Stuff That Works - A review of guitarist Jon Herington

Jon at work.

Julie and I had the pleasure of experiencing the guitar mastery of Jon Herington again this past week-end.  Jon was handing out his brand of six string fun along with the Dukes of September (aka: Boz Scaggs of Boz Scaggs, Michael McDonald of The Doobie Brothers and his own marque, and Donald Fagen of Steely Dan and himself.)

The Dukes played at the beautiful Kresge Auditorium located at the world famous Interlochen Center for The Arts. If you have never been there, Interlochen is a gem hidden in the woods of Northern Michigan. Some 1,500 acres of campus are nestled in the pines and along a good stretch of a beautiful lake where the entertainment includes the music of loons and the cavorting of ___ ducks - who run across the surface of the water and then dive under the water to snag small fish.

The Kresge is open on three sides and it just 20 yards or so from the water. Life doesn't get much better than high quality music in the Michigan woods.

We were first introduced to the talented Mr. Herington when we caught Steely Dan during their Rent Party Tour at the Motor City Casino Soundboard Theatre in 2009. Jon blew me away. FWIW - I have been a Steely Dan fan since Steely Dan! I have a set list of their music that I play in our store very regularly that is just under three hours long. In other words, I am tres familiar with almost every one of their songs and have done some excellent Air Guitar work over the decades.

If you know the Dan's music, you know how dense and complex some of it can be and Jon was there for every note and cord - he JUST ripped the place up when he would solo. Pick your favorite Steely Dan song and Herington nailed it during the course of a 2 hour plus show. (You can read my report on the show here.)

The Dukes like to present their audiences with a sonic mix - they would do some obscure song sung by one of the three and then follow with a hit from the same Duke. Within this context, Jon gets to show his prowess on everything from Chuck Berry rock-n-roll to the funk of Sly & The Family Stone - not to mention lending his support to Mssrs. Fagen, McDonald, and Scaggs on their respective songs. (Boz was in excellent form on the guitar as well - but Jon was the workhorse in the 11 piece band that included 3 horn players and two back-up singers.)

By the end of the show the audience was on their feet - Julie and I rushed down to the stage from our seats about 3/4s of the way to the back. We ended up with a fantastic view of Jon, Michael McDonald and Mr Fagen when he would wander out from the keys of his grand piano. Fantastic is the word for Jon's playing.

Fun Little Aside: By chance I got to thank Jon after the Casino show when he walked by the cafe where Julie and I were scarfing some post show burgers. It was a treat to shake his hand and thank him for his talent. What are the odds - we got to do it again in Interlochen. We waited in line at the merchandise table for a few minutes - Julie grabbed a Michael McDonald CD and I snagged a Dukes tour poster. As we turned to head back to our cabin - who should be walking toward one of the tour buses but Jon. We thanked him again and I asked him to autograph my poster - he was willing, but NONE of us had a dang pen! (Won't make that mistake again if he ever comes around the Mitten in the future.) He was nice to us and took time to talk to us for a couple seconds and to respond to the compliments of a small knot of people who gathered around while he loaded one of his guitars and himself on the bus.

This last picture is of Jon with his band. For people on the East Coast - you might have a chance to catch them live. Their tour schedule is here: Jon Herington Band. You can also sample and purchase one of his solo albums as well as other merchandise there.

Jon Herington is one amazing guitar player and a nice guy to boot!

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