The Salem music scene is hopping! So many things to write about lately. But one story has ignited the music community like I have never seen, and has personally touched and inspired me and has restored my hope for us human beings. With that said, I am dedicating this week’s music page to local bassist, John Pounds.

I have never met John Pounds, but I’ve seen him play. He is nothing short of brilliant. He plays a seven string bass and uses every one of those strings to lay down some of the fattest, funkiest basslines in his R&B/Funk/Soul/Jazz Fusion style. He has played all over the country and has even shared a stage with Sir Elton John. To our benefit, he calls Salem his home.

John’s life took an unexpected and frightening turn on March 13th, when he suffered a stroke. His friends, his fellow musicians wasted no time rallying to his side and quickly set up a YouCaring crowdfunding site. I was immediately touched by the outpouring of support for John. The YouCaring page is still up. I encourage you to check out the site and donate if you’re able.

A few days later, they held an impromptu Jam for John at Vagabond Brewing, who also donated proceeds from the night’s profits to John. Embarrassingly enough, I had never been to Vagabond, who features live music several times a week. So, I was excited for a new experience in the spirit of helping out.

When I arrived, I couldn’t find a parking spot. When I finally did and walked up to the building, I could see why. I could see through Vagabond’s generous windows that the place was packed and the music was in full swing. On stage was Sonny Hess, Nathan Olsen, Larry London, Wes Tjernlund, Mama Kat and Jarred Venti. When Jarred got off stage, he introduced me around and all I can say is what a group of talented, welcoming sweethearts. The love in that room was palpable. It has actually changed the way I view the Salem music scene. It’s bigger and more lovely than I had previously perceived. Everyone talked about John’s amazing musicianship, but most emphatically all expressed what an amazingly kind, giving, and solid guy he is. He has profoundly touched and inspired so many folks.

But John’s friends aren’t finished yet.

Sunday, April 3rd from 3pm – 8pm at The Half Penny, there will be an all-star benefit for John. Included in the night’s lineup is Kerry Stickler, Orvil Ivie, Bill Foss & Garry Meziere, the Don’t Know Jack Band, Big Monti & Robbie Laws, Sonny Hess & the Portland Blues All-Stars (with Norman Sylvester, Lisa Mann, Lady Kat, Vicki Stevens, Charles Neal, Kelly Pierce, Dan Hess, and more), and the LaRhonda Steele Band. These live performances will later be available as a special live album, with proceeds going to John’s recovery fund. Plus a silent auction with fantastic items, raffle prizes all day, special limited edition t-shirts available, and so much more. There is a $10 suggested donation at the door to help with John’s continued recovery.

After what I experienced at Vagabond, I’m so there. The music will be amazing. You will have a fantastic time and you can feel good knowing that this is a most worthy cause. I’d like to personally thank John Pounds for being such an amazing human being and wish him a speedy recovery.