Bits 'n' Pieces: Opening for Willie Nelson a thrill for local band

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Musicians Ty Titus, Glenn Dutch, Johnny "Blaze" Stanford, Josh Pelham and Ronn Chick — collectively known as Lock, Stock & Barrel — had a life-changing experience when they opened for Willie Nelson at the Sleep Country Amphitheater on Sept. 6.

KUPL Radio had sent performance videos of several local bands to Willie Nelson's management company. Just six days before the concert, the band learned that they had been chosen to open for Nelson.

Band member Chick said, "Willie's a legendary artist. It was a pleasure to open for him."

It was the largest crowd they'd ever played for.

Stanford was the only band member who had the opportunity to meet Willie Nelson briefly after the show.

"Willie Nelson is a very busy man," Titus said. "He showed up 10 minutes before we went on stage, and after he played, stayed just a few minutes to sign autographs, then he left."

Titus, who hails from Fort Worth, Texas, but now lives in Vancouver, recalls Willie Nelson's annual 4th of July picnic in the stockyards in Fort Worth.

Dutch, originally from Arkansas, said, "Growing up I knew when my sister was sad because she'd play Willie's song 'Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.'"

Marine Corps beginnings

Titus described Lock, Stock & Barrel's music as "definitely blues-inspired, with Texas country and Southern rock."

The band got its start seven years ago while Titus and Dutch, who hadn't yet met, were serving in the Marine Corps and stationed at a naval base in Bremerton. Titus recalls that late one night, Dutch was playing loud rock and roll on his guitar and keeping Marines awake.

"I outranked him, and told him to shut up," Titus said.

The next day, Titus apologized for his abruptness. They started talking music, and 15 minutes later, had written their first song together, "Big Red Dodge."

Titus and Dutch moved to Vancouver in 2009 and started playing music. Paul Jones became their manager. Chick engineered their first CD, liked the sound and asked to play guitar with them. They then added bass guitarist Stanford and drummer Pelham. October marks two years since they've all been playing together.

The band released its first CD, "Time's Up," in July 2010.

Next on the horizon, the band's manager is headed to Nashville with their best songs to pitch Lock, Stock & Barrel to record companies there.

In the meantime, they're busy playing gigs and working in the studio on their next album.

You can catch Lock, Stock & Barrel today with Carrie Cunningham when they open for Diamond Rio and Restless Heart at a 3 p.m. outdoor concert at the Ponderosa Lounge, 10350 N. Vancouver Way, Portland. Purchase tickets online at http://www.holdmyticket.com/.

Find upcoming shows and learn more about the band on Facebook; or visit Lock, Stock & Barrel.

— Susan Parrish