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Along With Mouthful, Enjoy Earful

May the music in your ears soothe the gorging in your gullet.

If it doesn’t, well, let’s just hope the sounds wafting over the food peddlers at Pig Out in the Park take your mind off the discomfort for at least a little while.

This year’s Pig Out in the Park finds five days jam-packed - much like your belly - with a bevy of musical performances.

Blues. Reggae. Rock. Jazz. Zydeco.

The music starts today at noon in Riverfront Park and lasts through Monday. Best of all, it’s free for all to consume.

A few national acts have even been sprinkled into the mix just to tempt your … whatever’s left to tempt.

On Friday night catch B.J. Thomas, a country, pop and Christian musician probably best known for making Top 40 hits out of “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head” and “Hooked On A Feeling.”

The Chambers Brothers headline Saturday. This popular 1960s group melded gospel, funk and psychedelic music into tunes that still stand among the era’s best-known anthems - “Time Has Come Today” most notably.

Earlier Saturday, Louisiana native Terrance Simien and the Mallet Playboys give us a Creole zinger with their accordion-driven zydeco rock.

On a regional level, Seattle’s nine-piece reggae/soca band Jumbalassy headlines tonight. Standout Portland bluesman Curtis Salgado headlines Sunday. Both shows start at 8 p.m.

And certainly there are a flock of local favorites not to be missed.

Longtime jazzman Alex Bedini performs at 11:30 Friday morning. Like Family, Spokane’s jazz/funk/hip hop wonders, play at 2:30 today.

There’s blues galore with Mumbo Jumbo at 5 p.m. today; Sammy Eubanks at 5:30 p.m. Friday, and the Laffin’ Bones Blues Band at 4 Sunday afternoon.

Don’t miss rockabilly blues with Spokane’s fantastic threesome, Too Slim and the Taildraggers, at 5:30 Sunday afternoon.

Now that your ear buds have been tempted, here are a few more bites to chew on:

B.J. Thomas, 8 p.m. Friday

Thomas’ music has spanned not only the decades but the genres.

Since the mid-1960s, he has swerved among pop, country and gospel. Along the way he has battled drug addiction and become a bornagain Christian.

Thomas has earned five Grammys, two Dove awards, two platinum albums and 11 gold records while his songs have repeatedly landed at the top of the charts.

“At this point, I am more committed to making gospel and Christian music in whatever genres I can than I ever have been in my life,” Thomas says. “I did some great pop records, but it just might be my real purpose to make this music.”

Terrance Simien, 3:30 p.m. Saturday

“Zydeco was the first music that I ever got up on the dance floor and danced to,” Simien says. “It’s a real laid-back sort of thing where I come from. There’s no certain way to dance to it. You just get on the floor and let yourself go and just try to flow with it.”

These days Simien is on the stage instead of the dance floor. With accordion in his arm and charisma to spare, he and his band sail through the dynamic Southern gallop that is zydeco music.

But Simien’s songs also move gracefully through reggae, R&B;, rock and soul - carried by a voice that bears shades of Aaron Neville.

“(Zydeco music) is constantly evolving and being added to, to still be fresh and still be up-to-date with what’s happening now,” Simien says. “Back home there’s still a lot of people who depend on this music to get them through hard times.”

Chambers Brothers, 8 p.m. Saturday

At this point in time, the name should probably be The Chambers Brother - not Brothers.

At Pig Out, only Willie Chambers will appear from the original family lineup that produced ‘60s-era hits like “Time Has Come Today,” “I Can’t Turn You Loose” and “Love, Peace and Happiness.”

Still, the music created by Willie and his three brothers - Joe, Lester and George - will lie at the heart of the performance. And, the band still remains a Chambers family affair.

Willie Chambers will perform with his son and nephew backing him up.

“We’re having more fun than the law allows,” Willie says.

The Chambers Brothers were raised poor in a Mississippi sharecropping family and first sang together in the local Baptist church.

