O’Shucks Thursday blues jam is open to all musicians
Pinebrook location hosts weekly event
An array of musicians mosey over to O’Shucks in Pinebrook on a weekly basis to play in the restaurant’s Thursday night blues jam.
The free event is open to all musicians, starts at 8 p.m. and runs until closing time. said Bruce Corrigan, who co-owns the eatery with his wife Deb Barfield.
“We hear Motown, Bakersfield, Memphis Soul, you name it,” Corrigan told The Park Record,/i>. “I knew that we had some great players who are from around here. But there have been some who have just stopped me in my tracks.”
A big part of the sound at the jam comes from house band the Zolatones, featuring guitarist and vocalist Jeff “J.C.” Call, bassist vocalist Marsha Bloom and drummer Jeff Gardiner.
The three have been playing together as a blues-jam band in one form or another for at least three years, Call said.
“We inherited the jam from Playing for Peanuts and The Spares at Jupiter Bowl,” he said. “Prior to that, we were at Molly Blooms as 21 Blue, but this is all due to Kasey Coyle, one of our original members. We lost her when she decided to go back to school for music therapy, so, we could say, we kind of inherited this.”
The evening’s format is low-key and casual.
“We usually start with a set from the Zolatones and then go from there,” Bloom said.
“Jammers come in an introduce themselves and then we have them come up and play,” Call added.
They also agree that age and skill level isn’t an issue.
“We’ve had 8- and 10-year-olds come up and play with their families,” Call said. “That’s a blast, too. This place isn’t just for ages 21 and older. It’s a restaurant and is open to young people as well.”
Sometimes the musicians are from out of town
“We have one player who lives in Florida and he brings his family to Park City for vacation so he can jam,” Call said. “He’s done if for three years in a row and he’s a monster rock and blues player.”
Another regular, keyboardist and saxophonist Jurjic Novoselic, is from Eastern Europe.
“We have some incredible shredders who do show up,” Corrigan said.
The band will ask the jammers what songs they know and then have them come up for a few songs.
“We’ll back them up so they can do what they want to do,” Call said. “it works the other way around, too. If we have something that they feel they can sit in on, we invite them to do that.”
“It’s so great when they take the stage and they bring their partner in and do three or four songs,” said Bloom, who has played bass professionally for 30 years. “Call, Jeff and I have all done studio work, so we don’t necessarily have to know the songs. We can watch their fingers and chords and follow along with them.”
Sometimes full groups will play for a few minutes.
“We like to invite local bands and solo artists to come in and we’ll give them 20 minutes to a half hour to show off,” Call said. “If there isn’t a lot of other jammers coming in, we’ll ask them to come up for a second set.”
Sometimes people just want to play one song.
“That’s great, too,” said Bloom who is also the bassist for the Dr. Bob band.
The Thursday night blues jam started after the Zolatones approached Corrigan a year ago in the spring.
“I’m not a fan of blues jams, because unless you have a strong leader, they get pretty monotonous, but when we first discussed this, I said I was open to it, but wanted it to be more inclusive than just 12-bar blues,” Corrigan said. “I also didn’t want to have a parade of guitar players showing off their Stevie Ray Vaughan licks.”
Corrigan liked that the jams were song-based, as opposed to jam based.
“These guys are such great players,” he said. “J.C. and Marsha direct the traffic, so it’s not all Chicago blues all day. In fact, they do as much nonblues as they do blues.”
“One thing that we all agree on when we first got together — and this goes way back — that we wanted to be welcoming to all levels of players,” said Call, who studied blues and jazz at the University of Utah. “We’re not trying to get the best players. We want everybody to come up and get a chance to play.”
Corrigan is curious to see what new talents the jams will attract.
“I think you always want to see the boundaries stretch and continue to be successful,” he said. “From an owner’s standpoint this is interesting because it’s fun. These guys have brought some crazy players to the stage and I think it’s cool we’re getting to see a lot of the folks who don’t play that often.”
Bloom is grateful for Corrigan’s support.
“This is a fun place to play,” she said. “Bruce is fair and gives us a lot of room to do what we do.”
The weekly Thursday blues jam is held at 8 p.m. at O’Shucks, Pinebrook, 8178 Gorgoza Pines Road. For information, call 435-645-3999 or visit http://www.facebook.com/OShucks-Bar-Grill-664681576985266.
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