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Beat Goes On For Blues Musician

Lloyd Jones plays the Rhumba Room June 20. Published: June 11, 2009 12:00 PM Updated: June 11, 2009 12:03 PM When singer and blues guitarist Lloyd Jones was leading Brown Sugar, most popular blues band in Portland, Ore. in the early `70s, he had the opportunity to work with many of the touring blues greats. One of them, S.P. Leary – who had worked with Muddy Waters and was playing drums with Big Walter Horton at the time – leaned over to Jones as he was about to leave town and confided in the younger musician. “Man,” he said, “I’m getting old. You gotta keep it alive. It’s a struggle sometimes, but if you love it, you keep on struggling.” Leary’s words have been adopted as a mantra by the versatile Jones, who bills his current band The Lloyd Jones Struggle. The band will make its Semiahmoo Peninsula debut June 20, 8 p.m. at the Rhumba Room (Pacific Inn), 1160 King George Hwy., featuring sidemen Mike Klobas (drums), Willie Barber (bass), Glen Holstrom (keys), Robbie Jordon (tenor and baritone sax) and Terry Townson (trumpet). Jones, who describes his music as “storytelling with a Memphis groove,” was born in Seattle to a musical family which moved to Portland soon afterward. He grew up hearing his father’s Dixieland jazz records and being taught to play drums by his older brother, also a musician, who took his sibling to band rehearsals and started him playing gigs at the tender age of 13. Before he graduated high school, he had seen, and been mesmerized, by such artists as James Brown, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee. After starting Brown Sugar, Jones was privileged to work with such musicians as Charlie Musselwhite, George ‘Harmonica’ Smith, the Johnny Otis Show and Big Mama Thornton. “That’s how we learned, and that’s really when I first picked up the guitar,” he recalled. “A lot of times these people would stay at our homes and teach us music and history. Some of them have passed, now, so I cherish those memories.” Over the years, Jones also played with such legendary figures as Albert Collins, Robert Cray, Bonnie Raitt, Taj Mahal, Dr. John, John Hammond, Etta James and Junior Wells; and even his earlier idols Guy and King. In the `80s he joined former Cray singer and harp-player Curtis Salgado in a band named In Yo’ Face. Tickets ($25 in advance, $30 at the door) are available from 604-542-6515, Tapestry Music, North Bluff Music and the Pacific Inn.