Since long before I became a fixture of this little pub in a big building at the corner of Hill and Water, there has been a blues jam, most every Sunday, led by a fella named Froggy. I do remember my first impression of the jam; a loose band of wandering minstrels comparing notes and honing their tools just inside the front door of the pub, converting it from a place for family and friends to a Bohemian artists retreat where the beer flows like water from the walls. A little awkward for the first time visitor, walking in through the front door (which was essentially part of the sprawling stage) all eyes on you (being that you practically walked right into the center of the action), as if they thought you were here to make a musical contribution as well. “I just wanted a beer and a burger,” you might have said under your breath, feeling a little apologetic for no particular reason.

Then the musical spheres shifted their harmonies just a little and the entire ensemble was convinced to move the jam to the back part of the room in front of the dart boards, where the musical entertainment otherwise plays. This opened the room to greater comfort for the customers¬† (to the consternation of the hard-core dart players) and it had the added benefit of improving the overall sound quality of the music. In time, where there had been a pretty continual flux of players and sound style, all reigned by the anchorman Froggy, a form began to coalesce. The core came together and the catalyst, in my opinion, was long time Willamette Valley talent, Dennis Monroe. I honestly couldn’t tell you when Dennis began playing in the jam. He might if you asked him, or Froggy, or Stephen, or some of the other guys might know, but in time it became apparent that something had changed. Now stay with me because this is where it gets a little fuzzy for me.

At some point, somewhere, on some foggy precipice over-looking the timeless Pacific, Froggy invoked a goddess and from oceanic fury and gentle sea-foam, from the hot places in the cold deep and the cold places under the hot sun an avatar was formed and she came to be called Vicki Stevens. There may be other stories out there, some urban legends about her being some simple country girl with stars in her eyes and a song in her heart, but those are really too mundane to be believed. If you have ever been in a room when Vicki enters, or as she takes the stage, you know what I mean. She is something special. And when you add the miracle of the blues jam and how the disparate elements came together to form The Vicki Stevens Band, we’re talking about the stuff of legends.

You think I go too far? Think I’m full of it? Well, you wouldn’t be the first, but on this account test me. Come see, this Friday. Get close, don’t be afraid, they won’t hurt you. Get right up there and risk getting a little on you. You will not be the same afterward.

Come get some of this!

Dr. Tom helps the band warm up the crowd for Vicki.

Feel it!

Calapooia Brewing Company. Friday. 8pm. $3. Do it.

Paulrus