Terraplane Station has been around only a couple of years, but they're already making the rounds on the Valley's blues scene.
Terraplane Station has periodic performances at the El Dorado Bar and Grill in Scottsdale, Pappy's Sports Bar in Sunnyslope, and the American Legion Post on north Cave Creek Road, which is where blues lovers will be able to find them on New Year's Eve.
Terraplane Station also has had two recent high-profile performances. One was at the 12 Hour blues benefit at the El Dorado, where promoter Buzz Fowler and the Phoenix Blues Society had 10 of the area's top blues bands performing.
Larry Polk, harmonica performer and vocalist for Terraplane Station, said the band loved the benefit. "It was a great time and we love raising food donations for the needy," he said. "We're more than willing to play benefits. We play more for the love of the blues rather than the money."
The other high-profile performance was in the Arizona Blues Challenge at the Rhythm Room, where Terraplane Station made it to the final round but didn't end up placing. Polk said the band blew their final set at the Arizona Blues Challenge.
"We should have played the same set as the opening round, just like many of the bands," he said. "I was surprised that we made the finals, but once we got there we were excited. The competition was good and we had a great time."
While Polk said that Terraplane Station finished where it deserved this year, he expects more of the band next year.
Polk said there are a lot of good blues performers in the Phoenix area.
"On any given night, any one of these bands can sound better than the others," he said.
Terraplane Station has five members in the band. The other four are Jim Boleck on steel guitar and vocals, Jeff Farias on bass and vocals, Tony Dijovinne on guitar, and Steve DiTullio on drums.
Polk said he has always loved the blues because it's the origin for so many other types of music. As a youngster, Polk grew up listening to bands like the Rolling Stones, Yardbirds, and many other bands that learned from Muddy Waters, Little Walter, and other blues greats.
For now, Terraplane Station is happy for the Valley gigs. El Dorado Bar and Grill is well known; the crowd at the American Legion Post loves the band. And Pappy's has a big room for the bands, good food and a great stage. "I also like blues for the authenticity and rhythms," he says.
Terraplane Station didn't start as a blues band. The band started as Americana music including blues. Boleck is an accomplished bluegrass performer. "We played a little bit of everything at the start," Polk says. "But we evolved into primarily blues."
Polk's musical background is almost entirely the blues, which is surprising due to his geographic background. He was born in Phoenix, moved to Southern California, and moved back to Phoenix in the 1970s. But almost all of his blues has the Chicago style to it. "We do a little bit of all types of blues, but it all has a Chicago flavor to it."
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Terraplane Station performs covers and originals. The band doesn't have any CDs yet, but since Farias is an accomplished recording engineer, a CD shouldn't be too far off. For more information about the band, email Polk at email@example.com.
Stan Bindell performs the Blues Magician show from 7 to 9 p.m. Mondays on Hopi radio, KUYI, 88.1 FM, streaming online at KUYI.net.