To classify Chris Duarte simply as a Blues Man is an understatement. In his own words, “rockin’ blues” or ”punk blues” describes him best. “Ferocious blues” also fits. Legend has it that Chris will play so hard that his fingers bleed in a set.
The legend is true. Photos attest.Chris Duarte is a road warrior playing more than 150 dates a year. As well, Chris has headlined major festivals and clubs throughout the US, Canada and Europe.
Chris is a savant, a sorcerer of tone, a master at channeling the spirits and sounds of great musicians of our past, while remaining completely recognizable in his own sound. He has shared his stage with many of the greatest musicians of our time as well as the multitude of “young lions” and local musicians he meets on the road. From his many years as a side man in Austin, he easily changes roles from front to side, graciously allowing all to share the conversation of the jam.
Chris Duarte’s music is ever changing. In many interviews, he has said “Music must evolve.” His own early offerings often become magical journeys into changing tempo and jazzy interludes before returning to their core. With such a vast catalog of recordings, there are no two shows alike. Every set list is different, and each song may be offered distinctly, based on the feel of a show and the audience. For those reasons, loyal fans often return to a Chris Duarte show again and again, and always walk away awed and satisfied to have witnessed such a legendary, but humble guitarist.
The Chris Duarte Group emerged on the scene out of Austin, Texas in the early 90’s and gained notoriety after wowing a packed room of industry insiders at the South X Southwest convention. In the wake of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s passing, Duarte quickly gained a National reputation as young man imbued with a playing style comparable at times to the late guitarist. After fielding interest from a number of labels, Duarte signed to Silvertone Records and his debut album “Texas Sugar/Strat Magik” reportedly sold in excess of 100,000 units in the United States, no small feat for a blues/rock guitarist. This coupled with Duarte’s strong commitment to touring, was the impetus for Chris’ winning the “Best New Talent” in Guitar Player’s 1995 Reader’s Poll. He also finished fourth in the magazine’s “Best Blues Guitarist” category that year behind legends Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy and B.B. King
Chris’s musical background includes duties as lead singer and front man for rock and roll hall of famer and Grammy award winner Levon Helm’s band, The Barnburners. During the 6 years that Chris and Levon played together they toured across the US and Canada lighting up stages everywhere they went. Chris has appeared on stage with: Legendary Rolling Stones sideman Bobby Keys, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Jimmy Vivino, Jeff Healy, Dan Akroyd, Albert Lee, Dave Edmunds, Dave Maxwell and the great James Cotton to name just a few. Chris has also recorded with Bill Perry and Hubert Sumlin, among others.
The Chris O’Leary Band’s debut CD “Mr. Used to Be” won the 2011 Best New Artist Debut CD Blues Blast Award and was nominated for best new artist debut at the 2011 American Blues Music Awards.
The regular members of the band include:
The old Willie Dixon adage, “blues is truth,” perfectly describes the searing, contemporary blues-rock of
world-renowned guitarist and vocalist Coco Montoya. Taught by the “Master of the Telecaster,” Albert Collins, but with a hard-edged sound and style all his own, Montoya mixes his forceful, melodic guitar playing and passionate vocals with memorable songs, delivering the blues’ hardest truths. He earned his status as a master guitarist and soul-powered vocalist through years of paying his dues as a sideman with Collins (first as a drummer) and then with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, before launching his solo career in 1993. Five years of constant touring with Collins and ten years with Mayall turned him into a monster player and dynamic performer. Montoya has released eight solo albums—including three for Alligator between 2000 and 2007—and has played at clubs, concert halls and major festivals all over the world. Guitar Player says Montoya plays “stunning, powerhouse blues with a searing tone, emotional soloing, and energetic, unforced vocals.”
Henry “Coco” Montoya was born in Santa Monica, California, on October 2, 1951, and raised in a working class family. Growing up, Coco immersed himself in his parents’ record collection. He listened to big band jazz, salsa, doo-wop and rock ‘n’ roll. His first love was drums; he acquired a kit at age 11. He got a guitar two years later. “I’m sure the Beatles had something to do with this,” Montoya recalls. “I wanted to make notes as well as beats.” But guitar was his secondary instrument. Montoya turned his love of drumming into his profession, playing in a number of area rock bands while still in his teens and eventually becoming an in-demand drummer.
