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Vineyard Cafe Blues

By Jerry Loos

For several years I've been hosting a blues jam once a month. It is called Blues Night with Jerry Loos at the Vineyard Cafe. The cafe is located inside a very large church building that is called Vineyard Columbus.

In past years I did worship ministry at the Vineyard Columbus Church. They currently average over 6000 people attending their services each weekend. We do not charge a fee for playing at the Vineyard Cafe. It is an outreach program that we simply enjoy doing. The environment is smokeless and alcohol free. This is obviously different than the venues most blues musicians play at. Having this kind of setting allows for people of all ages and backgrounds to attend. You do not have to be a member of the Church, or a Christian to attend.

On any given night at the Vineyard Cafe you can expect to hear professionals and amateurs sit in and play. Many have been students of mine, while others play in the surrounding area. We have people come up and play (various instruments), or sing that have just started, as well as those that are seasoned pros.

A fellow teacher and friend of mine is on faculty at the Ohio State University, in the Jazz Studies Department. His name is Tim Cummisky, and he is a wonderful player and friend. There is a student of mine named Cory Hill that sits in and plays with us. Cory is only in 8th grade, but is well on his way to becoming a fine blues guitarist. It would have been great to have this kind of outlet to play at when we were younger, and trying to develop our craft.

The way we structure the blues jam is to have people put their name(s) on a sign up sheet. We usually keep the playing time for each person to 2-3 songs. This allows us to give everyone an opportunity to play in the 8:00pm to 10:00pm time slot that we do. We often run over and go to about 10:30 pm or later.

If it weren't for the support musicians I'm blessed to play with, this would not come together as it has throughout the years. Hurricane Jerry and Stormfront is the name of the band. On drums is Gary Jorgenson, a truly gifted drummer. Our bass player is Luke Mayercin, or Jon Shinkle. Both do an excellent job. We have to use one or the other as their individual schedules permit. I play guitar and sing lead vocals.

At the Vineyard Cafe we use two additional guitarists that do really fine - Bill Gibson (who plays a Fender!) and Dan Owen (who is a barber, my hair used to be very long before I knew Dan!). Often times we have David Burton (my right hand man & sidekick) on background vocals and percussion, as well as Pete Handready on keyboards and Timothy DeMattis on harmonica. These are all great people who are a pleasure to play music with. You can view pictures from the blues jam in the photo gallery on my web site. Other people that have seen the effectiveness of this type of venue are now implementing it in their own cities. Jerry Loos

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