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JIM DAVIS tearing it up onstage at the benefit held in his honor at the Dakota Creek Roadhouse in Blaine, WA. That's TALL PAUL from the Howlin' Tomcats back on the drum kit.
(photo by NOONA c. 11-17-02, used with permission)

Northwest blues musicians from the Early Sunday Blues Jam and a host of other Whatcom and Skagit county players presented a five hour fundraising event on Sunday, November 17th, 2002. The Jim Davis Blues Benefit, hosted and organized by Laurette Langille, was a strong show of support for the Skagit Valley guitarist and a wild night of live blues at the Dakota Creek Roadhouse in Blaine, WA.

The music that evening was exceptional from start to finish and the feeling of community was large. The show kicked off with a bang when DARCY HAUGHIAN arrived onstage with her band-mates DENISE, DIANE and JACK (The D-vas). Darcy belted out a great Sippie Wallace blues and some uptempo Nancy Griffith tunes off the guitar with perfect harmonies from Denise (on mandolin) and Diane (on bass). Vocal leads from all three women drew huge applause from the Early Sunday Blues Jam's lively audience. Jack held down the flatpickin' lead guitar. Darcy invited host LAURETTE LANGILLE onstage to sing some harmonies on Workin' Girl.

The first full-tilt electric set was fronted by ED SMITH on guitar and included MARVIN JOHNSON on Hammond organ, TIM MALOY on drums (with GATOR shifting in on drums later), "AIRPLANE" DAVE BROWN on bass, KURT on harmonica, LONNIE KNECHTAL and JADE WAILER on tenor and alto sax, a cameo appearance by GREG T. PITSCH and more.

CHRIS "HAMBONE" WILSON, an Early Sunday Blues Jam favorite, turned in a jumping set of genre-bending blues that had the dance floor reeling. This was a beautifully varied set of blues in all it's many forms. LONNIE KNECHTAL was a powerful addition jammin' on the bass now with pro WEDGE MICHAELS on the drums. Legacy's STEVE STOLPE joined in on a howlin' harp while JADE WAILER tore it up on sax stage right. STEVIE MEYER was just killing on the keyboard. Slideman Hambone passed some of the lead vocals back to Wedge, a strong singer and songwriter in his own right.

Up from Seattle, infamous bluesman DADDY TREETOPS arrived center stage next. The dance floor filled up as soon as his signature voice and guitar were heard. His roots sound was a pleasure for both his long time fans and the uninitiated. Tree's original bass player, DAVE HAYES, was on hand to give those vintage Howlin' Tomcat bass lines one more visit on acoustic bass before leaving town. TALL PAUL was grooving back on the skins while regular Tomcat bassist ED SMITH played a supporting role on rhythm guitar and STEVIE MEYER added his barrelhouse piano. Tree invited up a delighted DAVID CHAPMAN to play some drums and Lonnie to join in on sax.

DADDY TREETOPS kneeling to the blues
with Lonnie on sax beside him. (photo by
NOONA c. 11-17-02, used with permisssion)

When Laurette Langille announced the next set's personnel, the audience went nuts! Guitarist JIM DAVIS was in the house and about to take a turn on the Early Sunday Blues Jam stage. He wasn't carrying around his heavy amps yet, of course, but he was ready and able to play leads and jam with longtime friends STEVE STOLPE (on both mandolin and harp on this set), GREG T. PITSCH, Stevie Meyer, Lonnie and Ed Smith. The audiences high hopes were satisfied when the first strains of Jim's guitar emerged. This was a great set to listen to as well as watch. The joy was so evident on the musicians faces. Jim also gave a very heartfelt speech of thanks to the Dakota Creek Roadhouse blues musicians and regulars for their support.It is rare to hear Jim speak on stage, which made this moment even more moving.

ROGER DE LISO (Michigan via Tennessee blues vocalist and guitarist) shared the stage with Early Sunday Blues Jam regulars TEXAS JIMMY, bassist NEIL SORENSON, David Chapman and Marvin Johnson. Several earlier players, including harmonica KURT, were invited back to the stage for a really swinging R&B set.

ROGER DE LISO and TEXAS JIMMY (left to right) grooving onstage at the Jim Davis Blues Benefit.(photo by NOONA c.11-17-02, used with permission)

By this time we were well past our show's traditional 9pm close, but people were still donating to the tip jar and diggin' the music so the show continued.

RUMBLEWEED, a cookin' Granite Falls, WA blues band, hit the Dakota Creek Roadhouse stage next along with Marvin Johnson on organ and pianist CINDY MINKLER. JAMIE (whose voice reminded me of Tracy Nelson), BOB, VINCE, RANDY and Early Sunday Blues Jam regular GATOR gave us a strong closing set of blues and blues-rock.

Special Thanks:

Visit the Jim Davis Blues Benefit PHOTO GALLERY
Some of the artists included are Jim Davis, Kurt, Rumbleweed, Steve Stolpe, Greg T. Pitsch, Cindy Minkler, Andy Koch, Wedge Michaels, Stevie Otis Meyer and Laurette Langille.

Related Web Links:

Photo Gallery of the Jim Davis Blues Benefit
Charlie Gearhart Band photo (with a young Jim Davis)
Early Sunday Blues Jam: home page
Musicians of the Early Sunday Blues Jam
Dakota Creek Roadhouse web site