December 31st--The ByPass--Joplin,
Missouri--For months, we had been gearing up for one of the most
anticipated shows of the year. This night, we recorded the tracks
for our long awaited new live CD which should be completed by late
February. After building things, loading gear, running wires,
tweaking tones, tuning instruments, and fine-tuning new songs, the show
came not a moment too soon. The crowd was fantastic as
expected. The folks at the ByPass are experts at setting the mood
and providing for the heavily attentive crowd. It is amazing to us
that the Joplinites are such assiduous listeners. Hanging on every
note and uplifting the band with praise without regard to hits or
misses. Special thanks to all of our loyal fans who made the trek
to Joplin for the show. Fans came from as near by as down the
street to as far away as Indianapolis, IN, Mena, AR, and Parsons,
KS. We also had a few first-time listeners joining us on this
special occasion. Brian's gal pal, Day, had her folks up from south central
Arkansas with a few friends for their first taste of Oreo Blue. We
hope you enjoyed the show! Special thanks as well to Tom Ware from
Fat Rabbit Studios and his family for giving up their time to assist us
in our new recording project. Tom is a consummate professional in
the recording business and can be reached at www.fatrabbit.com
We look forward to packaging the show together as a keepsake for a
wonderful evening had by all. For those of you that did not get a
chance to get your autographs (or lost yours in some cases), keep
logging on to oreoblue.com for tourdates in your area. CD release
parties will be announced in the coming weeks. Happy New Year from
December 29th--George's Majestic
Lounge--Fayetteville, Arkansas--The last warm-up before the New
Year's show and what happens? Brian was victimized by the Arby's
Roast Chicken Club. Sick as a dog, Brian braved the illness to
make it through the first two sets before succumbing to the food
poisoning and hitting the sack. The crowd was great as
usual. Gary, Rod, and I braved the raucous crowd and set up as
Northwest Arkansas best-kept secret--The Oreo Blue Power Trio!
Gary rocked them with all the classic rock favorites and some mighty
fine blues jams. At the time of this writing, it seems as if Brian
has defeated the Arby's disease and has fully recovered. On to
Joplin from here...
December 28th--George's Majestic
Lounge--Fayetteville, Arkansas--Brian, Gary, and I had a fun time
performing with Jed Clampit and his brother Bill Clampit as the Free
Beer All-stars. Despite the demise of four PA cabinets due to a
feedback gremlin, the night was enjoyable and fresh.
Live--Eureka Springs, Arkansas--Gina and the gang are great
hosts. It is evident that they are extremely patient with us
considering our last episode at EL. If you recall, the Razorbacks
were caught up in--well, we were caught up in--what has now been called
"Seventh Heaven". That 7-overtime game versus Ole
Miss. This weekend, we weren't late, but due to Christmas traffic,
we ran right up to the moment. The crowd was full of cheer as the
band tried out some more new music in preparation for the new CD.
Kudos to big Mike for jumping up and singing a tasty Mustang Sally.
Since the band will not next perform until after Christmas, we would
like to send out our best wishes to all of our fans, friends, and
families for a Happy Christmas. May your holidays be cheerful and
white with a dash of (Oreo) Blue...
December 15th--Two Frogs
Grill--Ardmore, Oklahoma--All that can be said about Two Frogs has
been said in previous posts. However, more must be said about such
a deserving oasis in South Central Oklahoma. Aubry and Angela
Harris should open up a chain. Their hospitality, service and
world-class food should be shared beyond the confines of Oklahoma.
For example, Aubry forced me to partake in the Voodoo Filet
Orleans. Wow! And have I mentioned the Apple Dumpling in a
while? Check back to previous
posts on Two Frogs. The show was wonderful and the
crowd was as appreciative as ever. The band rolled out some new
virgin blues as a tune-up for the new year's show and despite a few
quirks and hitches, they went off like a charm. I was especially
impressed by Brian's solo on Heaven's Door (as always), and how
he just got completely unconscious on All Along the Watchtower.
It's a good thing that Two Frogs uses industrial strength glassware, or
I am certain that Brian's saxophone would have pulverized the lot at
some point during the night. Rod turned our heads with some hip
licks on Little Wing and we had to (as Aubry might say) 'scrape
the funk off' him after Messin' with the Kid. I broke some
stuff tonight...cracked my first cymbal in 24 years of playing
drums. I got that cymbal in the 5th grade and I hated to see it
go. All for a good cause. Shed a little blood, too! Giving
it up for the people. That's what we do.
Daily Ardmorite on Oreo Blue
Holiday Card Sent From Our Friends, Matt and Jamie (Thanks!!!)
hope your holidays are filled with fun
and your new year filled with peace.
