O - S

Ray Fuller

Ray Fuller from New Albany Ohio, was given his first guitar at the age of 8, a Gibson Melody Maker.  At an early age, Fuller was inspired by the British Invasion; Rolling Stones, Yardbirds and the Animals bands.  Fuller’s first Blues album he ever heard was John Mayall and the Blues Breakers featuring Eric Clapton.  “I could tell good blues guitar when I heard it…it was different."


Fuller’s passion for the Blues was fueled with the discovery of the original Blues greats; John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, BB King, Elmore James.  Young Ray Fuller was especially fond of John Lee Hooker.


The Ray Fuller Band was formed in 1974, evolving into Ray Fuller and the Bluesrockers in 1978; releasing a self titled album on vinyl and Fuller has not looked back since.  Mastering his craft throughout the 80’s and 90’s,  Fuller was quick to become the “go to act” throughout Ohio to open for iconic Blues musicians such as Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells and Albert Collins to name a few. 


MUDDY WATERS after witnessing an opening act performance by Ray Fuller on slide guitar exclaimed for all to hear "That was some hot slide boy! I could smell the smoke backstage!


JOHN LEE HOOKER was so impressed with the band and their performance that he took Ray and his entire band and the John Lee Hooker band out to dinner and picked up the tab. He then invited Ray Fuller to be his special guest at his next show 100 miles away the very next day!


These opportunities to hang out and learn at the feet of the masters were not wasted on young Ray.  He paid close attention to every pearl of wisdom and every nasty riff and blues lick generously shown to him as an eager student of the blues.


In 1989 Fuller began touring as far west as Colorado, south to Florida and north to Michigan and New York.  Fuller released “Damn Guitars” in 1989 which was quick to become a top seller for Rounder Records; followed by “Ray Fuller and the Bluesrockers Live” in 1992. 


Touring paused with the end of Fuller’s marriage which ended in true blues fashion in 1995.  This break up inspired many great songs, still receiving airplay today.  Fuller went on to release “Pearlene” in 1997; Twist of Fate in 1999 and in 2003 “Live Rockin’ the Blues.”


With new determination and new marriage in 2009 Fuller pressed on.  In 2010,  Fuller played his first overseas show at the Vodacom Ampitheatre in Port Elizabeth South Africa, donating all proceeds to a local South African friend/fellow musician whose daughter was fighting a life threatening illness.


Under new management in 2010, Fuller began focusing on his passion for slide guitar, playing in his own style which has been compared to and inspired by Elmore James, Hound Dog Taylor and even Earl Hooker (cousin of John Lee Hooker).  Fuller found himself in demand with renewed focus on his unique style of “Rockin’ Slide Guitar Blues”; playing major Blues Festivals in both USA and Canada.  In January 2013, Ray Fuller signed with Blue Gate Media, Germany, to tour Europe!


Coming full circle from being a young musician/painter straight out of Columbus College of Art & Design opening up for the great Buddy Guy, Ray Fuller is now a Saturday night Headliner at the world famous Buddy Guy’s Legends, Chicago IL!  In-fact April 27, 2013 Fuller had the honor and rare privilege of recording Ray Fuller and the Bluesrockers “LIVE at Buddy Guy’s Legends” with Mr. Buddy Guy in attendance!   “LIVE at Buddy Guy’s Legends” CD will be released April 15, 2014, using Blind Raccoon, Memphis TN as the publicist.


Ray Fuller’s immediate focus is on bringing his unique “Rockin’ Slide Guitar Blues” to Blues Festivals and major Blues venues throughout USA, Canada, Europe and beyond; putting on high energy, dynamic performances full of fire and energy audiences won’t soon forget! 


"Sounds like Elmore James and Houndog Taylor tempered with the rowdiness of George Thorogood." -- Guitar Player Magazine


The USA Bluesrockers: 

Harmonicist Doc Malone brings a ton of stage presence with his performances! Bassist Lenny Fatigati and drummer Daryl Jumperare the driving force behind our tight rhythm section, "Totally in the pocket" - Living Blues Magazine Together they are an unstoppable force of rockin' blues energy! ! 

