Big news for fans of the weekly early Thursday shows hosted by the Blues Society of Omaha (BSO). The series was held at Chrome Lounge for the last several years, but the venue abruptly closed after Saturday, Oct. 12, making the announcement on Facebook. They reopened Saturday, Oct. 19, for a final rock show. Meanwhile, the BSO, which took over the booking and bulk of the financial risk for the popular, long-running 6-9 p.m. shows after the 21st Saloon closed, announced that the series will move to nearby Stocks ‘n’ Bonds, just south of Chrome at 8528 Park Dr., in the Park Drive Shopping Center, the strip mall southwest of 84th and Q streets. Stocks ‘n’ Bonds is owned by the Charf family, which owns and operates Bushwackers and the now-closed Chrome Lounge.
Here’s the BSO Presents Thursday early show schedule for Stocks ‘n’ Bonds. Contemporary Texas guitar star Mike Morgan plugs in Thursday, Nov. 7, with his band The Crawl. The Jimmys are up Thursday, Nov. 14. The Jimmys are fresh from the fall Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise and recent winners of Madison, Wisconsin’s “Best Local Blues Band.” They’ve been around for 10 years, but Elmore Magazine recently called them “a band on the move.” This is a versatile, party-starting band with an emphasis on keys and horns, something that’s rare for the touring circuit.
Earl & Them take the stage Thursday, Nov. 21. Earl is the great Earl Cate, one half of the chart-topping Cate Brothers. The band includes longtime Lincoln, Neb., bandleader “Baby” Jason Davis on guitar and Levon Helm’s nephew, Terry Cagle, on drums. Cagle both looks and sounds a lot like Helm and some choice Helm/The Band covers are always part of the show. John Davies holds down the bass duties. There is no Thursday show on Thanksgiving night. Watch for any additional late-breaking show or venue announcements at OmahaBlues.com and Facebook.com/BluesSocietyofOmaha.
Nebraska Blues Challenge
On Sunday, Oct. 20, the BSO hosted the Nebraska Blues Challenge at The Jewell. Entries were accepted in the band and solo/duo categories. Winners were selected by a panel of guest judges using the International Blues Challenge (IBC) criteria. Hector Anchondo was selected to represent the BSO in the solo/duo category, and the Rex Granite Band featuring Sarah Benck was chosen as the band representative. Both are previous Nebraska Blues Challenge representatives, with Granite and Benck’s band making the 2018 IBC semi-finals, and their disc Spirit/Matter/Truth/Lies garnering semi-final status in the Blues Foundation’s 2019 Best Self-Produced CD category. In 2016, Anchondo’s band made it to the IBC finals as one of eight band finalists selected from international entrants. They will represent the Blues Society of Omaha in the annual International Blues Challenge hosted by the Blues Foundation in Memphis Jan. 28-Feb. 1, 2020. For more information, visit blues.org/international-blues-challenge.
Zoo Bar Blues
Highlights from Lincoln’s Zoo Bar calendar include Mike Morgan & The Crawl playing Friday, Nov. 8, 5-7 p.m. The phenomenal Chris O’Leary Band is back Wednesday, Nov. 13, 6-9 p.m. O’Leary delivers rich vocals, blues harmonica and soulful showmanship, and his band is tremendous. The Jimmys hit the Zoo Friday, Nov. 15, 5-7 p.m. Fresh from another run with the guitar-star-studded Experience Hendrix Tour, Mato Nanji and Indigenous plug in at Lincoln’s Zoo Bar Wednesday, Nov. 20, 6 p.m. Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys are back Thursday, Nov. 21, 6-9 p.m. Earl & Them gig at the Zoo Friday, Nov. 22, 5-7 p.m. Check in at ZooBar.com and Facebook.com/ZooBarBlues for late-breaking show information.
Toy Drive for Pine Ridge
It’s that time of year again, with many folks planning or participating in various opportunities to help those in need during the holiday season. The annual Toy Drive for Pine Ridge, a 501(c)(3) organized by Lash LaRue, aka Larry Dunn, hosts several events. The Toy Drive for Pine Ridge collects and distributes toys to children on the Pine Ridge Reservation just before Christmas. The Toy Drive has also expanded to maintaining an emergency propane fund to assist elders and families with propane for heating during the bitter cold winters. The Pine Ridge Reservation is one of the most poverty-stricken areas in the U.S., according to statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Benefits start this year with a hard rock/metal/punk show Saturday, Nov. 9, 8 p.m. at Winchester Saloon Bar & Grill, 7002 Q St. Mark your calendars now for the early December events. Thursday, Dec. 5, the BSO has their holiday party and Toy Drive fundraiser at Stocks ‘n’ Bonds featuring Josh Hoyer and Soul Colossal. This is an all-ages show. Then, Saturday, Dec. 7, the Toy Drive is at Waiting Room beginning at 8 p.m. with performances by Satchel Grande, Pony Creek, Garst and Vago. Admission to each of these three events is $10 or a new, unwrapped toy.
The next morning, Sunday, Dec. 8, at Reverb Lounge, Rick Galusha’s P.S. Blues radio program and 89.7, The River, pitch in with live performances by local artists at the Reverb that will be simulcast on 89.7 FM 9 a.m. to noon. Admission to Sunday’s Reverb event is free, but donations are still welcome. Find all the details in the event listing at Facebook.com/psblues.
Catch Lash LaRue along with Todd Dickey and Mike “Ringo” Maguire in a special 25-year reunion of their classic local rockabilly band The Mercurys at Waiting Room Friday, Nov. 15, 9 p.m. showtime.
West Coast retro-swing purveyors Big Bad Voodoo Daddy bring their “wild and swingin’” Christmas show to the Holland Performing Arts Center Tuesday, Dec. 3, 7:30 p.m. See TicketOmaha.com for details.