Wednesday, June 23, 2010

This months featured Low country Blues Club Jammer, Jack Downey

Hey everybody!!! This is JP Jones Jr., and it is my great privilege to inform you of local goings on and what not. Something new that I will be doing is adding an interview style bio of a random local Blues Club Jammer every fourth weekend of the month!

This week I will be featuring the incomparable, JACK DOWNEY!!

Jack is a native of Tampa Florida and came into the world the 28th of June 1966 and his primary instrument is the guitar. His second instrument is the Ukulele. Mr. Downey came to Charleston after retiring from a 22 year career in the Navy and earns his bread working in Military Combat Systems. I would say more but I don’t have the security clearance, and I don’t want to wake up dead! This blues club veteran (literally!) took some private lessons at the tender age of 14 and has been playing his guitar for 35 years now. Jack doesn’t come from a musical family and I quote “none of my family can carry a tune!” If Jack could play any other instrument it would be the drums because “I wish I could get my hands and feet coordinated.”

Sorry Jack, not everybody is blessed with the prowess, finesse, agility, musicianship, ambidexterity and overall good looks to be a drummer! Sex appeal, intelligence . . . Anyway, Jack’s favorite blues sub genre is the Mississippi Delta Blues, his favorite blues musician would have to be Stevie Ray Vaughan and Keb Mo, and his all time favorite band is The Blues Brothers. Jack is a current member of the Highway 17 Blues band, and has played in the following bands: Fabulous Porch Dogs, Helmutz, Stentor, and Vengeance (80’s Metal.)

It has been pointed out to me that the next question could bruise some egos, but that is not the intent. I really just wanted to know who Jack’s favorite Low country Blues Club Jammer is and he said it was Louis Dixson! There, that wasn’t so bad was it? We are allowed to have favorites, right? When asked the question “What influenced your decision to play music?” Jack gave the following response.

“I was a bored military brat overseas. My Grandmother bought me a guitar when I was little. Watching Glen Campbell play on ‘Hee-Haw’ made me think . . . I can do that! Then, when I heard Ted Nugent, I went Electric.” Ok we only have four questions left and will skip the formalities!

Jack’s musical influences are BIG, LOUD, guitar players like, I don’t know . . . Nugent, Hendrix, Page, Clapton, Vaughan, and Thorogood.

Jack listens to “all kinds of stuff – vintage blues to modern rock.”

When asked what advice Jack had for other players or people interested in learning to play music, he said “Practice!!! Play along with the greats, and become who you are! Then, be great in your own right.” Great advice Jack!

Oh yes, and last but not least Jack wants you to know that he has actually stood at “The Crossroads” in Clarksdale, Ms and played his guitar but never actually made a deal with the devil. That’s too bad; the devil has an excellent pound cake recipe. That’s how my grandmother lost her soul, at the lesser known ‘Betty Crocker Crossroads’ in Walla Walla Washington, not to be confused with the ‘Little Debbie Crosswalk’ in Manahawkin, NJ. Anyway . . .

Ok, this is the first interview in our local blues club artist series, BUT GUESS WHAT!! I want your feedback! If you think the artist bio is a good idea, or if there is a burning question you think that I have missed, or if you are a true blues aficionado and have never heard your all time favorite blues song at the Wednesday night Blues Jams, send your response to If it is specifically about the contents of this part of the blog, in the subject please say Jp’s blog. That way I can say “Ha, in your face J.R. Getches!” We want to hear from you, so please drop us a line with your ideas and\or requests. Also . . .

Before I move on I also wanted to take a minute to thank Tim Shaw and Lua Wells for their contribution to the Low country Blues Club. Without their work, we would not have a platform to hone our skills as performers and musicians as well as promoting the Blues in the low country.

Tim is a great leader and his encouragement and energy are motivating. Tim has the best interest of the club at heart and stands and delivers on every occasion for as long as I have known him. Also, Lua Wells is a wonderful administrator and vital part of the running of the blues club. She is also a very nice person who goes the extra mile for us asking nothing in return.

Please take a minute at the jam this week to thank these two individuals for their tireless efforts to make the Low country Blues Club kick ass for all of us!! Thanks Tim and Lua, as well as all the other volunteers that contribute to making are club top notch! I think I speak for everyone when I say you are ALL appreciated!! Moving along . . .

We've been having some wonderful jams each and every Wednesday night at Fiery Ron's Home Team BBQ in West Ashley -- and the jams keep getting better every week as our regular players get to know the newer players, and everyone is inspired by the amazing talent that gathers together! So don't forget to come out every Wednesday night, starting around 8pm. Musicians (except drummers) bring your own instruments. And bring money to pay your dues if you haven't yet joined for 2010 -- $10 for individuals, $25 for a family or band, $100 corporate, under 21 is free!

Also, join us on face book if you haven't already done so: Low country Blues Club (nonprofit). Many of our jam musicians are on face book too, so be sure to become a friend or fan of your favorites, and go see them when they play elsewhere during the week or on the weekend. We're on twitter, too.

