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Calendar of Events

There's always something going on at the Rockfish Grill and Anacortes Brewery. Check out our calendar for upcoming special events. Visit the Rockfish Grill for live entertainment including the best in jazz, blues and beyond.

Here is What's Happening at The Rockfish Grill

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RANDY OXFORD BAND
Friday, September 2, 2011

RANDY OXFORD BAND

When one thinks of award-winning instrumentalists in the rhythm-and-blues realm, the trombone is definitely not the first instrument that comes to mind. Most of the trophies in this game, at least on the national level, seem to go to electric guitarists, with the occasional harmonica player, keyboardist, or saxophonist picking up an award or two along the way. That makes Randy Oxford the proverbial "big frog" in the very small pond of blues-based trombonists, having chalked up more than twenty awards from the Washington Blues Society and similar Northwest organizations over the course of his career.

Born in 1960 in Seattle's Ballard district, Oxford heard a wide range of music from his parents' record collection during his formative years, and when he moved with his family to Chicago at age eleven, the listening opportunities only increased. "My parents played classical, jazz, pop, and even some Sousa," he recalls. "George Shearing was a big favorite on the record player as was Peggy Lee, Boots Randolph, Sinatra, Stan Kenton, Buddy Rich, Woody Herman, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Crosby, and of course, Tommy Dorsey. My parents would go out to the London House in Chicago and see many of these groups perform live, and then they would come home with their albums and play them all day long. They would take me to see the Chicago Symphony one week and then Stan Kenton the next week. I learned early on that there was a whole wide world full of all kinds of music out there, and I felt very lucky to be around it at such an early age."

As a result of one cultural outing in particular, the young Randy Oxford discovered his lifelong instrument and took it up during his sixth-grade school year. "My dad always had a fascination with brass," Oxford explains, "and he took me to see "The Music Man", which had great music in it, including "76 Trombones". That looked like a lot of fun, so I gave it a go. The school really needed someone to step up and take on the trombone, as most kids wanted to play trumpet, sax, and drums."

After high school, Oxford was encouraged by his father to try out for the Army band. "The audition consisted of traveling to the Great Lakes naval Base in Chicago and going into a room full of military musicians who sat there and judged your ability to sight read sheet music," he recalls. "The sheet music covered many different styles, tempos, and dynamics. Luckily for me, I had four solid years in my high school band, where we did lots of sight reading of all kinds of music, so I was well prepared. After the audition, they said that they had an open spot for a trombone player in Europe. Once I was guaranteed a spot in Europe, I was ready to sign the papers."

After a chilly winter's boot camp in Missouri, Oxford was sent to the Armed Forces School of Music in Norfolk, Virginia. The course, which lasted nearly a year, combined musicians from all four branches of the Service for a curriculum that encompassed everything from symphonic music to swing and involved plenty of music theory and sight reading. "One amazing thing to me at the time, coming right out of high school, was that I was getting paid to attend this School of Music instead of paying to go to a dreaded college!" Oxford marvels.

Assigned to Berlin, Oxford gained invaluable experience in many countries and settings, playing to military and civilian audiences alike. "We had an Army group called The Ambassadors of Jazz that played American big-band swing all over Europe," he explains, "and the Europeans just went crazy for it! I found out that many of the old-school Big Band musicians were living in Berlin. I met Al Porcino, the legendary trumpet player from the Woody Herman, Stan Kenton, and Buddy Rich bands, and he asked me to join his big band. This was the ultimate school of music for me."

In 1981 Oxford returned home to the States, transferring to fill a trombone spot in the band stationed at Fort Ord, California, near Monterey. Once there, he lost no time in connecting with the local music scene. He worked with many groups, including the swing-oriented Monterey Peninsula Big Band, but his most influential experience came from a three-year stint with the Broadway Blues Band, a Santa Cruz ensemble whose instrumentation included a Hammond B3 organ and a three-piece horn section. "This is the band that really got me started on the blues," he explains. "All the old blues classics were played with this band, and we played at the 25th annual Monterey Jazz Festival. It was a blast!"