In 1969, Montoya saw Albert King opening up a Creedence Clearwater Revival/Iron Butterfly concert at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. He was transformed. “After Albert got done playing,” says Montoya, “my life was changed. When he played, the music went right into my soul. It grabbed me so emotionally that I had tears welling up in my eyes. Nothing had ever affected me to this level. He showed me what music and playing the blues were all about. I knew that was what I wanted to do.”
Then fate took over. In the early 1970s, Albert Collins was booked to play a matinee at the same small club in Culver City, California where Montoya had played the night before. The club owner gave Collins permission to use Montoya’s drums. Montoya continues the story: “I show up to pick up my equipment and I see that someone had been playing my drums and I got a little angry with the club owner. So Albert called me up at the club and was real nice and apologetic. I went down to see his show and it just tore my head off. The thing that I had seen and felt with Albert King came pouring back on me when I saw Albert Collins.”
A few months later, Collins desperately needed a drummer for a tour of the Northwest and he called Coco. “When he called,” recalls Coco, “I figured we’d rehearse for a few weeks before the tour. Instead, he told me he’d pick me up in three hours.” During the tour, Albert took Montoya under his wing, teaching him about blues music and life on the road. After the tour ended, Montoya remained in the band for five more years. It was during this time that Coco began doubling on guitar. And Albert went out of his way to teach him. “We’d sit in hotel rooms for hours and play guitar,” remembers Montoya. “He’d play that beautiful rhythm of his and just have me play along. He was always saying, ‘Don’t think about it, just feel it.’ He taught me to tap into an inner strength. What a great gift he gave me.” As Montoya’s guitar playing improved, his relationship with the blues legend kept growing. “He was like a father to me,” says Coco, who often crashed at Collins’ home. When he declared Montoya his “son,” it was the highest praise and affection he could offer. In return, Montoya learned everything he could from the legendary Master of the Telecaster. Montoya often pays tribute to his mentor, recording a Collins song on almost every album he’s made. But he will only cover an Albert Collins song if he can make it his own. “One of the things Albert taught me is to interpret a song your own way,” Montoya says. “He was never impressed with people who would imitate him note for note.”
By the early 1990s, Montoya felt ready for a change. He put his own band together and hit the road, proving himself night after night. His debut as a leader, 1995’s Gotta Mind To Travel (originally on Silvertone Records in England and later issued in the USA on Blind Pig Records), became an instant fan favorite.
Blues fans, radio programmers and critics sent praise from all corners. The album immediately made it clear that Montoya was a guitarist and vocalist who ranked among the best players on the contemporary blues scene. In 1996, he was nominated for four Blues Music Awards and walked away with the award for Best New Blues Artist. Two more Blind Pig albums followed, and Coco was well on his way to the top of the blues-rock world .
Still an indefatigable road warrior, Montoya continues to pack clubs and theaters around the world, and brings festival audiences to their feet from New York to New Orleans to Chicago to San Francisco. Across the globe, he’s performed in countries including Australia, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Norway, England, Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Mexico, Ecuador, Italy, Poland, Russia, Czech Republic and Canada. Vintage Guitar says, “Coco just keeps getting better and better...rockin’ blues with guitar that cuts straight to the heart of the matter. His guitar playing is funky and blistering; it’s perfect. Whatever he plays, he does it with fire and passion rarely seen in this day and age.”
With his hybrid of roots rock, blues, and sacred steel, Florida native Damon Fowler started wowing audiences with his musical exploits as a teenager, building a reputation as one of the hottest young players on the scene. Adding songwriting and vocal skills to his repertoire over the years has brought him many accolades, with critics extolling his originality and maturity as well as his technical guitar expertise. In last year's "Best of Tampa" poll, Creative Loafing magazine named him "Best Guitarist... And Slide Guitarist... and Lap Steel Player... And Dobro Player.
"Sugar Shack, Damon Fowler's Blind Pig Records debut showcases a fresh and exciting rising star at the height of his powers as a performer and writer. Damon's sparkling original compositions pair perfectly with well-chosen cover tunes from Billy Joe Shaver, Merle Haggard, and the Amazing Rhythm Aces. And Damon's soulful vocal delivery and instrumental prowess continually excite and delight. He said he was honored and excited about working with Blind Pig, noting that he's looking forward to furthering the blues tradition by "making roots music for my generation as well as for generations to come." Scott Cable, renowned for his work on Blind Pig's acclaimed comeback album by Nappy Brown, served as producer.
