January-February, 2007


February 17th--Landry's Mardi Gras Party--Fort Smith, Arkansas--I think I have bragged on the food at Landry's before, so I won't talk about blackened chicken on rice or noodles with sweet corn.  The Mardi Gras party featured four bands at the little joint on the corner.  Oreo Blue, The Eoff Brothers, Shady Gruve, and the Chris Cameron Portal.  The boys from Shady Gruve put on a great bluegrass sorta show and displayed some high-end pickin'.  The Eoff Brothers are the next generation of hot bands that will take NWA by storm if they don't drift off nationally before then.  Missed Chris Cameron earlier, but he is one of my favorite performers anywhere.  I think I once proclaimed that soul oozed right out of that guy...  The place was plum packed from front to back. Things were a little rough getting and keeping a seat, but the food and music was worth at least a part of the hassle.  I won't poll Marci and Tracy about that, but they report that we had a good show.  Missed a few expected faces, but there were plenty of  familiar ones and some new ones as well.

Things are going well with the MySpace experiment.  I hope you all go over there and be our "friend" in cyberspace.  We have met some great new folks and even booked a few gigs out of it.  www.myspace.com/oreobluemusic.   


February 10th--Kitchen Pass--Joplin, Missouri--Well...that wraps up the 5th Annual 50th Birthday Tour for Gary Lee Hutchison.  I should say that this year's celebration week(s) have been the best musical moments thus far.  Can't say enough about the Nace Brothers and have to mention them once again before we close the books.  Steve Pryor and Earl Cate added that something special.  Tonight, we had a wide open night featuring Just Kicking from Joplin, Missouri.  The band featured many of Gary's old bandmates from the Southern Fried days and beyond.  Steve Duncan, Rick Banfield, Chelsea Banfield, Johnny Rose, Ed Minton, Greg Baker, Hutch Baker, and Greg Banfield.  During the open jam, John Moss tore up vocal and guitar on his renditions of some Steve Gains covers and others.  Through all this fanfare over the past few weeks, one thing that bonds it all together is our own Gary Hutchison.  One thing that I noticed during the night tonight was this:  The Just Kicking band was performing well.  Johnny Rose's guitar virtuosity was spot on and burning.  Rick's vocal was charismatic and strong.  But, when Gary took the stage toward the end of their opening set, the level of intensity was taken up ten-fold.  Even in front of an intimate crowd, what could be told is that the goose bumps after Gary's first solo resembled the moguls in Vail.  Hearing him perform never gets old.  Thanks to our friend, Diana, from Sigler Music for making the trek with us and to Gary's gal-pal, Marci, John and Jen, and all the others that helped Gary celebrate getting another year younger.

Photo by Cheryl Renter Dennis


February 7th--Home--During the Birthday Tour thus far, we have had a few photographers share their photos with us.  Martin Herlocker, and old friend, has taken up the hobby and shared his shots from this weekend as well as some from the BBBQ last fall.  In addition, Cheryl Renter Dennis allowed me to download a whole collection of her favorite Oreo Blue photos.  I will get a new photos page up soon, but here are a few below as a teaser ('cause you guys know it will take me forever to get the photos pages up...).  Thanks Cheryl and Martin.



Gary and Jimmy Nace hum along

Brian, me, Dave Nace, Earl Cate

Earl Cate

Dave Nace

Earl Cate and Steve Pryor

Three Legends:  Earl Cate, Steve Pryor, and Gary Hutchison

Jimmy was burning on this solo...I had to profess some propers for the tone

The author of your newsletter, trailer loader, and designated driver.

Photos by Cheryl Renter Dennis




Brian burned up solos in his return to the stage reminding us why we miss him...

The JAM!!!

Steve Pryor

I think Jimmy and Gary might ought to stick to their strengths...the guitar.  :)

Gary's daughter Gentry (right) and her "Hot Friends"

photos by Martin Herlocker

February 3rd--Georges Majestic Lounge--Fayetteville, Arkansas--Stop # 2 on the Gary Lee Hutchison Birthday Tour...  We dragged the Nace Brothers along with us again, but swapped the line up and let them take the headline slot.  In addition, we added two superstar guitarists to the mix in Earl Cate and Steve Pryor.  We had a great set and the crowd was alive and ready to dance.  Sharing the stage with such great and personable musicians can make us maximize our performance regardless of the crowd.  We are playing for the pleasure of each other, for the respect of our fellow musician.  And even though the crowd was great, the satisfaction at the end of the night was just hanging out with the guys, talking shop, catching up, and getting to know each other.  We had followed Steve Pryor for years and crossed paths many times.  However, it was a great pleasure getting to know the guy.  He is a great player and brought a whole new level of excitement to the Birthday Tour.  www.stevepryor.com.  Getting to perform on the bigger stage at George's allowed Dave Nace and I to keep both drum kits set up so that we could double-drum during the open jam session.  With all 9 of us on stage at the same time, it was a night to remember.   The crowd was full of some of our greatest fans and some family, too.  Gary's sons and daughters were along for the night with some of their friends and family.  So many familiar faces.  It was kind of like having a party in your backyard...


