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Blazing Saddles caters to country music fans

Jim Leslie and Cookie Spirk are co-owners and founders of Blazing Saddles a new country music and dance restaurant in Stanwood. Formerly residents of Arlington who have performed country rock music as Chickenhead and various other names. -
Jim Leslie and Cookie Spirk are co-owners and founders of Blazing Saddles a new country music and dance restaurant in Stanwood. Formerly residents of Arlington who have performed country rock music as Chickenhead and various other names.
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STANWOOD Cookie Spirk and her husband Jim Leslie, formerly of Arlington and now living on Camano Island, saw a void in the area music scene to fill.
There are many country music lovers in Snohomish County, but between Everett and Vancouver not much exists in the way of live country music clubs, Spirk said.
Diehard country fans were forced to make long drives in order to line dance or listen to their favorite tunes.
Thanks to Spirk and Leslie a new country restaurant, Blazing Saddles, at 27021 102nd Ave. NW in Stanwood, sprang up six months ago.
Spirk and Leslie concocted the idea of putting together a restaurant/bar after years of touring and singing together. They installed themselves as the house band and began inviting other local acts to perform. As news of Blazing Saddles has traveled, patrons come from as far down as Tacoma on a weekend night to get in on the dancing and live music.
We traveled the country singing everything from country to rock and blues, said Spirk I never pictured myself owning a restaurant. The opportunity presented itself to get the place here and we both thought it would be a lot of fun.
The unaffected atmosphere at Blazing Saddles provides an easygoing, family environment for locals interested in food, drinks and music.
We wanted to do something special if we were going to do it at all, continued Spirk, We told ourselves that wed concentrate on creating a family-oriented place.
Spirk and Leslie launched a kids karaoke night every Tuesday from 6 - 8 p.m.
Adults get their chance to sing along to their favorite tunes at 9 p.m. on the same day.
We also encourage young local songwriters to get up on stage, said Spirk We sponsor a scholarship for young musicians and offer a great setting for them to display their talents.
The menu has plenty to choose from as well, including coconut prawns, barbecue beef brisket and T-bone steak, all popular favorites. The general fare is Tex-Mex with a hint of American classic cuisine thrown in as well. In any case, the chef does an excellent job creating tasty treats.
Another interesting feature of Blazing Saddles is their country-dance lessons. Three nights per week singles and couples can come in and learn the steps to well-known songs taught by Annie OBarber, a professional instructor. The cost is $3 per lesson.
With bullhorns on the walls and wagon wheels adorning the moldings, there is no question that Blazing Saddles is a truly western restaurant. But even to the casual observer, the place offers much in the way of pleasantry not found in every establishment.
The club books live acts with Spirk and Leslie filling in as the house band.
Bob Manning and Nashville West will be performing his Honky Tonk Road Show at Blazing Saddles Restaurant & Lounge in Stanwood on Saturday Aug. 4.
The road show offers a perfect blend of classic country with a touch of modern sound, Spirk said.
They hail from Oregon and will take the stage directly after the western dance lessons around 9 p.m. Cover charge is $5, but if you get in early for drinks or dinner there is no charge.
The next big name to show up in Stanwood is a rare Northwest appearance by John Corbett who has shown that he has more talents that as a movie star, according to Spirk. Though he may be best known for his roles in Sex and the City, Northern Exposure, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and Raising Helen, Corbett also has a little known career as a finely-tuned musician with a first CD under his belt. He is booked at Blazing Saddles Friday, Aug. 10. Highway 101 is booked for Aug. 30.
There is a $5 cover charge after 10 p.m. but if you get in early for drinks or dinner before 10 p.m. there is no charge. For information go to www.blazingsaddlesclub.com or call 360-629-6569.

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