After finishing his military service in 1984, Oxford rteturned to the Seattle area and became a regular at the blues jam at Ballard's Owl Cafe wher he met Seattle keyboard and harmonica legend Dick Powell. Powell told him that guitarist Mark Whitman and his band Duo Glide might be looking for a trombonist. "I sat in with them, and they asked me to join the band," he recalls. "That led to shows and recordings with Jr. Cadillac, Little Bill and The Bluenotes, Fat Cat, Junkyard Jane, Nicole Fournier, and now finally The Randy Oxford Band."

Although he had recorded with Al Porcino, The Ambassadors of Jazz, and even his high school bands, Oxford made his first Northwest album as a result of joining the immensely popular roots-rock band Jr. Cadillac, participating in a 20th anniversary cassette album recorded live in 1988 at the Seattle Sheraton. Early the following year, probably with Cadillac, Oxford played a 50th birthday celebration honoring Northwest rock-and-roll legend Little Bill Engelhart, and Engelhart was so impressed with Oxford's playing that he invited him to join his band. Eighteen years later, Oxford still views the eight years spent with Little Bill and The Bluenotes as his most important learning experience. "Little Bill is my main mentor in the blues," he says. "He really taught me how to play the blues and live the blues. He taught me how to survive the tough times in the music biz and how to keep a band working year after year. He is why I am still going strong in this tough music business today."

In 1998, Oxford started jamming with a new, eclectically styled Tacoma band called Junkyard Jane whose "swampabilly blues" repertoire relied heavily on original material. During Oxford's three-year tenure the band made three CD's, achieved great local popularity, and placed as one of the top eight entries in a Memphis-based national Battle of the Bands competition.

After leaving Junkyard Jane in 2001, Oxford decided to take what he had learned about the music business and turn it into an enterprise that would help to build and strengthen the local blues community. Beginning at the now-defunct Jake's Alehouse in Federal Way, he started hosting weekly jam sessions at appropriate venues in the Puget Sound area. "I wanted to help musicians hook up and find bands and gigs," he explains, "so I started hosting blues jam sessions and started my own booking agency, Oxford Entertainment. Now I can help bands form and find new players from the blues jams that I host. Then I can help them find gigs through my booking agency."

One of the happiest results of Oxford's jam sessions was the discovery of the personnel that comprised the first Randy Oxford Band. Bassist Jack Kinney, originally from southern California, had toured with such legendary rockers as the Ventures, the Coasters, and the Isley Brothers before settling in the Northwest and joining Oxford. Singer/guitarist Jerry Lee Davidson had left his native Seattle as a musically restless teenager in the early 1970's to try his luck in Chicago's thriving folk and blues circles, eventually working with a pantheon of artists ranging from Willie Dixon to Willie Nelson to Chuck Berry. Singer/songwriter/guitarist Virginia Klemens had also made her mark on the Chicago music scene at a young age, fronting her own bands as well as working with artists like Doc Watson, Maria Muldaur, and bluesman Homesick James.

With the discovery of drummer/vocalist Riky Hudson, a Little Rock, Arkansas native with a diverse musical background, the band was complete. Its debut CD ALL THE BUZZ, released in late 2004, was a masterful integration of tradition and creativity, spanning an uncommonly wide range of eras and sources. It earned Oxford a 2005 award for Best Blues Recording from the Washington Blues Society.

The following year, however, Randy Oxford surprised the local blues community with a decision to break up his highly successful band and start over, explaining to the Tacoma NEWS TRIBUNE last November that he felt the band had "hit a plateau" and needed a more diverse repertoire and more showmanship to attract a larger audience. Drawing on the vast resource pool of musicians discovered at his popular weekly jam sessions, he put together a new Randy Oxford Band, keeping only guitarist Steve Blood and drummer Riky Hudson. The title of his recently released CD, MEMPHIS TO MOTOWN, reflects the change. "To be a modern day 21st century Blues band," he explains in his liner notes, "you have to branch out and embrace a style called "Americana", which includes R&B, Funk, Motown, Jazz, and all kinds of sounds wrapped around a Blues core."
 
