May-June, 2007

 

June 30th--Nuemeir's Rib Room--Fort Smith, AR--It's a shame that we do this show only once a year.  First of all, Nuemeir has the best BBQ anywhere and the service is fantastic.  We had thought that there might be a chance of rain to run off any potential crowd, but the skies held clear and the show went on.  We were to feature our former fearless leader, Brian Crowne, but the weather and other obligations kept him from attending.  The crowd was fantastic despite their early hesitance.  It was a packed house from start to finish.  Friendly faces and tons of new ones.  For those that were there, Sweet Home Alabama will never sound the same without our added chorus chant...  It's not really my favorite song, but I digress.  Gary was on fire from the get-go and virtually compelled that crowd to get out of their seats.  In the end, it was a beautiful night and I wish for more of them like it. 

Regarding the new CD...I will stop talking about it until it is released.  Cool?  Dan has the final run in his little doctor fingers and is poised to complete the mastering.  As soon as I get the master, it will be on order and here in a couple of weeks.  I am torn between anxiously excited and nervously optimistic.  We shall see, but will let you be the judge.  I am contemplating the CD title again... Originally, I thought it should be called "Oreo Blue--The Trio".  However, lately the word "Reinvention" comes to mind when listening to the songs.  These songs are curiously different than Oreo Blue pens from the past.  But I can't quite put my finger on it.  Oreo Blue was a very distinct invention by Brian way back in 1991.  It was invented again a few times over the years when Chris Payton joined the band, and then when Gary joined the band.  With it now as a three-piece, it seems that things have been reinvented once again but with a common history.  The problem is...one is never satisfied with the product even when it is "finished."  There's never enough time...

 

June 22--Home--June is a busy month for us, so here we go...Great Weekend with Very Little Sleep...
I am doing this backwards this time. Starting the blog at myspace.com/oreobluemusic and not at oreoblue.com.  I guess I am getting comfortable with that...

This past Friday, we converged on Muskogee, Oklahoma, for the Okie Jam (www.okiejam.com). This was a great event to benefit MONARCH Oklahoma which is at the heart of our lovely hostess, Tracy Martin. Tracy is a tireless worker and we would like to applaud her efforts to make the festival a success and for her work for MONARCH. Those hip cat buddies of ours, The Nace Brothers, were there and sounded perfectly perfect. There was a great Buddy Holly impersonator from Chicago that we saw. He also announced our band's presence in the impersonation of Al Pacino. Monte Montgomery headlined after our set. Such a tremendous talent... The Thursday prior, I backlined one of my drum kits for Monte's drummer. I decided to stay for the show instead of coming back later to pack up. What a great decision. Monte and his band put on such a masterful performance from start to finish. Monte, who was named one of the 50 greatest guitarists of all time by Guitar Player magazine, is well-documented. However, his bassist and drummer are uniquely solid and tighter than a resin seal. And superbly nice guys... So, two nights of Monte Montgomery and his band rules.

Well, we got to the hotel relatively early and were in bed before midnight. However, our show at Parkville River Jam was at 12:30. A five hour drive ahead of us, we had to roll out of bed by 5:30am and hit the road by 6:30am. It was a nice drive, I suppose. We played for a sparse early crowd at Parkville, MO, and had to navigate across the north of Kansas City to find our next show in Excelsior Springs, MO. Wabash BBQ is a gem of a place just northeast of the city. First of all...let me brag on the food for a bit. Since the fine folks at Wabash were footing the bill, and the great waitresses, Lauren and Jen, were making great recommendations, we thought we better try the fare. Half a rack of ribs, fried cheese and onions for appetizers, a doubled-up plate of brisket and pork, beans, slaw, and at least a quart of the hot sauce. Wow...awesome. Luckily, we ate early and had time to recover before the show. We got to rest and clean up at a great hotel next door to the venue. The Historic Elms Hotel is reputed to have had US Presidents stay there, Al Capone, and other noteable or notorious folks. It had that great old vibe...

