Crackerjack Highway from left to right Mark Schuh — lead vocals, guitar, Kevin Wong — keyboard, Joe Quiqley — bass, vocals, Nate Silverman — guitar, vocals, Aaron Xavier —drums, vocals.

Crackerjack Highway will play jazz-melded-funk-rock music from their debut album for the first time in the San Luis Obispo area this weekend at Mr. Rick’s in Avila Beach.

The visiting band has an eclectic new album influenced by some of the most popular jazz, classic and modern rock bands.

Mark Schuh, lead vocals and guitarist, said they play everything from their own songs to a few covers of Miles Davis, The Doobie Brothers and Radiohead in a set.

“We’ve got an interesting mix, as much as we’re influenced by these guys, we don’t really sound like them,” Schuh said.

Schuh said the musicians have a diverse musical background and it shows in the sound on the record. The drummer, Aaron Xavier, studied jazz music, the guitarists are “classic rock kids” and the bass player has toured with folk singer Lisa Loeb. They may be fairly new as a group, but the individual members have also played with Shawn Colvin, Soulive, Melvin Sparks, Eric McFadden and Umphrey’s McGee.

Crackerjack formed in San Francisco 2007 as an instrumental group. Schuh said they found there was not a big enough market for what they were doing and decided to add vocals. Schuh joined the group approximately a year ago as the lead singer and has helped bring the band to a larger audience.

Schuh said with the changes, they stepped up promotion and were able to record their first album, which was released last week. He said this is the band’s first tour outside of the Bay Area.

The five-member ensemble is playing shows up and down the West Coast and finished their Oregon leg last week.

Road gigs are famous for band antics and Crackerjack Highway is working on living up to the reputation. Schuh said it’s been a lot of fun being on the road, and keyboardist Kevin Wong got a little crazy with a vaporizer on the Oregon trip and was laughing so hard tears started pouring down his face.

“We asked him what was so funny. He said he was just too stoned and couldn’t stop,” Schuh said laughing.

Schuh said they’ve had a lot of laughs on the road, but didn’t think many stories would be suitable for printing.

The trip to Avila was an idea they got from a group that had previously played at Mr. Rick’s and said they loved the atmosphere of the place. Shuh contacted the tavern soon after to make it part of the tour. Levi Caron, booking and promotion manager at the venue, said he was impressed by the band’s original sound.

“I checked out their MySpace page to hear the music, and it seems like they’re really dialed in,” Caron said.

Caron said he thought they would be perfect for the laid-back Sunday crowd. He said customers come in swimsuits and enjoy the music and food.

Mr. Rick’s is a beachside bar with a patio and an ocean view. Caron said people wander in from the sand to hang out, have drinks and play pool. The bar has live music and dancing every weekend year-round.

Caron said this time of year is when they start having bigger events. He said one of their most popular nights is the Friday night farmer’s market on the promenade. The bar has a band play out on the patio and hosts an after-party. Melanie O’Keefe of Pismo spends her time hanging out on the patio.

“It’s perfect. There’s a great ocean view, and the food and drinks are great,” O’Keefe said.

Caron said they have a lot of regulars, but don’t see very many Cal Poly students or people from San Luis Obispo. He said they’ve been advertising more in downtown to draw residents, and Shuh and Caron said this weekend’s show is going to be “great.”

“We’re going to rock your socks off,” Schuh said.

Crackerjack Highway is scheduled to play Sunday, April 4 at 3:00p.m.

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