Fowler's guitar work has been compared to Johnny Winter and Jeff Beck, while his slide guitar has a hint of the late Duane Allman. He can play fiery guitar runs with the best of them, but it's his lyrical work on lap steel and Dobro that makes him stand out among the legions of guitar heroes.
Reviewing a recent performance in Illinois, Juke Joint Soul said, "Fowler's heavy helping of swamp rock and slide guitar blues conjured up a huge lightning storm. Having full command of his voice as an equal instrument to his guitar, Fowler can easily croon you to sleep as he could belt out a jump blues or a Credence-like swamper. This kid has got the tools to take on the big stage.
"Born and raised in Brandon, Florida, just outside of Tampa, Damon Fowler first picked up the guitar at the age of twelve. After being shown a few chords, it was apparent that he was a natural. While his friends were listening to the musical flavor of the month, Damon was digging into the Blues, and was soon playing small clubs in and around the Tampa Bay area. Years later, with thousands of shows behind him, he is one of the most unique and seasoned artists on the national circuit.
Damon, already a master of the six string, developed a powerful command of the lap-steel, dobro, and slide guitars, and continues to astound audiences at every performance. Because of his versatility, he has been called upon to work with such acts as Jeff Beck, Buddy Guy, Johnny and Edgar Winter, Robin Trower, Gregg Allman, Jimmy Vaughn, Junior Brown, Rick Derringer, Little Feat, The Radiators, Chris Duarte, Delbert McClinton, and numerous others.
Damon's first CD, released in 1999 and titled Riverview Drive, is a solid recording of all original material. After hearing Damon, Rick Derringer was sufficiently impressed to produce and perform on the project. Electric Blues called it "an all-around solid effort," with "plenty of strong guitar jams." In a review of Damon's second self-released CD, 2000's Roots And Branches, Robert Murphy wrote, "He doesn't just play the blues, he feels it and it shows in most everything he does. He has the style and guitar chops to please the guitar freaks and the singing ability and personality to please the women in the audience." In 2003, Damon released a sizzling live album called Live At Skipper's Smoke House. It garnered quite a bit of attention. As Gary Weeks wrote in Southwest Blues CD Review, "When one hears Fowler's shit kickin' slide on "Sweet Marmalade" and his ultimate Warren Haynes' slide impersonations on Johnny Winter's "TV Mama", you wonder how such a good thing can stay buried. Take a listen to the CD of The Damon Fowler Group Live and you won't need too much convincing... If you're not feeling a groove, then check your pulse."
Local, state and national audiences are flocking to Damon's sizzling stage shows. Described as having a 'take-no-prisoners' attitude, his trio generates powerful energy and presents a dynamic and dramatic delivery. Fans in the audience get swept up in the moment, and there's no doubt the guys on stage are having a ball performing.
Sugar Shack's producer Scott Cable remarked at the end of the sessions, "Working with Damon, I really understood why so many people are in his corner. He is talented, bright and just a very gifted artist without all of the usual ego and weirdness that sometimes accompany someone so talented. Catching someone like Damon on their way up is a refreshing experience."
Philadelphia’s blues and soul drenched vocalist and songwriter Deb Callahan grew up in the Boston area but has been a mainstay on the mid-Atlantic music scene since the late 90′s. During this time she has gained a reputation for writing creative blues, soul and roots influenced original music and using her powerful, expressive voice and engaging stage presence to deliver an exciting live show. Her 2002 debut CD “If the Blues Had Wings” was featured as the hot debut in the October/November 2004 issue of Blues Revue Magazine. Blues Revue referred to her as the next Bonnie Raitt and raved “Philly’s Deb Callahan has the pipes, the songs and the raw talent to graduate to the next level”. Her fourth and most recent CD, entitled “Tell It Like It Is” was released in October 2010 which debuted at #19 on the Living Blues Radio Chart and received regular airplay on the XM/Sirius Bluesville radio channel as well as blues and Triple A radio stations around the country. The songs are blues based with gospel, soul, rock and jazz influences and deal with a range of topics and issues such as experiencing love and joy, finding spirituality, giving voice to the experience of homeless children without family support and how hard it can be to make life changes. Doing social work in the heart of Philadelphia would be a good place to learn about life’s hard knocks and this urban school ground taught singer/songwriter Deb Callahan well. Her rich, honest and soulful tunes resonate with listeners and run the gamut from soulful ballads, to upbeat, dance oriented grooves. Her road tested band includes Allen James, Garry Lee and Tom Walling. Deb is working on her 5th CD which she is hoping to release sometime in 2014.
