The blues community was stunned last October when Dallas blues guitarist Smokin’ Joe Kubek died suddenly of a heart attack, a loss that reverberated through musical circles, including those in Rochester.
Kubek died as he was about to take the stage at the Pleasure Island Seafood & Blues Festival in North Carolina. He was 58.
Three months later, the “Smokin’ Joe Kubek Benefit” is being held starting at noon on Saturday, Jan. 23 at the Wicked Moose Bar & Grill in Rochester to raise money for his wife, Phyllis, who has multiple sclerosis.
“Joe was kind of her everything, and he talked about her all the time,” said Spike Stephan, a regional blues promoter from Rochester who is helping organize the benefit. “And so now he passes away, and there’s Phyllis who is now just dumbfounded and lost.”
Kubek was a big fan and supporter of vocalist Sena Ehrhardt’s music career. Both she and her father, Ed Ehrhardt, were friends of Kubek. As word spread of the benefit, more and more bands asked if they could participate. The event features 13 bands and singers, from Ed Ehrhardt’s Blue Rooster and The Swamp Kings to Howard “Guitar’ Luedtke and The Mooseknuckle Brothers.
“It didn’t take anything,” said Stephan, who, along with Ed Ehrhardt and Gary Eckert, was a principal organizer. “They came out of the woodwork and asked if they could do it.”
Music will be played throughout the day starting at 1:15 p.m.. Doors open at noon. Each band will play for about 30 minutes. There will be also be a bake sale and a silent auction.
Stephan said all the proceeds will go to Kubek’s widow, Phyllis, and organizers are asking for a $20 donation at the door. But he said the amount is only a suggestion, and whatever a patron decides to give, even if it’s less than $20, will be acceptable.
“Because of the auction, we want people to come and look at the stuff,” Stephan said. “I want people to come out and see what the blues is all about.”
Stephan said he will be leaving for Memphis on Jan. 26 and presenting Phyllis with a check at International Blues Challenge set for Jan. 28 through Jan. 30.
“Our goal is to have a good day of music,” Stephan said. “We just want to support one of those who needs our help right now. This is what we do when someone needs help.”
What: Smokin’ Joe Kubek Benefit.
When: noon on Saturday, Jan. 23.
Where: Wicked Moose Bar & Grill, 1201 Eastgate Dr. S.E., Rochester, Mn.
A $20 donation is recommended at the door, but people are encouraged to give what they can. All the proceeds will go to Kubek’s wife, Phyllis.
Musical artists include The Gopher Tones, Renee’ Austin, Mark Cameron, Blue Rooster, Clever Keys, Dave Lambert, Donna Dahl, Sena Ehrhardt, Cole Allen, Dee Miller, Elijah Adam, Shakey Jake Nueman, Howard ‘Guitar’ Luedtke, The Mooseknuckle Brothers, The Swamp Kings, Brian Naughton, Ross William Perry and Brian ‘Zoot’ Simonds.