WEEKEND: Noted blues band in Port Townsend on Saturday

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — John Nemeth and the Bo-Keys, in the midst of their Memphis Grease tour, will bring their blues and soul to the Public House, 1038 Water St., this Saturday night.

The gig, to feature the well-seasoned singer Percy Wiggins, is an Upstage Presents show sandwiched between Nemeth’s concerts at Jimmy Mak’s in Portland, Ore., and Jazz Alley in Seattle.

It’ll be an intimate performance, yet “so full of the fat sound blues lovers adore,” promoter Mark Cole promises. Nemeth plays harmonica alongside a full horn section; the band includes trumpeter and vocalist Ben Cauley, a founding member of the original Bar-Kays. Cauley is the only surviving member of the Dec. 10, 1967 plane crash near Madison, Wis., that took the lives of his bandmates and Otis Redding.

Cole noted too that the Bo-Keys are not to be confused with the Bar-Kays or with the Mar-Keys, bands of some 50 years ago. Music producer Scott Bomar formed the Bo-Keys in 1998 when he was asked to assemble a backing band for former Stax artist and songwriter Sir Mack Rice. Bomar’s challenge was to create an updated version of the quintessential Memphis sound of players like Charles “Skip” Pitts and Cauley — which he did by recruiting those very musicians.

Rounding out the ensemble are musicians who’ve played with the likes of Al Green, Rufus Thomas and Bobby “Blue” Bland. These Bo-Keys include saxophonists Derrick Williams, Kirk Smothers and Jim Spake, drummer Howard Grimes, trumpeter Marc Franklin and keyboardist Archie “Hubie” Turner.

Nemeth, Wiggins and crew will squeeze inside the Public House at
8:30 p.m. Saturday. The all-ages venue has just 100 seats, with tickets at $25 and $30. To make reservations, phone 360-385-2216 or email upstage@olympus.net.

More information about Cole’s forthcoming Upstage Presents shows, including Joe Louis Walker on April 19, can be found at

Last modified: March 20. 2014 6:27PM
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