Callahan’s voice has the spiked fervor of contemporary Susan Tedeschi, but it’s richer and smoother. Stylistically she’s picked up a lot from one of her earlier influences, Nina Simone – Simone’s squirming rhythms and hypnotic vocals reverberate in Callahan’s music.” “Deb Callahan is a shouter, a crooner, a soul-belter and above all a gifted lyrical interpreter. She could sing the phone book and make it sound good.”– Living Blues Magazine Feb 2011
She has shared the stage with Buddy Guy, Billy Preston, James Cotton, Shemekia Copeland, Hubert Sumlin, Debbie Davies, Savoy Brown, Big Jack Johnson, Sean Costello, The Holmes Brothers, Phil Guy, Deanna Bogart, Ann Rabson, Nick Curran, Southside Johnny, Floyd Lee, NRBQ, Joe Bonamassa, Guitar Shorty, Little Ed and The Imperials, Bob Margolin, Paul Cebar, Tommy Castro, Anthony Gomes, Johhny Lee Hooker Junior, Sister Monica Parker, Marcia Ball, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Duke Robillard, Eric Lindell and many more.
Debbie Davies is an award-winning singer, songwriter, guitar player of extraordinary talent. A professional musician since the early 1980s, Debbie ranks among the top blues artists in the country. She has received ten nominations for Blues Music Awards, and in 1997 and 2010 won the award for Best Contemporary Female Blues Artist.
Davies’ rise to the upper echelon of blues music started at an early age as she absorbed the music heard constantly in her home. Her (professional) musician parents were either sitting at the piano or spinning discs on their turntable, filling the air with the sounds of big band jazz, harmony vocal groups, or the pop icons of the day. But the young Davies was particularly attracted to the bluesier sounds of her father’s Ray Charles records, and by the age of 12 realized that her affinity for an instrument was not for the piano, but for the guitar.
Growing up in Los Angeles in the 1960’s, she found that being a female guitar player meant only one thing: acoustic guitar. Electric guitars were still toys meant only for boys. But when Debbie heard the sounds of the British blues-rock bands, particularly the electric guitar of Eric Clapton with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, she became completely captivated. Going against the grains of society’s accepted roles of the time, Debbie pursued her dream with the passion of an artist and the soul of a rebel.
Davies cut her teeth playing in blues and rock ‘n roll bands in the San Francisco Bay area before returning to Los Angeles in 1984, where she landed the lead guitar spot in Maggie Mayall and the Cadillacs, an all-female band led by wife of British blues pioneer, John Mayall. In 1988 she was recruited by Albert Collins to join the Icebreakers, and for the next three years she was a featured guitarist performing behind one of the most innovative bluesmen of all time. “I stepped through a door into the real blues world when I joined Albert’s band,” Davies says. “It’s one thing to listen to the records and pull off the licks, or sit in the audience watching these artists play. But actually going out and touring with one, turned the blues into something completely three-dimensional for me. I knew then what a special opportunity this was, but I know it even more now.” During her tenure with Albert, Debbie was invited to perform on John Mayall’s 1990 album, A Sense of Place, and in 1991 she recorded with Albert Collins and the Icebreakers on the Grammy nominated self-titled release for Point Blank/Virgin Records.
In the summer of 1991 Debbie became lead guitarist for Fingers Taylor and the Ladyfingers Revue, which served as the opening act for Jimmy Buffett’s “Outpost” tour. In September 1993 she came out with her debut solo release, Picture This, on Blind Pig Records, which featured a cameo by Collins on “I Wonder Why.” People like to ask Debbie if she learned her technique from Collins, to which she gently points out that she had to play well from the start to hold her own with Albert at every performance. However, the experience taught her lessons in being a better musician, both onstage and off. Says Davies, “It was the most powerful band I had ever played with, so I learned to dig even deeper into myself to pull out the music. Albert was a man of so much grace and kindness, so I can only hope that I was able to absorb some of his humanity too.”
