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The Blue Mule Band

By Rebecca LaBorde

The Ellicottville Brewing Company features The Blue Mule Band on Mondays. If an eclectic mix of traditional bluegrass and upbeat folk music is your style, The Blue Mule Band is the band for you.

Five members, Gail Pearles, Bernie Dotterweich, Dug Stein, Steve Strom and Don Strom, make up this warm and humorous group of musicians. To create their own personalized style, they use numerous instruments including the harmonica, fiddle and the mandolin.

Pearles and Stein are the two original members who met during a jam session at Fosters in 2001 and previously went by the name Moss Creek. Bernie became part of the group in 2003, Don Strom joined in 2006 and Steve Strom in 2010. Stein presented the idea of changing their name to The Blue Mule Band.

Stein and Dotterweich write most of the music and lyrics that they specialize in and the band is currently working on releasing their fourth CD. Besides their unique style of music, they also perform traditional gospel music.

Pearles stated, ìWe get a lot of satisfaction from playing because we love to make someone smile … take a little of the burden away.î

The Blue Mule Band plays an average of two times a week, year round, at a variety of locations. They tell jokes throughout their sets and they create a warm relaxing ambiance wherever they play.

Crystal Finch, one of the EBC patrons, said, ìThis type of music, mellow and twangy, brings back memories of my childhood.î

She requested the song ì(Good Old) Mountain Dewî in honor of her grandmother who used to sing it to her husband Russ.

Pearles deadpanned, ìWe do take song requests, but only if we know them.î Luckily for the Finches, they knew it and did a great job singing it.

Russ Finch was touched by his wifeís request and said, ìThis style of music makes me feel all fuzzy … or maybe itís the beer.î

The Stroms live in Jamestown, N.Y., and Stein, Pearles and Dotterweich all live in East Otto. Two band members are retired and the other three hold jobs outside their music venue. Steve Strong works in IT Tech Support for the Research Center. Dug Stein has his own woodcarvings shop in East Otto called Woodworks Carvings. He has a variety of handcrafted wood objects, which include sculptures, birdhouses and furniture. Pearles runs a horse ranch called Kinship With Horses. Pearlesí services include demonstrations, clinics, and private coaching. Her philosophy is ìtrue horsemanship through feel.î If interested in booking this band, or for more information on her horsemanship services, you can contact Pearles at (716) 982-5180.

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