Saturday evening, Nov. 16, the Rotary Club of El Dorado Hills will present its fourth annual Blues and Brews celebration to honor veterans and raise funds for the planned 1.2-acre Veteran’s Memorial Park at Promontory Park in El Dorado Hills.
Leah Tysse Band will headline the event. A Midwesterner, Tysse got her first gig as “the American singer” at a hotspot in Paris. Nine years ago she made her way out west to San Francisco, where she frequents the live music circuit, including Yoshi’s and The Saloon.
Tysse calls her musical style blues-based with some soul and funk thrown in. Her influences are Bonnie Raitt, Aretha Franklin and Koko Taylor. She described her music as “get up and dance kind of music.” Tysse is also a regular featured soloist at Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco.
The event has extra meaning to Tysse because her father was a medical technician during the Vietnam War stationed in Germany and her grandfather was in the Navy and fought in World War II.
“When I heard about Blues and Brews I was compelled and honored to be involved,” said Tysse, who met Rotarian Bill Tobin, creator of Blues and Brews, at an event. “Veterans need our support. It’s kind of a shame how much more we could do for them.”
It’s no coincidence Blues and Brews is held in November each year.
“Veterans deserve more than a day or a weekend,” said Tobin. “They deserve the whole month. The event is a fundraiser but we’ll also honor veterans, active service members and those that paid the ultimate price for our freedom.”
Every year there’s been a different personal reason the event is extra special to Tobin. His son is in the Air Force and has served numerous overseas tours during the past decade. Last year the event was held shortly after local Marine Sky Mote was killed in Afghanistan. Mote’s family lives in El Dorado Hills and the community turned out in force when the Marine’s body came home in August 2012.
“That touched me deep,” Tobin said.
Tobin’s father was a World War II veteran and attended last year’s event with him. Unfortunately, the senior Tobin died in September. That month also took another great veteran and memorial supporter — Dick Grinnell, a Marine who fought in the Korean War, earning two Purple Hearts as well as the Silver Star.
“I’ll be thinking of my dad as well as Dick Grinnell,” said Tobin. “Dick was an amazing guy and did things that took courage to do.”
The five-piece-guitar-and-harmonica-driven Used Blues Band will kick off the entertainment. Voted best blues act by the Sacramento Blues Society for the last two years, they are internationally recognized semi-finalists in the prestigious International Blues Challenge in Memphis for 2012 and 2013 and are one of the most popular blues bands in Northern California.
West Coast Events will provide small plates (try the pulled pork sliders) and Mraz Brewery will offer several of their finest beers on tap. Wine will also be served.
Tickets may be purchased for Blues and Brews at edhblues.com, Town Center at the California Welcome Center, Face in a Book, Mechanics Bank and at Fire Station 85 for $25 per person. Veterans and those in active service get two for the price of one admission.
“It’s not a $100 per ticket event; we’ve made it affordable for everyone,” said Tobin.
Doors to the El Dorado Hills Community Services District gym on Harvard Way open at 7 p.m. All proceeds will go towards the Veteran’s Memorial Park, which includes a 100-year journey through the country’s armed combat history, a memory garden, walk through exhibits and a gathering area with a stage.
“Come on out to celebrate life, freedom, good food and music,” said Tobin. “The space sits 500 to 600 people. The more the merrier.”