RB Stone

RB Stone is a singer, songwriter and musician based in Nashville, Tennessee. 


RB Stone’s parents were huge music lovers; his father, a blues/boogie, rock ‘n’ roller and his mother, a fan of Tennessee Ernie Ford, Janis Joplin, Herb Alpert, Johnny Cash, Sly and the Family Stone, Elvis and the wide variety of hits from the 60’s. At 12, his mother showed him some chords on the piano and Bill Withers’ hit “Lean On Me” was the first song he learned, which started the ball rolling in his long blues/boogie composing career. 


Eighteen and just out of high school, music was still a dream that seemed to belong to others, so he hired on with the railroad traveling the Midwest with a 90-man rail gang four days a week. After two years he accepted an offer as an assistant manager at a plumbing, electric and heating store in Ohio, rose to the level of manager and accumulated a house, two cars, two trucks, and two motorcycles. 


Restless at 23 RB sold everything but a truck, some harps and a guitar and headed to Colorado to be a cowboy and play music. There he met a horse trainer and lived on an Indian Reservation in Ignacio where he slept in a barn learning horses by day and teaching himself guitar at night. A few months later he got good enough at both and started getting hired by local outfitters to run back-country horse packing, wrangle horses and entertain the guests around the campfire. 


Since those early beginnings, RB’s life and career have taken many twists, turns, bumps and bruises accompanied by significant accomplishments. Independent and flying under the radar he has 15 albums under his belt, toured 32 countries & 5 continents, sold over 40,000 albums most of them at his shows. He has a song catalog with Gwen Gordy of the Motown Dynasty at EMI. He’s had principal roles in national commercials, appeared in national music videos and his songs have been recorded by artists such as The Marshall Tucker Band. RB has worked with many major acts from Jazz Greats Hiroshima to The Charlie Daniels Band, has a 14 piece Roots Music Production Show featuring his songs, a Billboard Magazine Songwriting award, to name just a few of his achievements. 

Roger Girke

Roger Girke is a singer, writer and road tested guitarist.  With a career including over 4,000 live shows, concerts and festivals and numerous recording sessions and releases, Roger’s artistry has been validated by fans, writers, broadcast and a number of blues music industry awards. The Roger Girke Band was a top 10 finalist in the 2009 International Blues Challenge and two time top tier CD finalists* in 2005 and 2009 (The IBC is an annual event in Memphis which has been a career launchpad for Keb Mo, Susan Tedeschi, Michael Burks, Eden Brent and many others).


Originally Inspired by 60's rock and blues, Roger started out performing in local bands in the eastern PA/NJ area. Upon joining the legendary Philadelphia area roots rock band Pickins (Capitol/Ariola), Roger received a real deal education in music and life with the hard driving blues rock band. This was followed by touring and recording with The Sharks (Elektra), Robert Hazard (RCA), The Limits, Joey Saint, Pegasus, Richard Bush and many others. 


In 1991 Roger refocused exclusively on performing, recording and writing contemporary blues. Since then he has fronted his own band, recording 4 CD's and regularly performing at blues festivals, clubs and concerts throughout the Mid-Atlantic. In that time he has also recorded and performed with Gary Allegretto (Los Angeles, CA), Sam Cockrell (Chicago, IL)  Jimmy Pritchard (DE), Rockett 88 (DE) and others. 


Roger’s CD releases include: 

• Roger Girke and The Funkytwisters – “We Got The Funky Blues” Teletone 2001 
• The Roger Girke Band – “My Baby Loves That Stuff” Teletone 2004 "Top 5 Self-Produced CD" 2005 International Blues Challenge* 
• The Roger Girke Band – “Shake It” Teletone 2008 “Top 6 Self-Produced CD” award, 2009 International Blues Challenge* 
• Roger Girke – “Piece Of Work” RG3Records 2013 - contains nine self penned tracks.

