Deborah Stafford is a talented and versatile singer. She can wail on the Blues just as easily as singing a beautiful ballad. After studying voice classically at CU Boulder, and deciding to the dismay of her instructors that she would rather pursue Jazz and Blues music, she joined a Big Band as their singer. She created her own Jazz Quartet in an effort to expand her repertoire, which naturally lead her to the Blues. (Blues being the origin of Jazz). She began hanging around at Blues Jams and soon a new band called the The Immortal Blues Ambassadors asked her to be their singer. The more she sang Blues, the more she loved it. When the BA's broke up, she created Stone Soup, a funky blues and soul band that played together for 5 years. But she still wanted to compete at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis and thus was born, Deborah Stafford & The State of Affairs. The State of Affairs went to the IBC in 2019, but were disappointed by the result. Determined to try again, but temporarily stymied by the Covid "break", she decided to learn digital music production on Cubase and collaborated with artists local and remote in order to keep creating music. In 2021 Colorado Blues Society decided to start the Blues Challenge again, and she formed the IBC band of her dreams. With the addition of keyboards and a horn section, the 8-piece Blues and Soul band, Deborah Stafford & The Night Stalkers was born, the product of much love and heartache over many years, as a good blues band should be.
Dave "Doc" Dougherty
Dave “Doc” Dougherty was hooked early on Rock n' Roll listening to his older sisters 45's in Philadelphia. His parents bought him a cheap Kay guitar as a boy and he taught himself to play with some help from an older cousin. He was playing school dances by eighth grade and a few short years later, with his cousin, was performing at the largest Jersey shore resorts. That was followed by a series of bands and a new love and dedication for blues music. In his 30's he began developing song writing skills and ideas which became his main focus. He teamed up with Partly Dave, a group of remarkable songwriters, who performed in Philadelphia and enjoyed local airplay from WXPN from the University of Pennsylvania. In 2002 he permanently relocated to Fort Collins, CO. He co-founded another original band here called Papa Juke and they had a very successful run for 5 years producing two CD's which received airplay across the country and Europe along with hundreds of gigs. They were also 3-time consecutive finalists in the IBC (International Blues Challenge) in which the winners represent their own state in an International playoff held in Memphis, TN.
Doc befriended some members of the Subdudes who also live in Fort Collins. He co-wrote two tunes with John Magnie that were used in a side project of theirs called the Young Ancients. He spent a year as a guitarist with another side project called Solomon/Cook with Subdude bassist and songwriter Tim Cook and writer/performer Rob Solomon pushing their great CD entitled “Notes Sweet and Low”.
Doc met Deborah Stafford in those years, admiring her vocal talents and performing at times with her band, Stone Soup. Stone soup specialized in original music with a funky bluesy style. When Deborah started the State of Affairs band with some incredible Colorado musicians from Denver to Boulder, he joined in helping to create a new original project making Music that Matters, as he often would say. He’s shooting for the stars with this great band. In March of 2018 they released their first CD entitled “Blused and Confused”
I was born in Chicago, in 19 and 47, and in the mid-‘60's my brother Dennis and I would go to now-legendary clubs to hear the real Chicago Blues played by the people who created it; from Muddy and Willie Dixon and Hound Dog Taylor to Paul Butterfield and Mike Bloomfield. I began playing bass in 1966 when we were in a band with a bass player who couldn’t count to 12 consistently. I filled in and right away knew. I’ve had the honor to play with some of the best, including Bloomfield, Son Seals, Homesick James, John Hammond Jr. and quite a few others, and of course many of our more local greats. Good Blues is all about the groove, and I’ll keep trying to lay down a good one as long as my fingers keep moving.
Doug "JJ" Murphy
Douglas "JJ" Murphy is a product of the east coast. Born and raised in the New York City scene, "JJ" cut his teeth on playing a variety of music genres from Southern Rock Blues, R&B, Rock, Country, Gospel and other styles of music from original to pop. "JJ" was influenced by the music of early Chicago Transit Authority, The Allman Brothers Band and drummers from Morello to Gadd . He has traveled playing gospel/soul for various artists. He is a multi-instrumentalist and a song writer that continued to grow in his craft while living in Chicago eventually making his way to the Denver Metro area. His introduction into the local Blues scene was supplying the groove for Willie Huston, a patriarch of the blues for the local blues society in Colorado. This ignited his passion for blues music. He has drummed for the likes of Randall Dubis, Davey and the Blu Dawgs, Deborah Stafford and SOA and various local artists. He is involved with a local project that utilizes the blues genre in the prison system as a therapeutic tool for the recovering community. JJ recently had the opportunity to be part of the 2019, 35th International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tn. The best description of his experience would be best stated as "life changing", informing his growth as a blues musician both practically and historically. His guiding principle for playing, "Simple not simpler" - Albert Einstein".
The band's wailing sax and winner of the Best Horn player of the year award from Colorado Blues Society Members Choice Awards in 2017. Known as the Austin Sax for her time playing in Austin TX.