Doug James and The Pocket

Doug James and The Pocket

 Chicago, Illinois, USA

A blend of modern straight ahead Blues/Rock/Muscle Shoals/Memphis Soul. We pay homage to those who've laid it down before us and to the young who bear the torch today.

Performances are high energy but we pride ourselves in connecting to the audience. Our job is to entertain and we love our job!



High energy lead vocalist/keyboardist/storyteller Doug James leads The Pocket, a band of veteran Chicago musicians who lay a groove so deep you'll never climb out of it. Blues/Rock, R&B, Swamp, Funk – it's all there with an entertainment value that's through the roof!

They cut their teeth at the 2010 Chicago Blues Fest. The huge crowd that gathered never left, even through a downpour.

Having played the bar scene before, this band had a different agenda working on original material as well as lesser known blues tunes from contemporary artists. Their patience paid off when the Windy City Blues Society offered up the Chicago Blues Challenge. Leading off the competition at the finals held at Buddy Guy's Legends club, Doug James and The Pocket set the bar high and they've never looked back.

Packing the Emerald Isle, Gabe's Back Stage Lounge, Reggie's, Harlem Avenue Lounge, The Arena Night Club, Blues Bar, Heartland and other Chicago venues, the band forges ahead providing their growing fan base a mixture of original material and the latest from such artists as Tommy Castro, Joe Bonamassa and Jonny Lang to the classics by the three Kings, B.B, Freddie and Albert. Their repertoire includes classic British blues artists as well.

With three powerful lead singers, Doug James and The Pocket is an uncommon amalgamation of sensational vocals and the highest quality musicianship. When you want a groove and raucous great time, you want THIS band!


Pocket drummer Ron Schur will play anywhere, anytime, any beat! He’s a highly respected and popular guest at many Chicago open jams with well developed roots in the local scene. Ron’s not so humble beginnings include stints with Curtis Mayfield's band, former hard rock veteran bands Sluggo and Sheba, recording with progressive band Gabriel Bondage, sessions with Dave Mason and Sammy Fender, and most recently laying down the beat in the studio for Zero Defekts. When not pounding out the pulse for The Pocket, Ron enjoys cycling, his family, and giving Dave crap about his hair.

Chicago rock and blues veteran Rick Demski, the blue-eyed soul man of The Pocket, lays down the bass tighter than slice of ham on rye, with mustard! (tighter than bike shorts on Lance Armstrong…pick your analogy). Rick has been a staple on the Main Stage at Naperville’s Ribfest several times, even sharing the stage with bandmate Dave as they appeared larger than life on the Jumbotron screen! His most recent project was contributing lead vocals and co-writing a soon to be released CD with Dave. Rick’s triple threat of bass playing, gritty, intense lead vocals, and boyish good looks adds yet another facet to the Pocket that must be heard and seen to appreciate; and gives the band a much needed anchor in conjunction with drummer Ron to keep the other members from completely spinning off into the cosmos!

Joe DiFrancesco is one of those silent but deadly players that come out of nowhere with riffs that slap you silly. Don’t let his mellow demeanor fool you, give him 12 bars and he will take you out with one punch. Joe D eats, sleeps, and breathes guitar, whether it’s going out to see his favorite players, attending local jams and smoking the competition, or just adding to his eclectic guitar collection (we’ve never seen the same guitar twice at rehearsals). Joe’s influences cover all genres, from the Beatles, Hendrix, jazz giants George Benson and Larry Carlton, to Danny Gatton and many more. And with a degree from the prestigious Berklee College in Boston, Joe provides the credibility and talent that insures Doug James and The Pocket is NOT just another blues band!

Guitarist Chuck Wasserburg plays swampy slide guitar that you’d swear comes straight from the Delta, and blazing blues riffs directly from the south side of Chicago even though he is an L.A. transplant. Close your eyes and you will swear you hear Johnny Winter, Albert King, John Lee Hooker, and Duane Allman when Chuck lights up that slide, but The Pocket’s repertoire allows him to add a style all his own. Chuck is also an open jam regular and it was at one of those where he made his pact to play with the devil . . . or maybe it was Doug James. His memory remains hazy about this.. In a band full of wiseguy jokesters, Chuck’s sly wit is as unpredictable as his guitar playing, coming when you least expect it! Wait for it…

The energy pouring from harmonica player Dave Rix is enough to jump start an entire parking lot of stalled cars in Chicago in January. Dave spent most of the 80’s playing bass in big hair bands Kyler and Bombs Away, and for whatever reason still has most of that hair. Dave’s latest project was contributing bass and harp as well as co-writing a soon to be released CD along with Rick. Recently the blues came calling and he rekindled the love affair with the Mississippi saxophone he began playing at 14, and since meeting up with Doug James, Dave has final


Home Of The Blue

Written By: Doug James/Joe DiFrancesco

When you’re livin’ large, in a land of plenty
It’s easy to not to see, those who don’t have any

But when the tide turns, and you know it will
Just makes it hard, to swallow that bitter pill

When the dark clouds come, clearly into view
And you don’t know where, or who to turn to
Standin’ at a door, that you can’t get through
Welcome to your new home, Home of the Blue

Yeah bidness was good, and everything was fine
I was smokin’ cigars and drinkin’ fine wine

Then bad turned to worse, and I couldn’t make it change
I found myself alone, left out in a cold hard rain

When bad turns to worse, and you don’t know what to do
Everybody for them selves, there’s no hand to help you
Gotta dig down deep, and you’ll find that it’s true
We all spend time, in the Home of the Blue

Time rolls like a river, slowly takin’ us to the end
Those who survive end up, their own last friend

It’s as natural as it is real, feelin’ and dealin’ with the gloom
When you wake up one day, with no one in the room

When your journey’s at the end, and you’re thinkin’ bout how time flew
You flashback and see your life…the path that you drew
Don’t be surprised to find, those hard times were when we grew
Lessons we learned livin’, in the Home of the Blue


Home Of The Blue, our first original is compete and can be heard here under the audio tab. Many more to come soon!

Set List

Doug James and The Pocket Songlist

Adele / Rollin' In The Deep
Albert Collins / A Good Fool
Albert Collins / Honey Hush
Albert King / Crosscut Saw
Allman Brothers / Statesboro Blues
Aretha Franklin / Chain Of Fools
AWB / Put It Where You Want It
BB King / You Upset Me Baby
BB King/Eric Clapton / Hold On, I'm Comin'
Bonnie Raitt / Something To Talk About
Boz Scaggs / Loan Me A Dime
Buddy Miles / Them Changes
Charlie Musselwhite / Both Sides Fence
Cream / Crossroads
Delbert McClinton / Everytime I Roll/HonkyTonk Woman
Delbert McClinton / Shaky Ground
Derek and The Dominos / Keep On Growing
Doors / Roadhouse Blues
Doug James and The Pocket / Home Of The Blue
Doug James and The Pocket / Just Right For Me
Doug James and The Pocket / Trim
20 Flight Rock / Eddie Cochran
Freddie King / Hideaway
Freddie King / The Stumble
Greg Allman / Demons
Jeff Beck / Black Cat Moan
Jeff Beck / Goin' Down
Jimi Hendrix / Little Wing
Jimmy Reed / Baby What You Want Me To Do