. Roger Girke and The Wandering Souls - "Silver Lining"  - Released in 2017 it contains 9 Original songs penned by Roger.


Roger Girke CD releases are available on the music tab of this website, via iTunes, Amazon.com and CDBaby.Roger, along with the many talented musicians he works with, continues to evolve each year performing original compositions from his 4 CD’s combined with interpretations of New Orleans R&B classics and blues favorites – all centered by Roger’s strong vocals, established guitar skills and onstage charisma. 

Ron Spencer Band

For over 25 years Ron Spencer has been a mainstay of the CNY blues scene. He has lent his fiery blend of blues, and roots-based guitar playing to some of the area’s premier bands including Grammy nominated Joe Whiting, The Kingsnakes' Pete McMahon, Tom Townsley and blues diva, Kim Lembo. In 1996 Ron brought his four piece combo to national attention with their CD, Ron Spencer & The Nite Crew - Burnin' Desire. In May of '98 Blues Revue declared them "the best-unsigned act" He has shared the stage with dozens of national recording acts such as Rod Piazza, Charlie Musslewhite, Johnny Copeland, Kenny Neal, Son Seals and Little Charlie & The Nitecats. He has been invited on stage to engage in head to head guitar duels with such heavyweights as Duke Robillard, Anson Funderburgh, Bob Margolin and Rick Holmstrom. He has also toured with Chicago's queen of the blues, Big Time Sarah and Blue Wave Records diva, Kim Lembo. 


Formed in 2000, the seven piece Ron Spencer & Jumpstart featured a swingin’ horn section, poundin’ keyboards and a blues shoutin’ frontman. In 2002 the band paired up with rock & roll and r&b legend, Jimmy Cavallo. Their CD, "Jimmy Cavallo - The Houserocker with Ron Spencer & Jumpstart" on Blue Wave Records was nominated in 2003 for the ultimate recognition in the blues field...a W.C. Handy Award! In 2006 their Blue Wave Records CD “Livin’ Low” won a SAMMY Award for best blues recording. Jumpstart’s next Blue Wave collaboration with Jimmy Cavallo, “You’d Better Believe It!” won them a second SAMMY Award in 2007. Ron and Jimmy have performed together three times to sold out shows at England's premier r&b festivals as well as the largest festival of it‘s kind in the world, Wisconsin‘s Rockin’ ‘50‘s Fest.


In '09, now a four piece group, they released Roller Coaster Blues an original collecton of blues & American roots music, winning them Blues Review's 'Sponsor The Bands' contest!  

Samantha Fish

Whether one leans towards the blues, opts for Americana or ignites some special fervor by playing with a garage band, there’s a common bond that suggests a reverence for the roots. Looking back towards an earlier template — no matter what the genre — proves the point that appreciating what came before can be a stepping stone for what comes next.


Samantha Fish knows that all too well, and it’s been evidenced in the music she’s made her entire career. While she’s well known as a purveyor of blues, having been lauded by such legends as Buddy Guy, the Royal Southern Brotherhood and Luther Dickinson, her real love is simply raw, scrappy rock and roll. “I grew up on it,” she insists. “Working with Luther on my last album further instilled that spirit in me. It made me realize just how much that basic, unfettered sound means to me, and how well it ties into soul music, R&B, country and so many other forms of music that are essential even today.


”It’s little wonder then that when it came time to record her new album, Chills & Fever (released March 17, 2017), Fish ventured off in another new direction, one she was exploring for the first time in her career. She traveled to Detroit and joined forces with members of the Detroit Cobras, a band whose insurgent ethic has made them darlings of the Midwest punk/blues scene. The two entities — which included Joe Mazzola on guitar, Steve Nawara on bass, and Kenny Tudrick along with Bob Mervak on keys, and the New Orleans horn section featuring Mark Levron and Travis Blotsky on trumpet and saxophone — bonded over a common love of classic soul and rollicking rhythms, so much so that the results testify to a seemingly timeless template. Covering songs from the ‘60s and ‘70s — indelible melodies from the pens of legends like Jackie DeShannon, Jerry Ragavoy, Bert Berns and Allen Toussaint — and revisiting some earlier demos she cut along with producer Bobby Harlow, Fish and the Cobras created an album that’s best described as a pure slab of rocking rhythm n’ blues.


