Tag Archives: blues band

Altered Five

The Monroe Balloon & Blues Festival is proud to announce that the Altered Five Band will be playing live Friday, June 14th, 2019 8:30-10:00pm.

ALTERED FIVE BIO

“Ripping up the Midwest band scene for over a decade” – Living Blues

“An outstanding blues and soul band… barrel-chested frontman Jeff Taylor’s voice is gloriously gritty” – Minneapolis Star Tribune

JEFF TAYLOR Lead Vocals
JEFF SCHROEDL Guitar
MARK SOLVESON Bass
RAYMOND TEVICH Keyboards​
ALAN ARBER Drums

For 17 years, Altered Five Blues Band has been winning audiences with a swaggering stomp of bruising, barrelhouse grit. According to Downbeat magazine, frontman Jeff Taylor “sings powerfully” and “Jeff Schroedl’s live-wire guitar reaches the high bar of mixed invention and fluidity.” Blues Bytes magazine declares the group features “the funkiest rhythm section outside of Memphis.”

For its fourth album, Charmed & Dangerous, the Milwaukee-based quintet joined forces with Blind Pig Records, one of the world’s premiere blues labels. Produced by multi-Grammy-winner Tom Hambridge, and featuring guests on harmonica and backing vocals, the 13 tracks of original, contemporary blues prove worthy of the recent groundswell of acclaim. American Blues Scene proclaimed the album, “will be making huge waves… one of the year’s best!,” and the title track has been in regular rotation on SiriusXM’s Bluesville for more than a year. The band was nominated for a prestigious Blues Music Award in the category of Best Emerging Artist Album, and the song “Cookin’ in Your Kitchen” won Blues Song of the Year at the 2018 Independent Music Awards.

The group’s third album, Cryin’ Mercy, reached #3 in the iTunes blues store, hit #1 on the Roots Music Report blues album chart, and won Best Self-Released CD at the 2015 International Blues Challenge. The band was also named Blues Artist of the Year at the 2014 WAMI Award Show, and was recently asked to contribute a track (“Tightrope”) to a Stevie Ray Vaughan tribute album being released in 2019.

Charmed & Dangerous delivers blood-pumping blues with a fiery mix of deft songwriting and simmering musicianship. Taylor’s smoldering baritone howls in the opening title track, and breaths fire-and-brimstone on cuts like “On My List to Quit” and “Three Alarm Desire.” The soul-drenched “Eighth Wonder” and scrapyard shuffle “Mint Condition” showcase A5’s songcraft, while “Cookin’ In Your Kitchen” and “If Your Heart Went Public” prove you can still rattle the rafters with pure, stone-cold slow blues. The album’s third track, “Three Forks,” was inspired by legendary Delta bluesman Robert Johnson and features music, adapted with permission, from the seminal classic “Crossroads.” Hambridge also plays drums on all 13 tracks, adding even more energy and authenticity to the record. ​ “Charmed & Dangerous” won Song of the Year at the 2018 Wisconsin Music Awards.
​From day one, Altered Five dared to be different. The quintet formed in 2002 and earned a reputation for its inventive arrangements and distinctive sound. Isthmus magazine called the band “a rising blues unit” and OnMilwaukee.com declared, “The group delivers the element of surprise.”

Within a few years, Altered Five caught the ear of Cold Wind Records and, in 2008, signed a recording contract with the Minneapolis blues label. The debut album featured the band’s penchant for putting an earthy spin on numbers; the aptly titled Bluesified included roadhouse versions of ten popular songs. The group performed live on three television morning shows and honed its sound playing regular club, festival, and concert dates.

​​​In the ensuing years, Altered Five turned its attention to recording and performing its own material, and the 2012 release of Gotta Earn It drew rave reviews. Barrelhouse Blues called it “a great and powerful recording,” Downbeat commended its “solid songs,” Living Blues called the band “a tight, unified talent” and Big City Rhythm & Blues called A5 “Hands down, one of the best newer blues/R&B bands.”

