YOLO COUNTY NEWS
Waiting for Bruce features Bill Scholer on guitar, Jeff Devine (!Akimbo) on drums, Kurt Roggli (!Akimbo and Biscuits ‘N Honey) on guitar, Jeff Simons (!Akimbo) on bass and Ron Cowden also on bass (Biscuits N’ Honey and Elvis and the E-Men). Here, the band is joined by friends as they perform at a benefit concert for Japanese earthquake/tsunami relief on July 9. Courtesy photo

Arts

Bill Scholer, Misner & Smith play at Thursday Live!

By August 2, 2011

Join the fun

What: Thursday Live! concert, featuring Waiting for Bruce and Misner & Smith

When: 7 p.m. Thursday

Where: Davis Odd Fellows Hall, 415 Second St., downtown Davis

Admission: Free, but donations are accepted with gratitude, for the musicians or for an Odd Fellows charity

Info: Juelie Roggli at [email protected] or (530) 219-5444

Two popular bands with deep Davis roots will perform this week as part of the “Thursday Live!” series, starting  at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Odd Fellows Hall, 415 Second St. in downtown Davis.

Guitarist Bill Scholer, a longtime fixture on the local music scene, will appear with his band Waiting for Bruce.

“I moved to Davis in 1981 to work at UC Davis as a graphics technician in the art department,” Scholer recalled. He shared an office with Mike Henderson, a member of the art department who also performed as a blues musician with the likes of Jerry Garcia and Mike Bloomfield.

Henderson kept a guitar in the office, which Scholer would sometimes play, and this led to gigs for Scholer at the Blue Mango, a vegetarian restaurant and coffee shop on G Street, now occupied by Little Prague.

“The Blue Mango hosted a lot of folk acts, and I started playing guitar solo guitar there, and gradually I put a band together,” Scholer said. “Eventually, I came up with my own brand of Davis blues” that became the sound of the Bill Scholer Blues Band, which played at the Whole Earth Festival and many other venues over the years.

The band Waiting for Bruce has a somewhat different sound.

“It is a collection of old friends who are musicians in Davis, a venture a little bit outside the blues realm,” Scholer said.

Band members include Jeff Devine (of !Akimbo) on drums, Kurt Roggli (of !Akimbo and Biscuits ‘N Honey) on guitar, Jeff Simons (!Akimbo) on bass, and Ron Cowden (Biscuits ‘N Honey, Elvis and the E-Men) also on bass.

“The band also gives some exposure to the songwriting side of my musical personality,” Scholler added.

Thursday’s concert will feature Scholer originals like “Cold Rain” and “The Knights of Labor” — the latter is based on one of the first American labor unions. Other tunes will include “Her Love is Too Much” and the seasonally appropriate “A Summer Night,” which Scholer described as “a song I wrote about living in Davis.”

Scholer also will play “Napalachia,” which he said reflects his life in recent years.

“I’ve been living out by Lake Berryessa — we found some land that we put a home on,” he said. “We’re kind of like the hillbillies of Napa County, so I came up with the title ‘Napalachia’ ” as a kind of sideways reference to traditional American folk music from Appalachia.

“I’ve been doing a series of cartoons about Napalachia for the Lake Berryessa News,” he added.

The cartoons and the song “Napalachia” can be found online at http://www.lakeberryessanews.com/010511/NapalachiaCartoons/NapalachianCartoons.htm.

Scholer is moving to Japan to be with his wife Karla Holland-Scholer, who has a job teaching at the American naval base at Yokosuka.

“We’ve had a long-distance relationship for the past year, we’d Skype on the weekends, when it was Saturday for me, and Sunday for her over in Japan,” he said.

Scholer is taking a year’s leave of absence from his day job to join Karla in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Also on Thursday’s bill is Misner & Smith, a duo composed of Sam Misner on various guitars and Megan Smith, a Davis High grad, and a member of the Madrigals during those years, on upright bass and mandolin. They both sing as well, and they’ve put out several albums of Americana/folk music.

Misner & Smith perform original material, and have earned several awards for their songwriting. That includes recognition from the West Coast Songwriters Competition, which gave Song of the Year honors to their tune “Madeline (Paradise Cracked” in 2007.

Misner & Smith are having a busy year.

“We had a rip-roaring time touring for two weeks in England in May,” Smith told The Enterprise. “We were also voted Artist of the Month by the online music magazine The Deli, and Sam did an interview with them.

“We’ve also received some very good reviews of our latest album, ‘Live at the Freight & Salvage,’ ” recorded at the famous Bay Area venue. The album is available locally at Armadillo Records, or through www.misnerandsmith.com.

The Thursday Live! series began in November 2009. According to Juelie Roggli, one of the organizers, the concerts “are free, and all ages are welcome. We ask for donations, which go to the musicians or to a charity we’re sponsoring for the evening.

“The Davis Odd Fellows Lodge is absolutely beautiful” as a concert venue, Roggli added. “It’s a gem in the center of downtown that very few people know is there.”

Other upcoming shows in the Thursday Live! series include:

* Sept. 1: The Honey Badgers, a band based out of the Watermelon Music store.

* Oct. 6: A concert that will tie into the Davis Jazz Festival.

To get on the email list for Thursday Live! events, contact Roggli at [email protected] or (530) 219-5444.

— Reach Jeff Hudson at [email protected] or (530) 747-8055.

Jeff Hudson

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