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The Band that’s playing the Butte

The Band that’s playing the Butte


After a year off the Bands on the Butte event is back on and will be Friday, June 25. The 700 block of Box Butte Ave. in downtown Hemingford will be closed off and the band will be taking the stage from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Be sure to bring your lawn chairs and enjoy some fun music by local band Blue Street.

Blue Street is a three person band that enjoys playing country, classic rock, oldies, soul, 90s music as well as todays hits. They have been playing together for about six years after they met while attending Chadron State College.

Band members include Tanner Johns, Joe Cline, and Emily Young.

Tanner and Joe are both originally from Alliance and are graduates of Alliance High School. Emily is from Sturgis and currently resides in Rapid City as does both Tanner and Joe.

Tanner talks a little about how he got into music and why he loves it so much.

“I was interested in music starting with my grandmother, who used to sing old folk songs to me when I was a little kid,” Tanner said. “She taught me a few basic chords that I played around with. Then I saw my best friends brother, Jaron Haines play the guitar like I never heard before. It was an electric guitar and it sounded so awesome!”

“I eventually picked up electric guitar in early high school,” he said. “I found that it was a great way get away from the stresses of adolescence. Practicing is very therapeutic to me still to this day. I met John Breen who taught me music theory and fueled the fire for my playing and inspired me to go to music college where I met one of the best guitar players the world has ever seen: Charles Carey. He was more knowledgeable and capable on his instrument than anyone I’ve met still to this day. I’m proud to not only call him my mentor but also a friend.”

“Since my time in college I have been able to make a decent living by playing in bands, teaching and working at the music store here in Rapid City,” said Tanner. “My future goals involve marking more original music and building up my original band, “Tanner Johns and the Canadian Tuxedos”. I will also continue to play in cover bands and do fill in work for any other bands that need a guitar player. Oh and I also enjoy teaching others how to play.”

“Playing live music is great, but I also really love giving guitar lessons,” Tanner said. “It gives me a great feeling when I can share the gift of music with other people who are hungry to learn. Everyone wants to play something but the most common reason people avoid taking music lessons because they think they are not talented enough or some other silly reason. I dislike the word ‘talented’ because it discourages people from trying to learn to play. It also gives the false impression that some people can just naturally pick up a guitar and be good at it right away. No matter who you are, it takes time and practice to be a good and functional at anything in life.”

“There are lots of lessons to be learned by playing music, such as discipline, knowing yourself, and learning how to achieve goals. I have learned that a good attitude will get you further than being the best player in the world. But I think the most important and valuable lesson I have learned is that of teamwork. A band is only as good as its weakest link. This rule applies to all team settings. In a musical setting, everyone has to count on everyone else to keep things flowing smoothly. If one person misses their part, there is chaos.”

Tanner continued to say, “I play music because I love the feeling it gives to me and to other people. Music helps us live our lives to the fullest. Too often we let ourselves be swept away by our daily routines, not appreciating our limited time given to us. Music helps us think about the here and now. It makes us realize that if we walk through life absent minded, we will miss out on so much. If you have ever fell in love with a song and were irritated that you couldn’t play it again because it was on the radio, then you know what I mean. Music is played in time and time doesn’t wait for us to pay attention. So I encourage everyone to stop every once and awhile to take a whiff of those flowers, or you’ll miss them when they’re gone.”

“Music is something that everyone can enjoy. It takes us away from the criticisms, the judgments, and all of life’s complications and just lets us be in the moment,” said Tanner. “It provides a feeling of accomplishment to the people with instruments, it makes other people happy, and it gives us a feeling of oneness. Music brings people together. That’s why it is played at all of our modern cultural rituals such as church, funerals, weddings, and parties. Music unites people under all circumstances, accommodating its emotional properties to fit any appropriate mood. From the guy in a bar trying to impress the cute girl next to him with a dance, to the teenagers letting their emotions explode off of them at a heavy metal show. From the punk rock bands from third world countries striking up a revolution of change the lives of their people for the better, to the drummers of war, leading an army into battle, propelled forward by music. From the bullied kid at school trying to get away to forget the harshness of his life, to the Christmas carolers singing to Alzheimer’s patients in nursing homes, reminding them of the best times of their lives. Music gives us a feeling of being a part of something bigger than just ourselves. Whether playing, or listening to music, there is no denying its impact it has on us. I believe in music. That is why I play music.”

As for Joe’s story, “Tanner and I have been best friends since we were little kids, we've known each other since we were 2-years-old. A couple years after he started playing guitar I started playing bass, so we have been jamming off and on since middle school. I was in band from middle school till I graduated high school. I also played in some punk bands and played in my church at the time a little bit. I had a brief stint in a bible college right out of high school and determined that wasn't for me, so, after a year and a half of some soul searching, I decided to go ahead and  enroll at Chadron State College for music. Which is where Tanner was so we started playing together again and I was usually the person he'd call when he needed a fill in for one of his bands.”

“Tanner and Emily had been playing in Blue Street with some other musicians through most of my college career, after I graduated their former bass player decided to quit Blue Street and I was available and knew them both pretty well so I started playing with the band about three years ago,” said Joe.

“Tanner and I also have another band called ‘Tanner Johns and the Canadian Tuxedos’ where I actually play trombone and bass, switching back and forth,” Joe said.

“Between my job (at Rapid Digital Solutions), Blue Street, and Canadian tuxedos I stay pretty busy, but in my free time I like to play Jazz and classical music, Play Dungeons and Dragons, eat food with my beautiful wife Leslie, and hang out with our cat, Oswald,” said Joe with a smile.

Blue Street is excited for the opportunity to play here in Hemingford for Bands on the Butte.

Tanner said, “We are super excited to be back playing in our stomping grounds!”

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