Go and do

WHAT: concert by The Bruce Marshall Band

WHO: an L/A Arts event

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 20

WHERE: Hilton Garden Inn Riverwatch, Auburn

CONCERT TICKETS: $24, $19. Call 782-7228 or visit www.laarts.org.

NOTE: The Hilton is offering a preconcert dinner menu. For reservations, call 784-4433.

Bruce Marshall Self-described blue collar man and his bandmates will serve up their blend of blues, boogie and country at Hilton Garden

AUBURN – No stranger to New England clubs and concerts, Bruce Marshall has kept impressive national stage company with the likes of Bo Diddley, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Greg Allman and The Marshall Tucker Band.

For more than 30 years, guitarist and singer/songwriter Marshall has earned what he calls a blue collar musician’s living. He opens. He headlines. He brings his band. He solos on a coffeehouse stool.

It’s the excitement of the stage, the jamming with other musicians and the interaction with the crowd that keeps him going, he said on the phone minutes before heading out for another gig.

Friday, March 20, The Bruce Marshall Group will bring its style of roadhouse rock, or what Marshall calls a stew of blues, boogie and country, to the Hilton Garden Inn Riverwatch.

“I really enjoy the band format because of the interplay with the other musicians,” said Marshall. “It’s electric guitar and it’s a more exciting show.”

But then Marshall described his solo acoustic gigs when the audience’s attention hangs on his quieter melodies and more contemplative lyrics as a musician’s dream. “There are some songs I’ve written that I just never perform with the band. Sometimes they just don’t fit.”

Marshall recently wrote “There Go I” and said his teary-eyed wife insisted that he keep that one simple and away from the band.

Yet memories of amped-up hormones at rockin’ parties have stuck with the 54-year-old musician. His song “Dancehall Sweat” captures the energy of hot guitar licks and the need to move.

“That hasn’t ever changed,” said Marshall. “I still get fired up for a show. I love the band’s energy, and I like to feature my players a lot.”

Marshall turned pro immediately after high school and formed the eight-piece band Bruce Marshall and the Clue. Over time, the band has morphed into a four- or five-member group with guitarist Dave Cournoyer and drummer Pete Premo as longtime members.

They stick to their core blend of rhythm and blues, country and rock, said Marshall. The music matches Marshall’s description of himself as blue collar. Songs about late alimony payments, delinquent taxes, tough times and needing a raise leave no doubt that Marshall knows a little about the working man.

Marshall said he got many of his influences from the Allman Brothers and the late Toy Caldwell of the Marshall Tucker Band. By the way, the name Marshall was just a coincidence, he noted. Marshall played with Caldwell during the late ’80s and early ’90s and continues to remember his friend and mentor by playing Caldwell’s “This Ol’ Cowboy.”

Currently, Marshall and his band are spending studio time trying to complete a 14-track disk called “Misspent Youth.” He has reconnected with blues musician James Montgomery and continues to take the stage whenever called. “I’ve been really lucky to always be able to do what I love. I’ve always been a full-timer and I really appreciate what that means. I guess you could say I’m a survivor.”

Despite tough economic times, Marshall said crowds have always been good. He believes that hard times are when people want to get out and hear music the most. Music helps people just feel good for a little while, he said.


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