Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Rug Cutters Bash and Cathie and Thom's Anniversary party at Darrells Tavern 12-07-12

My wife and I were fortunate enough to play a small part in a great show on Friday night at Darrells Tavern. A really small part. Just enough to influence the flavor of the show and the remuneration of the bands and the staff.

Oh, and it was a special occasion.

Our 30th anniversary was on December 4th. This was a big one, Cathie and I have been soul mates for over 30 wonderful years. I wanted to commemorate the occasion properly. On previous biggies like the 20th and 25th I bought appropriate modest baubles. She has all the goodies she could want, this day required something special.

Here is a lousy pic of Cathie and me.

Lately we have been buying art. We have purchased several paintings and sculptures from local artists. Not only do we get to display beautiful works of art, we add to the fortunes of the artist.

Here is a piece we just purchased from Jesse Link.

He is marvelous and prolific local talent. He has a lovely original style that captivated my wife and I. We saw this piece at our local brewery, we bought it on the spot. An impulse purchase as it were. See Jesse here:

So, as we were thinking about gifts for the occasion, we started thinking about art. It occurred to us that a party with some of our favorite artists would be just the ticket. Most of our current favorite artists are musicians. We started making plans. I had the venue, my favorite place in the world (besides my front room) is Darrells Tavern in Shoreline. The wheels started to turn.

Here is the tent going up.

I contacted my friend and the booking agent at Darrells, Scott was on board from word one and had killer suggestions from the inception. We had a conversation with Dan the owner, and we started contacting bands.

I have attended a lot of live music shows in the last year. This is the 58th post on this blog, I have seen and reviewed hundreds of bands. Over that time, I have developed a taste for a few local bands. I knew that The Black Crabs had to be on the bill. I love this band having seen them multiple times; three musicians that make marvelous rockabilly music and have big fun on stage.

Johnny Seven, the lead vocalist, guitarist and comedian is a marvelous entertainer. He is big in the rockabilly community and a great guy to boot. He produces The Rug Cutters Bash a several times a year. He teams up with a couple hand-chosen bands and puts on a awesome show. The Bash was the perfect vehicle for the anniversary party.

Here is Johnny (on the right) and Jon Hyde of the 1Uppers at a previous event:  

See my earlier posts on Johnny, Kirsten and Tom here: and here:

I had a couple other favorites that had to be included. I love Liam Fitzgerald and The Rainieros. They play awesome western swing and have a great stage show. Liam is a sweet man and has a beautiful voice. His mates are all talented and skilled. Tonight, his drummer Donnie was extra sweet when he loaned his drum set to all 5 bands. More later.

See a bunch of my posts on Liam, Donnie, Nicole, Tyler and Nick; The Rainieros here:
and here, there are more:

The other band that had to be included was The 1Uppers, a dynamite country band from Seattle. My friend and coworker is the pedal-steel guitar player so I have a special connection. I have worshiped them many times in this blog, probably Cathie's favorite sound right now. See a couple of those posts here: and here:

As we progressed with the planning, there were other opportunities: more bands and food. Miller and Sasser volunteered. Chris Miller is amazing on lead guitar. James Sasser has golden pipes. We were thrilled to have their participation. They drove all the way up from Portland for the event.

Scott was thinking that maybe The Wild Snohomians, a wonderful local band would join. That fell apart, but Roy Kay thought that he might be able to join the fun. Again, we were so pleased to have him and his mates sign on to the bill with their brand of rockabilly and hillbilly bop.

The date was set, the bill was amazing, the venue was thrilled to have us and we started on the marketing. A traditional poster had to be designed and produced. I took a feeble attempt. It was a total failure.

I sent my ideas to a good friend that is a talented graphic designer. I am sure he was appalled. Greg Walters has been one of  my best friends for over 25 years, we have had many a good time together. A wonderfully talented and prolific designer, he produced an amazing poster for us overnight. He has an incredible way to see the basic bones of the concept and produce an appropriate and innovative design. He is a total pro and he was so sweet to do this for us.

See Greg's work here:

Fast forward to the event; I had supervised the installation of a tent earlier in the day. We wanted to make sure the partiers were dry and warm.

The Sound Bite food truck arrived early in the evening and served killer grub. They have great menu of Italian food that had everyone chomping down. Grilled cheese sandwiches were flying out the window. Ed had his biggest day ever, he was consistently an hour behind...glad you had a good night Ed. See Ed here:

Miller and Sasser was heading for the stage. I had seen James before at the 8th annual Elvis Tribute produced by Roy Kay the previous January. He has a beautiful voice and a velvet style. He also has a marvelous look, here he is walking through a picture I was taking of one of my friends.

I met Chris Miller as he was setting up. Chris is an phenomenal guitarist. He has played with Dave Alvin and The Guilty Ones for several years. Here he is rocking his six string:

James always has a smile on his face. He is a wonderful singer and entertainer. Tonight, he and Chris had the place up and rocking. Miller and Sasser play mostly original tunes written by Chris. He is a talented writer and performer.

