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Stonewheat to Have Mega Musical Reunion
Sunday, July 31, 2022


A musical reunion will take place at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday when members of Stonewheat reunite for two reunion shows.

The free concerts featuring Johnny Valenzuela and others will be held Wednesday, Aug. 3, at The Wicked Spud in Hailey and Thursday, Aug. 4, at Mahoney’s in Bellevue.

“It is shaping up to be quite a big event, with several special guests showing up to sit in with us, and a lot of people are coming in from out of town for the week,” said Valenzuela.

Valenzuela and Brian Carney were high school students when they founded Stonewheat in the early 1980s. After they moved to Los Angeles for college, they teamed up with fellow Loyola Marymount University students Steve “Joe Bass” Mackel, Jim “Red” Warner and Steve Bauer.

They pursued a major label record deal from 1986 through 1997, playing sold-out shows throughout Southern California and releasing two critically acclaimed albums on their own independent label.

And each year they made two annual pilgrimages—one to a different wilderness area each year where they played purely in nature for themselves and the other to the Wood River Valley for what became legendary and, sometimes infamous, New Year’s Eve shows.

Stonewheat was the first rock group to play at the nexStage Theatre when it opened on New Year’s Eve in 1992. And they did several New Year’s Eve shows at The Saloon and Tequila Joe’s in Elkhorn. Bruce Willis took his harmonica to a house party they played that ushered in the 1990s but he never got the chance to play—no one informed members of Stonewheat that he was ready to sit in.

Stonewheat shut the guitar cases on their act in November 1997 after 11 years. Carney moved back to the Wood River Valley and Valenzuela followed a few years later. Bauer moved to Nova Scotia where he began teaching at Dalhousie University after completing his PhD in Musicology.

Bass and Warner stayed in Los Angeles where the former became a triathlon coach and Warner took up teaching.

All remained friends and in 2012 they released their third album and performed the first Wood River Valley Stonewheat reunion show.

This time around, they have invited several special guests to sit in: Kim Stocking and Ember Jensen from The Kim Stocking Band; Jason Montgomery, Stonewheat’s first lead guitarist and now a pedal steel player in Portland, Ore.; Bryan Richardson, Stonewheat’s original bassist, and Chip Booth, who plays music locally.

The gang will have all three albums for sale on CD and T-shirts, as well.



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