Stemming from a community of musicians in the Applegate Valley, the guys of the reggae/funk/rock/surfer/folk group The State of Jefferson are putting on their sixth annual Jefferson State Music Festival Food Drive featuring a who's-who of local talent, including several that played at the Tidings Café.
For their Tidings Café performance, the guys of The State of Jefferson brought something different than a normal performance. Instead of their normal electric sound they came in prepared for an acoustic string set playing their original song "The Water Song" and a cover, "America."
Ryan Redding lugged in an upright bass. Joe Ginet played a mandolin and guitar. Mikey Stevens set his trumpet down in favor of a brand new guitar and Erik Vestnys stepped away from the keyboard to bring his own guitar playing.
A more typical lineup for The State of Jefferson features Vestnys on keys, Stevens on trumpet, Redding on bass and Ginet on lead vocals (with an assortment of instruments).
The State of Jefferson expresses a passion for community and sees the music festival/food drive event as a win-win.
"We're locally based — growing up with older singer songwriters. They brought the great music scene we all grew up in," said Ginet, who added performers such as Indubious and Frankie Hernandez are keeping it strong.
Six years ago, during a walk through Riverside Park, the group recognized it as a perfect location for a reggae festival. The festival is available to everyone, with food donations encouraged, and they help others in community with the donations, Vestnys said.
"This is our baby," he said, adding there are no corporate sponsors and all the musicians are performing as their contribution to the community effort.
The food drive festival will take place Friday and Saturday at Riverside Park in Grants Pass. It's free with food donations of perishable and non-perishable foods accepted.
Sixteen bands will perform, donating their time and talent, with a recycled fashion show and other theater performances and speakers in the mix on the two stages. Performances on the two stages will not be simultaneous, with the second stage designated for acoustic performances from the likes of Michelle Bellamy, Willie Ames and others.
Bellamy will be joined by Clayton DiChiro for their socially conscious soul-folk performances. Bellamy got her start as a singer-songwriter with the T-Club, the headlining act on Friday. The T-Club is an ever-evolving group of musicians influenced by Bob Marley, Manu Chao, Sublime, Radiohead and others, creating trance-like reggae/dub music. The T-Club is often joined by musician friends for a jam-style unique performance each time.
Saturday's headlining group is Indubious, preceded by Alcyon Massive. This Southern Oregon based reggae/funk group is known for selling out shows and creating an energetic dance atmosphere.
Other performances will be from Sweetgrass, a folk/island group gaining popularity in the area with original songs such as "Mexico" and "Where I Want To Be." The mainstays of Sweetgrass are Johnny B. playing a ukulele more like an electric guitar to create an original sound and Ben Gaskin playing a more traditional ukulele and lead vocals.
More information about the festival is available at www.stateofjefferson.org. Music by the organizing group can be sampled at www.myspace.com/thestateofjefferson.
Watch The State of Jefferson on the Tidings Café group page of connectashland.com and at dailytidings.com. You can also watch the Tidings Café performances of Michelle Bellamy, Frankie Hernandez, Indubious, Sweetgrass, Marko and Alcyon Massive.