Sunday, March 3, 2013

2012 in Review (much belated)

2012 was a crazy year in so many ways. This is our belated recap. We lost some friends, among them Rick Welter, the great Portland blues man; Bob Carter, original drummer in the Mighty Blue Kings and longtime member of Nick Moss & the Flip Tops; Highway 99 resident artist, the legendary and magnificent Kathi McDonald. Our house sound man for almost three years and longtime sound man for Lee Oskar, Nearly Dan, Doctorfunk and others, Steve Dooley battled pancreatic cancer far longer and more successfully than any of the docs had given him, he made it through 2012 but on February 7 the world lost a great one. They will be missed. We've enjoyed wonderful friendships and relationships with many amazing Artists and Musicians in the Puget Sound area, special folks who seem to rise at every occasion, always there to fill in on short notice, play a benefit when they could be playing elsewhere for money, always putting that special something into everything they do, making every show a special occasion. This is a partial list and we're total assholes for not mentioning anyone who deserves it, but the names that come right to mind here include: Andrew Cloutier, who quietly does it all, from bandleading and music directing to hired-gun session work, to stepping in with little or no rehearsal and still always making it look and sound like this one-night-only thing has been played a thousand times and is at its best, tonight; Nick Vigarino, who ALWAYS shows up when there's someone in need, not to mention he is the greatest slide player this side of anywhere, electric and acoustic; Scotty Harris, award-winning sax player by trade, bass player in his spare time (his awesome wife Lissa Ramaglia is the award-winning bass player of the family), he got a day-of-show call from Commander Cody who asked, " bass player missed the flight to Seattle... could you fill in?" - 4 hours before showtime, to which Scotty said, "Why not?" and proceeded to skim through his Commander Cody albums before getting here and running through the evening's set list by key, tempo, intro and outro with Cody in the band room. This show still gets talked about by anyone in attendance on that crazy night. And of course there's Karen Lovely, who scrambled to fill a short-notice situation on a Blue Velvet Rhythm & Blues Dance Revue show and proceeded to knock the cover off the ball, Karen has also been very active supporting United By Music around the world, and when she hit Bumbershoot with her awesome band plus the extra muscle of Peter Dammann (guitar) and Hank Shreve (harp) she took that festival by storm. Among headliners or co-headliners who made their Highway 99 debut in 2012: Ana Popovic, Jimmy Thackery & the Drivers, Carl Verheyen, the 44's, Left Hand Smoke, Kalimba Band, Bob Corritore & Dave Riley, Patrick Lamb & His Funkified Band, Mr. Nick & the Dirty Tricks, and the Laurie Morvan Band. 2012 also saw the the birth of some super cool Seattle groups, including the Timmons Wall Band, the Hot Wired Rhythm Band, and John "Scooch" Cugno re-charged his band as the 88's. We enjoyed ongoing relationships with our rockabilly promoters, WesternGents who produce the monthly Rockabilly Night, and Marshall Scott Warner who continues to bring us amazing shows with top-shelf Americana and r&b artists, not to mention the unsung role he played in helping us land the opportunity to host a night of the KEXP "Shake the Shack" Rockabilly Ball. When Artists and Musicians stage unique shows with a concept or theme... we dig. Among those last year: KIM FIELD'S HARP BLAST (a couple shows featuring Paul Green, Adam Gussow, Hank Shreve, & Grant Dermody); SLIDE MONSTERS (Brian Lee, Mark Riley, & Rod Cook backed by The Orbiters); THREE GUITARS (Chris Stevens, Jack Cook, & Brian Butler tearing it up on stage together); LISA THEO & KIM FIELD and the TITANS OF TWANG; SON JACK JR.'s HOUSE OF BOURBON (Delta Hothouse, Blues Redemption, & the Total Experience Gospel Choir). Early in 2012, we were tickled to be asked about curating a Blues Block at the Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival. Our work with OneReel was mutually rewarding enough that they graciously asked us to do it again this year. In 2012, the Blues Block on the Starbucks Mural Ampitheatre stage featured the Ty Curtis Band, the Karen Lovely Band, and the Harmonica House Party starring the Lee Oskar & Friends Orchestra and Magic Dick. We're already working on this year's installment and while we can't announce anything probably until June, we're