son heading for Third


...Back to the gig, our old friend and former Oreo drummer Don "Thunderfoot" Orrell stepped in to help us out and he hasn't lost a step.  Don knew the new songs from Ten Down better than we did I think and helped put on a stellar performance.  Don is definitely one of the best showman around and it was no different that night.  Don sang, played tremendously well, performed a stellar drum solo, did the gunfighter duo with Gary and brought up a guessed drummer Miss Brigett to play simultaneously with him.  Other than that he didn't do a whole lot.  Don helped soften the blow of not having our main man with us and it was certainly memorable.  Don is a good friend and will always be a part of the Oreo Blue family.  Watch for Don and the famous two drummer show on July 4th at Powerhouse Seafood.  We also made a knew friend in the likes of a wonderful young singer from Kansas City Miss Brigett.  She did a fine job on Texas Flood and Chain of Fools so we hope to see her out again at a show soon.  Watch for her in your area as well.
Once again Oreo Blue's official photographer John Blair and his lovely wife Sandy were out in force and his amazing eye for photos from that night can be seen on our photos pages.--Brian Crowne
 

at GroveFest 2002

June 17th--Home--Over the last year or so, we have been getting regular updates from a radio station in Mankato, Minnesota, that has been playing songs from our CDs.  Oreo Blue gets radio play in America and overseas as we have previously mentioned, but it is nice to see the playlists of KMSU/KMSK Radio and see Oreo Blue sandwiched between Koko Taylor, Etta James, Howlin' Wolf, T-Bone Walker, and many others.  Lately, our song, Born To Suffer, from our live CD, Ten Down--Live at the ByPass has been in regular rotation.

KMSU 89.7 FM, Mankato & KMSK 91.3 FM, Austin, Minnesota, USA
The Maverick Radio Network

 

at GroveFest 2002

June 15th--Thunder on the Pond/GroveFest 2002--Grove, Oklahoma--Although a bit off the beaten path, this little festival proved that the event organizers would spare no expense to treat the audience to a great show.  The production and lighting crew was fantastic bringing in a superb stage with hi-tech lighting and effects.  The opening act was a local band from Grove whose name escapes me (Broomhandle?), but they played great and have a promising future.  Oreo Blue rocked the enthusiastic crowd for our first 90-minute set when the skies opened up and doused the hot set.  We were elated to see some of our fans who drove in from as far away as Enid, OK and Parsons, KS.  Hopefully, the great folks at Grovefest will have us back next year on a drier day.  

at GroveFest 2002

June 14th--The Kitchen Pass--Neosho, Missouri--We have always said that the Pawlus brothers, Mike and Dave, have the best thing going in Kansas and Missouri with the Kitchen Pass restaurants in Parsons and Joplin.  The food is unparalleled (including my favorite, Chicken & Friends) and the entertainment is world-class.  Now, Neosho, Missouri is the new benefactor of their golden touch with the opening of the third Kitchen Pass.  As word gets around about the awesome food, the great hospitality, the attentive staff, and the best entertainment lineup in America, we wouldn't be surprised to see a whole slew of Kitchen Pass restaurants in the near future. 

at GroveFest 2002

June 1st--Eureka Live--Eureka Springs, Arkansas--This is always a fun room to play and having it be Blues Festival weekend, it was sure to be a gas.  Limping in from Ft. Scott, Kansas in the gimpy suburban gave us a less-than-optimistic outlook for the day, though.  Gary and Brian had to be in Eureka Springs for an acoustic show and Rod and I went in to Rogers to try and get the truck fixed.  Nothing like getting soaked in gasoline trying to change a fuel filter.  For what ever reason, the musicality of the show tonight was immeasurable.  Brian tried to explain how Oreo Blue takes the show up a few notches, but he couldn't put his finger on it.  Sometimes things are just "on".  Tonight, they were.  Highlights included Messing With the Kid, I'm Standing Here, Rock Me Baby, and local stalwart, Mike Nichols' rendition of Mustang Sally.  Another strong performance came in the form of an old Oreo Blue classic, My Groove Won't Do You No Wrong.  Listen for its comeback in upcoming shows near you.  