Miller and Sasser is; Chris Miller on lead guitar and vocals, James Sasser on acoustic guitar and lead vocals, Dan Lowinger on bass and one other talented musician that I have yet to identify on drums. I will have him soon. You can connect with them here. Buy their CD, it is great country music:

Dan Lowinger played bass tonight. He is a member of another one of my favorite local bands, The Barn Door Slammers. They are all out of Portland. He is a talented musician and a nice guy. I will add link to the Slammers here: You can read one of my previous post about them here:

They played a killer set. I had purchased the download a few days earlier and was stoked for songs like Bye Bye Baby, Step by Step and Hello, I'm Sorry.

Chris was amazing on guitar, his solos were followed by big applause. James has a golden voice, the combination was wonderful. I am so happy they played this evening.

Roy Kay was up next, he and I are alums of the same college. We both attended the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena CA. This college is a world famous design school and is known for it's rigorous training and talented graduates. It was both a painful and marvelous experience for me. I graduated with honors. Cathie put me through school, we ate a lot of rice on our hotplate. See the Art Center here:

Roy always surrounds himself with talented musicians. Tonight, he had his usual stellar lead guitarist Mike Geglia and his superb stand-up bass player, Robin Cady. They were at the top of their game. It is amazing what an awesome sound a talented trio can produce.

Roy has a great voice and plays acoustic guitar. He also writes most of the music the trio plays.

His lead guitarist plays a beautiful guitar. I am enamored with the style of electric guitars. The designs vary over time and with brand. This one had beautiful lines. Mike is a master of his instrument, he played great solos on every tune.

I talked with several people about the skill of the stand-up bass player. Robin had a spell on his instrument. He was laying the the bottom for the band, super sweet fingers stroked the strings of his ultra-huge doghouse.

Roy always has a smile on his face while he performs, he loves what he does. My thanks to Roy and his band for playing a great set. See Roy Kay here:

Here is a pic of Chris and his mates enjoying Roy and his boys.

The place was packed and many of our friends showed up to help us celebrate. Our friends and DJs of Shack The Shack, Leon and Mike came by. This radio program has been the inspiration of much of our taste in music. See this long lived and world popular rockabilly and rhythm and blues radio program here and tune in to every Friday night, 6-9. and KEXP here:

We had many of our family and work friends show up and enjoy our special day. The place was littered with smiling faces. It was a public event so there were a lot of different folks coming and going. It was a fun mix and a total gas. Here are a few shots of our friends that attended.

The 1Uppers were next. I had greeted Jon in the gathering crowd. He was in his shiny cool suit and big cowboy hat, one of my favorite looks. Here is in yakking it up with Chris and James.

By the time they came on it was getting crowded, it was tough getting a decent unobstructed pic. The dance floor was immediately packed for one of the best country bands in town.

The 1Uppers are: Jon Hyde on pedal-steel guitar and vocals, Kris Geren on lead guitar, Dave Russel on acoustic guitar and lead vocals, Caben (Buzz) Buswell on bass, John Hendow on guitar and Eric Eagle on drums. I mentioned earlier how much we enjoy this band. I am not exaggerating when I say that Cathie has had their CD playing in her car for 2 months straight.

They play a wonderful mix of classic country mostly of their own origins. Jon, Kris and Dave write a lot of their music. They had asked us what we wanted to hear, we gave them a list an arm-length's long. They opened with the 1Uppers Stomp, one of my favorite instrumentals they perform. It was going to be a great set.

Jon rewrote the words to Cadillac Truck, one of their great original tunes. He renamed it Cadillac Sleigh, the new lyrics were hilarious. "you thought that you looked Yule, but no way", fuuuuny! Jon is a super creative guy. His wife was there, she got to see just how much the peeps love him and his mates.

One of my favorite moments of any 1Uppers show is when John Hendow brings out his big burgundy baritone 6 string. It has a distinctive sound, and in John's skillful hands, it is golden.

Dave is a awesome front man, he has a set of sweet pipes and marvelous stage presence. He is also the writer of many great 1Upper tunes. Cathie and I found each other and danced as they played one of Dave's best songs. Halfway Home is worth the price of the CD, a wonderful tune.

Kris Geren is a most amazing guitar player. When you think of a country band, you don't think of a great lead guitar. This band has 5 guitars and Kris is the leader of the masters. The band played their country surf tune (insert name here), Kris showing off just what he is capable of doing.

Leon and I were in the crowd watching Kris practice his brand of picking. Leon shook his head and said, "damn".  I understood what he meant.

Caben was late to the show, Jon was worried about his longtime buddy. He thought maybe he forgot about it. He has slept through a show once before. Of course he showed as he is the main bottom for the band. His bass is the base of the the 1Uppers sound.

