The T Club likes to bring bands of an ilk together.

The T Club brings it together

For Eugene's T Club, music is as much about family and friends as it is about songs. With almost enough band members to field a baseball team and an ongoing effort to bring together Oregon's best and brightest new bands, this reggae-influenced jam outfit is keen to set a new standard in the realm of musical kinship.

"It's a musical family," explains T Club vocalist and guitarist Nate York. "We all love and support each other."

Other members of the T Club include vocalists Michelle Bellamy and Ambur Rose, bassist Mark Anderson, DJ Redeye on turntables and keys, saxophonist Mike D., drummer Brian and trombonist Erik.

The T Club will perform at 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Habañeros Mexican Restaurant, 142 N. Front St., Medford.

The group relocated to Eugene just over a year ago after forming in the Rogue Valley in 1999. The decision for the move, according to York, had largely to do with the city's music scene.

"There was opportunity up here. There was a lot of music going on, lots of good things happening that we wanted to be closer to," York says. And although the band's primary base of operation is now a few hours away, three members of The T Club — Bellamy, Rose and DJ Redeye — still make their homes in Ashland.

Considerable driving distances and busy schedules make regular rehearsals hard to come by. Consequently, The T Club uses its live performances as an avenue for development of material.

"We try to play shows every weekend, and that kind of becomes rehearsal," York says. "It's hard to schedule formal 'practices' since we're so far apart, but we play a lot."

Years of musical camaraderie, coupled with a shared passion for live experimentation yields organic, groove-laden jams that have audiences dancing and singing along.

"We sort of write and arrange the songs on stage," explains York. "Everyone knows the core of the tunes in advance, and from there we just listen to each other and expand on the music as it's happening."

Recently, the band has begun playing a series of shows aptly dubbed "The Great Southern Oregon Monster Mashup," which features a number of area bands sharing the stage at various venues throughout the region. The idea is to unite groups that share common artistic threads, while simultaneously encouraging fans to discover new music by attending concerts and interacting with fresh faces.

"The response has been overwhelming," says York. "It's really amazing when you get to listen to all these great bands all night. Growing up in Southern Oregon, a lot of the musicians have similar backgrounds. But the music offers a lot of diversity."

A new studio recording from the T Club is in the works and should be finished in time for a summer release. In the meantime, listeners can stream and/or download recordings of the band's shows from its official Web site, its MySpace site and archive.org.

For The T Club, the music is about creating a familial environment and introducing new listeners to good music.

"We're not trying to profit," York says. "We just want to let people listen to it, enjoy it."

The shows at Habañeros are free. Call 779-9770.

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