For those of you that took pictures tonight, please email them to us and we will post them in our Photos sections.  Flashbulbs were popping all night long and we would be excited to share those pictures with our fans.

 

May 31st--Good Ole Days Festival--Ft. Scott, Kansas--Despite a few troubles with the supposedly newly repaired Rock and Roll Suburban, the band's debut at the Good Ole Days Festival went off without a hitch.  Well, save for the heat and humidity.  This quaint little festival is a nice community gathering of Kansans celebrating some 130 years of the fort's existence.  There was a nice breeze blowing, but we were inside a tent with 101% humidity and about 90 degrees...we all lost a few pounds of water tonight.

May 28th--Home--Oreo Blue is becoming an International Sensation.  First, the Brits buy up our CDBaby inventory and now the Swedish blues fans are getting a taste of Oreo Blue...I will translate the article for you if you will sign the guestbook and let me know.

 

May 24-25th--George's Majestic Lounge--Fayetteville, Arkansas--Oreo Blue has been a roost ruler at George's for nearly a decade.  And even though the crowds at George's tend to be somewhat transient with the University of Arkansas set, there is still a core of faithful locals that not only frequent the state's oldest garden venue, but make a concerted effort to support Oreo Blue when we perform there.  In order to keep things fresh, Oreo Blue can pull out many stops.  This weekend, we added a percussionist, Del Blake, to the set, brought up sit-in players such as Dave Stiles (helping out on some Allman Brothers), Dan the Soundman on both 7-string guitar and drums (very hip), and local guitar phenom, T.J. Scarlett (who tore up some stuff on Sweet Little Angel).  A note about the percussionist...Del Blake:  Del has been there.  As a drummer, he has performed with Sammy Davis, Jr., Tom Jones, Woody Herman, and countless others while on circuit in Las Vegas in its heyday.  A former National Rudimental Snare Drum Champion, Del has a tremendous talent and ability.  Some 15 years ago, he laid down his sticks and pursued a career in computer technology.  And although he is enormously successful in that endeavor, we are pleased that he has rediscovered a love for music and has joined us on stage.  His enthusiasm and skills helped us ignite a high-energy and fun evening.  More will be seen and heard from Del in the near future and it was a pleasure and an honor to have him join us on stage.  

 

May 19th--Powerhouse Party on the Patio--Fayetteville, Arkansas--Wishing away the rain, Oreo Blue set out for a triumphant return to the Party on the Patio.  Things were going great for the first set and then the skies opened up.  The rain only lasted a few moments, but it was long enough to force the band to pack things up and head for home.  I suppose we will have to double up our efforts during the upcoming Independence Day Celebration here on July 4th.  

 

photo by ©John Blair

May 11th--Pleasant Grove HS--Texarkana, Texas--Oreo Blue has not historically been prom-band material.  However, with the students at Pleasant Grove, Oreo Blue is the overwhelming choice.  After performing for last years' prom, it was reported by one chaperone that, "when the ballots were passed out to vote for entertainment this year, Oreo Blue was the overwhelming write-in favorite.  You boys really made an impression last year."  Well, by all accounts, the students had a great time this year as well.  As mentioned last May, we at Oreo Blue believe that there is faith in the new generation of music lovers.  As we have stated before, Oreo Blue music transcends generations and this group was a perfect example.  We want to thank the Juniors and Seniors for having us back and for letting us be a part of your celebration.  Your group is a shining example of our bright future.  See you soon.

May 11th--Rough and Ready Days--Monticello, Arkansas--After whirling in around 3am and getting a couple hours of shut-eye, we pulled into the festival grounds to the aroma of a thousand chickens on the grill.  Mmmmm...it smelled soooo good.  Unfortunately, we didn't get a chance to eat since we had to jump on stage, perform, and then zoom out of there to Texarkana for the show later this evening.  The folks in Monticello were extremely accommodating and kind.  It was nice to see some friends drive down from Pine Bluff for the show and it was especially nice for me to see an old Fraternity brother, John McClendon, that I hadn't seen in years who makes his home there.  We hope to make it back to Monticello soon when we can stay a bit longer.  

photo by © John Blair

 

