When Bolder Shades of Blue takes the stage at the Arts Center tonight, this will be the third time the band has performed a December concert at the center.
The band plays blues, bluesinspired rock and classic songs with some original works thrown in.
Ken Gilbertson plays lead guitar, Tamara Dallman is lead vocalist, Paul Salo is on bass, and Jim Elmer on drums.
Dallman is from Jamestown, but spent about 20 years away from the Buffalo City pursuing a singing career.
“I started singing with bands in my early 20s,” she said.
Dallman said she started with a band called Rude Awakenings when she was at Minnesota State University Moorhead in the 1980s. She then went onto perform with a group called the Shuffle Cats and became a backup singer with Cory Stevens, a blues performer who was popular in the Midwest.
“I even got to sing with the Doobie Brothers,” she said.
Dallman said she pretty much knew as a child she wanted to be a singer, but she had to figure out a way to do it. When she was younger in the 1980s, hair metal was a popular music genre and the higher octave range of those songs was a challenge for Dallman and her lower-range voice.
“I listened to a lot of jazz, Ella Fitzgerald, when I was young,” she said. “Then one of my friends gave me an Etta James album. I was hooked and encouraged.”
Dallman said she has known Gilbertson for 14 years. She said everyone in Bolder Shades of Blue is a great musician, but they all decided the main goal for the group was to have fun and make great music.
“The guys in our group, they have been there and done that,” she said. “We approach this as a fun thing.”
Dallman said part of what makes Bolder Shades of Blue a fun experience for her is that Gilbertson, Salo and Elmer support her as a woman singer.
“Whatever I want to try, they are supportive,” she said. “I feel blessed to be performing with such a great group of musicians.”
The band has only been together for about two years, but the players have years of experience. Gilbertson has played guitar with groups since the late 1970s. He has played with groups like Old Friends, Warped Melon and Double Take. He describes himself as a “self-taught musician.”
Salo might be recognized for his work with The Back Behind the Barn Boys.
Elmer was part of the Night Rider Band and sat in with legendary musician Robert Cray.
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IF YOU GO
What: Bolder Shades of Blue concert When: 7 p.m. today Where: The Arts Center, 115 2nd St. SW Tickets: $15 public/$10 Arts Center members, available at the door