pretty excited about what's in the works. Some of the special events we enjoyed hosting and participating in: fundraisers and awareness for: United By Music with Lady "A," Kevin Selfe, Karen Lovely, Lisa Mann; Blues For The Blue (juvenile diabetes); Jam For Cans which can be considered the rhythm & blues event of record every year, helping out Northwest Harvest; the Washington Blues Society Holiday Party with the Randy Oxford Band, T-Town Aces, Stacy Jones Band, Sweet Danny Ray & Rafael Tranquilino; Kathi McDonald: A Celebration of Life, and Highway 99 Holiday Party w/ the HoHoHos. Here's a list of the Artists who graced our stage in 2012, hope we haven't missed anyone: The 44's, Adam Gussow, Alan Hager, Alice Stuart, Ana Popovic, Back Alley Barbers, Ben Rice, Billy Dwayne & the Creepers, Billy Stoops, Blue Velvet Rhythm & Blues Dance Revue, Blues Redemption, Bob Corritore & Dave Riley, the Bottoms Up Blues Band, Boyd Small & Friends (Monti Amundson, Jose Fulero, Lydia Warren), Bump Kitchen, Candye Kane, Carl Sonny Leyland & Joel Patterson, Carl Verheyen Band, Christine Harvilla, Chubby Carrier & the Bayou Swamp Band, Commander Cody, Curley Taylor & Zydeco Trouble, Curtis Hammond Band, Doctorfunk, Doug Rowell, Dragstrip Riot, Drummerboy, Dudley Taft Band, Duffy Bishop, Dwight Carrier & the Ro Doggs, Eddie "Devil Boy" Turner, Eric Madis, the Fat Tones, File Gumbo, Folichon, Franco Paletta & the Stingers, Gin Creek, Grant Dermody, Guitar Shorty, Hamilton Loomis Band, Hank Shreve, Hard Money Saints, the HoHoHos, Hot Rod Holman Blues Band, Hot Roddin' Romeos, Hot Wired Rhythm Band, James Harman Band, James Howard Band, James King & the Southsiders, James Miller, Jim Wallace, Jimmy Thackery & the Drivers, Joe Doria, Joe Krown Trio, John "Scooch" Cugno & the 88's, John Nemeth, Jon Koonce, Junkyard Jane, Kalimba Band, Karen Lovely Band, Kathi McDonald Band, Kenny "Blues Boss" Wayne, Kevin Selfe & the Tornadoes, Kevin Sutton, Kim Field & the Mighty Titans of Tone, Kim Field's Harp Blast, Kimball Conant, Kirk Fletcher, Lady A, Laurie Morvan Band, Lee Oskar & Friends, Left Hand Smoke, Lisa Mann & Her Really Good Band, Lisa Theo + Kim Field & the Titans of Twang, Little Ray & the Uppercuts, Lloyd Jones & the Struggle, Lucky Tubb & the Modern Day Troubadours, Lucky Devils, the Lustre Kings, Maria Muldaur & Her Bluesiana Band, Mark DuFresne Band, Mark Pickerel, Marshall Scott Warner, Matt Schofield, Michael Shrieve's Spellbinder, Mitch Kashmar, Monster Road, Moses & the Hilltones, Mr. Nick & the Dirty Tricks, The Muddy Sons, Mutha Knows Best, Nathan James & the Rhythm Scratchers, Nearly Dan, Nick Vigarino's Meantown Blues & Back Porch Stomp, Nikki Hill & the Western Bluebirds, Nolan Garrett, the Orbiters, Patrick Lamb & His Funkified Band, Paul Green, Peter Dammann, Polly Keary, Rafael Tranquilino, Randy Hicks Band, Randy Oxford Band, Ravin'wolf, Raygun Cowboys, Red House, Richard Allen & the Louisiana Experience, Rosie Ledet & the Zydeco Playboys, the Roy Kay Trio, Ruby Dee & the Snakehandlers, the Sam Marshall Trio, Sammy Eubanks Band, Sean "Gator Boy" Donovan, Slide Monsters (Brian Lee, Mark Riley, & Rod Cook w/ the Orbiters), Slim Sandy, Smokehouse Dave, Son Jack Jr.'s Delta Hothouse, the Stacy Jones Band, Steve Kerin, Franco Paletta & the Stingers, Suburban Slim, Swamp Soul, Sweet Danny Ray, Teresa James & the Rhythm Tramps, Terry Robb, Texas Blues Guitar Summit (David Brewer, Tom Boyle, Tim Sherman), Three Guitars (Chris Stevens, Jack Cook, & Brian Butler), Timmons Wall Band, Tom "T-Boy Neal" Boyle, Tommy Castro & the Painkillers, Too Slim & the Taildraggers, the Total Experience Gospel Choir, Troupeau Acadien, T-Town Aces, Tumbledown, the Twangshifters, the Twisters, the Ty Curtis Band, Walter Trout, Whisky & Roses, Whozyamama, the Wild Snohomians. By the numbers... 143 artists played here in 2012 (we're counting package shows as one artist, same as a headliner, opener, or billed special guest). From the Northwest, 82 came from Western Washington (57%), a couple from Spokane, 25 from Portland/Salem/Eugene (18%), and three from Vancouver. BC - the Pacific Northwest accounted for 78% of the artists who played here last year, and we're as proud of the strong regional showing as we are the internationally touring shows. Other artists graced our stage from Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Chicago, Yugoslavia, the United Kingdom, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Phoenix, St. Louis, Colorado, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, New Hampshire, Albany, and Alberta. Whew!