While local soul-rockers Vintage Rock N' Soul deliver a dance-evoking catalog of soul, funk, rock and blues classic, the seven-piece formed in a very modern way: Craigslist.
"Being new to the area, I placed an ad just to see who would bite," said Dee Hemingway, the group's recently added vocalist. "I was looking for colleagues who were serious about performing. I wanted to stay away from as much band drama as possible and concentrate on the music."
Eventually Hemingway got an email bite from 'Soul guitarist Kevin Danel.
"I read his email response from my cell phone in the parking lot of Grocery Outlet," she said. "I called him on the spot and spoke with him on the phone in the parking lot for nearly two hours about music. And it just went from there. A great thing."
Originally from Georgia, Hemingway moved to Humboldt County for reasons she called reminiscent of "the beginning of a blues song": her significant other.
"Before I moved here, I was involved in music from a promoter-management angle and acted as a public relations liaison for blues, new-rock and tribute bands across the U.S.," Hemingway said.
She worked with an Alice in Chains tribute band called Them Bones, an Ozzy tribute group called Black Illusion, a Red Hot Chili Peppers tribute collective called Behind the Sun, Metallica tribute act called Battery and many other groups in the southeast part of the country.
"I also write original songs and lyrics," Hemingway said. "I'm learning how to play guitar and piano, but I am not ready to perform in public yet. I'll leave the top-notch guitar skills to Kevin D -- he hasn't a thing to worry about. But I will tell you this: Drop D is a beautiful thing with a guitar, yes it is. I also play a mean cowbell."
While she garnered tons of experience as a backup singer and lead vocalist for rock and soul acts back east, Hemingway's family life had always taken precedence over her music life.
"Now that my children are grown, It's time for Dee," she said.
After opening for Canned Heat at Woofstock last summer, Vintage played the fest again this year -- this time with Hemingway -- only to receive two encores from the audience.
"They did not want us to leave the stage," she said. "We were asked about playing Blues by the Bay from one of the audience members, so I guess we must have done something right that day."
Vocally inspired by pre-Bad Company Paul Rodgers, Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant and pre- "Loving You" Minnie Riperton, Hemingway has a heck of a range and is a nice complement to the tried-and-true instrumentation of Vintage Soul.
In addition to Hemingway and Danel, the rest of Vintage Rock N' Soul is made up of keyboardist Kevin Held, bassist Eric Hann and drummer William D. Moehnke.
"I am so happy and relieved to have Dee on board to help take us to the next level," Danel said. "As the founding member of Vintage Soul and after 14 years of playing music in and around Humboldt County under the Vintage Soul moniker, I decided to make a change and open up our repertoire to include rock 'n' roll."
They'll be performing free 21-and-up shows on Friday at 9 p.m. at Bear River Casino in Loleta and on Saturday at Cher-Ae Heights Casino at 9 p.m. in Trinidad.
"You'd be surprised at the set list," Hemingway said. "In our last rehearsal we went over a tune by Kenny Rogers and a contemporary song that was released in 2011. We are also working on original tunes."
If you go
What: Vintage Rock N' Soul
When: 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Where: Bear River Casino, Loleta (Friday), Cher-Ae Heights Casino, Trinidad (Saturday)
Admission: Free, 21+