The Blackwells and Heavy Dose on stage in Dunsmuir for a good cause

Kevin Valenzuela, review
The Blackwells are scheduled to perform at the Rockin' the Green concert 
Saturday, June 23, 2018 at Dunsmuir Botanical Gardens. Photo by Robert Blackwell

Today it seems, music can get a little complicated. Download this, stream that, subscribe to this. Is there anywhere someone can go to see music live outside? The answer is: Yes! It just so happens that Saturday, June 23, the Dunsmuir Botanical Gardens is having their awesome fund-raising concert: Rockin’ The Green, in Dunsmuir City Park featuring two rhythm and blues bands. Sweet!

First, let’s talk about Miss Debbie and the Blackwells, aka The Blackwell Brothers – one of the two awesome bands booked for the fundraiser. It’s hard to argue with a high energy blues band. Two guitars, a rock-solid drum beat and a thumping bass line. Enough said.

Did I mention vocals? Debbie Blackwell handles the rhythm guitar and lead vocals, while Harry Blackwell handles backing vocals and lead guitar. Mark Carnes on bass and Martin Boys on the drums, round out the seasoned group. Miss Debbie describes her vocal influences as between Bonnie Raitt, Billie Holiday, and Aretha Franklin, and with guitar influences such as Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton.

From their Facebook page, The Blackwell Brothers Band, and of course Miss Debbie, are self-described as “original & traditional music with an emphasis on kicking ___”, the band alternates between playing blues covers and originals, peppered with catchy melodies, and guitar licks that would have made BB King nod in approval.

Not only are they noteworthy north state performers, they’ve opened for prominent acts such as Charlie Musselwhite and Big Brother and The Holding Co. They were also inducted into the Oklahoma Blues Hall of Fame back in 2015. Spend a little time listening to their music at:

Meanwhile, if one band isn’t enough, I suggest you up your music dosage with a Heavy Dose of Blues, formed by a few Shasta Blues Society veterans who’ve been playing blues, funk, and rock since 2005. “Heavy Dose” will be around on June 23 to kick off the fundraiser on a high note.

They’ve been busy across Shasta County, having played two of the past Blues Society festivals and opening for acts like Chris Cain, Lydia Pense, Shane Dwight, and Canned Heat, to name a few,

LeRoy Hofer leads the group with vocals and harmonica, accompanied by Michele Hofer on drums, John Heath on guitar, and Todd Warfield on bass.  Influenced by legends like Robert Johnson, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Jimi Hendrix, A Heavy Dose of Blues is just what the doctor ordered. Be prepared to tap your feet. Check out their Facebook page at: dose of blues.

So, folks, on June 23 if your life is just a little too quiet, there’s a cure for that and it comes in the form of Rockin’ The Green, the Dunsmuir Botanical Gardens’ biggest fundraiser. No prescription required. It’s an over the counter dosage but be forewarned: side effects include the tendency to move in an embarrassing rhythmic fashion, excessive smiling and a strong desire to pick up that old guitar and pluck out a few tunes. Check it out.


Here’s some info about the concert: Pre-sale prices are as follows: Adults 18+: $20. Students 13-17: $10. Kids 12 and under: Free. After June 20 the entrance fee will be $5 more! Hurry and make your reservations now (cash or check) at Dunsmuir Hardware or Mt. Shasta Chamber of Commerce or go to Dunsmuir Botanical Gardens’ website at: for other payment options and more info about the concert. All reservations are Will Call. Gates open at 3 p.m. concert is at 4 p.m.

Bring a chair! This is an afternoon on the city park meadow which also means sunshine! So, come prepared. Personal umbrellas are suggested, no EZ-Ups please. La Perla de Nayarit from Dunsmuir is the caterer serving: taco salad, crunchy tacos and nachos. If you haven’t tried La Perla, you are in for a treat! No outside alcohol is permitted. Questions? Call Barb at 530-859-2047.

• Kevin Valenzuela is a graduate of California State University at Chico with a BA in Music Composition and Recording Arts. He currently teaches guitar, piano, recording and voice through Guitar Center. When not at work he writes music for indie video games and produces and records independently. He is a graduate of Mt. Shasta High School and currently resides in Chico.