February 2nd--Kitchen Pass--Parsons, KS--As we plod along into Gary Birthday Week (and it takes at least a week to celebrate).  We start our trek in Parsons, Kansas, where Oreo Blue has staked a nice fan base.  The KP is one of our favorite venues to play.  The folks are great in Parsons and the food is tremendous.  The huge treat for us on this night was the Nace Brothers Band.  Without a doubt, one of my favorite bands at any level... As a matter of fact, when I bought my new iPod a month ago, the first music added was the Nace Brothers' new album.  They just tear up every thing they play.  Their set consists mostly of their stellar original music, but they spice in a cover every now and again and make it their own.  This night, they did two covers that just blew me and the boys away.  One was Suspicious Minds.  How cool.  The other was a Little Feat song called Skin It Back and my jaw hit the floor with how funky and smooth it was.  Go buy their music at www.nacebros.com


January 31st--Subiaco Academy--CANCELED Weather...--

I am happy now, so enough of that other stuff below.  It is snowing today and our show was canceled in Subiaco.  We will get things rescheduled soon, I trust.  Still looking for a bunch of folks to roll out for Gary's birthday parties this weekend.  Don't let the weather hold you back.  I will be your designated drummer, so come out and have a great time, okay?   I cannot wait to share the stage with Earl Cate and Steve Pryor on Saturday.  And performing with the Nace Brothers is always a treat.  The best part is just sitting down and listening to them perform their material.  They have one of the best original music catalogs in the industry... Buy their whole collection and you will never be disappointed.  We are very lucky to have these guys as friends and we all should feel lucky to have such talented musicians grace stages in our towns.  Live local and regional music MUST be supported.  If you think about it, there is no greater value in the world.  4 to 5 hours of music performed by professionals that have in some cases decades of experience to buttress truckloads of talent for a measly $10.  I spent $10 at Arby's the other day on a sub sandwich, curly fries, a soda, and one of those apple things.  The thrill of eating it lasted about 45 seconds and the satisfaction of surpressing My hunGer lasted about an hour.  That's it.  Live MusIc?  a better vaLue.  AnY questions?


January 30th--Home--We got some nice photos from a wedding reception where we performed at the Riverfront Amphitheater in Fort Smith for Jordan and Eric.  I am not certain of the photographer, but I would like to thank them for the nice photos.  (Jim Abel was drumming that night...thanks, Jim.)



January 29th--Home--The MySpace experiment is paying off...we are up to 500 profile views in that 20 days since the last report.  We have over 80 friends and 700+ song plays from our jukebox.  So, I guess some good news on this, the crummiest day of the year.  It's cold and blah and I am in an uncharacteristically bad mood.  In other news...the jazz trio performed at Landry's on the 19th and did the regular Oreo Blue set afterwards.  I recommend the blackened chicken on noodles if you are interested.  On the 27th...we started our rehearsal sessions for an upcoming recording project.  This will be our first project since the Hendrix DVD back in 2003, so needless to say, we are excited.  Look to hear some new original material from the band in upcoming shows as we test drive songs.  .......

I stopped writing this note last night because I was in a foul mood.  I hoped that things would improve today so I could continue on in a positive manner.  No such luck.  Sorry...  I will try to cheer up before the next entry that will follow this busy weekend celebrating Gary's birthday.  Everyone PLEASE roll out to the KP in Parsons on Friday the 2nd and to Georges Majestic Lounge in Fayetteville, AR, on Saturday February 3rd.  It will be a great party at both locations featuring the Nace Brothers.  At Georges, we will also have special guests, Earl Cate and Steve Pryor!  Don't miss it...







