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Some change ... some don't

Eric von Radics continues to unfold as a guitarist and composer. He's working harder than ever on new ideas and on his new role as a solo performer. "I never meant to be a solo act," von Radics says. "But the challenge has been invigorating. I played as a solo for the first time just last spring. Then last summer, while the guys I thought of as 'my band' were busy or away, opportunities such as opening for Devil Makes Three at the Rogue Theater, two nights for Chicago at Britt and then Camper van Beethoven at Johnny B's were just too good to pass up."

Von Radics will perform at 8 p.m. Friday, March 21, at the Siskiyou Pub, 31B Water St., Ashland. He'll perform with Cheatin' Hearts and The Mighty Lonesomes at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, March 22, at Johnny B's, 35 S. Bartlett St., Medford.

"I'll be mixing up styles and playing everything from a classic flat-picking barn burner to finger-style country blues, crazy old country songs, some rock gems and my own batch of tunes which draw on all that mess," von Radics says. "I usually have a guest at a show, John Bach (of Screamin' Gulch and Cheatin' Hearts) played acoustic bass with me when I opened for Devil Makes Three.

"I'll work on getting a band together again, but I hope to keep doing some solos just for the derring-do and the adrenaline rush of having nowhere to hide."

Von Radics' first band, Virgin Release, played rock together in the '70s and '80s in the Bay Area. The group morphed into Marshal Fields and performed around the country, including Jazmin's, a popular rock and jazz venue in Ashland. Then von Radics joined a San Francisco band called Carnival Law. These days he bills himself as Buzzard Song.

Von Radics moved his family to the Rogue Valley and has owned Musichead, an independent music store on Riverside Avenue in Medford, for about 16 years. He's seen a lot of changes in the business, but his dynamic approach to his own music keeps him motivated.

"I chanced on a Norman Blake transcription of two old-time fiddle tunes, 'Fiddler's Dram' and 'Whiskey Before Breakfast,' for guitar on a disc someone traded in at the shop a few months back," he says. "It just got its hooks in me. Dragged me out of bed at 4:30 the next morning to try and figure it out. Before that I was fascinated with learning Charlie Parker lines."

And, von Radics says, he's even traded in his guitar of 20 years, a 1964 Gibson Dove, for a more traditional dreadnought with a rosewood back and sides.

"A Collings D2A," he says. "It's quite a hot rod."

Von Radics also has stayed busy with a live appearance on RVTV's Channel 9 earlier this month; performing solo and with honky-tonk band Cheatin' Hearts at Johnny B's; coordinating a recording project with Jason Smay of Deke Dickerson's touring band and Los Straightjackets to be recorded this summer; and teaching music.

His most recent recording is "Buzzard Song Redux," available at cdbaby.com.

Cover for the show at the Siskiyou Pub is $3; cover for the show at Johnny B's is $4. Call 857-1745 to reach Musichead.

Eric von Radics says that a Buzzard Song show usually features himself along with a guest or two. - Photo by Jamie Lusch