Chris Aaron Band

Chris Aaron: Playing more than just the blues

Not that long ago — OK, 15 or 20 years ago — if you wanted to see one of the Midwest’s hottest blues-rock guitarists dealing Stevie Ray Vaughan/Kenny Wayne Shepherd-like riffs, you saw Chris Aaron playing in a smoky, sweaty club someplace in Wisconsin on any given weekend.

Whether performing as the Chris Aaron Band or with powerhouse vocalist Corey Sterling in American Standard, Aaron’s bands, then based in Appleton, kept local blues fans dancing and recorded several albums as well. His playing and reputation got him plenty of gigs, such as playing alongside Ray Charles one year at the Madison Blues Fest.

Aaron relocated to Denver in late 2006, but he moved back to Wisconsin in January — specifically, to Sturgeon Bay, where he now is the centerpiece of an every-Wednesday jam session with a variety of invited area musicians at Poh’s Corner Pub, kind of a regular “Chris Aaron and Friends” house show.

The weekly jam started in February with the prodding of local rock musician pat mAcdonald, who told Aaron he wanted to get more of a music scene going in downtown Sturgeon Bay.

“We talked about getting more musicians to go on Third Avenue,” Aaron said in an interview with Door County Now at Poh’s. “We talked about a jam session — there’s a lot of musicians from Sturgeon Bay, the Door County area. It’s really not an open mic, more of a jam. We invite people down, showcase original music. It’s like a songwriter showcase … a great place for me to try out new songs.”

The jams have seen numerous musicians join Aaron on stage at Poh’s, including mAcdonald, Lisa Bethke (Aaron’s wife), alt-rockers like melaniejane and Mike Bleck, Ryan Urquhart of local rockers Toivo, popular area performers like Nick Hoover and Elliott Goettelman, bluesman Pete Thelen, Dirty Deuce drummer Jamey Clark and out-of-towners like Charlie Cheney and Anna Sacks, both known as mainstays of the city’s annual Steel Bridge Songfest.

“It’s been going real good,” Aaron said. “It’s been pretty much word-of-mouth, along with a few posters, but we’ve had some good nights where we’re playing and, all of a sudden, it’s 12:30 and it’s like, ‘We’re done already?'”

Finish reading over on the Green Bay Press Gazette’s website.