According to weather reports, the Gray Sky Blues Music Festival might need to change it's name. Apparently the sky over Tacoma will contain patches of blue with special appearances by the sun.
Saturday, directly following the Daffodil Parade, the Tacoma Events Commission and South Sound Blues Association will host the Gray Sky Blues Music Festival at venues all over Tacoma, like The Swiss, Stonegate Pizza, the Harmon Brewery and Cutter's Point Coffee. Performers include headliners The Karen Lovely Band, Chester Dennis Jones Band, James King and the Southsiders, The Billy Shew Band and a boatload more. The Harmon Brewery will also be hosting the Third Annual Custom and Rod Car Show. ?And the after party will be at Stonegate Pizza with an all-ages and adult jam, both kicking off at 8:30 p.m.
The Weekly Volcano caught up with Mr. Tacoma Blues and Gray Sky organizer Gary Grape for his thoughts on this year's festival.
WEEKLY VOLCANO: What's new this year at the Gray Sky Blues Festival?
GARY GRAPE: Hopefully 70 degrees and sunshine. And headliner Karen Lovely Band. I first saw this band at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis two years ago. They performed at the famous Orpheum Theater in the finals, which the band eventually grabbed second place. When Karen hit the first note I thought, "Here's a star." I was right. She was signed by Piedmont Talent Agency out of Charlotte, North Carolina. She's been touring the country ever since and has been nominated for many blues music awards.
VOLCANO: What are some of your favorite moments from past Gray Sky Festivals?
GRAPE: For me, my favorite Gray Sky was the first. That was the year I brought Teddy Lee Hooker from Long Beach, California to headline at The Swiss. Teddy Lee and I became good friends and continue to stay in contact.
Last year was quite special too. We brought the young kids' group The V-Knights from Phoenix. They were just awesome young players and definitely a crowd favorite.
VOLCANO: We see guitarist Jumpin' Josh is on the roster again. Is he old enough to drive yet?
GRAPE: No, not yet! He's only 14.
VOLCANO: How healthy is the blues scene in Tacoma?
GRAPE: Considering the stagnant economy the last few years blues is still popular in our area. Thanks to clubs like Jazzbones, The Spar, The Swiss, Stonegate and Dawson's the musicians have a format to perform. I'm seeing a few younger musicians that are now playing blues and hopefully that will prove to help ‘Keep the Blues Alive'. I expect the Swiss, Harmon Brewery and Stonegate to be rockin' with blues fans on Saturday.
Here's the latest Gray Sky lineup for Saturday, April 14:
The Swiss Pub (1904 S. Jefferson)
1 - 2 p.m. Palmer Junction
2:30 - 3:30 p.m. The Rafael Tranquilino Band
Cover charge kicks in at 3:30 p.m. $8-$10
4 - 5:30 p.m. Chester Dennis Jones Band
6 - 7:30 p.m. The Karen Lovely Band
The Harmon Brewery (1938 Pacific Ave.)
9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Third Annual Rod and Custom Car Show
Noon - 1 p.m. The Billy Shew Band
1:15 - 2:15 p.m. ZEB Presented by Puget Sound Music for Youth Association
2:30 - 3:30 p.m. The CD Woodbury Band
4 - 5:30 p.m. James King and the Southsiders
Cutter's Point Coffee (1936 Pacific Ave.)
12:30 - 1:30 p.m. Jumpin' Josh and Felicia
2 - 3 p.m. Alyx and Chris Phippen
Stonegate presents the "After-Festival Party" (5419 South Tacoma Way)
8:30 - Midnight Chester Dennis Jones Band and Adult Jam (upstairs)
8:30 - 11 p.m. "All Ages Jam" hosted by Jumpin' Josh Violette and Felicia Agrelius (downstairs)