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State of Jefferson

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From left to right, Ryan Redding, Joe Ginet, Erik Vestnys and Michael St. John are the State of Jefferson band.Photo courtesy of Erik Vestnys
 Posted: 7:20 AM May 16, 2013

The State of Jefferson band is three core members — lead guitarist Joe Ginet, keyboardist Erik Vestnys and bassist Ryan Redding — joined by an elite group of extras that includes horn man Mikey Stevens, drummer Michael St. John and, when in Bend, Ed "The Whistler."

This weekend, the Grants Pass-based band will open for Ras Cricket and The Cultivators and present originals by Ginet and Redding, as well as a handful of songs by artists ranging from Miles Davis to Bob Marley, at 9 p.m. Friday, May 17, at Club 66, 1951 Ashland St., Ashland. The cover is $5.

"We're an Americana jam band, but there's overtones of reggae and world music rhythms in there too," Vestnys says.

In addition to touring the West Coast and Hawaii and organizing two of Southern Oregon's largest outdoor music festivals — the Jefferson State Music Festival, tentatively set for June 29, and the Jefferson State Hemp Expo, to be held Aug. 23-25, both in Grants Pass — the band also collaborates with singers and songwriters from around the world for its series of "sampler plates."

"They lay down their guitar and vocal tracks, and we take it from there and engineer around it," Vestnys says. "They are compilation CDs with music by the State of Jefferson and songs by different composers."

So far, State of Jefferson has featured 23 artists, including Frankie Hernandez and The Illies, and released volume one. Volume two is nearing completion, and volume three is in the works, Vestnys says.

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