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Lake Oswego native brings his band back to town for fifth gig, July 23

Blind to Reason plays Make Oswego Great Again Mayor's Ball Extravaganza on July 23

SUBMITTED PHOTO  - Blind to Reason band members include (from left): Eric Prosch, Steve Studebaker, Tim Leong and Chris Ruiz. Prosch wont appear in Lake Oswego on July 23, but Studebaker, Leong and Ruiz will - and will be joined by guitarist Jesse Schmunk of Portland.

A San Francisco-based roots rock and blues band — led by Lakeridge High School alum Steve Studebaker, brother of Lake Oswego Mayor Kent Studebaker — is returning to town to play a gig Saturday evening, July 23.

Blind to Reason, which plays roots rock and blues, will entertain the crowd at the Gemini Bar & Grill at an event dubbed MOGAMBE: Make Oswego Great Again Mayor’s Ball Extravaganza — a playful reference to presidential campaign politics and the reelection campaign of Kent Studebaker.

“Let’s bring all sides together under the very large tent of blues, soul, roots rock and Lake Oswego in summertime,” said Steve Studebaker, Lakeridge High School Class of 1975, who plays guitar and serves as lead vocalist.

The music starts at 8:30 p.m. at the Gemini, 456 N. State Street. It’s the fifth July in a row Blind to Reason has made a swing through the Northwest.

It all started several years back, when some Lakeridge alumni and friends met for drinks over the holiday season.

“We were all sitting in the Gemini at Christmastime 2010, saying that 10 years between reunions was way too long — so why not have a 36th?” Studebaker recalled. “I offered to bring the band and make it a party. Voila! The Blind to Reason Summer Tour was born and continues to this day.

“Here we are five years later with sort of a tradition.”

The band will also make a whistle stop in Eugene — Studebaker graduated from the University of Oregon in 1983 — to play at the Vet’s Club (now Mac’s) on July 22.

“This year is the 41st mini-reunion for Lakeridge 1975, although we welcome any alumni who feel like joining us, as well as random music fans who wander in,” noted Studebaker.

BTR “started off as a blues band” but now plays “a lot of different roots styles,” Studebaker said. “There’s some ‘60s soul and funk, a little rockabilly — and we even veer toward jazz in our approach to making music that’s fun, danceable and seems to fit together.

“We also do more originals than the typical bar band, which keeps it interesting for us and, we hope, the audience.”

Besides Studebaker, band members include Tim Leong of Orinda, Calif., on bass and vocals; and Chris Ruiz of Dublin, Calif., on drums and vocals. Portland resident Jesse Schmunk will join the Lake Oswego show as a guest soloist on guitar.

“Jesse has joined us for almost every Gemini show,” said Studebaker. “He has a great jazz sensibility and is a monster blues player. He’s worth the price of admission all by himself.”

Cover cost at the door will be $5, which includes BTR’s newest five-song CD.

“We’re working feverishly to finish the mix and come up with a title for it,” Studebaker said. “Most likely, we’ll give it away at the shows as a promotion rather than selling it. That’s kind of the way recorded music is moving — as a way to get people to the shows rather than using the shows to sell records like we did in the past.”

A preview song will appear on the band’s Facebook page and at blindtoreason.com the week before the tour.

The Gemini is located at 456 N. State St. in Lake Oswego.

Contact Nancy Townsley at 503-357-3181 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..