W1126 Lakeshore Dr.
Pell Lake, Wisconsin
Dec. 23, 2000
Story Courtesy Natalie PackardIt's probably the best kept secret in Pell Lake, Wisconsin that a club like this even exists. Walking into Jody's Blue Room, you'll see the red tablecloths and the memorabilia hanging on the wall. You'll see reminders of Jim Morrison and Jerri Garcia. But it's what you hear that will have you coming back for more.
Photos Courtesy Terry Mayer
The owner has spent his lifetime touring playing the blues all over the United States. He's played with some of the biggest names in music from Joe Satriani to Muddy Waters. He's worked with Willie Nelson and Sam Kineson. While he'll play sometimes at the House of Blues in Chicago, he finds time to make it to a place he feels comfortable with. He was searching for a place to bring the blues too, and he found it.
He now has a place to call home in Pell Lake--Jody's Blue Room. It's no wonder it's named Jody after owner Jody Noa. "I wanted something that reflected my blues upbringing with a lodge setting," Noa said. The walls around the room are wooden and there are lots of tables to sit down at and even room for dancing. Noa is proud of his club which is host to some of the best blues acts to come out of Chicago. Noa, who loves to play the harmonica, bought his first one for $1.25. He grew up among blues players in Chicago where he had plenty of well known mentors. He pulls out a case and inside lying on the red velvet are many harmonicas. Noa begins to play. "I have one of every harmonica they make," Noa says. "It's like an extension of you." "A lot of people come in here from a lot of different places," Noa said. Talking to various people in Jody's Blue Room a lot of them have come from as far away as Chicago to listen to the music. "I was driving through Pell Lake and I just discovered the place," a patron said. Many people said they had heard about it through word of mouth. Noa said, he hasn't done any advertising since opening the Blue Room. "A lot of people wonder how this place got here,' said one local patron. "It's got the best blues.
Noa opened the place about six months ago and he redid the whole place. He loves to play the harmonica as well as the guitar. "I heard a harmonica and it was like getting shot by cupid's arrow," Noa said. Noa's club is also like part of his family. It's not just the people that go there, his mom can also be seen wandering around enjoying the music. One patron said you'd pay hundreds to see some of the bands performing on this particular night. He's had entertainment come up from Chicago like TopHat, Snapper, Eddie Boss, Brooze Brothers and Hollywood Johnny.
Noa, dressed casually in jeans and a black t-shirt, makes his way around the club greeting patrons, talking to old friends and even taking the stage to do what he loves best--playing the blues.
"It's nice to have my friends, my musician buddies and we're able to do some of the things we did 25 years ago," Noa said. "Blues is from the heart and soul. If you're doing it the way it should be done people catch that."
Noa talks about the time he had a couple of women who came to the place and didn't know anything about the blues. "They never really heard a blues band. They were amazed at how much they enjoyed it," Noa said.
Sitting in the chair, Noa politely says excuse me it's show time. He goes up toward the front of the club and takes the stage with other musicians. Looking around the room one sees plenty of tables and even room for people to dance. With its dim light setting, you wonder if it's the sound of Noa's harmonica playing with the band that makes you fall in love with the place. "Blues make you happy. It's not a depressing thing. Not too many people understand that," Noa said. "I've been playing for 35 years and I'm still learning. I hope I never stop learning."
Noa said he'd like everybody to know what the blues are about. Maybe it's the way the guitar sounds. Maybe it's the beat of the drums. Maybe it's the way the saxophone sounds. The music coming from the stage tonight is fueled by musicians who have a love and appreciation for the blues. Jody's Blue Room also offers good Italian food and has bartender Rocking Rita Marcinkus. Marcinkus is a former disc jockey. "I'm the rock n' roll and he's the blues," Marcinkus laughs. She tends bar on Friday and Saturday nights and other days during the week.
As the music filled the air after midnight the band on stage played "Just My Imagination." It must be just my imagination that I found a place that serves good food, has a great atmosphere, good music and its around this area.
Jody's Blue Room is open 3 p.m. during weekdays and noon on Saturday and Sunday. There is live blues music every Friday and Saturday night starting at 9 p.m. and there is a $5 cover charge. For more information, you can call Jody's Blue Room at 262-279-0368.
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