Arts, Entertainment and Events, Communities, Dexter/Pleasant Hill, Front Page, Lowell/Jasper/Fall Creek, Oakridge/Westfir

Karaoke remains alive and well (and popular) in the Upper Willamette

By BEN OLSON/For The Herald — I’ve been enjoying this last blast of summer. We get six hours of 90 degrees with temperatures dropping back to comfortable as soon as the sun dips below the horizon. The mornings are brisk as the dog takes me for my walk. Watching the days get shorter is always a little depressing for me, and it will continue for another three months.

As I promised last week, I will reveal where the karaoke happens in our readership area, but first, a little background. As a guy who sings, accompanying himself with a guitar, I’ve always had an ambivalence for DJ’s and performers who do “live karaoke.”

That’s where the singer employs backup tracks while sometimes holding a guitar. I get why that can be attractive to a club owner — hiring one guy and having it sound like Journey or AC/DC is playing there.

I don’t consider recreational karaoke an existential threat to me or my livelihood, but it just isn’t my cup of tea. I have heard some amazing renditions of songs and I have heard singers who made me want to finish my drink and head for the door. Unfortunately, far too many of the latter have kept me from hanging around hoping to hear someone who could really sing.

For an entertaining read on karaoke and “My Way” murders, go to americansongwriter.com/meaning-behind-the-my-way-karaoke-curse/

Rob at the Corner Bar in uptown Oakridge has designated Fridays as karaoke night, although with sufficient demand, he’ll fire up the karaoke machine any time. The Corner Bar has nightly food specials and a full bar with liquor, beer and wine.

The Loggers Den in Oakridge has its karaoke nights on Wednesdays. The Loggers Den has a full bar and a menu featuring appetizers, sandwiches and full dinners. They’re located right on Highway 58 in the west end of Oakridge.

The Oakridge Moose Lodge has had its karaoke night on Saturday nights in the past. I was unable to speak with anyone to confirm whether this is still the case.  Although the lodge is a private club, the public is welcome to stop on by. They are located on Highway 58 in Oakridge, just a block east of the only stoplight in town.

The Dexter Lake Club has karaoke night on Thursday evenings. They’re located just off Highway 58 near milepost 12. The Dexter Lake Club has a full bar and appetizers, sandwiches and dinners on the menu. I’ll be there this Friday evening, September 22, playing tunes with my guitar and bass fiddle from 6 until 8 p.m. Depending on the weather, I’ll either be out in the beer garden or the inside stage where Otis Day and the Knights got a crowd jumping during the filming of the movie “Animal House.”

As of yet, there is no karaoke at the Lion Mountain Bakery in Oakridge. For your listening pleasure, Broken Horn provides song stylings every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. until 1 pm. The Lion Mountain serves both breakfast and lunch. They are located right on Highway 58 in Oakridge.

The 3 Legged Crane, on First Street in uptown Oakridge, will be featuring Richie G and MA Beat this Friday, Sept. 22. They have graced the stage at the Crane a number of times before. They have an eclectic mix of covers and keep it lively and upbeat. Google Richie G and MA Beat, and you can find a number of YouTube clips and their Facebook page. Showtime this Friday is 7 until 10 p.m. The 3 Legged Crane has a wide selection of hand-crafted beers and ales, many made on site, and a menu with appetizers, sandwiches and dinners.

None of these venues for karaoke or live music have a cover charge or minimum. I’ll always attempt to inform my readers if there is any kind of admission fee or ticket required for an event.

And now, the end is near, and so I face the final curtain. . . Enjoy this nice fall weather and get out and sing some karaoke or listen to a live performer with a guitar in his hands.

Ben Olson, musician and Oakridge Resident, with his standup bass. Ben is a regular contributor, as well as the Entertainment Report’s columnist. Ben Olson photo
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