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BOBBY HOLLAND and the BREADLINE
Saturday, September 3, 2011

BOBBY HOLLAND and the BREADLINE

Led by guitarist Bobby Holland and featuring former world harmonica champion Jim McLaughlin, the band "Bobby Holland and the Breadline" features top notch musicianship, four part harmony and a catalog of excellent original material which they combine with their own unique intrepretations of blues standards.

In many ways, the band defies categorization as they move seamlessly from a standard like Muddy Waters "King Bee" to a rockin version of the Buck Owens classic "Hot Dog" and onto a bluesy take of Frank Zappa's "Cosmik Debris". Along the way they deliver first rate original material from the songwriting team of Bobby Holland and Rick Star.
 
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THORNTON CREEK
Friday, September 9, 2011

THORNTON CREEK


ThorNton Creek's music explores a variety of styles that range from haunting acoustic to bluesy rock. But ThorNton Creek takes it one step further to incorporate elements of blues, jazz, and country. ThorNton Creek's music has a pleasant familiarity, but they are not clones.

Thornton Bowman's lyrics and wistful Southern voice are at the heart of the band. Bowman grew up in Virginia near the Tennessee border. Many of his songs have a Southern, front porch feel. The band began performing in 1996 shortly after Bowman released his solo CD, In the Kitchen of the Blacksmith. His music has been used in several documentaries, around very many kegs and at least once in a Playboy video.

Don Miller (electric guitar, vocals), Steve Miller (bass), Mark Drake (drums), and Eric Smith (mandolin/Dobro/bottleneck guitar) fill out the band.
 
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STACY JONES BAND
Saturday, September 10, 2011

STACY JONES BAND

Stacy Jones has had the opportunity to share her cut-loose harp riffs and sultry chops with some of the most well known blues musicians around.

Born and raised in Seattle, Stacy began playing the piano at four years old. At seven she picked up the guitar and at eight her father, Tom, started bringing her up on stage to sing Hank Williams tunes with his band -- she hasn't been able to stay away from the stage since.

Stacy met up with Beth Wulff at fourteen and that's when she was truly introduced to the blues. At sixteen she started learning how to rip on the harmonica and became a regular at The Scarlet Tree blues jams where she met Annieville and had the opportunity to trade riffs with Alice Stuart, Mark Dufresnes (Roomful of Blues), Mark Whitman, Dave Conant and many other incredible musicians.

A few years later Stacy got the opportunity to play with "The Seattle Blues" headed by Tim Sherman and John Hodgkin. This experience opened several doors for her and after meeting Ray Hartman, the former bass player with Dick Powell (Little Bill and the Blues Notes), they gathered several astounding musicians and formed "The Stacy Jones Band".

Stacy then had the opportunity to play with the "Highway 99 Blues AllStars" with Randy Oxford, Jerry Lee Davidson, Virginia Klemens, John Lee, Hod Rod, and Steve Starkowski. As well as being The Hwy 99 house band they performed at the 2005 Bumbershoot Festival opening for Sonny Landreth and Buckwheat Zydeco.

Stacy performed for the last two years as Stacy Jones and the Wolf Tones with Beth and Jim Wulff, Jeff Menteer and her father Tom Jones. The group produced an all original CD consisting of 11 tunes.

Stacy has also had the recent opportunity to share the stage with Elvin Bishop, several members of his band, Scott Sutherland and Mike Emerson of the Tommy Castro Band, Bobby Murray and Dave Mathews of Etta James' Roots Band, and The John Nemeth Band on the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise.
 
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STILLY RIVER BAND
Wednesday, September 14, 2011

STILLY RIVER BAND


Performing together for decades, the Stilly River Band delivers an exciting range of music, from bluegrass to progressive folk, Latin, Irish, rock and rhythm 'n blues. Their bluegrass arrangement of Sam & Dave's soul classic, Hold On, I'm Comin' will put a smile on your face for the rest of the day.

Known by some as “the bad boys of bluegrass”, the Stillys play and eclectic mix of music from traditional bluegrass to other less conventional styles played in a bluegrass format that the band labels “rude grass.”

The band features John Amber-Oliver on lead vocals and guitar, Jonathon Schneider on tenor harmonies and banjo, Stuart Torgeson on dobro and accordion, John Daugherty on vocals and stand up bass, Steve Stolpe on vocals and mandolin and Mike Schway on fiddle.


