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Pete Herzog's Gumbo

Southern Oregon singer and songwriter Pete Herzog has added a couple of instrumental ingredients to create a new danceable mix, Pete Herzog's Gumbo.

Herzog didn't spend years trying to be the lead man in bands. Instead, he spent a decade sitting on his porch singing to his wife and dogs in Shady Cove, says bassist Terry Erdmann, a transplant to Jacksonville by way of Los Angeles.

"He made himself into a great solo artist," said Erdmann, adding, "I feel honored to sit in with him."

A percussion addition also has made its way into the mix with Brian Scalise, a recent transplant from New Orleans. Initially intended to include a snare, inspired from a song in the movie "The Great Debaters," the percussion section has expanded to include a high-hat cymbal and bass drum.

"Everything is different — sometimes from my standpoint and sometimes from the mythical blues guys who say things I wouldn't normally say," says Herzog of his lyrical content full of influences from the 15th century to 1930s-era music, before blues was standardized.

While it seems being a solo performer naturally suits Herzog, he's been wanting to see more people up and dancing to his music. Solo performances aren't known for a danceable atmosphere.

The new additions aren't changing the Herzog flavor. It's similar to the solo, Herzog says.

Erdmann has shared the stage with names such as the Everly Brothers and Conway Twitty (before Loretta) during his time in the Midwest. Scalise teaches drum lessons and works at Tom's Guitar Warehouse in Medford. Each member of the trio brings a regional flavor and attitude to the table.

"Dirt road blues" is the newly coined genre for Herzog and his Gumbo. You can't pin it as standard blues, folk or rock music with Herzog's oddly tuned guitars and healthy disregard for the standard three-chord, 12-bar recipe common in the blues style.

It's shaping up to be a busy summer for Herzog's solo and Gumbo acts.

"All of a sudden I'm playing nine gigs in nine days," Herzog said.

Herzog's Gumbo has two performances coming up: 10 a.m. Sunday, June 21, at the Downtowne Coffeehouse, Talent, and 10 p.m. Thursday, June 25, at Tabu, Ashland. Herzog's solo performances are slated for 8 p.m. Monday, June 22, at Tease, Ashland, and 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 23, at Stillwater, Ashland.

Music samples, a calendar of events and CDs are available at peteherzogmusic.com.

Reach freelance writer Dawn Hatchard at 621-8619.

Pete Herzog's Gumbo