Ted Hefko was a bit green behind the ears when he boarded a Greyhound bus from Madison, Wis., and headed to New Orleans. He was going there because he wanted to live by the water while trying to break into the music scene in the Big Easy.
His meager possessions included a few pots and pans, an old guitar and a pinstripe suit.
He sat next to a call girl nearly twice his age and past her prime. As the bus slowly made its way to New Orleans, she talked about her work while Hefko shared his dream of becoming a musician.
Twenty something years later, Hefko is living his musical dream — a bit more realistically — but enjoying every song along the way.
On Monday, Ted Hefko and the Thousandaires will stroll into the Bullfrog Brewery in Williamsport to make some noise and bring a hodgepodge of dirty blues, a dose of county and a heaping helping of an indefinable musical style.
“Our music mixes a lot of different styles that come from our past experiences and places we have been over the years,” said a deep-voiced Hefko somewhere near New Orleans. “We have been to the Bullfrog before — last May, I think it was. We were impressed by the community and how they embrace music. We’re looking forward to returning there as we make our way to New York City.
“During the show we mix some of our old songs, some new songs and some humor we hope the crowd will enjoy by listening or dancing,” he said. “Being out on the road like I have been for many years, it’s interesting to travel to different cities and small towns. You get to see all sorts of places and people. That’s the best part of traveling around, to see the differences and to share with them our music.”
Hefko and three other musicians that comprise the band will share their tunes to folks in Charleston, the metro D.C. area and Williamsport before heading into New York City to play music and work on an album.
“New York tends to be an audience that can be somewhat difficult since they are exposed to so much music everyday. Sometimes it seems you are just there to provide background noise while in smaller towns, people are there because they want to hear the music.”
With a style that is somewhat laidback and cool, the band plays a mix of old-time country and the smooth jazz.
Hefko has released several albums with the band and has toured the country, hitting nearly every state.
With all he has accomplished, there tends to be a small trace of that bus-riding 18-year-old who wanted to be a musician living along the water.
He is still driven — not so much to make it big, but to share his music with the folks he encounters during his travels.
“I’ve been making music nearly all my life and I still enjoy it all these years later,” he said. “You come to one of our shows and we hope you’ll enjoy the music, maybe dance and laugh at some of the silly songs we add in. When you leave, we hope you are in a good mood and had some fun.”