Anniversaries are a time to both reflect on the past and celebrate the promise of the future.
So what better way to mark the fourth anniversary of Stanwood’s Loco Billy’s Wild Moon Saloon on Saturday than to bring back Aaron Crawford, a local country headliner who appeared there on opening night?
Crawford, a Snohomish High School graduate, has produced five albums since 2013. The most recent, “Hotel Bible,” was released last year. It launched his most recent hit, “Tie a String.”
“Aaron Crawford is a good friend who has played at our club off and on through the years since we opened in 2015,” said Cookie Spirk, the club’s co-owner. “I thought it would be very fitting to have him for our four-year anniversary.”
Spirk opened the venue in 2005 as Blazing Saddles Lounge, which remained open for three years.
In 2009, the building was leased to Jerry Andal, known for his appearances at the Evergreen State Fair with his band, the Roughriders. Andal died in 2011 following heart surgery.
The building was empty for several years, but when Spirk, who is executive director of the Northwest Music Foundation, began organizing a fundraiser for the group, some former Blazing Saddles customers asked her to reopen.
The club was remodeled, in part to allow it to accommodate more people. It now has seating for 150 people and room for another 150 to stand or dance.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Spirk said. Customers can order food from a nearby restaurant that delivers to the site, “and I don’t have to cook — it’s great.”
Loco Billy’s draws customers from throughout the region, including Kirkland, Bellevue and Seattle. A couple from Vancouver, B.C., make the trek nearly every weekend.
The club has drawn national artists Billy Bob Thornton and Chris Knight for performances. “You walk into our bar and it feels like a country bar,” Spirk said. Thursday nights are jam nights, “my favorite because you never know who’s going to show up and get to jam,” she said.
Although it’s known as a home for country music artists, rock and blues bands also perform there.
Loco Billy’s has continued to remain open in an era when other live music clubs have been forced to close. “It’s costly to continue if you’re a smaller venue,” Spirk said.
Its mix of programming includes weekend group country dance events where people can learn or practice the two-step, 10-step or line dancing before the night’s feature band begins playing.
The club’s 1,200 square feet of sound panels make it a place bands love to perform due to its excellent acoustics. The sound panels also allow customers to have conversations even as bands as playing.
The club has its own recorded live online radio station playing music performed at the club. It has earned a national and international audience, with listeners tuning in from countries such as the U.K., Australia and Bulgaria.
“It’s another way to promote live, local, original music,” Spirk said.
Loco Billy’s also provides free live streaming of the first hour of shows — including Crawford’s anniversary show — with six cameras to take in the action.
“We found that if it’s live streamed, it brings people in,” she said.
It also benefits the musicians, who get a fully mixed video of their performance that they can use for promotion. “It sounds just like a CD recording,” Spirk said. “Nobody else does that.”
Aaron Crawford’s music video will be filmed from 9 to 10 p.m., she said.
Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or email@example.com.
If you go
Loco Billy’s Wild Moon Saloon will celebrate its fourth anniversary May 11 with an appearance by Aaron Crawford. The saloon is at 27021 102nd Ave. NW, Stanwood. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., with free line-dance lessons at 7:30 p.m. Aaron Crawford’s show is scheduled for 9 p.m. and continues until midnight. Tickets are available online at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/4109533. Call 425-737-5144 or go to www.locobillys.com for more information.