“I listened to a lot of soul music, and I dug deep into people like Otis Redding and Ray Charles,” Fish recalls. “I was also influenced by people like R.L. Burnside and North Mississippi’s Junior Kimbrough. It’s a lot less restrained style of music than the sound people may be used to hearing from me, but it’s definitely a different facet of my personality. It’s far more straight forward.


”The fact is, Fish has never been bound by any expectations whatsoever. Growing up in Kansas City, she switched from drums to guitar at the tender age of 15. She spent much of her time in local watering holes listening to visiting blues bands. Samantha caught the attention of Ruf Records. The label subsequently released her album, Girls with Guitars, which found her co-billed with Cassie Taylor and Dani Wilde. That led to her forming her own trio and recording three more albums, Runaway (2011), Black Wind Howlin’(2013) and Wild Heart (2015), as reaping an awards for Best Artist Debut at the 2012 Blues Music Awards in Memphis. Along the way she found herself working with other artists as well — Jimmy Hall, Devon Allman, and Reese Wynans, among them.


Still, nothing she’s done before can prepare her faithful fans and followers to the seminal sounds of Chills & Fever.


I don’t think I ever enjoyed making a record quite as much as I enjoyed making this one,” Fish insists. “I love the sound of the brass and the edgier intensity. One thing’s for sure. Nothing ever felt so authentic.” 

Sean Chambers

 2017 BIOGRAPHY
“The thing about Sean Chambers is that he’s the real deal!
He’ll give you the shirt off his back and he’ll give you a show that will leave you emotionally exhausted, wanting more!”
-Barry Kerzner, American Blues Scene (May 01, 2017)


-Florida born Sean Chambers began his career in the Blues back in 1998 when he toured with the legendary Hubert Sumlin as his guitarist and band leader until 2003. During Sean’s tenure with Mr. Sumlin, Britain’s own Guitarist magazine named Chambers as “One of the top 50 blues guitarists of the last century.”


In 2009, Chambers went into the studio to record his critically-acclaimed album, Ten Til Midnight. When Ten Til Midnight was released in October, 2009, it garnered rave reviews and also appeared on the Living Blues chart for the first three months after its release. It received steady airplay in 45 states around the U.S, as well as many markets overseas. The title cut was featured on “The House of Blues Radio Hour” as a “Blues Breaker;” and the album also generated significant airplay on Sirius/XM Radio’s blues channel as a “Pick to Click.”


Sean Chambers released Live from the Long Island Blues Warehouse in 2011, which featured 10 tracks of mostly originals, along with Sean’s distinctively searing takes on “Full Moon on Main Street,” a highlight song from an early album by The Kinsey Report; as well as a blistering version of Elmore James’ “Dust My Broom,” which recalls Johnny Winter in its approach.


Live from the Long Island Blues Warehouse appeared on BB King’s Bluesville XM/Sirius Blues Charts as a “Pick to Click” for 6 weeks in a row, as well as 15 weeks on the RMR Weekly Blues Roots Chart and 11 weeks on the House of Blues Radio Chart. The album was voted “Best Live Blues Album of 2011” by Canada’s Blues Underground Network and ranked as one of the Top 3 Live CD’s in Germany by the magazine Wasser Prawda. In addition it was nominated for a Jimi Award for “Best Live Blues Album of 2011.” Guitar Player Magazine did a full page feature story on Sean in February, 2012, and the same month Vintage Guitar Magazine ran a two page feature story.


On October 15, 2013, Sean Chambers released The Rock House Sessions, on Blue Heat Records. The album received great reviews and was also nominated for a Blues Blast Music Award in 2014 for “Best Blues Rock Album of the year”. The album was recorded at Rock House Studios owned by acclaimed keyboardist
-Kevin McKendree (Delbert McClinton Band) – hence the album name The Rock House Sessions.


