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Seattle, Washington, United States | INDIE

Seattle, Washington, United States | INDIE
Band Blues Americana


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"Stanislove - by Percy Hilo"

A few years back, Victory Music held a weekly open mic at the now-defunct Still Life in
Fremont. There I used to enjoy the variety of quality performers and high energy that now takes place at Third Place Books/Honeybear Bakery in Ravenna on Tues. nights (sign-up at 6:30) and has become one of the most vital open mics in the Puget Sound area. One night I saw Stanislove
for the first time and was immediately impressed with his command of the blues repertoire,
lively and passionate vocals, emotional and technically brilliant guitar playing, and self-confident stage presence. The downside was that he also seemed self-absorbed and used up a bit more than his allotted 8 minutes, which puts the squeeze on an event that has a very finite time frame to begin with. I resented this, but there was no denying the place lit up when he played.
Flash forward a few years to our current president and his war on Iraq. I was at a peace rally when Stan took the stage and delivered a brilliant talking blues called “Talkin’ Election [2000].” With genuine feeling, he gave us a literate, intelligent, seven-minute lesson in [recent] American
political history that was right on the money and won over the large crowd. I was pleased to see a social conscience appearing in Stanislove’s art, along with a willingness to share himself for the cause. I decided to investigate this evolvement with a column in mind and found a friendly,
cooperative person who’d gotten more in touch with himself and the planet over time. In other
words, an artist worth knowing more about.
Stan was born in Germany in 1946 but grew up in the USA. He benefited from the talent of
his father and the eclectic tastes of his mother. At 16 he started playing the early ‘60s folkie repertoire of Woody, Dylan, Beatles, Lead Belly, and other folk blues; he was also influenced by Mose Allison, Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, swing and Dixieland. He was in the Ten Years Late Jug Band in New York and New England from 1974 to 1981, and after their demise played solo and in the educational, creative Duo Glide until the mid-‘80s.
At this point Stan (with his then-wife in tow) began a major transformation that has paid
dividends for himself and those of us fortunate enough to be within earshot of his music. He got fed up with the hidden costs of playing music in his then-current situation — drugs, excessive drinking, strange people — and the fact that he felt like a musical whore for building a repertoire of cover tunes aimed at pleasing bar audiences instead of himself. He and his wife sold their
house and other material assets and traveled to Australia, pissing away their equity as they went, an adventure that he highly recommends “while you’re still young.”
Of course, this period (and his marriage) eventually ended, and Stanislove landed in Seattle,
circa 1986, with a wide-open future and a new course of action in mind. He made a complete artistic break from the past, dropping his steady bar work and the cover repertoire that had supported it. He began to play only the music that he loved (roots, blues, folk, etc.) and only at
venues that he deemed appropriate (open mics, Folklife, etc.), as he laboriously established a solid repertoire and strong performance style and began writing his life in song. In 1993 he began a duo called Original Sin with Brent Pellegrini, and in 1995 he played his first paid gig in
a decade. He has been chasing musical income ever since.
Since his transformation, Stan’s seen a variety of adventures, but before I get into the solo work that has me mesmerized, let’s talk bands. In the late ‘90s he attended some of Jim Nason’s Song Circles at the Wit’s End [bookstore], and helped form the Emerald City Jug Band with Jim, Larry Baumgartner and Paul Sandoval. That band is still going strong [but without Larry].
About two years ago, Stan, Jim, and Paul recruited bass player David Pengra and formed
Teeth, Hair & Eyeballs, which is a name they give to the various faces they observe looking out at their audience. Despite the similarity of players, TH&E couldn’t be any more different than Emerald City. While Emerald is all party, Stan describes TH&E’s music as more carefully
thought-out folk-pop with an attitude that eschews all jug (i.e. home-made) instruments in favor of traditional instruments — guitars, bass, violin, mandolin, and such. They aim to create music
for the ages, and with this in mind they built a repertoire of lyrically meaningful originals with singable melodies and well-crafted arrangements; songs that are too interesting to be ambience, too artful to be cliché, and engaging enough that you’ll want to hear them over and over again.
The fact that audiences are responding with gusto indicates that they’re well on their way to achieving their goal.
Despite dealing with two bands, Stan still enjoys (and needs) a solo career, and so when he
played at History House in Fremont on June 12th [2005], I attended and was rewarded with the finest solo concert I’ve seen in a long time. The voice and guitar were in top form and in sync, but that wasn’t what put it over the top for me. It was the feeling that can’t be learned that underscored each selection and made his blues and folk standards sound original and his originals sound like standards. Whether it was Robert Johnson’s “Walking Blues,” Muddy Waters’ “I Can’t Be Satisfied,” Dave Van Ronk’s “Come Back Baby,” the beautiful instrumental
“Maria Elena” or his own haunting autobiographical “Refugee,” he became the song as his powerful voice and searing guitar transported us to the exact time and place for a good look at life. Both set lists flowed very smoothly through the moods and emotions of his musical universe, leaving a too-small audience fulfilled and in awe.
Over the years a number of folks have become aware of Stan’s affinity for traditional blues, but his songwriting of late has become worthy of equal attention. Stan insists that his songs represent authentic feelings and that his life must be made accountable in them (he has little patience with shallow pop music and pathetic victim statements that don’t say anything), and when I hear his takes on people, issues, and his own life, it’s clear that this material grows out of
the earth.
This is illustrated on a short three-song CD titled Rant-Journey-Anthem (from which he donates 10% to three progressive organizations). The previously mentioned “Talkin’ Election [2000]” begins with the Republican theft of 2000 and then goes back to the early ‘60s and the slow but steady decline of democracy in the US. Line after line is historically correct, brutally honest, and darkly humorous. He doesn’t miss or mangle a single point on this educational/entertaining composition that may be a talking masterpiece. “Refugee” is a true story of life begun under the most oppressive of circumstances and progressing through many hard knocks to an ultimate introduction of healing and community; a heartbreaking tale of misery and
redemption told in a relentless folk-blues style that will reduce you to tears. And finally, “Long Way Home,” which agonizes over the heinous acts we perpetrate upon each other yet gathers the spirit and courage to envision and work for a better day; a true song of hope for all our relations.
Amazingly, Stan says that he just writes his own life and isn’t really imaginative. But when you can dig this deep into your soul I guess you don’t have to be.
As you can tell, there’s a lot of fine music to be gleaned here, and it would behoove you to keep in touch with where Stan and his bands are playing. And if you are booking for a club or need a good-time band for your party, why don’t you call Stan at (206) 890-6176 or write You couldn’t do much better.
(All comments welcome: Percy Hilo, PO Box 21761, Seattle, WA 98111-3761; 206-784-0378; - Victory Music - Nov. 2005


