The Local Music Scene for May

Billy Stapleton

Celebrating a Lifetime Achievement Award

Edmonds resident Billy Stapleton has many awards through his musical career (including Best Slide Guitar Player) but this most recent one was a big one, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Washington Blues Society. This award-winning guitarist is still going strong, playing in three bands and continuing to push the boundaries of blues.

Billy has been a musician for most of his life, starting with the accordion at age 7 and eventually picking up guitar at age 16. He grew up in San Francisco, dedicating himself at an early age to playing guitar, practicing day and night, and playing as many gigs as he could. He has played in “a hundred bands you haven’t heard of” and is still always trying to get better.

His journey took him from playing San Francisco ballrooms in the ’60s, then moving to Mendocino, California in the early ’70s where he played with a legendary band of misfits, The Mendocino Allstars, a rhythm and blues band that toured up and down the West Coast. Billy moved to Seattle in 1986 and started playing with Isaac Scott, then Mark DuFresne, a Grammy-nominated tenor who he still works closely with. A big portion of his Northwest career has been spent playing with Little Bill and the Bluenotes. Little Bill is featured at the EMP Museum and is considered a master of rhythm and blues.

Stapleton is considered a master of rhythm and blues.

Billy has been in Edmonds now for around 30 years. He likes the small community feel and that people are welcoming, and that people are so committed to the community.

Billy can be found playing with The Mark DuFresne Band, his own band Powerhouse. and The Annie Eastwood Quartet. He often plays locally, with over 100 gigs scheduled this year, check out the gig calendar to find an upcoming show.

If you are an aspiring musician and want to follow in Billy’s footsteps his main piece of advice is “learn your music theory, no matter how boring you think it is.”

My Recommendations for May


Friday, May 5 – Edmonds Center for the Arts presents the Polyrhythmics. Starting in Seattle’s underground deep funk scene and combining elements of R&B, progressive jazz, and Afrobeat, they are now on their 13th year as a recording project and touring ensemble. Polyrhythmics are: Ben Bloom (guitars), Grant Schroff (drums), Nathan Spicer (keyboards), Jason Gray (bass), Scott Morning (trumpet), Elijah Clark (Trombone), Art Brown (Sax and Flute). The event goes from 7:30 to 10 p.m. and tickets can be purchased here.

Point of Sail

Thursday May 11 Point of Sail will be playing some danceable yacht music (and more) in the Galaxy Lounge at Mukleshoot Casino. Get this one on your calendar as it will be an unforgettable night with several local musicians bringing down the house! The band features Brian Garrison (vocals, percussion), Melissa Falarski (vocals, keyboards, trumpet), Geoff Woodhouse (vocals, keyboards), Allen Marshall (lead guitar), Alan Hardwick (vocals, saxophone, percussion, guitar), Dave Salwitz (bass guitar), and Mark Pendolino (vocals, drums). Check it out here.

Joshua Red Uttech

Friday May 12 – at St. James Gate Pub in Lynnwood, Joshua Red Uttech will be playing from 7-9 p.m. Check out his music to see why this is a must-see happening, you will be transported with a mellow vibe mixing multiple genres into an unforgettable sound. (If you miss the performance May 12, he will be back on the 27th for a repeat performance.)

Lone State

Saturday May 13 – Engel’s Pub in downtown Edmonds has fantastic music all month long, but the 13th is a can’t-miss night with Lone State playing from 9 p.m. t0 to midnight. Lone State features locals like guitarist Guy Johnson and drummer Dano Mac. It will be an exciting night of Americana rock! Make sure to check out Engel’s full events calendar.

Miss Sydney and the Downtown Saints

Saturday May 20 – Miss Sydney and The Downtown Saints will be rocking out at the Salish Sea Brewing Boathouse Taproom from 7-10 p.m. If you saw my March article about the legendary Gerald Johnson on bass, this would be the time to see him and this entire group playing live. The band includes Sydney Englehart on vocals and guitar, Tyler Vander Ploeg on guitar, Gerald Johnson on bass and Ben Keller on dru,s.

Thunder Honey

Thursday May 25 – Thunder Honey, a local band featuring Kaylee Jorene (vocals), Blake Noble (guitars), Martin Celt (bass), and Chris Lucier (drums), will be playing at the newly reopened (in a new location) Tim’s Tavern. A bit of a drive to the south but well worth it for the fantastic music and the new venue. Give Thunder Honey a follow to see when they are playing closer to home too!

The Industrials

Saturday May 27 – Another Salish Boathouse recommendation, this time to see Mukilteo-based band The Industrials headlining the night from 7-10 p.m.

Weekend of May 26-29 – A great time for music festivals! Folklife is happening all weekend in Seattle with a long list of fantastic performers from the Pacific Northwest. My top pick is local Reggae group Dub Collective. On the other side of the water Hood Canal Fjordfest will be happening in Brinnon with Edmonds’ band LeLe playing on Saturday.

Enjoy the music!

— By Rachel Gardner

Rachel Gardner has a heartfelt appreciation for art in all forms and believes everyone is an artist, some just don’t know it yet. A dedicated and involved Edmonds resident, she can often be spotted onstage cracking jokes between sets or in the audience enjoying local live performances. She enjoys being playful with her art and finding unique ways of expression, like forming a boho-grunge-folk ukulele trio with local Edmonds moms.



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