Since 1993, Debbie has produced eleven solo recordings and two collaborative CD’s, one with guitarists Tab Benoit and Kenny Neal, and another with guitarists Anson Funderburgh and Otis Grand. The roster of other artists who have joined Debbie in the studio on her recordings reads like a who’s who of the blues: Albert Collins, Ike Turner, James Cotton, Mick Taylor, Peter Green, Coco Montoya, Duke Robillard, Tommy Shannon, Chris “Whipper” Layton, Sugar Ray Norcia, Mudcat Ward, Charlie Musselwhite, Bruce Katz, Per Hanson, Noel Neal, and Rod Carey.
A thirty-year veteran of the road, this latest recording leaves no doubt that Debbie Davies is truly one of the leading lights on the contemporary blues music scene today.
What do you get when you combine an inner calling, a sick passion and an uncommon urgency with The Blues, Rock N’ Roll and Americana?... You get the highly evolved musical madness of guitarist Duffy Kane. Duffy is a man who just wants to play guitar. His music is as diverse as he is American. His fever for the guitar is evident in his sheer electricity on stage. Like a volcano that is ready to erupt… Duffy is the real deal on stage and off.
Born in Weirton WV, Duffy Kane was surrounded by the sounds of Jazz, Classical, Blues and Country. A classically trained violist; he altered his knowledge of the violin and easily transferred it to the guitar. A self taught guitar player with a classically trained ear is the foundation for Duffy’s provocative guitar style. His mother was a guitar player. When Duffy was a kid there was a beat up guitar that sat in the corner of his living room. Duffy remembers grieving as a child because his yearning to pick up that guitar was so strong but his father forbade him. That created even more of a yearning to grab that guitar and let it rip! Finally, when he was 16… he saved enough money to buy his own Les Paul and never looked back.
A cross between Stevie Ray Vaughan’s musicianship and Ted Nugent’s stage presence… his style evolved into a need. He started playing festivals and performed with Blues greats: Johnny Winter, Big Jack Johnson, Tino Gonzales, Debbie Davies, Sonny Rhodes, the Nighthawks, and Smokey Wilson. He recorded his first studio album Let Your Insides Do the Talking at 16th Avenue Sound in Nashville with Grammy nominated producer Brian Hardin (Jerry Lee Lewis and Charlie Daniels).
Duffy Kane’s new record is set for release Spring 2014 and has been inspired by Duffy’s need to tell his story. The debut album touches on geo politics but is not preachy. Duffy says, “I write to wake people up to the true nature of the geo political dogs that are screwing up our planet. I feel the need to present the truth and music is a safe way to do that... well maybe not safe… but a good way to convey emotion.”The debut single entitled “I’ve Been Lied To” deals with the lies and disappointments that Duffy has experienced in the music business It stretches tonal boundaries and introduces more colorful, harmonic passages.. The second single, “Why My Road” is a slow cooked tribute to Texas Blues. Kane’s musicianship is based deep within the roots of The Blues while showcasing his original signature sound.
Duffy’s new work aims at powerful and wins. The songs will make you laugh and cry and will hopefully enlighten. Duffy says, “The songs on this album are really about being an individual in the light of truth and not in darkness. They are my own personal struggles to choose the light. I want to do what is good and I hope I can help others through my music and my message.”
Duffy is currently on tour throughout the Northeast. Seeing Duffy live is an experience that will uplift your soul. He’s been called a Roadhouse Mozart and that name follows him because of the truth behind it. A rogue renaissance musician who is ahead of his time… Duffy is a man on the run. Please check his website: www.duffykane.com for tour dates.
Retro roots music from Wichita, KS.
With progressive roots outfit Moreland and Arbuckle having come to an amicable end after 15 years together, Dustin Arbuckle is ready to explore a wide range of music with his new project, Dustin Arbuckle & The Damnations. A musician of vast appetites, he’s long held an appreciation for traditional American music in the vein of Charley Patton as well as the cross-pollinated sounds of The Band or Stax-style soul.
The Kansas native marks hearing the Leadbelly classic “Gallows Pole” as his earliest music memory, becoming an astute devotee of the blues by the time he’d reached his teens. “That turned out to be a jumping off point, though,” he says. “I always loved Howlin' Wolf, but as I got older and started opening my mind to a wider range of music, I'd turn around and listen to the Allman Brothers Band, then Johnny Cash, Sam & Dave, or Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. I hope you’ll hear some of that reach with The Damnations.”
