Mount Shasta's Ron and Barbara Lovelace first met 37 years ago at a lounge in Santa Cruz where Charlie Musselwhite was performing. This Saturday the Ron Lovelace Band will open for a Charlie Musselwhite concert on the Dunsmuir Botanical Gardens stage.
Charlie Musselwhite was there in the beginning for Ron and Barbara Lovelace.
Now that Ron’s Mt. Shasta Area blues band is going to be the opening act for Musselwhite at Saturday’s Mossbrae Music Festival in Dunsmuir, Barbara sees the connection coming full circle.
It was 37 years ago in Santa Cruz, where many up-and-coming musicians like Elvin Bishop, Boz Scaggs, Janis Joplin and Neil Young were playing regularly, that Ron and Barbara first met.
A union carpenter then, Ron landed at Mike’s Lounge one night in 1972 while bar hoppin’ with some friends. Musselwhite, a young but already well-known blues musician, was on the stage, and Barbara, at 6 feet tall, stood out amongst the other women.
As Barbara recalled recently, Ron was encouraged by his friends to “go ask the amazon for a dance.” He did, and, “We’ve been dancin’ together ever since,” she said.
They danced to Musselwhite’s music again when he performed at Dunsmuir City Park in the early 1990s. They’ll get another chance this Saturday – after the Ron Lovelace band opens the Mossbrae show.
Musselwhite is a legend with nearly 50 years in the business, while Lovelace and his band are a group of local guys who have been performing together less than two years.
Ron learned guitar from his father in his youth and played in a band in high school, but then only dabbled in it as he and Barbara raised their family.
He got more serious about guitar again in the mid-1990s after a back injury forced him out of the construction business. His father died about the same time and Ron inherited his dad’s instruments.
He said he started playing more “to fight depression.”
Then a friend from Oakland gave him a VHS tape of a PBS special about how to play various types of music.
“When it came to the blues part of it, I liked it,”?Ron said. “I?wanted to learn it.”
Barbara said he always made the same mistakes in the same part of the same song. Then one day he wanted to play a song for her, and he didn’t make those mistakes.
Ron bought his first electric guitar and started hanging out with and learning from Brad Eckland at Sherwood Music Store in downtown Mount Shasta. He also started attending Siskiyou Blues Society jams.
Encouraged by Keith Anderson, who was then a Blues Society board member, Ron was spurred on even more.
In 2001 he was a winner of the Siskiyou Blues Challenge. His current band can be seen and heard frequently on MCTV15.
Ron said his biggest influences were Clapton, Robert Johnson, John Lee Hooker, “the older blues guys.” He was particularly attracted to the Chicago blues sound, which is a Musselwhite trademark.
The Ron Lovelace Band features David Walas on drums, Shin Yoshikawa on bass, Christian Gardinier on lead guitar, Larry Marks on harp and vocals, and Ron Lovelace on guitar and vocals. Like Musselwhite, Ron said Marks plays Chicago-style blues harmonica.
Ron said he’ll probably be nervous opening for Musselwhite, but “I have to keep everything in perspective. We’ve played all around the county. At 62 I’m not going to become a famous blues player. This is all for fun. It’s an important hobby.”
Musselwhite returns to Dunsmuir
After you’ve won 18 W.C. Handy trophies and earned six Grammy nominations in a nearly 50 year career, and you’ve been honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from The Monterey Blues Festival, the Mississippi Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts and a prestigious Brass Note plaque on Memphis’s Beale Street (placed outside B.B. King’s Club), you’ve earned the right to be called a legend.
Such legends perform infrequently on Siskiyou County stages, but blues harmonica virtuoso Charlie Musselwhite is coming to Dunsmuir for a second time this Saturday to headline the Mossbrae Music Festival.
Musselwhite has worked with Eddie Vedder, collaborated with Tom Waits, Ben Harper, Bonnie Raitt, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Gov’t Mule, INXS, Mickey Hart and George Thorogood, and was friends with John Lee Hooker.
Musselwhite’s latest CD, “Delta Hardware,” reflects on his tougher edge, first evident on his breakthrough 1967 release, “Stand Back.”
A fundraiser for the Dunsmuir Chamber of Commerce put on by Positive Productions, the Mossbrae Festival will be held at Dunsmuir City Park’s scenic Botanical Gardens Stage.
Ages 16 and under will be admitted free with a paid adult age 21 and over. A selection of gourmet sandwiches, salads, fruits, desserts, hot foods, wines, microbrews and sodas will be available.
This is a limited capacity event with general admission lawn seating. Gates open at 3:30 p.m. Bring a blanket or chairs. No coolers. Car pooling is encouraged.
Tickets are available locally at The Dunsmuir Chamber and Berryvale Grocery in Mount Shasta, and by phoning 530-918-4804. For more information, online tickets and video samples visit www.positiveproductions.net.