As Eric explained to me later, he could have sworn he saw an email earlier in the day that said no suits.  He showed up in his comfy clothes and was surprised to see the rest of his band in their signature suits. We sure didn't care what he looked like, as long as he added his stellar percussion.

This set got everyone frothing at the mouth. Huge applause after every solo, every song. The dance floor was packed. Jon and I talked later and he said "they were with us weren't they"...yes Jon, you had us by the short hairs. Here is Dave and Kris playing to an appreciative crowd.

This meant so much to Cathie and I. This is the music of our lives, our lifestyle playlist. The fact that they were here playing for us, our friends and a bevy of others, was so special. Thank you to The 1Uppers for a marvelous set, we loved every note.

See The 1Uppers here, buy their new CD, it is amazing music that will put joy in your heart. join them on Facebook here:

Could it get any better? Oh my goodness, here comes Liam Fitzgerald and the Rainieros, the fun keeps rolling. This was another one of my chosen bands. They always have a way of getting your butt moving, your face smiling.

It was especially nice of them to play tonight as Nick and Liam also play in the Western Bluebirds, another great western swing band. The had played earlier at another show. Nikki Hill was in town at another club, an unfortunate scheduling snafu. I was happy they showed up.

I was especially happy to see Nick as I know he has a new life-form at his house. He has produced offspring and she is coming home this weekend. I thank Nick for playing this evening. His guitar is a necessary component of The Rainieros.

Nicole is the newest addition to the band. Her fiddle and vocals are now another necessity in the band's chemistry. I talked with her later. She had the cold that is going around and still came to play the show. Thanks Nicole for playing your usual great set in the face of adversity.

Liam is the consummate performer, he has a beautiful voice and a great delivery. He is humorous and entertaining. Thanks to Liam and his band for showing up and performing a killer stet.

As I said earlier, Donnie had loaned his drums to all the bands this evening, a practice called back-lining. He is not only a sweet fellow, but a superb drummer. Several folks mentioned to me that I should give him props for his generosity (thanks Sam). Thank you Donnie for the kind and selfless gesture.

Here is Donnie (on the right) and Sam relaxing before the show. Sam is a big music supporter and I see him at many a show.

Liam and his band performed a killer show that had everybody up and dancing. You can see them here, they have some new music. Buy their CD, I guarantee you will love or I will return your money. and friend them here:

Just when you thought your legs were going to fall off, The Black Crabs mounted up. Another one of my favorite local bands, they know how to get you up off your chair and dancing.

The Black Crabs are Johnny Seven on lead vocals and lead guitar, Kirsten Ballweg on stand-up bass and Tom Forster on drums. They are one of the best of the local rockabilly bands here in the northwest.

Johnny runs a recording studio in his day job. Cleopatra Studios is one of the premier recording studios here in Seattle. You can see them here: He is as talented in the studio as he is on the stage. He plays the killer guitar all while delivering great vocals.

Kirsten manhandles the bass, she is deceptively small as her instrument all but hides her. She adds vocals and theater to the band as well as a sweet bass line.

Tom and Kirsten were one of the several musicians that did double duty tonight. The also played a show before. I appreciate that they made the effort to play this show. They were all duded up, I had asked Tom if he had a job interview earlier. He is a talented percussionist and a sweet fellow.

The Black Crabs delivered a great performance as usual. Johnny was sweet as he acknowledged our anniversary several times. I appreciate their effort and superb set. You can see The Black Crabs here:

One of the best moments of the evening was when Jenna, our lovely hostess, rolled through the crowd with a tray full of Corn Dogs. With a dog in everyone's hand, Johnny and The Crabs played Horn Dog with a Corn Dog, a rousing song about animal lust. It was a blast. Thanks Johnny for playing our special request.

An special thanks to Dan, Scott and the staff and Darrells Tavern. They bent over backwards to make this event happen. Dan made sure we had a liquor permit for the tent. He had his usual wonderful staff and he stocked up for the evening. He was all smiles as he surveyed the massive crowd that packed his place.

Scott arranged and produced all the rest of the fun. I simply told him what we wanted and he made it happen. Thanks to Scott for being such a good friend and a marvelous event planner.

See Darrells here: If you are in the area you must drop in for a beer. One of the main things my friends were saying this evening was that they were going to come back. Darrells is a cool place to have a beer and hear live music.

Thanks to all our friends for coming out and celebrating with us.

Thank you to my wonderful wife who has put up with me all these years. I hope we have another 30. Kisses sweetie.


  1. Sorry I missed it. Holler next time you are there. I live just down the street. Kathy Kilgore

  2. Thom,
    So glad you had such a wonderful anniversary! What a fantastic lineup and great turnout. Wish I could have been there, but had to play stay-at-home mom that night. We'll try to catch a show over the holidays, I hope!


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