Arbuckle, who also fronts the Kansas-based acoustic group Haymakers and is a frequent collaborator with fellow songwriter Wayne Long, is eager to take to stages with The Damnations. “This is a time to shake things up a bit and see what comes out,” he says. “The direction the music will go in isn’t set in stone and that’s a cool place to be at the moment.” He adds that he hopes to record with a version of the group in the near future. “I think this will open new possibilities for songwriting too,” he says. “It feels like anything could happen.”
Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Doc Watson, Otis Redding, Charley Patton, Lee McBee, Mavis Staples, Howlin' Wolf, Johnny Cash, The Allman Brothers Band, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Hank Williams, Sonny Boy Williamson 2, The Black Crowes, Ralph Stanley, Son House, Big Bill Broonzy, and more
In an era where pedalboards, laptops and samples have become commonplace, Eric Steckel goes against the grain and harkens his listeners back to the days when great guitars were played loudly through great amps. Hailed by many as the top rising star of Blues/Rock, Eric delivers a powerhouse performance that has left audiences in 22 countries (and counting) mesmerized. He brings an energy and passion to the stage that never disappoints and is a must see for fans of vintage guitar rock.
On Eric's latest studio album, "Black Gold," he takes listeners on a musical roller-coaster ride that embodies the human spirit and captures the emotions of daily life. His most diverse album to date, fans of vintage guitar rock will immediately fall in love with Black Gold. From soft, dynamic Blues ballads to heavy, low-tuned Rock anthems, Eric’s signature guitar style is front and center. No pedals, samples or drum machines. No apologies for turning it up to 11. This is rock the way they used to make it.
Few young guitarists can improve on Eric Steckel's impressive resume. Eric's debut CD, "A Few Degrees Warmer", was recorded live in April 2002 when he was just 11 years old. It wasn’t long until he appeared at the 2003 Sarasota Blues Festival where Eric's powerful set became the talk of the day. Before the night was over Eric was introduced by British Blues/Rock legend, John Mayall as the youngest guitarist ever on stage with the Bluesbreakers. Eric left a lasting impression on Mayall and, in 2004 Mayall invited Eric to appear in Sweden, Norway and Denmark during The Bluesbreakers’ Scandinavian Tour. In early 2005, Eric traveled to Los Angeles where he joined Mayall for session work on the "Road Dogs" record.
Eric then spent the following years filled with marquee festival dates and sold out concert tours in Holland, Germany, Belgium and Italy. He opened for Johnny Winter at The Paradiso in Amsterdam, thrilled audiences at the Tegelen Bluesrock Festival and shared the prime-time bill with Gregg Allman at the legendary Pistoia Blues Festival.
Throughout his teens and young adulthood, Eric released several critically acclaimed live and studio albums. 2006's "Havana" was a hit among Blues guitar lovers and tracks from this album are still featured often on SiriusXM's Bluesville station. 2008's "Feels Like Home" featured the talented Duane Trucks on drums and recalled the 70's southern rock era. Hits from this album such as "The Ghetto" and "Just Walk Away" receive regular airplay to this day. In 2012, after years on the road, Eric entered the studio once again to record a powerful modern Blues record. "Dismantle The Sun" emerged. Last year, Eric embarked on a quest to record a fully transatlantic studio album with some of the finest producers, engineers and musicians he knew. This led to "Black Gold" being recorded in both Nashville, Tennessee and Amsterdam, Netherlands and is Eric's most successful album to date and a fan favorite.
Road-tested and seasoned from 19 years on stage and in the studio, yet young enough to deliver the passion and feeling of the Blues to a wider audience, Eric is a skilled player with a powerful voice and a winning personality.