The show at Wabash was outdoors and it was a little warm on Saturday evening in Excelsior Springs. We started when the sun was still shining and played well into the dark. The place was packed and there were kids running around everywhere! What a great American environment at this venue. It was like a block party in 1950 where everyone would gather to have some food and drinks, listen to live music, and let your kids romp around unattended. I handed out an estimated 46 pair of drumsticks to kids and autographed every one of them. At one point during the show, there were a dozen kids right up on stage with us whacking on my floor tom or ride cymbal. I managed to catch one particular kid who was an aspiring young drummer. He had decent time, so I let him operate the ride cymbal during a few songs while I kept time elsewhere on the kit. Otherwise, we had a great set and were absolutely exhausted. I am confident that I sweated off 10 pounds in the 5 hours up there. Not looking forward to the long drive home (4 hours for me, 5 hours for Gary and Rod), we hit the road anyway. Dangerous! But we made it home safe anyway despite getting turned around and losing a half hour trying to get out of Excelsior Springs in the dark. Home and in bed by 6:15am... then a double-header baseball game (www.nwamsbl.com) on Father's Day with my dad and son in tow. Who could ask for more?

May 24th--Home--

May 20th was our Sunday afternoon show at Jose's on Dickson Street.  Rod had a prior commitment, so we called up an old buddy, Jeff Meyers, to fill in.  Jeff not only did an admirable job, but he laid down some fat grooves.  On the songs he was not familiar with, he breezed his way through them with minimal effort.  Jeff is also a very soulful singer and that added some flair to the mix.  The only down side was that we missed dinner!  One of my favorite Mexican food places and we missed the meal... I guess I need to eat twice next time.  One special mention that I would like to make was that we had a wonderful vocalist sit in with us during our set.  Rachel Fields.  This gal is the real deal, folks.  She is soulful, energetic, powerful, and real.  Check her out at her websites and please go see the Rachel Fields Band:  http://www.myspace.com/rachelfieldsband

On the 19th, I got to perform with the TJ Scarlett Band up in Bentonville.  That was a real hoot.  TJ is a terrific guitarist and his selection of songs is a total blast to perform.  You can get more information about TJ and his band at www.tjscarlettband.com

May 18th, Oreo Blue was featured at Georges Majestic Lounge with the legendary Earl Cate.  Brian joined us for this set as well and it was a rocking good time.  I was a little stressed out because I was flying in from Houston, Texas, and my plane was delayed half an hour.  I arrived 15 minutes late for the start of the show.  Fortunately for me, Joe Giles repaid the favor from earlier that week by contacting Jamie Kidd to play drums for me until I arrived.  Jamie is a great drummer and filled in great and I am sure nobody missed me.  It was nice to have Brian perform with us as always.  He is undoubtedly one of the best saxophonists you will ever hear regardless of my bias. 

On May 12th, we performed for a very worthwhile benifit for the Arc of the River Valley "Bands Unite" at Riverfront Park in Fort Smith.  It is always great performing on the big stage down there with Tom Ware and his folks running sound.  Big concert setting!  Unfortunately, since we had to perform early, there was a very minimal crowd... Later that night, we helped out our good friend, Joe Giles on a wedding reception show that his band couldn't make.  Bands just cannot cancel a wedding reception show on short notice.  It would devastate the party.  Sometimes, they plan these things a year in advance.  All went well and we had a good time.

May 4th and 5th, we were at Hogs Pizza in Hot Springs.  We met some great new folks there this weekend and Gary and I took in a movie Saturday afternoon while Rod studied at the hotel.  Gary and I also went to a flea market to kill some time.  Ah...the lives of rock stars.

On May 3rd, we were honored to perform with arena rock and power ballad legends, REO Speedwagon at the Arkansas Music Pavillion.  First of all, it had been 23 years since I had seen this band last.  However, they have not lost their touch.  They put on a great performance of their old standards was well as some new material.  Secondly, and more importantly for us, these guys were super nice.  I happened to know the drum tech from a previous encounter and we had a nice long chat.  The rest of the band was very cool.  We had a good set trying out our new material for the upcoming CD.  A couple of missteps, but we got through it.  I noticed a number of folks snapping pictures of us, so if you have some to share...please?

 

photos by Diana Smith

 

Back on April 27th, we performed for a great cause in SW Missouri for the Choppers for Children benefit.  Scott Watson invited us to come perform with Head East on the big stage outside of Joplin.  The weather put a frown on what could have been a great day.

There are some photos below and the rest are on Photo Page # 57.  Do you believe we have 57 pages of photos!?!?

 

 

Photos by Lou Davidson