At first listen, Duke Street might seem like just another Rogue Valley blues band. But listen more closely, and you'll find the group of experienced musicians is mixing genres to create a sound they believe hasn't been heard since the early 1950s.
"We're trying something a little different, but it all comes back to something that was already there, which is fun," said Mark Adams, harmonica player.
Most striking is the rhythm section, composed of Joe Cohoon on upright bass and Kent Clinkinbeard on drums, both experienced jazz musicians.
"There's an uncommon amount of jazz influence in our band," said Cohoon, "like the bass solo. You don't hear that in most R&B bands."
Adams, Cohoon and Clinkinbeard are joined by John "Johnny O" Hauschild on guitar and vocals and Scott Rogers on guitar.
"There's not a lot of effects pedals for the guitar," said Hauschild of the group's sound.
For the Tidings Cafe, the band played "All Around the World," "Spoonful" and "Crying" at Rogers' house in Ashland.
Duke Street takes its name from the legend of the Duchess of Duke Street, a 1920s-era woman who was a famous cook and mistress to the King of England.
"She set up a hotel in the seedy part of London where all the diplomats could come have their weekend of debauchery and it was on Duke Street," said Hauschild.
The guys liked the story and thought the name sounded just right for their group, but it's also fitting because they include some British rock in their sound as well.
And Duke Records was an R&B label out of Memphis, Tenn., that released many R&B tunes the band chooses for its lineup today.
"A lot of music we do was originally recorded on Duke Records," said Adams.
In the year since Duke Street was founded, members have tried out keys and horns before settling on the current configuration.
"We haven't played very much for as long as we've been together," said Cohoon.
"Because as soon as we play, the clubs close," Adams joked. Several of the venues they've played closed shortly thereafter, including Avalon, Roxy on Main, Paschal Winery and Sambuca.
"We don't put that on our card, though. We don't say, 'We'll close you down,'" Rogers said, laughing.
Despite the financial struggle of some venues, Roscoe's BBQ in Phoenix has been very supportive of the local music scene and especially blues groups like Duke Street.
"We enjoy Roscoe's," said Cohoon.
"Roscoe's is the most valid venue around," said Adams. "They dropped the cover charge with the hope that people will come down and have the barbecue."
Duke Street will perform at 8 p.m. today and Saturday, Feb. 1-2, at Roscoe's, 117 S. Main St., Phoenix.
Many of the members of Duke Street have been playing together for 20 or even 30 years in previous bands.
"It would be nice to do a CD," said Hauschild, when questioned about the group's future.
"We just want to sound as good as we can," said Cohoon. "I think we share a bit of a vision."
Reach Mandy Valencia at email@example.com.