Eric has been featured in Classic Rock Magazine, Blues Rock Review Magazine, Maxazine, Nightwatcher's House of Rock, The Allentown (PA) Morning Call, The Doylestown (PA) Intelligencer, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The (NY) Times-Herald Record, Music Head Magazine, The Warren (NJ) Reporter Forum, Guitar World Magazine, The Easton (PA) Express, The Bridgewater (NJ) Courier Times, The Sarasota (FL) Herald-Tribune, the Lancaster (PA) Sunday News and The Florida Times Union. International press includes features in the Haagshe Courant, De Telegraaph, BluesMagazine (NL) and a MusikMaker (NL) feature. Eric was also featured in a Comcast CN8 TV News Extra and he has appeared on NBC 10 in Philadelphia, Comcast CN8, Fox Philadelphia, SNN6 in Sarasota and Reuters TV.
Born and raised on a cattle farm, my roots are based in folk, blues, and vintage rock. Harmonica is my main instrument though I love to sing as well. An avid supporter of live music, I have also run open mics, and performed in a variety of venues. Much as I enjoy performing with my band, I feel supporting fellow musicians is also an important part of the greater scheme. Outdoor venues are still my favorite, though it is always a joy to play for a appreciative crowd. To quote a famous composer: ” To play a wrong note is insignificant, but to play without passion is inexcusable.” Guess that’s just the way I roll…..
The band consists of Frank Luca on guitar, Steve Price on bass and vocals, and Kenny Barycki or Bobby Jones on drums and percussion. I round things out with harmonica and vocals. We have performed at several Light the Night Benefits for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, festivals such as the State Street Blues Stroll in Media, restaurants, bars, parties, and assorted miscellaneous benefits. Our band plays a variety of music: Blues, Vintage Rock, and country with a pop song or two thrown in for good measure.
It has been my good fortune to perform with many other talented musicians; Don Evans, Roger Girke, Billy Pierce, The Geri Smith Trio, Wayne Dean and the Bailouts, The Blue Cat Blues Band, The Relays, The Homewreckers. Divergent, Gerard Devries, Johnny Never, and my other band; The Blues Mojo. Also, I play fairly regularly with the guys in the 4W5 house band which hosts a weekly blues jam (The Reef-DE), where I’ve met a bunch of great people and musicians.
"Gary Allegretto is one of the classiest acts in the music business today, working only with the best backup musicians and taking the time to craft music noted not only for its quality but for its authenticity. ...intimately honest, and what's best about his genuineness is its completely offhand quality. If someone complains to you that they don't make "real" blues records anymore - albums that sound like lost classics yet retain the freshness of an individual - play Many Shades of Blue for them."
~Blues Revue Magazine
A down-to-earth guy with lifelong wanderlust and more than a few stories to tell, Gary Allegretto’s resume reads like a men's adventure wish-list: back-country forest ranger, forest firefighter on an elite "Hotshot" crew, LA city firefighter, "bouncer” in a couple rough honky-tonks and a Blues bar, cowboy and ranch hand, beach lifeguard, white-water rafting guide… and traveling Bluesman. His accomplishments are also widespread and diverse. He's a summa cum laude college graduate that Northern Arizona University recognizes as an "Alumni of Distinction". He's the recipient of multiple awards for his outreach to children. He’s also the founding director of Harmonikids, a humanitarian organization that gives music therapy with harmonicas to special needs kids worldwide. Through it all, Gary can barely remember a time when Blues and Roots music weren't a powerful part of his life, and playing harmonica wasn't as natural as his own voice. He started playing upon receiving his first harp at age 5 from his woodsman grandfather. Soon after, while attending a cultural festival he carelessly wandered away from his family following an irresistible sound ... a Big Walter Horton performance. As the loudspeakers blared something about a lost child, he knew he’d found his calling… and he followed.
Down the road, Allegretto's performances have captivated audiences from the stages of venues and festivals worldwide and his recordings have received multiple Grammy Award nomination considerations. His music has topped the Blues and Roots radio charts internationally. On stage his live shows have attracted guest performances by famous musicains such as Prince, Mick Taylor, Warren Haynes, David Lee Roth, Rick James and celebrity musicians such as Queen Latifah, Bruce Willis, and Dennis Quaid. He is the 2011 recipient of the Blues Foundation's prestigious "Keeping the Blues Alive" award. He's been praised in the pages of prominent Blues press including Blues Revue, Blueswax, Living Blues, Big City Blues, Blues Matters, and more. Critics have called his musicianship "world class", "masterful", 'jaw-dropping", and "exemplary". His songs can be found on film and television productions including the soundtracks of Johnny Depp's film "Rum Diary" and the national PBS television program "Roadtrip Nation". Gary is prominently featured in the KBA award winning harmonica documentary film "Pocket Full Of Soul". He has performed nationally & internationally both backed by his all-star electric band and/or acoustically. His performances never fail to catch the intrigue of his audiences, often including prominent musicians and occasional celebrities. For two decades Hohner, the world’s top harmonica manufacturer, has enthusiastically endorsed Allegretto.
