Seattle rock band the Dusty 45s to perform at Olympia on Saturday



The Dusty 45 will headline LoveOly Summer Fest on Saturday in downtown Olympia. They play at 5 p.m.

Courtesy of Billy Joe Huels

The Dusty 45s, whose original tunes draw their inspiration from the roots of rock, honky-tonk and rhythm and blues, shared the stage with Adele, Brandi Carlile, Lyle Lovett and many more.

On Saturday, August 7, the Seattle combo will rock and roll at the LoveOly Summer Fest in downtown Olympia.

Conductor Billy Joe Huels is known for playing the flaming trumpet – as well as writing the songs, singing and playing the guitar – but he didn’t say if pyrotechnics would be part of Saturday’s show.

“I’ve always enjoyed their high-energy live show,” said Michael Stein, a DJ on Olympia’s KGY radio. “It’s good American rock and roll.”

The 45-year-old have been playing South Sound for a long time.

“In the late 90s we played The Eastside, 4th Ave Tavern and The China Clipper,” said Huels, who formed the band in 1997. “Eventually we started playing in bigger venues like Rhythm & Rye and the Capitol Theater.

The group – consisting of Huels plus Jerry Battista and Rod Cook on guitar, Robin Cady on double bass and drummer Kohen Burrill – have often played the role of Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Wanda Jackson’s stand-in role.

Huels, who played Buddy Holly at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theater in 2007, will soon play the legendary singer at Olympia.

“It has been an absolute honor to represent one of my heroes,” he told The Olympian. “Buddy’s widow even attended the show. I am delighted to bring my Buddy Holly tribute to the Capitol Theater on February 5th.

The Olympian sat down with Huels to talk about music, life during the COVID era and more.

Q. How did you get into early music?

A. My parents were born in the 1930s and I grew up on a rural farm in southern Illinois near St. Louis. I started playing the trumpet in third grade and looked for relevant music featuring the trumpet. My ear kept bending to the confluence of the musical tastes of my parents and the music of my geographic area. My musical tastes have followed the Mississippi River, flowing from St. Louis to Memphis and New Orleans.

Q. You are a singer-songwriter, guitarist and trumpeter. It seems like some sort of unusual combo. Did you start with the trumpet?

A. I actually had a guitar first, but when I was a kid I turned to the trumpet. When I moved to Seattle in 1989, I started forming garage and surf bands playing guitar only. When I added the trumpet it gave me more confidence and a unique stage presence and musical voice.

Q. What did you do during the pandemic?

A. My wife, Cathy McClure, and I played pinochle with my 88 year old mother. Lots of pinochle. We renovated our 1920s Craftsman with the help of my bassist Robin.

I wrote enough songs for a new album and honed my fingering. And I did a lot of streaming and walking and stressing about the money.

Q. How many concerts have you been able to play since things started?

A. The band started playing again in June, but our schedule is really heating up from this weekend. After playing Olympia, we head back to Burien to headline the Boulevard Park Block Party on Saturday night. Then we booked shows all over the Pacific Northwest, with a few shows in Nevada and St. Louis in August and September.

Q. When is the new record due?

A. We haven’t recorded the new songs yet, but we are working on them. 2020 has been a crazy year, and it’s got me digging in deep places, and those feelings surface on many of my new songs. There are still a lot of light rockers in the mix as well. We’ll probably do a few new ones on Saturday. I will be releasing some of the songs in early 2022.

LoveOly Summer Fest

  • What: Seattle’s The Dusty 45s is headlining the weekly festival, which also features artwork, street performers, kids’ activities, and a beer garden. The 45-year-olds will play at 5 p.m. Also on Saturday’s schedule, Red & Ruby from Olympia (guitarist Vince Brown and vocalist LaVon Hardison) will take the stage at 4 p.m., and Don Riggs from Reptile Isle, who will show his snapping turtles, snakes and more from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • When: From noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday August 7, then every week until August 28
  • Or: Fifth Avenue and Washington Street, Olympia
  • More information:

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