The blues keep hopping throughout the Valley during the weekdays, thanks to Buzz Fowler.
Fowler started blues jam parties at the El Dorado Bar and Grill in Scottsdale on Wednesday nights and the Steel Horse Saloon in Deer Valley on Thursday nights. Now, Stacy's Smoke House BBQ on Main Street in Mesa has joined in the fun. The new blues night kicked off on September 30 with a mix of BBQ and blues. There is no admission, just the cost of the award-winning BBQ and the drinks.
The first several weeks have been a smashing success. The crowds have been coming out. More than 20 musicians have been showing up each week.
"Every musician was allowed to play. There is complete excitement about the blues and brews," he said.
Fowler emphasizes that his blues jams are different from others. First, his company, First String, brings a quality sound system with them for all the musicians to use. Too many jams have the musicians bring their own sound systems; the result is poor sound or non-working sound systems that leave audiences scratching their heads.
"We want to create quality sound and an overall vibe that is laid back with a smooth groove," he said. "Everybody is welcome to play. We'll have musicians of all experience levels. We want people to go home feeling good."
Fowler said each musician would be given about 15 minutes to play, mostly on a first-come, first-serve basis. However, he said at some of the jams a 14-piece band performs. If that's the case, he'll want to give each musician a chance to play a solo.
As organize of the Valley of the Suns Meetup Group, Fowler has a built in following with 430 members of blues musicians and blues lovers. Taffy Baron serves as hostess greeting everybody. On any given night, Baron might be handing out anything from bubblegum to, well, bubbles.
Fowler's band, Toolshed, starts the night off to warm-up the crowd and set a volume level. The owners were so happy with the turnout and performance that Toolshed will perform at Stacy's on Halloween and November 8 to go along with kicking off the Tuesday night jams.
This is blues done with style. The tables are covered with black tablecloths and the lights are at a medium level to make everyone feel comfortable. Fowler is glad that Stacy's Smoke House BBQ is picking up on a rising interest in the blues throughout the valley.
Stacy's Smoke House BBQ has not only won state awards, but has been recognized by magazines and ranked fourth in the country for their BBQ.
"You can smell the barbecue as soon as you come through the door. Their number one goal was to be the best barbecue in Phoenix and they reached that goal. Now, they want to focus on being the East Valley location for the blues," Fowler said.
Aside from the BBQ, Stacy's entices customers with veggie burgers, turkey burgers and catfish as they reach out to all taste buds.
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