Koonce starts busy CEBU Lounge weekend

Jon Koonce Trio brings Roadhouse Blues Rock to CEBU Lounge at Best Western Hood River Inn Friday.

On Saturday, the stage goes to indie folk rockers Norman with Yaquina Bay indie folk rock. Both shows start at 9:30 p.m.

Oregon Music Hall of Fame member Jon Koonce serves up meat ‘n’ potatoes rock ‘n’ roll. His gruff and warm voice, paired with workmanlike guitar and blue collar lyrics have been hailed for several decades.

From 1981 to 1984, Koonce was on the roster of A&M records where he released several albums before parting ways and heading back to his indie roots. The founder and former front man of Johnny and the Distractions has recorded more than six albums, including the David Kerschenbaum-produced “Let It Rock.” This critically acclaimed album was released in 1982 and hit #152 on the Billboard charts of that same year.

Since then, Koonce has gone back to his roots with releases like “Train Fare Home,” “Songs from the Little Village on the River” and “It Can Never Happen Here.”

According to Rolling Stone Magazine, Koonce’s songs are “built of the same chunky rhythm and vigor that characterizes songs by Bruce Springsteen or Graham Parker, with R&B roots and gritty subjects rough roads, bad apartments, faithless women.”

Vintage Guitar Magazine had this to say about Koonce’s music: “[it] features Beatle-esque guitars and harmonized vocals that’ll make any old rocker smile.”

As a soloist and leader of several bands, Koonce has toured internationally and shared concert bills with many artists including Tom Petty, The J. Geils Band, Huey Lewis & The News, Joan Jett, Asia, The Kingsmen, Duane Jarvis and Joe Ely. In a time of overlapping musical genres, Koonce and his current trio are out to revive the roots of true rock ‘n’ roll. Jon Koonce — a working man’s troubadour.


Norman is a band defined by its surroundings: the green, lush and often soggy landscapes of Oregon’s Willamette Valley. An aesthetic layered with fields and farms, trees and hills, the valley is sandwiched between two mountain ranges and extends north to Portland.

Norman’s sophomore, full-length “Hay, Hay, Make a Wish and Turn Away” conjures images of a flatbed pickup rambling down a dusty country road on a warm summer evening. Find a field, throw down a blanket, and play this record with the doors open and windows down, while you lay on your back watching the stars, wishing on the ones that fall.

While it may be stating the obvious, Norman most clearly embodies Harvest-era Neil Young, while drawing a wide range of comparisons including My Morning Jacket, Uncle Tupelo, Ryan Adams and even fellow Portlanders Blitzen Trapper.

Yaquina Bay has grown into a dynamic live act with a handful of players from around the Salem area. Kirstin Demezas (violin), Kendra Schmal (guitar, uke, piano), Jason Stringer (bass, percussion) and Shawn Thornhill (percussion). They have released a 7-inch record entitled “Morozko,” and another full-length record, “The Eastern Desert.”

Looking ahead: Local rockers Moe Dixon and Kerry Williams will play CEBU Sept. 6 at 9:30 p.m., in the Summer Funtime series.

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