See You New Years!
Matt and Jamie
December 13th--Fayetteville Town
Center--Thompson & Murray Christmas Party--In another fine move
by local advertising moguls, Mr. Thompson and Mr. Murray put on a
wonderful party for their employees and their families rewarding them
for a fine year. The event was family-oriented and themed,
"Christmas in Memphis". Kids were highlighted and
treated to banana sandwiches and some clean rock and roll by Oreo
Blue. The kids boogied down to Wooly Bully, Hound Dog, and
Takin' Care of Business. The party was catered by Sassafras
and the food was excellent. I, personally, was fond of the
marinated roast, the lightly battered chicken, and those little lemon
pastry thingies that were quite zippy. Gary was fond of the duck
cakes and Brian really liked the banana sandwiches. Oh....where
was I....right. This isn't the food chat list, this is Oreo
Blue! Speaking of chats, the band had a memorable visit back stage
while the party was viewing a video. Gary should really write a
book....unfortunately, the text might look sort of like this:
"There was this time when I ***!!! and I ******** and *******!!!
then there was this time when **********!!!" Just kidding,
December 11th--Ft. Smith--Faucette Christmas
Party--Last year, Oreo Blue donated its services to a benefit
auction sponsored by the Ft. Smith Junior League. The winning
bidder was kind enough to book the band for a Christmas party for
friends and co-workers. He was also kind enough to book the band
on a Thursday evening to avoid conflict with our regular schedule.
A great time was had by all as we rocked their night away.
December 8th--Pinnacle Country
Club--Cargill Christmas Party--Cargill was kind enough to invite
Oreo Blue back for a second year to perform at their Christmas
party. Cargill does it right treating their employees to a fine
meal and fine entertainment at one of the region's most prestigious
clubs. In a tumultuous year, many companies are forgoing parties
in favor of either quiet remembrance, or (in most cases) selfish
withholding. Cargill deserves praise for rewarding their folks
with a well-deserved function.
Photo and art by John Blair of
November 30th--Pebble's Lounge--Ft. Smith,
Arkansas--Brian and Rod used to frequent this place back in their
young adult days and claim it was a happening place to catch a
band. The club has been out of popular commission over the last
few years, but has now re-opened under new management. The room
was nice and the band felt great from the stage. It looks like we
might have found a new home in Ft. Smith after a long layoff.
Thanks to some of our loyal fans who came up from Hot Springs and beyond
for the show. You guys helped us break in the place.
November 24th--The ByPass--Joplin, MO--Honestly,
we felt pretty spent after last night's show. Usually we can count
on a good crowd at the ByPass at any time during the year.
However, so soon after the Thanksgiving holiday, we expected an average
crowd at best. Feeling down and tired, an average crowd may not
get us through the night. As mentioned in previous posts, the
crowd really makes us go. Our best shows are always and invariably
the result of a great crowd. A great crowd energizes the band and
brings out our top individual performances resulting in an awesome
ensemble. We were obviously surprised. What the crowd lacked
in quantity, it made up for in quality. Looking forward to our New
Year's show here, some of us were thinking that, 'maybe we should have
recorded tonight as well'. The band was on fire from the
get-go. With Brian's masterful sound engineering, everything was
hitting on all cylinders. Highlights were many, but included
Brian's overall performances on Steamroller Blues, Messin' With the
Kid and solos on Brick House and Rock Me Baby. In
addition, Gary unveiled his new, as of yet unnamed, Rhumba that went
over marvelously. It is sort of an All Your Lovin' style
song that has a nice touch to it. Look for it on the new CD.
Another song pulled out of the cedar chest was the Buddy Miles tune, Them
Changes, which seemed to lay so far in the pocket that it was
covered in lint by song's end.
Photo and art by John Blair of
November 23rd--The Kitchen Pass--Parsons,
Kansas--Currently heralded as an Oreo Blue favorite venue, the KP
once again proved its mettle by delivering a raucous crowd
performance. The band was in top form. Gary once again wowed
the Kansans with rousing renditions of Hey Joe, Bill Withers' Ain't
No Sunshine, and the oft requested Chickens For Jesus. Gary
also proved once again that guitar strings are expendable. I, like
many, wonder if the unleashing of the strings is some primitive effort
to exorcise inner musical demons, or if it is the barbaric frustrations
of a musical genius dissatisfied with his tuning...the world may never
Post-show highlights included a joke session led by
Gary and the ritual visit to the corner store on the way to the
hotel. Items to enjoy may include: IBC Rootbeer (Gary,
Stephen), Microwave Burritos (Stephen), Spicy Tortilla Tostitos
(Stephen), Peanut Butter Crackers (Brian, Rod), some kind of Pizza
Pocket thing (Gary), Diet Mountain Dew (Rod--one for now, one for
breakfast), Cookies (Stephen), etc.