On March 17th 2017 Sean Chambers released his newest album entitled “Trouble & Whiskey” on the American Showplace Music label. Trouble & Whiskey hit #11 on Billboard, reached #7 on the Living Blues Charts during the first week of it’s release, and was nominated for a Blues Blast Music Award for “Best Blues Rock Album of the year”. The album is produced by Ben Elliott who has recorded classic artists such as Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Billy Gibbons and Leslie West among others. The core band on the album aside from Sean on lead vocals and lead guitar includes Michael Hensley on Hammond B3 & keyboards, Todd Cook on bass and Kris Schnebelen on drums. Special guests include Jimmy Bennett on guitar on track #8, John Ginty on Hammond B3 on track #4, and Andrei Koribaniks on percussion on tracks #1 and #7.


Trouble & Whiskey features 10 tracks which include 7 new original Sean Chambers compositions, and 3 well chosen covers including “Bullfrog Blues” by Rory Gallagher, ‘Cut Off My Right Arm” by Johnny Copeland and “Be Careful With A Fool” by Riley B. King/Joe Bihari.


Sean Chambers currently resides in Southwest Florida with his wife Karen who handles his merchandise sales while on tour.
www.seanchambers.com


Sean is proudly endorsed by: GHS Strings, VooDoo Amps, Eminence Speakers, DiMarzio, Celestial Effects and Bullet Guitar Cables.


Discography:
Strong Temptation / Vestige Records
Humble Spirits / Rockview Records
Ten Til Midnight / Blue Heat Records
Live from the Long Island Warehouse / Blue Heat Records
The Rock House Sessions / Blue Heat Records
Trouble & Whiskey / American Showplace Music
Guest appearance on About Them Shoes / Hubert Sumlin / Tone Cool 


RecordsRadio Promotion: Rick Lusher (917) 742-0254 / rickl11421@hotmail.com
Management: Paul Benjamin (207) 691-0825 / bluesman@midcoast.com

Sklya Burrell

 Vizztone Recording Artists, the Skyla Burrell Band, are known for their passionate and high energy live shows.


The band released their debut studio CD, "Working Girl Blues" in 2004, containing 12 original songs. From that very 1st CD, Mark Tomlinson received an Honorable Mention for his track  "Bad Dream" in the 14th Annual Billboard Songwriting Contest. In 2006 the band recorded and toured in Europe, and released their sophomore effort, "Livin' Day to Day". The band played 240 shows in 2006 and secured the #1 Top Booked Band slot on Sonicbids.


The band kept up their busy schedule (between 2006 and 2007 playing a total of 465 shows) and expanding their touring radius.  In 2008 the Skyla Burrell Band released their third CD of all original material, "Tough Luck". The band sold a track from "Tough Luck" to the producers of the CBS/CBC drama "The Bridge, which aired over the spring in Canada and was the #1 rated drama, and made its US debut in the late summer. 


"Real Love" the band's 4th studio CD was released in the early Fall of 2011 containing 14 new original tracks and saw the band touring extensively and working hard.   With 2012 came more tours up and down the East Coast and recognition within the Blues Industry with an induction into the Blues Hall of Fame representing Pennsylvania. 


In 2014 the band returned to the recording studio for their 5th studio CD titled "Blues Scars" and signed with the VizzTone Label Group. Blues Scars was released on October 7, 2014, to critical acclaim.  As with all Skyla Burrell Band releases, 'Blues Scars' contains all original material written by Skyla and Mark. In September of 2014, the band signed exclusively with Road Dawg Touring Co to represent all bookings worldwide. 


In 2015 and 2016 the band toured extensively the US and Canada and are currently working on a new CD in addition to touring.  Look for the new CD Summer of 2017! 