The band’s third album, entitled Cryin’ Mercy, delivered the next chapter in Altered Five’s musical odyssey. The 11-song set is a fierce collection of original, contemporary blues fused with vintage soul, and the debut release for OmniVibe Records. With Hambridge at the helm, the band hit on all cylinders. “JT” Taylor’s powerful voice anchors the sound and drives home the message in songs like the roaring opener “Demon Woman”; the stinging strut of “Stay Outta My Business,” the vivacious shuffle “I’m in Deep,” the soul-soaked ballad “Find My Wings,” and sassy ”Counterfeit Lover.” The album earned the band two Blues Blast Award nominations and five WAMI Award nominations, including Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, and Song of the Year (“Find My Wings”). “Find My Wings” also made it to the finals of the International Songwriting Competition.

Bassist Mark Solveson anchors the rock-solid rhythm section with drummer Alan Arber, who joined the band in 2017, and Raymond Tevich melds his crafty keyboard work to top off the group’s signature sound. It’s been said that “the blues is a feeling,” so when the Minneapolis Star Tribune states that the band is a “righteous blast,” you know they play it right.

Check them out at: https://www.alteredfive.com/

Josh Hoyer and Soul Colossal

The Monroe Balloon & Blues Festival is proud to announce that the 8:30-10:00pm: Josh Hoyer and Soul Colossal  from The Voice will be playing live Saturday June 16th 8:30-10:00pm

Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal’s combination of soul, funk and R&B is in a word, electric. Best displayed in their high-energy live show, the blend of Hoyer’s honest lyrics and his rich, intensely soulful vocals merge with his top-notch band to create an undeniable chemistry.

Hoyer formed Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal in 2012 in famed blues town Lincoln, Nebraska. The award-winning five-piece band includes some of the area’s most revered and accomplished musicians. Joining Hoyer (keyboards/vocals) is Benjamin Kushner (guitar), Blake DeForest (trumpet), Mike Keeling (bass), and Larell Ware (drums). Inspired by the sounds of Stax, Motown, Muscle Shoals, New Orleans, Philly and San Francisco, the band continuously crosses musical boundaries both in style and era, and joins forces each show with a common goal – to have the crowd dancing so much they forget even their smallest troubles.

On January 26th, 2018, Hoyer released “The End of the Night”, a 3-song EP and solo side project with veteran Nashville songwriters Jay Knowles (Harry Connick Jr, Blake Shelton), and Jon Coleman (Trace Adkins). In the spring, Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal are set to record their fourth full length record which will be released in Europe in August of 2018, followed by a 7-week European tour before its US release.

In 2017, Josh was featured as a contestant on NBC’s The Voice, and the band completed their first European tour; a 27-city stint capped with a live album release from their show in Brussels, Belgium.The hard working band completed several national tours from 2015-2017, playing more than 150 shows in 32 states each year, including opening for George Clinton, Charles Bradley, Booker T Jones, and Muscle Shoals Revue. Their year-round touring schedule took them from coast to coast, including several major summer music festivals.

In 2016, the magic of their live show caught the attention of producer Ken Coomer (Wilco, Uncle Tupelo), who joined with the band to record their third full-length album. Running From Love, was recorded at Nashville’s historic Sound Emporium, and once again features Hoyer’s trademark vocals and the band’s signature groove. The album was released on April 8, 2016, on Silver Street Records, and is available on vinyl, CD, and digital formats.

“If James Brown and Otis Redding had a love child, it would be Josh Hoyer. The Lincoln, Nebraska, soul shouter, and his band of merry soulsters, Soul Colossal, deliver a sound so big, so funky, so wring-the-sweat-out-of-you energetic that it reaches through the speakers and shakes you until you start moving to its groove.” – No Depression

Check them out at:

Website: https://www.joshhoyer.com/

Cash Box Kings

The Monroe Balloon & Blues Festival is proud to announce that the Cash Box Kings, One of the top Blues albums in the World right now! They will will be playing live Saturday June 16th 6:30-8:00pm.