1980: Recorded and released 45-rpm single ("Jelly Jam Blues"; "Lines") with Ten Years Late Jug Band.

2001: Recorded and released debut solo CD, “Long Way Home” under my own Suwimbo Music label.

2002: Recorded and released the Emerald City Jug Band's debut CD “The Best of ECJB. Honest!”

2003: Recorded and released “Rant—Journey—Anthem” solo topical EP.

2005: Recorded and released “Live at WinterJug 2005” CD with Emerald City Jug Band.

2005—’06: Recorded and released “Live at the Teeth, Hair and Eyes’ Ball (minus Hugo House)” CD with Teeth, Hair & Eyeballs; re-released in 2007 as "Ten Left" by The RooTsters.

2010—present: Recording two CDs, "Blue Highways," an all-blues album for my solo work and "Merge," a collection of original songs with my duo The RooTsters; at Self-Adhesive Records in Georgetown (Seattle); "Blue Highways" release date May 2011, "Merge" August 2011.

I get air play on Puget Sound stations KBCS-FM (Bellevue) and KSER-FM (Everett), most commonly "Don't Come to Seattle" (from first Emerald City Jug Band CD).



I'm a German-born, "recent" Seattle native (since 1985) and folk/blues songwriter who performs Roots, Blues & Rants on acoustic and bottleneck-slide guitar. I am a passionate, exuberant storyteller who picked up the guitar at 16 and hasn't set it down yet. Why retire from having fun?