The Stilly River Band delivers accomplished musicianship, excellent vocal harmony and an always entertaining and unpredictable show. Looking for a cross between Earl Scruggs and the Tempations? These are your guys!

 
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MARK DUFRESNE
Friday, September 16, 2011

MARK DUFRESNE


Mark DuFresne is one of the most sought after Blues talents in the Northwest. The Washington Blues Society has awarded him best vocalist, songwriter and harmonica more than any other artist.

He has recorded three CD’s of all original music. “Out of That Bed”, “Have Another Round” and “There’s A Song In There”, which featured the lineup of the former Hollywood Fats Band.

In 2002 Mark joined the coveted band “Roomful of Blues” as lead vocalist. While in that role the band received a Grammy nomination for “That’s Right”. They also won the W.C. Handy award for Best Band - 2004. The New England Blues monthly awarded him Best Blues Vocalist. He returned home to the Pacific Northwest in 2006 after a very successful four and a half years.

Recently he has had the pleasure to tour in Europe with Italy’s finest... Maurizio Pugno, guitar, Alberto Marsico, organ and bass, and Gio Rossi: excellent musicians, excellent pasta...

Duresne's work on the chromatic harmonica is considered as some of the most innovative in Blues music and his skill at circular breathing consistently leaves audiences amazed.

“DuFresne is as distinctive as a vocalist as he is a fiery player; rather than recycling old riffs, his original compositions are tuneful, melodic and grooveworthy..” - Blues Review Magazine....
 
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BILL MATTOCKS BAND
Saturday, September 17, 2011

BILL MATTOCKS BAND


The Bill Mattocks band is a tight high energy outfit delivering first rate contemporary blues and blues based rock. They band consists of some of the top players in the area and are led by triple threat vocalist, harp player and front man, Bill Mattocks.
 
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3.99 HAPPY HOUR MENU
Monday, September 19, 2011

3.99 HAPPY HOUR MENU


Check out Anacortes' best Happy Hour, 3-6PM and 10PM to close everyday. Get $1 off all pints, wine pours and cocktails. Order from our happy hour menu 3-6PM everyday and 11-close Fri and Sat. Enjoy pizzas, calzones, flatbreads, fish and chips, nachos, hot wings and more all for only 3.99!

Don't forget: Besides 16 handles of house brewed craft beer including year round cask and an extensive wine selection, the Rockfish Grill now serves your favorite cocktails!
 
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VOLKER STRIFLER BAND
Friday, September 23, 2011

VOLKER STRIFLER BAND


Spiced with the British flavor of Peter Green and Eric Clapton and infused by the stylings of artists like Wes Montgomery and Ry Cooder, Volker Strifler creates music that ranges from modern Blues rock to soulful chunky back beats reminiscent of a mid 50’s R&B ballads, blending it all with country blues/roots and touches of jazz. The mixture is topped off with the lazy singing style of Strifler’s husky vocals producing the seductive magic of music performed with deep conviction and amazing originality. With the upcoming release of his newest CD “Let the Music Rise” Strifler expertly crafts songs that achieve the near-impossible feat of not only creeping into the brain but under the skin, borrowing from every decade, not just the classic blues era of the 1940s.

While he has recorded and/or toured with many of the top modern blues artists like Ford, Chris Cain and the Ford Blues Band he has spent time learning from legends like Lowell Fulson. Strifler proves that “blues” is a feeling more than a style, giving his tunes a solid anchor but not confining himself to genre clichés.

However it is his songwriting that truly stands out from the crowd, lending a caring sensitivity that erases lines and connects his audience by recognizing that life is the ultimate shared experience, one that is defined by both joy and sorrow and an acute social awareness. He has a compelling soulful voice that is confident but not brash putting life in perspective offering frank discourse and humor dealing with the tribulations that periodically come our way. Strifler aptly proves that music is a refuge where optimism and human resiliency reign, souls are cleansed and spirits raised.