Allegretto is also a renowned Blues educator and recipient of the Blues Foundation's prestigious 2011 KBA Award in education. Recently Gary was chosen unanimously to be the first harmonica instructor at the Pinetop Perkins Foundation's Master Class 2012. Acclaimed for his versatile technique, he has taught harmonica in many other celebrated workshops including the Augusta Heritage Center's Blues Week, Telluride Blues Camp, Riverfront Blues Festival, California Traditional Music Society's Folk Festival, Tremblant International Blues Festival, John Gindick's Harmonica Jam Camp, the Folk Alliance Conference and Stax Music Academy in Memphis. He is a Blues educator whose peerless children's programs have taught thousands of kids worldwide to both learn about and actually play songs on the harmonica with lightning speed, elevating not only their knowledge - but also confidence and self esteem. Gary's exemplary "Blues in The Schools" program, has been featured by many Blues societies internationally and featured by the Blues Foundation in Memphis area schools as part of the 2008 and 2010 International Blues Challenge. In addition to his captivating performances, Allegretto offers concert promoters the unique option and opportunity to provide entertaining harmonica workshops at their venues. Gary's workshops include new harmonicas & lessons for folks of all ages and ability levels ~ a rare opportunity to learn from a professional.
Of special note, Gary is the founder and director of Harmonikids (see www.harmonikids.org) which is a 501(c)3 non profit charitable organization that provides music therapy with harmonicas and lessons to special needs children internationally. His work has earned him the aforementioned 2011 KBA award and 2010 Artists for a Better World award. Allegretto has provided aid to special needs children from the earthquake devastated Port Au Prince, Haiti, to the tsunami refugee camps of North Sumatra, Indonesia to the Katrina evacuee trailer villages of Louisiana and many points in between. Harmonikids has received widespread acclaim in the media including The Today Show, PBS News programs, as well as Vogue, Blues Revue, Blues Matters, Big City Blues, and Living Blues Magazines. For more information about his unique humanitarian work please visit www.harmonikids.org.
Gary's recordings have received rave reviews, topped the Living Blues and Roots Music radio charts and received multiple Grammy Award nomination considerations including Best Contemporary Blues album. His song "Four Day's Late" recently won first place in Alternate Root Magazine's "Songs for Social Change" contest by a landslide. On his CD "Many Shades of Blue", Gary was enthusiastically joined on the CD by friends and prominent artists including Ivan Neville, Janiva Magness, and Doug Macleod. On a personal note, the CD also proudly features duets of Gary with his dear friend; the great National Heritage Award winning Bluesman, John Cephas. Sadly, they are among John's last recordings.
Allegretto has also recorded with others, notably 2005 Grammy Life-time Achievement Award winner and Blues legend Pinetop Perkins on Rich Del Grosso's Blues Music Award nominated CD release. At the conclusion of their CD release gig performance Pinetop gave Gary the ultimate personal endorsement exclaiming that he "can really blow that harp!” and then as he left the stage he turned and deliberately pointed directly to Gary saying "You keep the business going." In Gary's words, "This was from an idol of mine, a legendary man who played with Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson, Little Walter, and many other ultimate legends of the Blues. My heart stopped and I just said...'yes sir', realizing that this was not just another reason to keep playing the music I love and continue the work of "Keeping the Blues Alive" ~ this was direct orders from the last of the great Mississippi Bluesmen .
“This young woman is a force to be reckoned with...Surely a candidate for best album of 2017”
— LA Music Critic
“She's at the top of her game”
— American Blues Scene
“Not since Susan Tedeschi has a young female Blues singer made such an impression...remarkable voice”
— Blues Revue
“Regarded as one of the finest vocalists currently practicing in the Blues field”
— Friday Blues Fix
“Gina Sicilia's voice posessess such depth and breadth that she may indeed one day be mentioned alongside the giants in the blues idiom”
— Music City Blues
“ Earthy, voluptuous voice”
— Boston Globe