Musicians get together at The Kernville Saloon for a blues jam session


Melissa Puryear

Independent musicians with the Kern River Blues Society practice playing classic blues at the Kernville Saloon.

Melissa Puryear, Managing Editor

Melissa Puryear
Band musicians with the Kern River Blues Society play and sing at The Kernville Saloon in Wofford Heights as locals and out-of-towners listen to their music.

The deep bass of electric guitars, coupled with the boom of drums, and the hum of a couple of harmonicas belted out Classic Old Bluesy hits like B.B. King’s “Sweet Little Angel” from a multi-mix musician band at The Kernville Saloon on Feb. 3 in Wofford Heights.

Every first Saturday of the month independent musicians and music lovers from Kern County, known as the Kern River Blues Society, gets together at The Kernville Saloon for a blues jam session. They also practice every third Saturday, at the Rocket Shop Café in Bakersfield on Union Ave.

The organic sounds of this blues band are pooled with decades of talent, a passion for the blues and a mixture of ages, that draws locals and out-of-towners together for an afternoon. Each song lasted for around six minutes.

Bud Malone, 80, a local resident of Old Kernville sat at the bar and watched jazz musicians play their electric guitar strings. He said that he knew one of the harmonica players and attends the blues session to “get a couple of drinks and relax.”

Bob Townley, 62, one of the musicians, drove in from Bakersfield to play. He said that he takes the short road trip each month to play his electric guitar. Townley said that he has been a musician for almost 50 years. “It’s just a hobby. I’m semi-pro,” said Townley.

Townley also said, “It [the blues sessions] helps. The more playing I do, the better it gets. Music has been such a huge part of my life, I can’t imagine being without it. My tastes have evolved over the years, from Beatles to jazz, to classical country, progressive rock. Progressive rock was mostly popular in the 70s, groups like, Yes, Genesis and Todd Rundgren. One of his hits is Hello it’s me.”

Townley played “Hello It’s Me,” impromptu to give an indication of what this classic sounded like.

Christine Delgado 53, a realtor for Century 21 in Lake Isabella, said that she attends the sessions because “It’s amazing to hear musicians who don’t play together and come together and make amazing music. It’s a constant rotation of local musicians and from other places. It’s what I love about coming here. We love these musicians. I’ve been enjoying this saloon for more than twenty years and it’s like family … a small-town feeling.”

Rochelle Richards 61, who is a local and friends of Delgado, said, “I came to listen to the music. It’s nostalgic. I love the blues. It makes me happy. Mustang Sally was my favorite song that the musicians played tonight.”