Steel Horse Saloon Wants to Be North Valley's Blues Bar

The Steel Horse Saloon hopes that Buzz Fowler and First String can make their club into a destination blues venue just as they have for the El Dorado Bar & Grill in Scottsdale. The idea is to establish the Steel Horse Saloon as the North Valley's blues venue.

Every Wednesday for the past three-and-a-half years, the El Dorado has come alive with a blues jam that brings in 20-30 musicians and customers. The event has grown so big that there have been as many as 58 musicians..

The Steel Horse Saloon, known as Arizona's original biker bar, will have their kick-start Jam Party at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 17, pick it up again July 31, and run every Thursday through August. If it's successful, then the blues jam will be adopted on a regular basis.

"The blues jam sessions are designed to build both identity and branding as a Deer Valley area blues club for the Steel Horse Saloon, while creating a fun event for area blues fans," Fowler said.

He said the Steel Horse Saloon has a clean, friendly and laid-back atmosphere.

The Steel Horse Saloon is located on Bell Road and 19th Avenue, about two miles south of the Loop 101 and I-17 interchange. This jam will bring together bikers and blues.

"It's a friendly biker bar," Fowler said, noting that bikers have changed a lot over the years. "Bikers like rock and blues just like others. There's no other blues bar in the area [North Phoenix]."

The Phoenix Blues Society is not an official sponsor of the event, but PBS President Jim Crawford and many other PBS members have said they will attend to show their support.

One of Fowler's bands, Toolshed, will lead the opening July 17 jam, and many of the best blues musicians in the valley are expected to perform. Fowler invited many of them, but he doesn't know who will show up.

Fowler said the Steel Horse Saloon is a great venue for many reasons: great acoustics and lighting; a large stage; and the Hawg Pen. That's the name of their kitchen which has become known for good bar food including sliders, hamburgers and breakfast that is served any time of day.

The Steel Horse Saloon has been featured on national television programs such as The Daily Show with John Stewart, Comedy Central, and Phoenix area news channels KPHX and KPHO.

The Steel Horse Saloon supports many charities including Phoenix Children's Hospital, the Crisis Nursery and Bikers Against Child Abuse. Fowler is involved with the VFW and a blues-based food drive every year for St. Mary's Food Bank.

First String is an independent business, consulting and management company. Its focus is on building identity and customer loyalty branding.

Fowler is the organizer of the Valley of Sun Blues Meetup Group. He also serves on the board of directors of the Phoenix Blues Society.

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