fbpx

Category: Gigs


Wow! Had a great time playing with The Triple A Blues Band at The Music Mart Friday night, so good to see all y’all tune in – and thanks for the tips!
(You can see the video here)
As you may have noticed during the shoot, we practiced “Players Pathogen Protection Protocol” – keeping 3′-6′ distance from each other, no physical contact (get away, Mugsy!), instruments and beer cans were wiped down before, during, and after use, vocalists each brought our own microphones, no more than 8 people were in the room at one time, and we all arrived and departed as quickly as possible.
 
I headed home directly, only stopping for gas (Sam’s $1.97 😮 yes, I used gloves at the pump). Once through the door of the house, I went through the decontamination process – stripped naked, burned my clothes, took a 20-minute isopropyl alcohol shower, and started “Personal Pathogen Protection Protocol” by imbibing measured doses of Tullamore Dew.
 
No C-19 symptoms so far…
 
At this point, I don’t know when we’ll get together again as a group. The virus is confirmed to be here in Happy Valley, and reported cases will only increase over the next few weeks. I hope that all those infected recover completely, and the rest of us stay safe. As one of the more susceptible demographics (over 60, asthmatic, blood type A), I, Belle Bleu, and LaKoda will be keeping our distance from y’all for the time being. You may see us out walking the dog, and you will certainly see me live-streaming more music.
 
So, now that we find ourselves living in interesting times, we can only try and make the best of it. Practice good PPPP, and I’ll see you on the other side of the quarantine 💓

Getting Through It

Welcome to the new normal as we try not to make each other sick. 

I livestreamed on Facebook for St. Patrick’s Day, had a great time and apparently, so did the people who tuned in to watch. Erin Go Bragh! 

Friday March 20th I’m on again, but as a member of the Triple A Blues Band. We’ll be at The Music Mart (closed like most everything else), but owned by our saxophone player, and will stream through the band’s FB page – facebook/The Triple A Blues Band. We plan s to start @ 6pm EST.

If you’re enjoying the music and want to help us get through it, you can send a tip via PayPal.me/JTBlues – thank you and stay safe!

 

Just A Blues Piano Player?

Yes, I love the Blues, and I love playing the Blues. Blues piano is my wheelhouse, as they say. But that doesn’t mean I play ONLY the Blues – just come out to most of my shows and you’ll see (and hear) me play plenty of songs that are not Blues, some not even close to the Blues.

On the first Sunday of each month you can hear me playing Blues with Andy Tolins at Webster’s Cafe & Bookstore, but you’ll also hear us play Jazz standards such as “Green Dolphin Street” and “Four” by Mile Davis.

Drop in to Doggie’s Pub on home football Saturdays and catch me with the Skoal Brothers rocking out on Ozzy Osborne’s “War Pigs” followed by Pink Floyd’s “Time” and “Have A Cigar.”

I also hold the keyboard spot with Natascha & The Spy Boys, covering Pop/Americana tunes like “Don’t Wait Too Long” by Madeleine Petroux and “Folding Chair” by Regina Spektor.

Don’t be surprised on Thursday nights at Talleyrand Tavern and I break into some Backstreet Boys, Post Malone, Beatles, or Oasis.

So yes, I play a lot of different songs that are not considered Blues, but you will hear a bit of Blues in all of them, because among my influences are great Blues piano players like Dr. John, Eden Brent, David Maxwell, Otis Spann, Deanna Bogart, John Cleary, Honey Piazza; shall I go on? Several of the groups I perform with are bona fide Blues Bands: The Triple A Blues Band, the Doug McMinn Blues Band, my very own group the Denicats – we all primarily perform the Blues. But we all perform other styles of music, too, and knowing how to play the Blues provides the foundation for those other styles. So when you hear me playing a wedding processional, or cabaret tunes, or easy listening dinner music, know that the Blues is pulsing within all that music.

That’s why I call myself a Blues Piano Player.

August Already >>>

So July was a whirlwind of rehearsals and gigs, mostly due to Arts Fest (officially, The Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts) in State College. Over the course of 4 days I played 9 shows with all of my regular bands: The Denicats, Triple A Blues Band, Natascha & The Spy Boys, The Skoal Brothers, plus a duo set with Andy Tolins for good measure.

(to be continued…)

It’s July!

And July means Arts Fest which means a lot of intense fun because I have to practice and rehearse and practice and rehearse for all the shows I’m playing that week – and then I get to play the shows!
You can look at my schedule (right over there >>>) to see when and where I’ll be playing with who.

A Rousing Start to 2019

Typically, January has been one of the slow months of the year for gigs. After all the hustle and excitement of the holiday season, people are exhausted, the weather turns colder, belts get tightened, and tax returns start to get worked on. At least, that’s how I always feel.

But this year, things barely slowed down. Because Christmas and New Year’s Eve fell on Mondays, I didn’t lose any of my regularly scheduled gigs, but did pick up extra holiday shows for those dates. Then Natascha and I answered the call for a last-minute party, I got a little TV time on the piano at WTAJ, played the Blues at Elk Creek Cafe and Bullfrog Brewery, and got Soulful at the State Theatre. Sure, there was a cancelled show because of the snow, but that will be rescheduled.

No matter the weather or the time of year, people will always want and need music, and I will be happy to provide – because I need it, too. So I look forward to seeing you out and about, humming along, singing a song, tapping your feet to whoever’s playing their music for you.

The Last Shows of 2018

and the First Shows of 2019!

I hope you’re having a great holiday season, mine’s been good so far. But in case you need it, I’ll be doing my part to spread a little joy this week. So, whenever you need a break from the in-laws, elves, and reindeer, come find me. I always enjoy making music for the holidays, so it won’t be difficult.

