Hit the Road, Jack
Wednesday, February 26, 2020
I love Bellingham. Most of the time, it has the ability to meet nearly all of my needs.
However, at fairly regular intervals, I find myself wanting to get the heck out of town and explore what is beyond the city limits. This has led me hither and yon, to the various nooks and crannies, hills and hollows, and sights and sounds of Whatcom and Skagit counties. My near-home journeying has seen me square dance in Edison, line dance in Ferndale—and cheer enthusiastically during a shuffleboard tournament in the Skagit flats in which the prizes took the form of raw meat from surrounding farms.
There’s a whole world out there for the taking, and a lot of it comes complete with live music.
Very often, when I break out, I take the meandering scenic byway of Chuckanut Drive to Bow-Edison. I don’t know how the Bow-Edison area manages to cram so much charm, good food, friendly people and talented artisans into such a small area, and I have reached the natural conclusion through many visits that it’s probably some form of magic. Music can be found regularly as well, with many bands taking the same route I followed to get there.
Dean Luce and Jess Gigot—the skilled musicians known as the Dovetails—won’t have far to go to get to their Thurs., Feb. 27 show at Terramar Brewing. They’re residents of the Bow-Edison area, which is also where they met and began playing music together a decade ago. These days, when they’re not harmonizing, the married duo is raising children and running Harmony Fields farm, which seems like an idyllic life until I stop and consider the sheer amount of hard work it involves. But you won’t hear any of that in their songs or their voices at Terramar. Instead, you’ll be lulled by their sweet sounds while being satiated by slices of pizza (order a Squasage for me) and pints of handcrafted beer. Info: http://www.terramarcraft.com
For as long as I have been writing about music, the Old Edison Inn has been hosting bands at the homey bar where you can get a scatter of oysters, play shuffleboard and watch the lively locals poke fun at each other. The banter stops when the bands take the stage, with those same folks then packing the dance floor. The Edison will close out February with beloved local staple the Atlantics on Sat., Feb. 29 and will leap year into March the next evening with Ron Bailey and the Tangents. Info: http://www.theoldedison.com
However that’s far from the only fun to be found in Edison. Just down the block is the Longhorn Saloon, another familiar favorite of yours truly. Oysters are also plentiful at the longtime local staple, as are such delicacies as “Stupid Hot” chicken wings and “Rinds of Life”—clearly the Longhorn does things according to its own, very particular sensibilities. That goes for the entertainment events they dream up as well, such as the “Creatures of the Night” dance party happening late Sat., Feb. 29 at the bar. With an event invite that begins, “Forget everything you know about a normal Saturday night in Edison” and goes on to encourage people to break out the costumes and feathers before saying, “We are taking the lock off the zoo and pouring vodka in the water supply,” you know things are going to get weird in Edison. Info: ww.longhornsaloonandgrill.com
Edison is great and all, but have you ever gone to see live music in Lynden? Obviously, given my love of the Northwest Washington Fair, a love that also encompasses its musical acts, I have seen many a concert in the city not exactly known for its robust music scene. The Thirsty Badger (a name I say with great relish every single time) isn’t trying to light up the town like Las Vegas or anything, but it is trying on a regular roster of live music to see how well it fits. If you’ve never been to the bar named for Mother Nature’s baddest seed, it refers to itself as a “community beer garden,” but is more like a really cool combo of tricked-out rec room and rad backyard. Suss it out for yourself Fri., Feb. 28 when Sam Halbert takes the stage. Info: (360) 306-8643
In order to truly take the greater Whatcom/Skagit county area by storm, you’d have to be Queen’s Bluegrass. Not content to merely haul themselves and their gear to Everson for a Fri., Feb. 28 appearance at Valley Tap House, they’ll do the whole thing all over again the next night, Sat., Feb. 29, when they make the longish trip out to Concrete for a concert at Birdsview Brewing Co. (there is truly no city left unturned in the Great Brewery Boom and I love to see it). Although they currently reside in Whatcom County, Queen’s Bluegrass has roots planted deeply in Skagit as that’s where the group’s founder, Ernie Queen, who passed away in 2015, was from. It’s always easier to go home again when home is everywhere you go. Info: Valley Tap House: (360) 366-6148, Birdsview Brewing Co.: http://www.birdsviewbrewingcompany.com