Being cursed with a number of marketable skills, I did many different things for a living, from running nuclear power plants to cataloging obscure books to translating software into German to designing Web sites. None of that made me happy. Music is what makes me happy, and music from people like Son House and Sarah Vaughn and Frank Zappa and Doc Watson helps keep me sane.

There's also a soft spot in my heart for ragtime, Dixieland and jug-band music. I founded two jug bands (Ten Years Late in CT and the Emerald City Jug Band in Seattle) to keep the tradition alive and have more fun than publicly permitted in some Southern states.

My interest in music started in the early 50s, when my mom turned me on to American pop on the Armed Forces Network. I picked up on her enjoyment of the masters -- Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Peggy Lee, etc. -- as well as her (very funny) acid comments on the (very bad) German knock-offs of American hits. In America I took up the guitar during the folk-music revival of the 60s, influenced by artists as diverse as Lead Belly, Woody Guthrie, Cisco Houston, Rev. Gary Davis, Elvis Presley, Bukka White, Little Richard, Bob Dylan, Sam Cooke, Chuck Berry, Joni Mitchell, Z.Z. Top, etc. Not to mention every fellow musician from whom I’ve ever stolen a lick. Still learning, you know.

1974—’81: Formed the Ten Years Late Jug Band in New Haven, CT; worked clubs, festivals, and special events in New England and New York City; recorded a 45–rpm single (and turned a profit!); educational performances (“From Ragtime to Rock on Homemade Instruments”) for assemblies in CT school districts; created Blind Bob Dylanski character (“World’s Oldest Living Polish Blues Singer”) for cheesy take–offs on Bob Dylan tunes; local TV appearances.

1981—’85: Solo singer/guitarist (acoustic blues and finger–picked folk standards); expanded Blind Bob character and club–oriented act.

1981—’85: Formed acoustic–rock duo DuoGlide with John Pendergast (formerly with Juggernaut Jug Band, Louisville, KY); continued with singer/songwriter Ron Anthony.

1985—’95: Moved to Seattle, WA; took hiatus from paid performance to concentrate on slide–guitar technique; dumped lounge repertoire (R.I.P. Blind Bob!) and began to write songs from the heart; appearances limited to Northwest Folk Life Festival (NWFLF) in Seattle and local open mics.

1995—present: Returned to professional performance with revised and original material; writing songs in various genres while focusing solo performance on acoustic blues and topical songs; Bottleneck Slide Guitar workshop leader at NWFLF since 1990; member of Victory Music, a non-profit organization for acoustic musicians in Puget Sound.

2001: Formed Emerald City Jug Band (“Music for the Uncommon Citizen”), focusing on family entertainment, with bookings at fairs and festivals as well as clubs and house concerts.

2003: Formed acoustic-pop group, Teeth, Hair & Eyeballs to express original material unsuitable for the jug-band idiom.

2006: Founded roots-based, original-music duo The RooTsters after TH&E morphed into The Other Band.

2010: Reformed both the Emerald City Jug Band (now a much tighter 3-piece ensemble consisting of myself and old hands Jim Nason and Howlin' Hobbit) and The RooTsters (replaced Jim with singer-songwriter Alan Kausal).

OPENED FOR (or played the same bill as):
Mose Allison; John Fahey; Ricky Lee Jones; Martin, Bogan & Armstrong; Jeff Muldaur & Amos Garrett; Maria Muldaur & Stephane Grapelli; NRBQ; Bonnie Raitt; Riley & Maloney; Bob Seger; Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes; George Thorogood & the Delaware Destroyers; Link Wray.

Eagle Tavern, Kenny’s Castaway, New York String Band Festival (New York City); Northwest Folk Life Festival (Seattle, WA); Rogue Valley Blues Festival (Ashland, OR); The Wreck (Misquamicut, RI); Toad’s Place (New Haven, CT); Tumbleweed Music Festival (Richland, WA); Shade Gap (PA) Bluegrass Festival; Backstage, Liquid Lounge (Seattle); National Hotel (Block Island, RI); Wobbly Barn, Pickle Barrel (Killington, VT); clubs and private functions in CT and RI; college venues throughout New England; Laurelthirst (Portland, OR).