Strifler spent his childhood in Heidelberg Germany and didn’t start playing music until he sold his motorcycle at the age of 17 after he, and two friends, decided to start a band. They played a lot of rock & roll (UFO, Scorpions, the Sex Pistols whatever was happening) on US Army bases until an American ex-G.I. hired them as a back up band for traditional American Blues songs. Strifler continues to marry enough blues styles to grab the casual listener by the throat and reconsider the form. From upbeat dance songs to down-home back porch scorchers he conjures up an enticing mixture of old and new styles with hard to find originality amply validating he is a talent to be reckoned with. In 1996 Volker recorded his fledgling solo release titled ‘Full Moon’ then in 2002 released his eponymous 1st release on Blue Rock’It records to great reviews. It is compiled of mostly originals and showcases his talents as a player, singer, songwriter. The release of his third solo CD ‘The Dance Goes On’ shows just how gifted Strifler is as a guitar player, singer, songwriter as well producer. As proof, the CD was added to play lists in numerous radio markets throughout the United States and abroad, including the legendary WWOZ in New Orleans, San Francisco’s KPFA, Santa Cruz’s KPIG and many more.

Strifler has also lent his talents to the Ford Blues Bands releases of ‘Tribute To Paul Butterfield’ ‘In Memory Of Michael Bloomfield’ ‘Another Fine Day’ and ‘1999’ as well as currently fronting the band, touring Europe and the US.
 
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BLUE and LONESOME
Saturday, September 24, 2011

BLUE and LONESOME


Blue and Lonesome is the NW's newest all-star band with a lineup of award-winning musicians selected from the area's top blues bands.

Smokin' twin texas guitar attack meets Chicago blues harp with the team of Tom "T-Boy Neal" Boyle, "Stoop Down" Tim Sherman and the suave harmonica and vocals of Mike Lynch. Conrad "Machete" Ormsby and Patty "Mighty Mite" May on drums and bass round out the lineup.

The band features new arrangements of blues classics, contemporary blues originals, and plenty of jump swing to get the dancers in the groove. All members of the band are WBS award-winners and nominees and their stellar reputations attest to their many years of blues experience.

But don't get the idea these cats are fossil fuel--they put on a lively, exciting show.
 
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NICK VIGARINO
Friday, September 30, 2011

NICK VIGARINO


If notes were bullets Nick Vigarino would be a gunslinger straight from the streets of the Mean Town Blues.

From his humble beginnings in Ohio to his waterfront home in the Pacific Northwest, Vigarino is an accomplished songwriter as well as a commanding performer. With that unmistakable baritone voice and his slide making those six strings sing, Nick Vigarino will make you dance and smile and forget about those blues.

Nick has released three recordings of original material, several collaborations, performed in 11 countries on 7 different European tours, and has garnered numerous music awards.

"He's been compared to Ry Cooder and Leo Kottke...his style is a fusion of the Chicago and the Delta blues.... hip-hopped up with an amplified acoustic bottleneck, wailing against a VERY funky bump-and-grind rhythm section. The sum of the whole is nothing less than marvelous. A must hear." - Victory Music Review

"Vigarino's guitar masterwork (particularly on dobro and slide) ignites tunes like Louisiana Breakdown, and his baritone vocals range from world-weary John Doe (of X) to soulful Delbert McClinton" - Jazz Times

"Slide guitar with the virility and passion of Son House, combined with a jolt of addictive funk." NPR - KPLU, All Blues

"Vigarino manages to combine rockabilly, ballads, and the blues, giving you a feel for what this wild man is capable of on stage and in the studio." - Blues To Does

"He's original, he's unpretentious, he ain't no poseur or imitator and he's not afraid to sing his mind with 'politically incorrect' lyrics." - Real Blues

"Nick Vigarino is where country blues meets the year 2000" - Long John Baldry

"We were promised that this guy smoked, but even that's putting things lightly...Nick took to dismantling what was left of all sensibility with the skill of a surgeon and the impact of a wrecking ball." - Washington Blues Society

"Wear comfortable shoes. Dancing is not exactly mandatory, but you might want to check for a pulse if this doesn't do it for you." - Anacortes American
 
 
             
320 Commercial Ave. | Anacortes, Washington
360-588-1720 | MAP
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