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Sons of Hermann Hall January 13 at 8PM

Dallas, Texas
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Sons of Hermann Hall January 13 at 8PM

The Restoration Blues Band is playing at the Sons of Hermann Hall this Friday night at 8PM. There is no cover, kids are welcome, and there's no smoking allowed in the music room (on the 2nd floor), there is smoking allowed in the bar (on the 1st floor), and a cash bar (they don't take cardit cards or checks.

The Restoration Blues Band is comprised of local folks who all live in houses that are in process of being restored. There was an article in the Dallas Morning News this week about the band dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/localn… .

It's sure to be a fun evening, so if you're in the area, come join us!

Ft. Worth
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1. Re: Sons of Hermann Hall January 13 at 8PM

Thanks for posting that Chrystin, it sounds like something I would like to check out. Unfortunately, I'm going to be in sunny Cancun that day!

I'm new to the Dallas forum, but your posts are a great source of info, even for locals.

I tried your link for that event and it said the page was not found and may have moved to another location. Do you have another link or could you possibly copy and paste the article here?



Georgetown, Texas
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2. Re: Sons of Hermann Hall January 13 at 8PM

ChrystinP- I had read that article in the paper and had just told my husband about the group. Wish we didn't work that night! Do they have an on-line calendar of any sort that you know of? I woould love to see them sometime.

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3. Re: Sons of Hermann Hall January 13 at 8PM

Did you just do a copy and paste? It went there just fine for me, but I'm going to copy and paste it here. It's sort of a long article and I don't know if there are word limits, or size limits to posts in this forum, but I'll try pasting it in. Thanks for the kind comment, this is a sort of funny forum, where there's not much direct commentary to other folks and it's hard to tell sometimes if you're being helpful or annoying.

I don't think this group has a website as they don't do paying gigs. I know about them because this is a neighborhood group and they play for all Munger Place events. They will probably be playing at Munger Park on the Sundey evening after our home tour ends (I don't know where our home tour planning is at, so that's only if we were able to find a Chair to lead all the worker bees).

Here's the article:

Blues band brings neighbors together

Musicians bring down the house, then rebuild it

10:42 AM CST on Wednesday, January 4, 2006

By ALLEN HOUSTON / The Dallas Morning News

Bobby Chitwood, the pony-tailed bass player for Restoration Blues, closed his eyes and leaned in as though conducting music through his body.

The other band members followed suit, losing themselves in the music of their youth, as afternoon sunlight filtered through the Swiss Avenue garage apartment.

Restoration Blues could almost pass for any middle-aged group of guys who jam and down a couple of beers together – with one exception. They love to rock and restore. And they use their passion for historic homes to unite people. Three members live on Swiss Avenue, and a fourth lives blocks away in Munger Place.

"We're a bunch of 50-year-old 15-year-olds," Mr. Chitwood said with a chuckle.

The band has garnered a reputation in East Dallas, where it has played the Swiss Avenue and Munger Place home tours and countless neighborhood parties. It will host a concert for the historic Swiss Avenue, Munger Place and Peak neighborhoods Jan. 13 at Sons of Hermann Hall.

The concert came about when the band discussed ways to bring the neighborhoods closer together.

"All of us have the same problems, and it makes sense we should be better neighbors," said Bob Harris, guitarist and owner of a 1926 house in the French eclectic style in Munger Place.

Ken Martin, vice president of the Swiss Avenue Historic District, said the band embodies community spirit. "They are committed to helping preserve our historic district," Mr. Martin said. "And they're also very good musicians."

Youthful and shaggy haired, Mr. Harris rocked his body as he took lead on the Beatles' "Norwegian Wood" during practice.

There are no rules or criteria on what songs Restoration Blues plays. As long as a band member wants to try it, be it an old Byrds tune or a jazz number, they'll give it a shot.

Jokes fly fast during the practice at Gary Hoffman's Swiss Avenue house, where the band comes for its weekly musical get-togther.

An eclectic mix

The band is a menagerie of professional musicians and businessmen who are also lifelong rockers.

Mr. Chitwood spent 15 years playing with Texas Blues guru Bugs Henderson, while Mr. Harris parlayed a business making electric guitars during the 1970s into an electronics recycling business. The two comfortably wear their 30-year friendship and were the band's nucleus in the beginning.

At the same time, Mr. Hoffman, a public finance investment banker, and neighbor Nick McCune, a software implementation specialist, were playing music together at the other end of Swiss Avenue.

The guitarists heard through the grapevine that Mr. Chitwood had moved down the street.

"We both wondered if there was any chance that he would play with us but never thought it would actually happen," Mr. Hoffman said.

One afternoon in fall 2003, they walked to Mr. Chitwood's house where he sat on the porch nursing a beer. A couple of hours later they were jamming together.

When it came time to plug the drumming gap, Mr. Chitwood leaned on Fred Gleber, who played on LeAnn Rimes' first five albums.

"He emphasized how much fun it would be and that we could play any song we wanted," said the Little Forest Hills resident.

The band met sax player Doug Norwine while playing a house party. Mr. Norwine asked if he could join in and proceeded to blow away the band.

Mr. Norwine moved to Sunnyvale in 2004 after decades in Los Angeles as a studio musician playing on albums for such greats as Frank Sinatra and Ray Charles. His most famous role though may have been playing the saxophone parts for Lisa Simpson and her mentor Bleeding Gums Murphy on The Simpsons.

He landed a job in Dallas as director of music and entertainment memorabilia at Heritage Galleries and Auctioneers.

Construction experts

The band mulled over several names before settling on Restoration Blues.

"Everyone over here has had to go through restoration on their homes at one time or another," Mr. Chitwood said. He and his wife lived in their garage apartment in 2001 while their 1913 Craftsman on Swiss underwent a complete restoration.

"The hardest part about restoring an old home is trying to figure out what you want to do exactly," Mr. McCune said. He renovated his Swiss Avenue airplane bungalow based on a tattered photo from the 1930s.

Four years ago, the water pipes burst in the upstairs of Mr. Hoffman's 1924 Prairie-style house, flooding the living room, kitchen and downstairs bathroom.

"We took that as our cue to redo the kitchen," he said.

The band has played a number of charity events, most recently the Mesquite Historic Association last month. It only plays gigs that won't take food out of the mouths of struggling musicians.

"We have an unwritten rule," Mr. Chitwood said. "The first time that we get paid, we have to break up."

Architecture aside, band members said their neighbors make the area special.

"We all like historic homes," Mr. Hoffman said, "but it's the people who live here that make you want to stay."