“One of the best blues bands in the land.” – Living Blues

“Virtuoso musicianship…rocking and irresistible.” –No Depression

“Gloriously retro with an inspiring eloquence and grace.” –Vintage Guitar

With deep feeling and top-shelf talent, houserocking blues masters The Cash Box Kings play tough, real deal classic Chicago blues with boundless energy. They also deliver raw, passionate Delta blues, jumping proto-rock ‘n’ roll, and steamrolling “bluesabilly,” their original mix of Chicago blues and Memphis rockabilly. As anyone who has ever been to one of the band’s raucous performances will testify, The Cash Box Kings know how to throw a party. They’re fueled by the powerhouse harmonica work of Madison, Wisconsin-based songwriter Joe Nosek and the huge, gritty vocals of Chicago bluesman Oscar Wilson. Their original songs range from humorous stories of Internet love to harrowing tales of Chicago’s violent gun epidemic. Every song they perform—be it a striking original or a scorching Chess, Sun or Vee-Jay cover—explodes with contemporary authority and radiates old-school authenticity. According to Grammy Award-winning blues legend Charlie Musselwhite, “The Cash Box Kings play with real taste and feel. Not only is it good blues but it’s a jumping good time, too! I ain’t lyin’!”

Joe Nosek founded The Cash Box Kings in Madison, Wisconsin in 2001 and, since 2007, has co-led the band with the charismatic, larger-than-life vocalist Oscar Wilson. Over 20 years apart in age and coming from vastly different backgrounds, the two form an unlikely pair, combining Wilson’s indisputably authentic inner city Chicago blues vocals with Nosek’s harmonica, songwriting and singing talents. The music they create is brilliantly displayed on The Cash Box Kings’ Alligator Records debut, Royal Mint. According to Wilson, “The Cash Box Kings is a throwback to the golden age of blues with some kickin’ fresh young blood. Joe is my best friend in the music world—the band is a marriage made in heaven for both of us.” “Oscar is godfather to my oldest son,” says Nosek. “We have each other’s backs. We’re family.”

Royal Mint features 13 hard-hitting songs, including six impressive originals. From the wry, politically-charged Build That Wall to the chilling Blues For Chi-Raq to the funny and too true If You Got A Jealous Woman Facebook Ain’t Your Friend to the timeless versions of songs by Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Junior Wells, Clifton Chenier, Amos Milburn and Jimmy Reed, Royal Mint shuffles, jumps and gets down and dirty, fueled by the band’s unmatched musicianship. According Nosek, “Royal Mint is our strongest album. The band is at its absolute best.”

Nosek refers to the group of top-notch traditional players who comprise The Cash Box Kings as “a blues collective.” Live and on record, members of the “collective” appear in different combinations for different performances, creating an anything-can-happen experience. In addition to co-leaders Nosek and Wilson, the full ensemble includes world-class guitarists Joel Paterson and Billy Flynn, drummers Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith and Mark Haines, bassist Brad Ber with newest member Lee Kanehira (replacing their longtime pianist, the late Barrelhouse Chuck) rounding out the band.

In their first six years, The Cash Box Kings won a large and loyal audience across the Midwest. Wilson joined the band in 2007, bringing with him an instantly commanding stage presence and an authoritative vocal style that gives fire-breathing power to the music. A self-taught musician and singer with an encyclopedic knowledge of almost every blues song known to man, Wilson—standing 6’1” and weighing over 300 pounds—is a natural-born entertainer and a perfect foil for Nosek and the band. Born in 1953 on Chicago’s 43rd Street (aka Muddy Waters Drive), Wilson grew up in the company of many famous blues artists. Junior Wells, Elmore James, Big Smokey Smothers and close family friend David “Honeyboy” Edwards were all regulars at weekly Friday night fish fries/jam sessions at the Wilson home. Throughout his adulthood, Wilson held regular jobs but was always welcome sitting in with Chicago blues mainstays Melvin Taylor and Johnny B. Moore. His vocal inspirations range from Muddy Waters, B.B. King and Albert King to Jimmy Reed, Jimmy Rogers and Little Walter but he mostly sings like Oscar Wilson. Award-winning harmonica giant and vocalist Rick Estrin (leader of Rick Estrin & The Nightcats) says, “That guy can really sing.”