May 8th--Numeier's Rib Room--Ft. Smith, Arkansas--Well...we finally got to play this show.  This was the benefit for the Ft. Smith Riverfront Blues Society and American Music Festival.  The show was originally scheduled for Friday, April 26th.  Well, the skies opened up and the rains came down on the outdoor venue.  Cancelled.  The show was then rescheduled for Wednesday, May 1st.  The weather was perfect...but as we were nearly set to play, a great fiery blast came from the electric power meter in the back of the restaurant.  Like the bellows from Godzilla, the fire shot out of the meter each time the power surged to the building.  The Ft. Smith fire department showed up in record time and were gracious enough to chat with us during the ordeal.  Show cancelled.  (we hadn't even plugged in yet...)  We had water, we had fire, and by all accounts the next date would be cancelled due to a plague of locusts.  All this talk about a voodoo curse and stuff.  Nah...the show tonight went on without a hitch and we rocked those voodoo curses right out of town.  If I haven't raved about the award winning barbeque at the Rib Room then just let me know and I will post another entry... 

photo by © John Blair

 

May 5th--Rio Bravo (Cinco de Mayo Celebration)--Fayetteville, Arkansas--Originally, the plan was to have an outdoor celebration in the large lot at Rio Bravo, but it seems the folks in charge of handing out one day liquor licenses had a problem with having a party.  Nonetheless, the folks packed themselves into the restaurant and we packed ourselves into the covered patio and proceeded to get with it.  The food is excellent at Rio Bravo and the staff and ownership are superb.  Many thanks to them for letting us assist them in having a great time.  

For you purist Cinco de Mayo folks...

Gracias a la gente maravillosa en el Rio Bravo por dejarnos ayudarle a celebrar a Cinco de Mayo. El alimento es excelente y la gente es grande. Miramos adelante al año próximo y a otro gran partido el Rio Bravo.

 

May 3-4th--The Elephant Run--Tulsa, Oklahoma--The Elephant Run has quickly become a favorite venue of ours.  As hotel clubs are apt to be patronized by transients, The Elephant Run has established itself as a great place to get hip and hear great live music in Tulsa for both locals and visitors.  One of the key ingredients for this formula of success is the wonderful staff of groovy waitresses and personable bar-keeps.  And like Elephants, these folks have both great memories and great sensibility.  Never before have we worked a club where the staff was so in-tune with our show.  And speaking of the shows...well, I really think that you just had to be there.  Sometimes it gets difficult to describe what comes off the stage on a good weekend.  Besides, I hate to rant and rave about the band too much because you might think that I am biased or something.  O.K., let's put it this way:  The Oklahoma Blues Festival was in town this weekend and a few folks that had spent the afternoon over there came to the club for a few drinks.  They had planned on returning to the festival site to catch all the national headliners that evening.  After hearing a few songs in our first set...they never left.

We also had the Blairs down from Kansas again.  Mexicali Border Cafe was our lunch stop on Saturday.  Great food.  Dinner was reported to be excellent at the Elephant Run.  A fajita burrito can set you free when prepared properly and the folks at the Run make it just right.

Hmm.  O.K., I can't stand it any longer...I just have to say that Gary Hutchison is IMHO the best guitar player around.  Versatile, competent, energetic, whimsical, honest, flashy, subtle, fiery, over-the-top, under-the-board, in-your-face, innovative, vintage, sexual, sensual, with great tone, and best of all he is passionate about his craft.  If you are reading this entry and have not seen Oreo Blue live featuring Gary Hutchison...make a trip, catch a bus, a train, run, don't walk.  See and hear what the buzz is about.  Heck, I've seen Gary play nearly EVERY weekend for over three years and it NEVER gets old or stale.  The guy just shows up and kicks you in the a**.  Period.

(the rest of the band ain't so shabby either...:) 

photo by © John Blair

 

May 2nd--Home--The Aussies are getting hip with Oreo Blue!--Oreo Blue is being featured at www.bluesbeat.com.au in a rare appearance on the Australian Blues website.  The three available CDs, Ten Down--Live at the ByPass, Prescription for the Blues, and Live By Demand, and being swept up by our friends down under.  Go give them a visit and say, "G' Day!"

 

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

                 

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