Behind The Blues

The Stories Behind The Scenes

Lots of Blues at Collector’s Choice in Snohomish

International music legend Lee Oskar joins guitarist Dean Reichert and The Usual Suspects and special guests at CCR.

Snohomish, WA is well known for it’s postcard-like vision of colorful hot air balloons floating over a farm-speckled scenic landscape,  it’s many antique stores and little shops dotting the sidewalks that follow the winding river through town. Tucked nearby, partially hidden by the Rite-Aid, is a little gem of a place where locals mingle with Seattle city dwellers and tourists on their way back from the tulip fields or further north.

The new expanded bar and lounge area at Collector’s Choice Restaurant, otherwise known as CCR,  is also the new home for the Washington Blues Society’s monthly Blues Bash. Owner Barry Galen generously offered to host the WBS starting in 2018. This spring, on second Tuesdays, the blues society will feature the fabulous Randy Oxford Band with Linda Carroll, The McPage-Powell Full Band, the ever-funky Red House, acoustic duo Randy Norris & Jeff Nicely, rockin’ blues band The Eric Rice Trio with

Owner Barry Galen celebrates a birthday with The Usual Suspects, Jeffrey Morgan in background.

some special guests, and Tacoma acoustic blues artist SB Slim and his old-time blues band. (Check wablues.org for the current month’s artists and their calendar for other blues shows.)

Collector’s Choice is a great fit because it already boasts a popular blues jam on Wednesday nights hosted by Jeffrey Morgan & the Usual Suspects. In it’s original configuration, the former, much-smaller bar got so packed on jam night, it may have helped Galen make the decision to expand.

What makes this blues scene even more special is the combination of warmth and excitement that thrives in this well-loved venue. Galen took over the space next door to the restaurant last year and finished the complete build-out last March. Everything is brand-spankin-new with custom built details like the beautiful hand-hewn bar made from full Douglas Fir logs and a bank of 40 beer taps, including a handful of their own unique brews.

CCR has an upscale but friendly sports-bar feel with several big screens, electronic dart boards and pool tables, with the gaming on one side and the stage, main bar and open kitchen on the other. Outfitted with a new music lounge area and dance floor with state of-the-art staging and equipment, it is audience and band friendly. Galen is well-known as one of the most musician-friendly owners in the local blues scene, and installed a permanent ramp to the stage so musicians can more easily move heavy equipment. The restaurant and food is an added bonus, with large portions of delicious comfort food and great service. A hallway between the restaurant and lounge, with double doors on either side, helps keep the live music separate from the dining area, but the bar has a dedicated kitchen that cooks up amazing appetizers. Plenty of close parking surrounds the place as well, so it’s easily accessible. If you like blues, brews, dancing to live music and superb cuisine in a friendly atmosphere, a drive to this country outpost in Snohomish County is a must.

A great capture of 3 local legends by Jeannie "Whoopiekitty" Baker. L-R, World Champion Harmonica Honoree Jim McLaughlin, Jam-Host & B-3 artist Jeffrey Morgan, and harmonica guru Jeff Nicely settle in at a recent Blues Bash.

A great capture of 3 local legends by Jeannie “Whoopiekitty” Baker. L-R, World Champion Harmonica Honoree Jim McLaughlin, Jam-Host & B-3 Artist Jeffrey Morgan, and harmonica guru Jeff Nicely settle in at a recent Blues Bash.

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