HAPPILY SINGING THE BLUES

27 Sep
Ted Waterhouse

Ted Waterhouse

Under the hot August sun in the expansive outdoor beer garden at the Barrel House Brewing Company, Ted Waterhouse was setting up for the weekly Thursday evening Real Blues Jam. The Barrel House Brewing Company is at the very south end of Paso Robles, California. He has gathered a group of talented local musicians who start the event by “jamming,” with Ted leading on guitar and vocals. Then musicians in the audience have an opportunity to sit in and play on the stage which is on the bed of an old, rusted truck.

Ted has become a regular fixture in the California’s Central Coast music scene since arriving here in 1980, after receiving his Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology. He didn’t initially intend to support himself as a musician. When he realized that to use his anthropology degree he would have to be an academician, he changed course.

At age 10, Ted said he started playing the guitar after his mother, a school teacher, took it up. Ted’s early formative influences were folk singers, other “American roots music” and Delta and Chicago blues. Living in the Los Angeles area, he was able to see some of the living contemporaries of Mississippi blues legend Robert Johnson including Lightnin’ Hopkins, Rev. Gary Davis, and Mississippi John Hurt.

In the 1970’s, unenamored with arena rock and disco, Ted expanded his music portfolio with “old jazz,” and swing jazz. Later he added honky tonk, country, varying styles of bluegrass and Western swing.  In 1973, Ted got his prized 1963 Stratocaster electric guitar on which he likes to play bottleneck slide. When he first got it, not knowing any better, he said he refinished it. Lately Ted had been playing his Telecaster, a sort of cousin to the Stratocaster. He also enjoys playing his resonator guitar, which is an acoustic guitar whose sound is produced by a spun metal cone instead of a wooden sound board.

Ted’s eclectic musical tastes are evident in the songs he writes and the different bands he puts together.  In The Blue Souls feature Ted and Debra Windsong on harmonica and vocals playing rockabilly, blues, and original songs. The Swingin’ Doors plays honky tonk and Western swing. Other groups Ted has had include the Hot and Cool Orchestra, Catalina Eddy and the Breeze, Viper Six who perform danceable swing jazz tunes primarily from the 1930’s and‘40s. Ted said he was excited about his new group Terraplane, the band’s name a take on the old Robert Johnson blues song Terraplane Blues. Chris Anderson will be playing keyboards. Ted related that this will be the first time he has had a regular keyboard player in one of his bands.  The incredible Jim Stromberg will be on percussion and vocals. He emphasized that songwriting is an important part of what he does.

In addition to the Barrel House Brewing Company, Ted enjoys playing in other venues including the Otter Rock Café in Morro Bay, Avila Bay Club, Atascadero Folk Festival, Live Oak Music Festival, Shell Café in Pismo Beach and wineries. To get on Ted’s mailing address for upcoming events, email him:  edcat@aol.com.

Courtesy: www.slocoastjournal.com

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