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Tony G’s Blues Jam a Thursday Delight at Sparks Lounge


This one is for all the blues fans in northern Nevada. There is a little-known secret that needs to be let out of the bag. Every Thursday night at the Sparks Lounge (formerly known as Sidelines) blues man Tony Ghiglieri, aka Tony G, throws what he calls “Tony G’s Blues Jam.”

Here’s the deal: it’s a blues jam, meaning that if you are a fan of the blues and you know how to play an instrument or sing the blues, you can hop up on stage and show everyone what you’ve got. Tony G tries to get as many players as he can and is diligent in making sure everyone gets to participate. The music is incredible and the skill level of the players is top-notch. Be ready to be amazed at the musicianship and fellowship at this particular jam.

It’s more than a jam though; it’s easy camaraderie among friends. It’s networking. It’s meeting great people and reconnecting with old friends. It’s making and enjoying fantastic music at the high end of the scale. It’s a chance to feel happy and lower your blood pressure – the tunes are so smoothly delivered. Bring your instrument and amp to be a part of this amazing weekly event with the beloved Tony G. as your host. Everyone is invited and each guest is important.

blues jamThis jam attracts many blues players and fans alike. At the last jam these were some of the people that hit the stage: Tony G (vocals, guitar and bass), Frank Jones (guitar, vocals), Chris Lord (guitar, vocals), Doug Sandals (bass, vocals and harmonica), Bill Brandow (guitar, vocals), Wayne Micheals (drums), Ric Stricker (harmonica), Dutch Oaks (guitar, vocals), Robin Garrett (vocals), Toni Davis (vocals), Danny Ramos (drums) and Dave Edwards (bass), just to name a few.

I can’t not mention the guy that makes the whole thing sound so good night after night and week after week: the Sparks Lounge’s very own house sound guy Carlos Casiano. Since I’m naming names, I can’t forget about the girl that books the shows and runs the lights, the very hard working Starla Campos. Wait there’s one more. Quite possibly the most important person at the blues jam is Jessica the bartender; she makes sure that no one gets thirsty.

I got the chance to ask Tony G a few questions in an online interview, here’s what he had to say:

ThisisReno: How long have you been doing the weekly Tony G’s Blues Jams at the Sparks Lounge?

Tony G: Well, we’ve been doing it at Sparks Lounge since February. And actually the Sparks Lounge approached me a long time ago and asked if I would be interested. At first I wasn’t. I had done it for years in the Stockton area, where I’m from, and had no interest in doing that again. Plus, my good buddy Dean Brownell, God rest his soul, was a master at running jams. And I saw what he went through putting it all together. But the Sparks Lounge has a great sound system, which Carlos does a great job running, and Starla Campos did a great job with posters and supporting the jam with whatever we may need. So it was really made easy for me.

blues jamTIR: How do you think the blues scene is doing in Reno?

Tony G: As far as the blues scene goes there are some things popping up. The Polo Lounge on Mondays is doing some blues fusion along with the Lincoln Lounge on Tuesdays. These are two great li’l places with a ton of potential and both are shaping up nicely.

TIR: If you had to pick five local blues guys or gals (including yourself) to form a band, who would they be?

Tony G:  As far as other musicians that I would play in a band with, well, I gotta tell ya there’s a lot of talent in this area. There’s Blue Haven. I’ve played with these guys filling in and we all had a great time. But ultimately, I really like playing with my guys Joe Lucero (drums), Doug Sandall (bass), Jeff Heuston (bass), and Michelle Zito (drums). There’s Tristan Seltzer who is a great musician (multi-instrumentalist).

All I can say is that the Blues Jam, which is held every Thursday night, is really a fun way to let off some steam and enjoy some good old Reno blues.

To see what else is happening at the Sparks Lounge check their Facebook page, they have something going on almost every night. Sparks Lounge is located inside the Smith’s shopping center at 1237 Baring Blvd in Sparks.

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John Tuckness
John Tuckness
John Tuckness has been photographing rock concerts in the Reno/Sparks/Tahoe area and as far as Northern California since 2004. He tries to attend as many shows as he can. John knew he wanted to be a concert photographer when he went to his first concert, Kiss and Montrose way back in 1976. He saw three guys shooting the show and thought to himself, "that's what I want to do." After many years of undercover work (sneaking his camera into venues), he finally got noticed and started getting photo passes through PR people and the bands. John has had many of his photos published in newspapers, websites and band autobiographies.