120 years of experience in 2-man group

What band can you think of that has 120 years of combined experience?

The Rolling Stones for sure, likely much more than that, but we’re talking about a new Bainbridge Island band. And what’s most impressive is that there are only two members.

Dean Rowe on keyboards and KC Makela on guitar have formed Blue Street. Both sing, and like that, as a duet, they could play at any venue in town.

“Their focus is bringing back the live art of 1950’s-‘60’s Americana music,” Jordan Rowe says in an email. He is Rowe’s son and the group’s manager. “They are both top-level musicians, and all centrally based on the island.”

The two-man roots band plays blues, country, rock and jazz. Mostly they play covers from Hank Williams to the Beatles, from Chuck Berry to Jimi Hendrix. About 10% of what they play is original.

“Music is of the spirit, allowing for being in the moment. Making it up as you go is the greatest fun and best feeling,” Dean Rowe says on their website, bluestreemusic.net

Makela adds: “Music keeps me young. Certain songs take you back to a different time and place.”

Despite playing music for so long, neither has been in any big-name bands. They’ve played small venues like the Treehouse Cafe at Lynwood Center. And they’ve played a number of jam sessions with friends. They have known each other for a long time, but only recently got together as a duet.

Rowe has played the piano since he was 5, as his mom was a music teacher. He started out in classical music through high school, then switched to jazz.

Rowe, 68, lived on Bainbridge Island, but got tired of the ferry commute to his job as an electrician at Seattle City Light so he moved to north Seattle for a few years. He met Makela, 70, jamming musically at a spot in Fremont.

He said he’s played a lots of parties, but, “I’ve never been highly organized” at putting a band together “until now.”

Makela started playing when he was 12. For years he was a chef in north Seattle, but he moved to BI five years ago, and in retirement is playing more music as, “I have more time on my hands.”

He is a soulful singer and guitarist who started out playing old blues and country music. “It’s whatever comes out of me whether I want it to or not,” he joked. “It’s in me. What sounds right to me.”

The band plays big hits most people would know, but it might not be in the tempo or style they’re used to. They like to put their own spin on music to give it a refreshing, unique sound. Some of those include Sound of Silence, Johnny B Goode, Secret Agent Man and Your Cheatin’ Heart.

As for their name, Rowe said he wrote a song called Blues LaRue years ago. But he decided not to call the band that when Makela said that sounded like a French prostitute. But when Makela told him LaRue means street in French they settled on Blues Street.

As for how long they want to keep playing music, Rowe said, “There’s no reason to stop playing until you can’t.”

Blue Street courtesy photo
KC Makela on guitar and Dean Rowe on keys.

Blue Street courtesy photo KC Makela on guitar and Dean Rowe on keys.