Monday is Christmas Eve, and I’ll start off by playing Christmas songs for residents of Juniper Village in State College, 2:30-3:30. A little later I’ll have the piano set up at Local Whiskey on Beaver Avenue, playing the Christmas Blues from 8:00-10:00. Right after that, it’s downstairs to The Phyrst where I’ll rock it out from 10:30-12:30. Santa usually stops in for a break from his rounds; he’ll be happy to share a Guinness and cookies with you.

After I get done playing with all my new toys on Christmas Day, you’ll find me back at Local Whiskey for another 8-10 show, and right down to the Phyrst again at 10:30. When you add Christmas, music, and the Phyrst all together, well, this will probably be the best Tuesday of the year!

Thursday will feel kind of normal with Tunes & Trivia at Talleyrand Tavern in Bellefonte starting at 7:30, and the same for Friday with The Triple A Blues Band playing 7-9pm at Zeno’s Pub in State College. But Friday follies don’t end there, as I head out to Boalsburg for a 10pm solo show at The Bar.


Saturday it’s a road trip all the way to the Berwick Brewing Company, where I’ll team up with Doug McMinn for some good beer, great pizza, and straight-ahead Blues from 7-10pm.

Sunday I’ll catch up on football for a moment, then Monday brings New Years’ Eve, which I’ll be making the most of by playing 3 different shows. First up is Jazz with Natascha & The Spy Boys at State College Presbyterian Church from 6-7pm, immediately followed by the Funky Soul of Jackie Brown and The Gill Street Band at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, 7:30-8:30. Finally, The Denicats swing into in 2019 at Happy Valley Brewing Company, 10pm – 1am.


And after all that? I park myself in front of my computer and install the latest version of TurboTax. Not my favorite game, but I feel compelled to play it every January. Wish me luck ~~~

The Denicats

Throughout the year, JT Thompson stays busy playing piano bars, special events, and with several popular bands. He also gathers denizens of these bands to record his own compositions, then perform them at various venues in the Centre region. Sometimes it’s a trio, sometimes it’s a 13-piece group; in any combination, JT’s music is always captivating.

The core of the Denicats comprises three well-known Susquehanna Valley musicians: multi-instrumentalist Doug McMinn, bassist Bill Stetz, and drummer Joel Vincent. Working with JT, each has their own knack for engaging the audience, all while supporting the song – and each other.

Look for the Denicats to play cuts from the albums “Chase Away Your Blues” and “This Way That Way,” including fan favorites “Sugar Free” and “She’s My Baby.”

Denicats at Arts Fest, 2017
The Denicats at Central PA  Arts Fest 2017,
with guest vocalists Jackie Brown, Natascha Hoffmeyer, and Molly Countermine

Thankful

I am thankful for the life I have, that I get to follow my dream and do what I love.
I am thankful to be married to a woman I love and adore, who gives that love back to me ten-fold.
I am thankful for my parents, who came of age during the turmoil and aftermath of WWII and taught me how to persevere and do the right thing.
I am thankful for all my family and friends who love, support, and encourage me.
I am thankful for all my amazingly talented co-workers who help make my work joyful.
I am thankful for dogs, who have shown me how to love unconditionally.
I am thankful for the many people who have sheltered me, who shared their love with me, who gave and asked nothing in return – I strive every day to be the man you expect me to be.
~ Love and Peace to you all ~

Arts Festival Week!

It’s that time again – Artists of all stripes come to Boalsburg and State College to share their wares. Streets are blocked off and public spaces become exhibit areas as vendors show off their pottery, photos, paintings, statues and all kinds of amazing works.

What makes it exciting for me is that there are so many opportunities to hear music by great local and regional artists (yes – music is ART). That means there are lots of opportunities for me to play music with several of the amazing bands I’m in. This year Natascha and the Spy Boys, Jackie Brown and the Gill Street Band, and The Triple A Blues Band will grace stages throughout both Festivals – People’s Choice on the grounds of the PA Military Museum in Boalsburg, and the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts in downtown State College,

I also get to perform with my own band – The Denicats. This year’s show is “Jackie, Molly, and Natascha Sing The Blues.” That’s right, three of the area’s most dynamic and entertaining singers join me on stage to sing the Blues. The ubiquitous Molly Countermine, sultry Natascha of the Spy Boys, and the dynamic Jackie Brown of the Gill Street Band. I can attest to their individual talents because I have to pleasure and honor to play in bands with each of them!

The Denicats are yours truly JT Thompson on keyboards and vocals, Bill Stetz on bass and vocals. Joel Vincent on drums, and Rick Hirsch on saxophone. The women will be singing the Blues with us Thursday afternoon at 3:00pm on the stage on the lawn of Old Main, aka the “Festival Shell.”

You will also enjoy performance bu the other bands I’m with. In addition to our regular 7pm Friday show at Zeno’s, The Triple A Blues Band will perform at the People’s Choice Festival on Saturday morning from 11:30 to 12:30. Later in the evening Natascha & The Spy Boys will be at the Allen Street Stage, 7:30-8:30 pm. Right after that I have to hustle over to Sidney Friedman Park where Jackie Brown and the Gill Street Band kick of the dance party at 10:00 pm. There’s no rest on Sunday though, as the Gill Street Band finishes out the week at People’s Choice from 3:00-4:00.

Even if you can’t get to any of the shows I’m playing, you should catch some of the other great performers at the festivals. I can’t catch them all either, but I hope to see some, including Raven and the Wren, Chris Rattie, Pure Cane Sugar, August Room, Velveeta, Erin Condo’s Love and Lightning, Jim Colbert, Ramalama, Revamped, Ted McCloskey and the HiFi’s, the Zeropoint Big Band, Andy Tolins and Haystack Lightning, and Tyne and the Fastlyne. Maybe I’ll see you there, too.