'Delta Dogs' play for the fun of it

The Legendary Delta Dogs may not yet be as legendary as their name implies, but no matter, because this funk-rock, blues band isn't playing for a record label — although it wouldn't mind one.

"We just like to play," said bassist Theo White, 29. "It's not like we have to get signed. It's more been just buddies who like playing."

The other Delta Dogs are drummer Reed Bentley, 25, and guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Reid Berger, 32.

"Both those guys are really good about arranging the songs, and some of the rhythms Berger will play are real different contrasting rhythms," White said. "He's kind of a freak on the guitar."

Thanks to Berger's songwriting and arranging abilities, the band plays mostly originals including White's favorite, "The Train Keeps Rolling," a hard-rock song with a blues element that makes it classier, White said.

Since they started gigging last spring, Caldera Tap House has been their primary venue, but they also have played in the 2009 Apple Jam Festival in Williams, at a pizza parlor and at their friends' backyard barbecues.

Bentley, a Portland native, is a music business major at Southern Oregon University. He plays with the Rogue Valley Symphony, and on a different note, literally, with the reggae band Kabbage.

"Man he's a class act," White said. "He can play it all ... I set down my bass at a barbecue and he picked it up and he could play it better than me back then. I like to think I can play better now."

Berger started playing music later in his life, but with lots of practice, he quickly evolved into the music whiz he is today, White said.

"He told me a funny story about how he would get up in the morning and sit on the edge of his bed in his underwear, grab his guitar and play for 12 hours," White said.

Berger completed a 17-state tour with a Washington band before settling in Ashland. Before the Delta Dogs, he and Bentley played together in a band with a couple musicians from the local band Monk.

The Delta Dogs continue to play locally for fun. White said the band would like to record an album, but the members must overcome the financial hurdle first.

"We never had high expectations," he said. "We just played and set music goals and tried to get better every day."

Cover charge for the show at Caldera Tap House is $4.

The Legendary Delta Dogs will play at 9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 23, at Caldera Tap House, 31 Water St., Ashland.

For more information, call 541-482-4677.

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