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April 24, 2001

POP MUSIC

Jim Belushi jams with Joe Juliano

JIM WALSH
POP MUSIC CRITIC

News, notes and quotes from the music mill:

Actor Jim Belushi joined Joe Juliano onstage at the Minnesota Music Cafe during the club’s regular Wednesday night open blues jam. Belushi, an avid blues fan who is in the Twin Cities filming “Joe Somebody” with Tim Allen, played harmonica and sang with the band for more than two hours.

“He said he showed up at our place because he’d heard it was the real deal,” said Karen Palm, the club’s co-owner. “He was marvelous.”

“We had 10 guys onstage, and everything was happening already, and then Jim Belushi came in and blew it threw the roof,” said Juliano. “He was having a blast. We played way after one o’clock.”

Belushi borrowed a harmonica from a musician in the crowd and proceeded to sing and/or jam on such standards as “Born in Chicago,” “Sweet Home Chicago” and “Let Me Love You Baby.”

“It was like Luther Allison said: ‘Leave your ego at home and play music,’ ” said Juliano. “He just came up in jeans and a T-shirt, not a stage stealer, and he was very respectful to all the musicians onstage. It was a big deal for me because I don’t get to be onstage with a big-time star every night.”

It was a big deal for Juliano for another reason. The singer has had a tough time of it lately, having recovered from surgery to     remove

throat polyps. Until Wednesday night, he hadn’t sung for three months — not that he’s complaining.

“I’ve been working at the Dorothy Day Center, which really gives you some perspective on life,” said Juliano. “It was hard being sick and worrying about my voice. Maybe I needed a kick in the a—, and that’s why (Jim Belushi) showed up. I wish more guys could jam like him.”

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