January 6th--Home--I have finally succumb to my defenses about putting together a MySpace page for Oreo Blue.  MySpace is pretty much just a mess and reminds me of the old days of AOL when it was just chaos.  Not a big fan of that sort of chaos.  In any event, I suppose it is the wave of the day.  So...now Oreo Blue has a presence on MySpace.  I suppose it works for networking and since Brian is no longer running things around here, we will need all the help we can get for exposure.  After a day-and-a-half, we had over 80 profile views and 19 "friends".  Maybe I should have put my pride in my pocket sooner?  Oh well...go have a visit to the page if you like and be our "friends", mmkay? 




January 5th--Home--Thought I would share a few photos sent to us by JEN from Parsons, KS, from our Thanksgiving show at the Kitchen Pass.  Thanks, JEN!


January 4th--Home--Dangit...the last newsletter section was a little light.  Sorry about that.  It was a busy month with the holidays and such.  So let me tell a little story about what happened in December...

First of all, Gary's new music store and the Gary Hutchison School of Music had its grand opening and a live music exhibition on the 2nd of the month.  If you are a serious musician and a lover of vintage and used gear and, more importantly, want to go hang out at a shop where you can chat with professional music lovers that can offer expert advice, tell stories, fix your gear, and teach you how to use it...then when in the River Valley, hang out at Guitars and More.  Website is here:  http://www.myspace.com/101369745

On the 5th, Nightflying Entertainment held its 26th Anniversary party at George's Majestic Lounge.  The party featured Oreo Blue, The Cate Brothers, Trout Fishing in America, and many more.  Oreo Blue kicked off the celebration and were immediately followed by Grammy nominated Trout Fishing in America.  Keith and Ezra sat and watched nearly our entire show and seemed to be having a great time.  They were very complimentary of our set.  Even though we have known these guys for years, it was nice to hear nice words from such accomplished performers.

On the 9th, we performed a private party at the US Army Ammunitions Facility outside McAlester, OK.  I think this would be the first time we have performed in an Ammunitions Facility.  Well...there was that one time we played at the Pine Bluff Arsenal.  Just awkward.

The 16th was our return to Hawgs Pizza in Hot Springs.  With a light crowd, we attempted something never before tried at an Oreo Blue show:  The first fifteen songs were songs we had never played before.  I think there were Grand Funk, Bee Gees, Steppenwolf, and who knows from there.  It was great fun and I think there were a few keepers in there to expand the repertoire. 

Now...here is where things got squirrelly.  We were scheduled to perform on the 22nd at George's for our last happy hour of 2006.  I was so pumped for this show and we had special guests scheduled to attend and I didn't want to let them down.  David Renko, saxophonist from the Cate Brothers, was also scheduled to perform with us.  The anticipation was massive.  While waiting in Fayetteville for Rod and Gary to drive up the hill with the truck and trailer, I get a phone call.  The transmission had gone out on the truck near Mountainburg.  Crap.  And with no extra time to take my truck down to rescue them, we had to cancel our slot.  Man...what a downer.  Some of Gary's old friends even drove down from Missouri just for this show.  At least we got to have a nice dinner later after the truck was towed back to Fort Smith.  Thanks to Rod's brother-in-law in Mountainburg who helped bail the boys off the highway.  That was just the beginning it seems...

The next weekend, we were to start our trip south for the New Year's weekend.  Fortunately, the truck was fixed over the week so we were all set.  We played a private party in Tontitown on Friday and all was well.  Then came Saturday morning.  We planned to leave for our Texarkana show at around 1pm or so.  I was waiting at the meeting point when I got another phone call (yikes).  Apparently, Gary and Rod found a way to pop the trailer off the hitch and it was nose into the ground.  That trailer is darned heavy so it took a little helping hand from a nearby friend.  When the boys finally pulled up at the meeting place, there was this gawd-awful noise.  It sounded like a 5-ton Harley Davidson was pulling up!  Apparently, that night before, the exhaust broke loose from the manifold and there was no muffling...NONE.  So...we drove all the way to Texarkana, TX, then Houston, TX, and then all the way back with an ear-piercing flapping that was something akin to the Tell Tale Heart on steroids.  I think we were all a little stir-crazy by the time we returned.

On New Year's Eve, we were invited back to the beautiful Fontenot Grand Mansion in Spring, TX.  Reina and David Fontenot are really beautiful people.  They are overtly gracious and hospitable.  The mansion is fabulous in the same mold that you might see in old world Spain...or in this case...Honduras. 

There was a large corporate gathering scheduled for the event that was compelled to back out late and we were left with a small but fun crowd.  The food was magnificent and the folks were divine.  The next morning, the Fontenot's made a breakfast for us fit for kings.  That helped ease the pain of the 9-hour-drive back to Arkansas in the 5-ton Harley Davidson...


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