New spot, toe-tappin' tunes

Live music option: Singer-songwriter John 'Scooch' Cugno kicks off Adesso Fine Restaurant's celebration

April 1, 2011 

New spot, toe-tappin' tunes

John "Scooch" Cugno opens Adesso Fine Restaurant's live music nights at 7:30 tonight in Olympia.


  • Grand opening of Adesso Fine Restaurant

    What: The restaurant, which will feature both continental and Northwest cuisine, will celebrate its grand opening with a night of music by John “Scooch” Cugno, recently nominated as Best Traditional Blues Act by the Washington Blues Society.

    When: 7:30 tonight

    Where: Adesso Fine Restaurant, 105-109 Legion Way S.W., Olympia

    Tickets: No cover charge

    More information: 360-705-2529 or

    Also: The restaurant will feature live music on Friday and Saturday nights. The Jessica Blinn Trio will perform Saturday night.

Starting tonight, Olympia has another restaurant, and it will offer live music two nights a week.

Adesso Fine Restaurant is celebrating its grand opening with a concert by John “Scooch” Cugno, who’s been nominated by the Washington Blues Society for its 2011 Best Traditional Blues Artist award.

Along with a mix of cuisines ranging from Italian and Mediterranean to French and Northwest, the new Legion Way restaurant will serve up live music Friday and Saturday nights.

“The space has very high ceilings, and it’s all concrete and brick,” said Renata Hanson of Olympia, who is opening the restaurant with chef Rudy Viggiano. “The acoustics are very good.”

Guitarist-singer-songwriter Cugno of Olympia will be featured at Adesso twice a month. He’s been playing regular gigs in Seattle and has begun performing in Portland, too.

He had a regular Olympia gig, too, at the now-closed Governor’s Grill just around the corner from the new restaurant. That’s where Hanson heard him, when she and a group of friends went there for New Year’s Eve.

“I love to dance,” she said, “and I was right in front of them dancing the whole time. They were only going to do a couple of sets, and I was just egging them on.

“He and I made a deal. He said, ‘If you keep dancing, we’ll keep playing.’”

Adesso won’t have a dance floor (although Hanson said she can make room for one for private events). “It will be ambiance music,” she said. “It’s definitely toe-tapping music, though.”

Cugno and a small ensemble – including bassist Gary Elsey, singer-guitarist “The Blues Sheriff,” “Harmonica Brad” and sax and clarinet player Mike Shea – will perform a mixture of traditional music and originals.

“I write a lot of my own stuff, and that makes me different from a lot of other blues guys,” he said. “I stay true to the form, and my songs are just stories about things that have happened in my life.”

Cugno’s traditional blues are pretty wide-ranging. “I do a lot of classic blues and classic swing and also obscure stuff that people have never heard.”

He began his long career as a drummer, working with Stella Parton and Tommy Overstreet and playing at the Grand Ole Opry back in the ’80s.

“I’d always been a singing drummer,” said the Boston-born Cugno, who moved to Olympia in 2005. “I made the switch out front to guitar about 15 years ago. I still play some drums but not as much.”

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