Smokin' Joe's

This is going to be HUGE! Ten years ago Roger Girke, Wayne Dean, Joey Fulkerson, Chris McAfee played a series of gigs as the Smokin' Joes at the venerable Perryville, MD blues hot spot The Rendezvous. Now, just like the blues brothers, they're "getting the band back together" for a series of reunion shows. This show at Jonathan's Landing is going to be awesome with all original Smokin Joes band leaders fronting the show (Chris, Wayne, Joey and Roger) with the tremendous rhythm section of Billy Myers and Rick Tremble. Head on down to this not to be missed show!! 

Sonny Rhodes (in partnership with the Schwartz Center of the Arts)

Clarence Smith (born Clarence Edward Mauldin, November 3, 1940), known as Sonny Rhodes, is an American blues singer and lap steel guitar player. He has recorded over two hundred songs. "I'm what you call a self-proclaimed Disciple of the Blues!" said Rhodes about his years playing and singing for fans of blues around the world. He has been nominated 15 times for Blues Music Awards and won in the category Instrumentalist–Other in 2011.


Born in Smithville, Texas, the son of Emma Mauldin, Rhodes was orphaned as a baby and was adopted by sharecroppers Leroy and Julia Smith. He received his first guitar at the age of eight as a Christmas present and became serious about playing the blues at age 12. He credits his uncle as his source of inspiration. Rhodes began performing around Smithville and nearby Austin in the late 1950s, while still in his teens. He listened a lot to T-Bone Walker when he was young. He acknowledges as influences the guitarists L. C. Robinson, Pee Wee Crayton and B. B. King and the singer Percy Mayfield. With his first band, Clarence Smith and the Daylighters, he played blues clubs in the Austin area until he joined the Navy after high school graduation.


In the Navy, he was stationed in California, where he worked for a while as a radio man and closed-circuit Navy ship disc jockey, telling off-color jokes in between the country and blues records he would spin for the entertainment of the sailors. Rhodes recorded a single, "I'll Never Let You Go When Something Is Wrong", for Domino Records in Austin in 1958. He also learned to play the bass guitar. He played bass accompanying the guitarists Freddie King and Albert Collins. After his stint in the Navy, in his mid-20s, Rhodes returned to California and lived in Fresno for a few years before signing a recording contract with Galaxy Records in Oakland. He recorded a single, "I Don't Love You No More", in 1966 and another single for Galaxy in 1967, changing his stage name from Clarence Smith to Sonny Rhodes at that time. Frustrated with the San Francisco Bay area record companies, he recorded "Cigarette Blues" on his own label, Rhodes-Way Records, in 1978 .


Rhodes toured Europe in 1976 and released numerous recordings on European labels, including I Don't Want My Blues Colored Bright and the live album In Europe. In 1985, he released Just Blueson Rhodes-Way. In the late 1980s, he recorded Disciple of the Blues, released by Ichiban Records in 1991, and Living Too Close to the Edge, released in 1992. He later moved to Kingsnake Records, releasing several albums including The Blues Is My Best Friend (1994) and Out of Control (1995), and touring widely in the US, Canada and Europe. In 2008, he released I'm Back Again. His current release, The Essential Sonny Rhodes - Songs & Stories, on Need To Know Music is a retrospective of his career to date, featuring Rich Kirch, Barry Goldberg, Frank Swart and Dawn Richardson. The record was produced by Brian Brinkerhoff and Frank Swart . 

Southern Avenue

Southern Avenue is a Memphis street that runs from the easternmost part of the city limits all the way to Soulsville, the original home of Stax Records. Southern Avenue is also the name of a fiery young Memphis quintet that embodies its home city's soul, blues and gospel traditions, while adding a youthful spirit and dynamic energy all their own. “If Memphis is a genre, this is it!” proclaims American Blues Scene and Rock 103FM calls Southern Avenue - “The most talked about band in Memphis.” 


Their self-titled debut album is a breath of fresh air with its own unique blend of gospel- tinged R&B vocals, roots/blues-based guitar work and soul-inspired songwriting. And Southern Avenue’s upcoming release on the fabled Stax label is a testament to the young combo's talent and vision.