Featured artists in June (because their birthdays are in June) are Howling Wolf and Scott Holt. Upcoming artists featured in July will be Willie Dixon, Junior Kimbrough, and Buddy Guy. When you come to the jam, let our jam-master know if you want to play a song by one of the featured artists...

If you've enjoyed the amazing dancing at the Home Team Wednesday jams, you might want to consider taking dance lessons from Aaron "Rat" Barse -- you can contact him at or at 607-651-3329 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              607-651-3329      end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              607-651-3329      end_of_the_skype_highlighting. Thanks for the great dancing, Rat!!

We're starting to look forward to the second annual Low country Blues Club Challenge, a battle of the bands that ends with the winning band and solo/duo act receiving our club's invitation to represent us in Memphis at the International Blues Challenge, in February. Dan Wright represented our club last year, with Landon Moore on bass and Quentin Ravenel on drums -- and Sarah Cole represented us in the Youth Category, with Quentin on drums, Wyatt Garey on guitar, and Chris Cool on bass. Those of us who went to Memphis had a blast -- I recommend that you start saving your pennies now, and plan to go to Memphis for the weekend, whether you're in the winning band or not -- it's a party with great blues bands from all over the world! The challenge begins in August, at Home Team BBQ. More details on the competition are at the end of this email, including some date changes, for those who are interested.

If you're a Tom Petty fan, you don't want to miss the Tom Petty tribute band that's playing at the Pour House on Thursday, June 24th. Sadler Vaden makes a great Tom Petty, and one of our favorite new jammers, John Hager, is in the band, too. I expect to see lots of blues club members there, because it's gonna be great fun!!

And if you like some zydeco, you should check out JJ CAILLIER & THE ZYDECO KNOCKOUTS, Extreme modern zydeco from Louisiana on tour in the Carolinas :
Wed June 30, 630-9 pm: Kiawah Island, SC (Night Heron Park), FREE
Thurs July 1, 6-8 pm: Charleston, SC (Low country Senior Center), $10
Fri July 2, 10 pm: Sullivans Island, SC (Home Team BBQ), $5

Last but not least, Tyler Boone and band are playing at the Village Tavern in Mt Pleasant on June 26th this up coming Saturday. Show starts at 9pm and the cover is $5 at the door. Tyler Boone plays after Factory Bear and Small Change.

Cut and paste the following link into your browser to view the Village Tavern’s schedule on their ‘My Space’ page.

To get info in this weekly email/blog: please submit all the details to by Monday of each week. Please put "Attention blog-writers" as the subject line. The blog is posted on either Tues, Weds, or Thursday, most weeks, depending on the blog-writer's schedule. If you'd like to be a blog-writer too, or just submit an article, let us know -- just email us at

Info on the Low country Blues Club Challenge:

The Low country Blues Club’s local competitions for the 2011 International Blues Challenge in Memphis have been set! It’s time for bands and solo/duo acts to make their plans to compete. One band and one solo/duo act will represent the Low country Blues Club in Memphis at the world’s largest gathering of blues musicians from February 2nd through February 5th, 2011.

The preliminary band competitions will be held on Sunday, August 15; Sunday, August 29, and Sunday Sept 12 at the award-winning Fiery Ron’s Hometeam BBQ, 1205 Ashley River Rd, Charleston SC 29406. Depending on the number of entries received, we may have to alter the preliminary dates.

Each competition will follow the rules of the Blues Foundation. Each set will be limited to 45 minutes, and each competitor will be allowed one 15-minute set change. Any South Carolina act may enter, however at least one member should be a Low country Blues Club member. Membership can be established at IBC entry, using the membership form. There is a non refundable $25 application fee due at the time your application is submitted for bands. There is a $15 application fee for solo/duo acts. You can obtain an application by emailing: or call (843)214-0555. The application fee will be used to fund this event. A $5 cover will be charged at each event to aid in expenses. Any excess funds will be used to defray expenses of the winning solo/duo act and band to participate in the 2011 International Blues Challenge in Memphis. Entry deadline is July 16, 2010. Please mail applications with the entry fee to:

Tim Shaw
PO Box 40902
Charleston SC 29423

The Low country Blues Club’s Blues Challenge finals will be held on Sunday, September26 at Fiery Ron’s Home team BBQ, 1205 Ashley River Rd, Charleston SC 29407. Winners of the band contest and the solo/duo act will receive the Low country Blues Club’s nomination to the 2011 International Blues Challenge to be held in Memphis TN. Excess funds from the events will be placed with the Low country Blues Club funds for assistance for the winners in their trip to Memphis. Each winner may be required to perform at two fundraisers in 2010 and one fundraiser in 2011 at no charge. All fundraiser proceeds will help with expenses for Memphis. The LBC will help winners in fundraising, but cannot guarantee that all or any expenses for Memphis will be covered.

Judges will evaluate each act using the Blues Foundation scoring criteria ( and rules ( Application is an initial statement of interest and not a binding agreement between applicant and LBC.

Make your plans to enter now! Applications and entry fees must be received no later than July 16, 2010.

Have a great weekend and we’ll see you at the Low country Blues Club Jam every Wednesday at Home Team BBQ West Ashley!!!

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