In the 1960s they gave psychedelic music the soul of black gospel music. They became an interracial group in the mid-‘60s when they added white drummer Brian Keenan.

“At that time, everybody was searching for something for release,” Willie says. “Drugs was trying to step up and say ‘Here I am, here I am.’ We were trying to say it doesn’t necessarily have to be drugs - music is a fine instrument for soothing the mind and taking your mind off your problems.

“We were all convinced that that was the purpose of music to begin with, for people to relax their minds and relieve them of their problems for at least a minute or so.”

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo

MEMO: Two sidebars appeared with the story: 1. PIG OUT Pig Out in the Park runs today through Monday from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. in Spokane’s Riverfront Park.

2. PIG OUT SERENADE Here’s what’s happening on the stage at this year’s Pig Out in the Park:

Today Noon: Nyte for Now (acoustic blues) 2:30 p.m.: Like Family (jazz/funk band) 5 p.m.: Mumbo Jumbo (classic R&B;) 8 p.m.: Jumbalassy (reggae/soca/sak/dancehall)

Friday Noon: Alex Bedini (jazz guitar) 1:45 p.m.: The Connections (rock) 3:30 p.m.: Tom Molter Orchestra (big band) 5:30 p.m.: Sammy Eubanks (country) 8 p.m.: B.J. Thomas (classic hits)

Saturday 11 a.m.: Hall & Nixon (oldies) 1 p.m.: to be announced 3:30 p.m.: Terrance Simien & the Mallet Playboys (zydeco) 5:45 p.m.: Val Workman Band, (‘60s rock) 8 p.m.: The Chambers Brothers (psychedelic rock/R&B;)

Sunday 11 a.m.: Andre Ferionte (classical guitar) 1 p.m.: Jr. Cadillac (classic Northwest rock) 4 p.m.: Laffin’ Bones (blues) 5:30 p.m.: Too Slim and the Taildraggers (blues/rock) 8 p.m.: Curtis Salgado (soul)

Monday 11 a.m.: Robin Marks & Company (variety) 1:30 p.m.: Staley/Thomsen/Flick (nostalgia) 4 p.m.: Rhythm Method (funk/rock) 5:30 p.m.: Men in the Making, (‘50s and ‘60s rock)

Two sidebars appeared with the story: 1. PIG OUT Pig Out in the Park runs today through Monday from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. in Spokane’s Riverfront Park.

2. PIG OUT SERENADE Here’s what’s happening on the stage at this year’s Pig Out in the Park:

Today Noon: Nyte for Now (acoustic blues) 2:30 p.m.: Like Family (jazz/funk band) 5 p.m.: Mumbo Jumbo (classic R&B;) 8 p.m.: Jumbalassy (reggae/soca/sak/dancehall)

Friday Noon: Alex Bedini (jazz guitar) 1:45 p.m.: The Connections (rock) 3:30 p.m.: Tom Molter Orchestra (big band) 5:30 p.m.: Sammy Eubanks (country) 8 p.m.: B.J. Thomas (classic hits)

Saturday 11 a.m.: Hall & Nixon (oldies) 1 p.m.: to be announced 3:30 p.m.: Terrance Simien & the Mallet Playboys (zydeco) 5:45 p.m.: Val Workman Band, (‘60s rock) 8 p.m.: The Chambers Brothers (psychedelic rock/R&B;)

Sunday 11 a.m.: Andre Ferionte (classical guitar) 1 p.m.: Jr. Cadillac (classic Northwest rock) 4 p.m.: Laffin’ Bones (blues) 5:30 p.m.: Too Slim and the Taildraggers (blues/rock) 8 p.m.: Curtis Salgado (soul)

Monday 11 a.m.: Robin Marks & Company (variety) 1:30 p.m.: Staley/Thomsen/Flick (nostalgia) 4 p.m.: Rhythm Method (funk/rock) 5:30 p.m.: Men in the Making, (‘50s and ‘60s rock)


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