A self-described blues fanatic, Nosek, born in Wisconsin in 1974 and raised in Chicago, spent his youth soaking up as much blues music as he could hear, both live and on record. In his teens, he began sneaking into blues clubs to watch Junior Wells, James Cotton, Otis Rush, Jimmy Rogers, Sunnyland Slim and others. Nosek recalls, “Seeing those guys work made a huge impression on me and propelled me into wanting to learn how to play the blues.” He took up harmonica, quickly cultivating his own aggressive, fluid style.

After moving to Madison in the early 1990s, he began sitting in with artists such as Clyde Stubblefield and Luther Allison. Finding like-minded musicians hell-bent on playing raw, rough-edged, hard-charging blues, Nosek formed The Cash Box Kings. They released their first album, Live! At The King Club, in 2003, instantly earning praise from critics and fans, and gaining a reputation as one of the hottest live bands on the circuit.

The Cash Box Kings have earned devoted fans in both Chicago and Madison, the two cities where band members live. They regularly headline Chicago venues like Buddy Guy’s Legends and Rosa’s Lounge, and have played major festivals across the U.S. and Europe. They’ve blown away audiences at the Chicago Blues Festival, the Tampa Bay Blues Festival, the Doheny Blues Festival, the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, the Cincinnati Blues Festival, the Cambridge Folk Festival (UK), the Moulin Blues Festival (Netherlands), the Lucerne Blues Festival (Switzerland), the Baltic Blues Festival (Germany) and the Edmonton Blues Festival (Canada). They have also performed in Belgium, France, Spain and Uruguay.

With eight previous releases to their credit and hundreds of live performances under their belts, The Cash Box Kings have won widespread acclaim throughout the blues world. Their 2013 release Black Toppin’ won the 2013 Blues Blast Music Award for Traditional Blues Album of the Year. It was also nominated for a 2014 Blues Music Award in the same category. Their last release, Holding Court, was nominated for two 2016 Blues Music Awards (Best Traditional Album and Album of the Year) and the band was also nominated for the Band of the Year Award. They’ve been featured on NPR Music as well as in the pages of No Depression, The Chicago Tribune, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Living Blues, Vintage Guitar, Blues Blast and many other publications. Living Blues said, ”This accomplished band of musicians captures the vibe of traditional blues and flawlessly spins it in innovative ways.”

According to Alligator president Bruce Iglauer, The Cash Box Kings are a natural addition to the label. “I love this band because they combine the classic Chicago blues style with contemporary lyrics, true blues vocals and terrific musicianship. Oscar Wilson’s voice is a soulful roar like Muddy Waters’ and Joe Nosek plays powerhouse harmonica in the James Cotton tradition. Billy Flynn and Joel Paterson are world-class blues guitarists. The whole band can deliver jumping party shuffles or down-in-the-alley gritty blues. Their fresh songs bring wry humor to subjects like current politics, the pitfalls of social networking and life on the tough streets of Chicago.”

Nosek agrees, saying, “We’re very happy about finding a new home with Bruce Iglauer and the good folks at Alligator Records. As blues musicians who grew up in Chicago, becoming a part of the Alligator roster is a great honor for us. It’s the label that has released some of our all-time favorite blues records.”

With blasting harmonica, soul-deep vocals, original songs and sizzling guitars, The Cash Box Kings boast an array of talent to satisfy blues lovers of every shape and size. On Royal Mint they make old blues new as they continue to create new blues classics, with, according to Elmore magazine, “just the right amount of juke joint grit.” Living Blues says The Cash Box Kings are “straight from the golden era of the blues,” boasting “an impressive line-up of A-list players. Joe Nosek feels Little Walter and Slim Harpo in the essence of his soul. Singer Oscar Wilson could be right out of [Chicago’s famed] Checkerboard Lounge in its glory days. The Cash Box Kings are a dancing and listening pleasure.”

Check them out at:

Website: https://www.cashboxkings.com/