By Ossie Bladine • Editor • 

Open for music

Open mic nights have come and gone at various venues in McMinnville, but one of the longest running efforts has been going strong for years — the monthly show of local talent at Cornerstone Coffee Roasters on the first Wednesday of the month.

Local singer/songwriter Freddie Lamb was a frequent performer at those for many years. In fact, he became the subject of a 2006 News-Register feature on Cornerstone’s open mic events, coordinated by Terri Patty, a musician herself who also books Friday night music for the hangout.

But Lamb’s job at 3rd Street Pizza eventually conflicted with the monthly time. So last November, he and fellow local musician Thane Chocholak organized a weekly Monday night gig at Deluxe Billiards, 711 N.E. Third St.

“It started out as a ‘singers-in-the-round’ thing with me and Thane,” Lamb said. “But the more we did it, the more musicians began showing up.”

The events have become a mix of open mic and singers-in-the-round, as displayed Monday night.

“Every week is a little different,” Lamb said.

He kicked things off with some solo tunes, including “Mad World” by Michael Andrews (from the “Donnie Darko” soundtrack), “February Seven” by The Avett Brothers, and an original he wrote for his wife.

His sister, Hannah, then joined him on stage, showing off her chops on Van Morrison’s “Wild Night,” Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” and 4 Non Blondes’ “What’s Up.”

The siblings gave way to Chocholak, backed by what became a makeshift house band for the evening. Will Sykes played standup bass, David Lenker played synth and a little trombone, Truxton Meadows played guitar, and David Clark switched between light percussions and the mandolin, as Chocholak played the best guitar he could with a broken finger.

His gruff voice is perfect for rock or classic country, as in his rendition of “Streets of Bakersfield”: “You don’t know me but you don’t like me / Say you careless how I feel / ’Cause how many of you that sit and judge me / Ever walked the streets of Bakersfield.”

In singers-in-the-round fashion, Freddie teamed up with Thane on stage, then Hannah joined in, and pretty soon, everyone in the joint was singing along to “Brown Eyed Girl,” “Wagon Wheel” and more.

Somewhere in the middle, Lamb conveyed a subtle but heartfelt sentiment to the modest crowd: “Thanks for supporting local music.”

Open mic is every Monday at the Deluxe, with music beginning about 9 p.m. At Cornerstone, open mic night runs from 7 to 8:30 p.m. every first Wednesday.

Contact Ossie Bladine at

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