Summer Shows 2017

One of the things I love the most about playing shows in the summer is the opportunity to play outdoor shows on big stages to enthusiastic Pacific Northwest crowds. This summer season has not disappointed with our kick off on what might have been the hottest day of the year at the Eagle Haven Winery. It’s a gorgeous location set in the hills outside of Mt. Vernon with spectacular views of Mt. Baker. We were greeted with a basket of ice cold drinks including some of the finest local wine I’ve sampled in quite some time. Tina and Jim were accommodating and lovely hosts with a great spread of food, big outdoor stage and an enthusiastic blues crowd. Despite the sweltering heat, we had a great experience at the Winery and have been invited back to play next year. We’re looking forward to returning.

Every Thursday in July I’ve been playing shows with Bellingham keyboardist & vocalist, Margaret Wilder (MWB Band) at the Beach at Birch Bay. It’s been a blast to share shows with Margaret and to enjoy playing at this hidden gem on a great outdoor stage with views of the ocean.

Upcoming shows include a featured performance at the Madison Avenue Pub at Unbound Blues in Everett in August and a performance at the summer event of the year with an all women blues band at the Ebby Island Freedom Festival later this summer.

Stay tuned for more details and enjoy the summer!

Jill Newman Blues Band plays Eagle Haven Winery

Saturday June 24th

7pm – 9pm


8243 Sims Rd.

Sedro-Woolley, Washington

From I-5 North or South:
Exit 230 at Burlington or Exit 232 for Cook Road alternate route.

East on North Cascades Highway (HWY 20).
Approximately 4 miles east of Sedro-Woolley at Sims Road, take a right.
Eagle Haven Winery is on your left. The Winery is in the red building.

From the East on North Cascades Highway (HWY 20):
Travel West on Highway 20.
At Sims Road, take a left.
Eagle Haven Winery is on your left. The Winery is in the red building.   


Gender and the Blues

I often get asked if it is any different playing in an all women’s blues band and then with a bunch of men. And my answer is yes…..and no. My trio work has mostly been with guys while I’ve played in a variety of all women bands from original blues to an all women Led Zeppelin tribute band.

My recent women’s blues show at Everett’s Madison Avenue Pub was a great example of a group of exceptional women singers, players and songwriters all taking turns in the spotlight and supporting each other to shine on stage. Are guys supportive of women players on stage? – That depends on the guys.

I’ve recently been playing in a blues trio with guys who really listen and are supportive of me and it makes all the difference, but it’s not always been that way in other bands. As a guitarist in rock bands, I’ve had to stomp on every pedal in my arsenal just to be heard, or to have a turn to solo. And while working as lead guitarist for hire in bands, I’d still be placed center stage as the “girl singer”. When guys find out that I can really play, some have gotten really competitive with me or have been unwelcoming. Others have become my mentors and friends.

The women’s bands I’ve been in have involved lots of collaborative decision making, indecisiveness, hurt feelings at times and seemingly endless discussions about clothing. I do think it’s easier for men to just throw on a relatively clean shirt, jeans and boots and there’s more pressure on women not only to play well, but to look good too. With guys, discussions tend to be around sports or whatever new gear (toys) they’ve acquired. I’ve found there’s less discussion and chatting and more just getting down to business – a plug in and play attitude. As for feelings, I think guys are just quieter when their feelings get hurt.

There’s no doubt that playing in all women bands is different than playing with guys, but it’s not necessarily better or even about gender. It’s about making music with other players who know their stuff, and also have the right attitude.

After all these years playing music, I’ve come to the conclusion that the finest players regardless of their gender, tend to have the least ego and are the most welcoming to other musicians. The best players have nothing to prove by aggressively competing with others or overplaying to gain attention. They’re simply working as hard as they can to make the music sound as good as possible and to connect deeply with an audience.