Singing country, but gettin’ the blues

Audience members at the Commercial Tavern will receive more than the usual country tunes for their night out on Oct. 1.

Everyone gets to go home with a Baby Blue Spruce tree from Peter Tillich, compliments of West Montrose Farm, as a way to welcome autumn with their “Baby Blue Night.”

Tavern owner Paul Weber will perform along with Top Hand, featuring Doug Dietrich, Sue Weber, family and friends.

Weber and Tillich will hit the stage for a special duet of George Strait’s 1988 classic, ‘Baby Blue.’

The two men are friends through their church choir. Tillich says back in the spring he suggested Weber try giving out seedlings to people who come to a particular show. This is a popular takeaway gift at weddings, birthdays and baby showers.

“I said it might be appealing to people, get more people to come in. So he said he would try it and it worked very well. Everybody was happy to get a baby blue and then we decided to sing ‘Baby Blue’ together. So we both learned it, he quicker than I of course. And we did it then. And we’ve done it a couple of times on Thursday nights since then, just to keep practiced,” Tillich explained.

This time around everyone – not one per family – gets a two-year-old potted Baby Blue Spruce tree. They’ll be in four-inch pots, so they can be grown directly wherever you’d like to plant them.

Tillich says you don’t need to “baby” them either. You can even grow them in your apartment on your balcony. They’ll grow right through the winter and you’ll be able to experience what it’s like to grow your own Baby Blue Spruce, a tree that Tillich developed.

“The Blue Spruce from the Colorado Blue Spruce where they’re native will come anywhere from 30 per cent usually up until about 60 per cent blue and then there’ll be some semi-blues and there’ll be some greens. And that’s because it’s from a seed, so they’re all genetically different. Nobody wants a semi-blue or a green blue spruce, so we started working on some over here on our farm that were mature and were fruiting and we did various crosses and ended up developing what we now call Baby Blue, where every seed is blue,” Tillich said.

To his knowledge, they’re the only people in the world who have it. They sell them frequently in the U.S. and there are also people growing them in Europe.

The tree is special for the tavern too.

“Paul really loves Blue Spruce. He has some on his property right now, and some of it will happen before the first of October, but he’s planting them all around on three sides, where there’s soil that you can plant. He’s going to be ringed in Baby Blues,” Tillich said.

They’re hoping the free trees draw in some more people for the Saturday night show. If trees aren’t up your alley, you can still come out and enjoy the traditional country music Maryhill’s Commercial Tavern is known for.

“There’s going to be good music as always at the Commercial. Paul produces beautiful music,” Tillich said.

“He has a very unique operation there and a unique talent. Paul is a really good singer. I know because when he sits in the pew behind me and sings I know exactly what he can do.”

The show runs Oct. 1 from 8-11 p.m. at the Commercial Tavern in Maryhill. Everyone who attends the event will receive a complimentary two-year-old potted Baby Blue Spruce tree.

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