Southern Avenue features five young but seasoned musicians who came from diverse musical and personal backgrounds to create music that spans their wide-ranging musical interests, while showcasing the powerful chemistry that the group has honed through stage and studio experience. Southern Avenue encompasses Memphis-born, church-bred sisters Tierinii and Tikyra Jackson, respectively a soulful, charismatic singer and a subtle powerful drummer; guitarist Ori Naftaly, an Israeli-born blues disciple who first came to America as an acclaimed solo artist; versatile jazz-inspired bassist Daniel McKee; and the band's newest addition, keyboardist Jeremy Powell, an early alumnus of Stax's legendary music academy.  


The band members' diverse skills come together organically on Southern Avenue, scheduled for release on February 24, 2017 via Stax Records, a division of Concord Music Group. Produced by Kevin Houston (North Mississippi Allstars, Lucero, Patty Griffin), the 10-song album features guest appearances from Luther Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars and trumpeter Marc Franklin of the Bo-Keys. But it's Southern Avenue's own potent musical chemistry that drives such sublimely soulful originals as "Don't Give Up," "What Did I Do," "It's Gonna Be Alright," "Love Me Right" and "Wildflower."  The band also pays tribute to its roots with an incandescent reading of Ann Peebles' Memphis soul classic "Slipped, Tripped and Fell in Love." 


The seeds for Southern Avenue's birth were planted when Ori Naftaly, who'd grown up in Israel with a deep-rooted passion for American blues and funk, came to Memphis in 2013 to compete in the prestigious International Blues Challenge. That experience led to Naftaly moving permanently to Memphis and successfully touring the United States with his own band.  


Although his talents were embraced by American audiences, Naftaly felt constrained in his own band, feeling the need to include a more expansive, collaborative musical vision.  That opportunity arrived when he met Memphis native Tierinii Jackson, who'd gotten her start singing in church, before performing in a series of cover bands and theatrical projects. According to Ori, "When I saw Tierinii perform, I thought, 'This is why I came to America.' I met her and we clicked. At our first rehearsal, she told me that her sister was a drummer, and she thought it would be great to have her in the band. We had such a good vibe, and suddenly I didn't care so much about my solo thing." 


"I initially clicked with Ori really well, but it was his project," Tierinii remembers. "Then he came to me and said 'I want this band to be a collaboration, I want this to be our vision and our music.'  So we started writing together, and that's when I realized that we were really the same musically." 


"We started over," Naftaly continues. "We threw out most of the songs I'd been playing in my solo band, and Tierinii and I wrote a whole new set, and we became Southern Avenue. The more we played together, the closer we got, and the more we became a family. We started getting a different kind of crowd, and from there things escalated quickly." 


"Ori said, 'My band is done, this is y'all's band,'" Tierinii recalls. "We all quit our other gigs and started focusing on this, working and writing and living together in a way that you don't experience when you're playing somebody else's music. Now we're playing songs that we wrote ourselves and we're playing them from our hearts. That is when I realized that we had something special." 


Despite not having a record deal, Southern Avenue quickly found success touring in America and Europe. They won additional attention playing some prestigious festivals and competing in the International Blues Challenge, in which they represented Memphis. Less than a year after the band's formation, they were signed to the resurgent Stax label.   "I feel like being on Stax is a responsibility," says Tierinii. "I grew up in Memphis, seeing the name Stax everywhere. It was a constant presence, and now it's up to us to live up that. I feel like this band can be a platform to do a lot of positive things for the city of Memphis. I want to change the world, but Memphis is home." 


Tierinii views Southern Avenue as "a perfect soundtrack to our first year together. We wrote these songs in our first nine months of being a band. We'd all done so many things and come from so many different places, but the music represents all of us. "It's been a real crash course," she continues. "We've haven't been a band for very long, but what we have feels very special, and it's made us a strong unit. I think that we represent something that people need to see right now." 


"This band has already made our dreams come true," Ori concludes. "I've waited all my life to be in a band like this, and it's amazing to me that I get to play with these people every night. Our goal is to keep doing this for a long time and leave our mark. We're trying to build a legacy."