Photo and art by John Blair of
insert from: Brian Crowne--November
may not be the biggest or most glamorous room that we perform in, but it
has certainly became one of our favorites.
It's tiny by live music venue standards and the group is
literally on top of the fans, but the energy generated is amazing. Perhaps because it is so intimate, but wait, intimate
probably isn't the right word to use describing Maxine's Taproom.
After all it is a funky shotgun styled beer joint that is where
all the cigarette smoke lives. It does feel comfortable to all that pass through its doors.
It doesn’t matter if it is your first time or your first time
to come was 50 years ago, it still looks the same.
It truly is a time warp, from the old bowling game to the vintage
jukebox and yes to Maxine herself.
She has been the matriarch watching over her kids for 52 years,
and she remembers all of them. You are sure to be greeted with her gravely old voice saying,
"hey baby, how have you been".
I guess what I'm saying is the place is just homey, and all feel
weekend is even more special as the Razorbacks are playing SEC rival
Mississippi State Bulldogs in football.
They treat us to another victory and for some of us in the band,
I won't name names (Brian & Stephen), this gives us a little more
excitement than usual. The
energy becomes infectious and from the UofA students to their parents
who may be experiencing Oreo Blue for the first time an amazing time is
had by all. We love to see our old friends, but we love making new fans.
The first time a head spins around or someone points a finger for
their friend to see Gary doing something crazy and amazing it is very
gratifying. I know that we
have helped someone enjoy their evening and by doing this and getting
their attention we have made a new fan.
Our fans are the best, and we appreciate them very much. We also appreciate Maxine for allowing us to perform in her
little legendary beer joint, Maxine's Taproom.
Do yourself a favor, go by and say hello to Maxine, and tell her
the boys in Oreo Blue sent you.
November 15th--On Line--Congratulations to
Jeanette Sinclair of In-House Creative for winning the Ozark Music Award
for Best Cover Art. The depiction of her idea of
seltzer tablets dropped in bubbly water with Oreo Blue logos on a crisp,
blue background was a highlight of the Spring 2000 release, Prescription
For The Blues.
November 10th--Phi Delta Theta House--University of
Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas--Being invited back to the Phi
Delta Theta house was an honor. The Viking party was...well...
interesting, but the Casino party was just as fun. The day started
off wonderful with Homecoming activities on campus and our beloved Hogs
winning again. I, personally, had the opportunity to perform in
the Razorback Alumni Marching Band at the football game. I was
featured on the world's largest big-screen in both an interview and
performing on the field. Oreo Blue got a big plug out of the deal
and I got sunburned and sore hands from swinging those tree trunk sized
sticks. It was a hootin' hollerin' time all the way to the end of
the Phi Delta Theta party. Kudos to UA Drumline member, Brad
Foster, for braving the stage and sitting in with OB. We'll bring
you up next time before the punch starts flowing...Our friends from
Texarkana were there as well and requested their favorite, All Along
the Watchtower, whereby Gary probably ripped them a few new orifices
in the process.
November 3rd--Eureka Live--Eureka Springs, Arkansas--This
was another room that Oreo Blue had not played. It was roomy and
nearly filled to capacity by show time. Our favorite college
football team, the Arkansas Razorbacks (Go Hogs!), were locking horns
with their hated rivals, the Ole Miss Rebels. The game was an
emotional roller coaster and the best many of us had seen. Seven
overtimes and the Hogs win 58-56. Epic. Well, the game
pushed back our start time a bit to placate the Hog fans (us).
Once things kicked in, we once again slew a bevy of Oreo Blue
virgins. Hitting them from all sides this time, Rock, Blues,
Country, Funk, Swing, and OB originals, the Eureka Springs transients
and locals alike stood no chance against the aforementioned infectious
November 2nd--Lisa's Clubhouse--Rogers, Arkansas--This
was our first show here at Lisa's. The folks are real nice at
Lisa's and the band was in rare form for a smallish crowd. There
were a few familiar faces in the crowd to help stir up the intensity,
but when we got right down to it...we came, we saw, we conquered.
Clearly, there were a few locals that had not been exposed to Oreo
Blue. By the time we kicked into the B.B. King classic, Rock Me
Baby, the folks were hooked. I must admit that we were a bit
hooked as well on the grooves this night. Another town. A
few dozen more Oreo Blue converts. Call it a grass-roots blues