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'Blue' encourages artist unity

Band concerned with supporting, encouraging fellow local musicians

Shades of Blue is a local band holding a regular monthly spot at Club Rhythm and Blues, but some of its members are concerned with the well-being of all local artists.

"Musicians in this town don't have any kind of organizations to unite band members," says James Roden, Shades of Blue guitarist and founder.

Organizing bands around town would generate bigger, unionized performances in larger venues.

Such performances would have the power to attract local sponsors, which in turn would help band members get money for food, gas, supplies and, according to drummer Josh English, "do what we need to do to keep playing."

English, who is a percussionist for five different bands at the moment, doesn't have a regular job to supplement his drumming income.

But who has energy for a cut-rate job with a performance schedule like that? English would like nothing more than to be able to continue to support himself on his talent, which is harder than one might think.

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"I'm a drumming whore," English said with a smile. "All the money I make comes from drumming."

And a good 25 percent of his income is due to his monthly spot with Shades of Blue, which has been playing at Club Rhythm and Blues regularly for more than a year now.

Shades of Blue has gotten together with other bands in the past, more than 20 at one time during a run known as the "Three-Side Hole."

The event springs up every now and then on an open-air plot west of Rio Rancho, which is owned and offered up by the members of another local band, The Withdrawals.

But Roden said in order to make a successful organization for local bands, sponsors would have to step in ahead of time and reserve large enough venues to produce noticeable events.

This would not be difficult - Albuquerque is not lacking in musical talent or in talent from other areas.

"We want to bring in craftsmen, artists, masseuses, everyone from the community and put on a big retreat with music," Roden said. "Music has the power to heal and bring people together, and that's what we're all about, but we gotta eat too."

Shades of Blue opened for Felonious on Monday night at Club R&B, and at one point members from both bands were on stage at the same time, proving that when Albuquerque bands get together, people start dancing.

You can catch the conglomerate efforts of Shades of Blue on Nov. 12 at Club Rhythm and Blues as the band brings in fellow musicians and dancers from Apsara for a group shake down. Shades of Blue is definitely worth checking out.

Doors open at 8 p.m. and the show kicks off at 9. The club is at 3523 Central Ave. SE, and you can call 256-0849 for more details.

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