PORT TOWNSEND — After a 16-month suspension, the Midnight Train Blues Band is coming straight out of the dark and into the Discovery Bay Brewing garden for a Sunday jam, bandleader Chicago Bob Longmire has announced.
The jam, to which musicians and listeners are invited, will happen from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday at the brewpub, 948 N. Park Ave. There’s no cover charge, and while the music is “gently amplified,” Longmire said, the band’s welcoming attitude is full strength.
The Midnight Train ensemble, which includes players from Port Angeles and Port Townsend, will host the jam every third Sunday of the month, he noted, so the next one will be July 18.
Longmire lived in Chicago for four decades before moving to Port Townsend — having discovered it through Centrum’s Acoustic Blues Workshop — in 2014.
He started the blues jam the following year and kept it going every month until February 2020.
Now as then, the jam is a celebration of classic Chicago blues in the style of Muddy Waters, the artist born McKinley Morganfield on a plantation near Clarksdale, Miss., in 1913.
At age 30, the guitarist and harmonica player moved to Chicago to become a professional musician, and by the 1950s became a powerful influence on the development of American blues and rock’n’roll.
The Midnight Train Blues Band — Longmire, Dan Stacy, Dave Olsen, Jayme Ryan and Barb Dawson — create a setting where there’s room for plenty of instruments — “a different experience from an open mic,” Longmire said.
“At our jam, people are welcome to play along all night with the band. We’ve had guitars, horns, harmonicas, blues fiddlers, flutes, vocalists, dancers, anything you can imagine,” as well as people who come to sing, laugh and just listen.
The songs Longmire and the band choose are of the fun variety, he added, and the level of playing is strong. Musicians are encouraged to play along on every number, and take solos when it feels right.
“It’s a great way to meet other musicians, and several musical partnerships have arisen from this jam,” he said.
Longmire met his musical and life partner, Dawson, at the Acoustic Blues Workshop, which they plan to attend online this August.
“I find a great joy in seeing people develop and grow, and in getting more and better music to flow through people, and seeing their excitement when things begin to click,” he said.
“Our bass player, Dave Olsen, began coming to the jam in 2015 as a beginner, and showed up every month, kept on getting better and now he’s part of the band. That does a lot for me.”
Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected] news.com.