Biography Skinny Molly

The American South isn’t just a point on the compass. It’s a state of mind and way of life. It’s the way you think, drink and tip your hat. It’s the land where music is king, and the bands who make it are gods. When you strum a guitar south of the Mason-Dixon Line, you’re running with a rock ‘n’ roll baton that’s been carried by everyone from the Allman Brothers to Lynyrd Skynyrd. It takes a special kind of modern band to walk in those footsteps, but in 2012, Skinny Molly are back to storm the podium and ram-raid a rock scene crying out for heroes. Batten down the hatches: there’s a Haywire Riot goin’ on…
The four members of Skinny Molly might have heavyweight history, but Haywire Riot is all about the here-and-now. Released in early-Fall through Ruf Records, this is a follow-up record that hijacks the modern rock scene, via the old-school values of stellar songwriting, white-hot chops, lyrics wrenched from the depths and performances that leave it all the studio floor.
Step into Skinny Molly’s world and you’ll come face-to-face with the deceptive lover from Lie To Me, the girl hiding a gun in her glovebox on Too Bad To Be True, and the poisonous call of liquor on Devil In The Bottle. With music that swings from the wrecking-ball riffs of If You Don’t Care to the reflective acoustic vibe of None Of Me, this is maximum rock ‘n’ roll, zero pretension, and when Mike Estes roars: “Hey rock star, just shut up and rock!” on the track of the same name, there’s no doubt the Skinny Molly singer is leading by example.
But killer songs were only half the equation. Great rock ‘n’ roll is also about chemistry, and if the walls of Alabama’s Swamper Sound Studios could talk, they’d tell of a recording session where four world-class musicians collided and caught the sparks. On soaring vocals, slide guitar, mandolin and baritone, Mike is a force of nature. Jay Johnson delivers sizzling fretwork and supporting vocals, while the rhythm section of Kurt Pietro (drums) and Luke Bradshaw (bass) crank out the swing and sting with grit and grace. Haywire Riot is the album that Skinny Molly have promised us since 2004, when Mike hooked up with Kurt and original guitarist Dave Hlubek for a ‘one-off’ tour of Europe that never stopped. Soon enough, a debut album – No Good Deed – was pricking ears with its early signs of greatness on cuts like Straight Shooter and Better Than I Should. Now, with the lineup cemented and dedicated to the cause, it’s time for the knockout blow of this new release.
Haywire Riot is sure to recruit new fans on the strength of the music, but it doesn’t hurt that all four Skinny Molly members are legends in their own right. After striking up an unlikely friendship with Allen Collins while still a teenager, Mike’s first band, Helen Highwater, was both christened and given guidance by the late Lynyrd Skynyrd icon (who once gave him an eight-hour guitar lesson), and the bond deepened when the young band opened up Skynyrd’s ’87 Tribute Tour.
Post-Skynyrd, Mike has smashed the Billboard chart with his co-written White Knuckle Ride single, and released two solo albums under his own steam – Driving Sideways and Brave New South – while remaining a fixture of the planet’s magazine covers and music channels on the strength of his prolific talent. Back in 1995, he was inducted into the Hollywood Rock Walk Of Fame, but with Skinny Molly, you sense he’s only just getting started.
Kurt has been Skinny Molly’s big-hitter on the drumstool since the start. Fusing the influence of players like Jakson Spires of Blackfoot and Mötley Crüe’s Tommy Lee into his own stellar technique, Kurt soon graduated from a bedroom wizard to a revered Michigan studio ace and a live powerhouse with early outfit Crystal.
Kurt’s skills demanded a ground-shaking bass talent, and in 2012, Skinny Molly’s rhythm section is thrillingly completed by Luke Bradshaw. Equally adept on electric or standup bass, and able to bend his talent to any project, Luke is arguably never better than when giving a fat low-end to Skinny Molly.
With Mike Estes in the lineup, some guitarists might feel the pressure. Not Jay Johnson: the band’s six-string stinger missile and perhaps the only player capable of standing toe-to-toe with his frontman.
Apart, they’re awesome. When these musicians come together as Skinny Molly, it’s a molotov cocktail of talent that’s sure to blow the roof off when they take this second album out on the road. Sure, things may go a little haywire when these boys roll into town. But trust us – you’ll definitely have a riot…

Biography Wentus Blues Band

Finnish group Wentus Blues Band's seventh studio CD "Woodstock" was recorded at Levon Helm Studios in Woodstock, NY in the autumn of 2010.
"Woodstock" includes 12 new, original songs. Band members Juho Kinaret, Niko Riippa, Robban Hagnäs and Pekka Gröhn wrote the majority of the material. Producer Clas Yngström penned one song. Lyrics to three songs are written by former Cream lyricist Pete Brown.

Clas Yngström has collaborated with Wentus Blues Band earlier, as he produced their album "No Beginner" (2001). Yngström is a musician himself; he has fronted his own band Sky High for more than 30 years.
Wentus Blues Band was formed in Finland's midwestern city of Kokkola in 1986. Its name derives from the Kokkola village of Ventus, where their rehearsal room is still located. In addition to their own career, Wentus has backed up several world-class blues and rock acts. Tours have taken the band to numerous countries in Europe.

Wentus Blues Band celebrated their 20th Anniversary with a three-night concert in Helsinki in September 2006. Along with Wentus, long-time collaborators like Louisiana Red, Lazy Lester, Kim Wilson (The Fabulous Thunderbirds), Mick Taylor (The Rolling Stones), and Sven Zetterberg took the stage.
Director Heikki Kossi and his film crew were there to shoot a documentary of the event. The resulting film, "Family Meeting", was nominated for two national film awards in Finland. "Family Meeting" has screened in several European countries as well as at festivals in the USA and Canada.

Wentus Blues Band are Mikael Axelqvist (drums), Pekka Gröhn (keyboards, backing vocals), Robban Hagnäs (bass, backing vocals), Juho Kinaret (vocals, percussion), Niko Riippa (guitar), and Kim Vikman (guitar). Axelqvist, Hagnäs, Riippa, and Vikman are founding members.

Biography Canned Heat

Canned Heat rose to fame because their knowledge and love of blues music was both wide and deep. Emerging in 1966, Canned Heat was founded by blues historians and record collectors Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson and Bob “The Bear” Hite. Hite took the name “Canned Heat” from a 1928 recording by Tommy Johnson. They were joined by Henry “The Sunflower” Vestine, another ardent record collector who was a former member of Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention. Rounding out the band in 1967 were Larry “The Mole” Taylor on bass, an experienced session musician who had played with Jerry Lee Lewis and The Monkees and Adolfo “Fito” de la Parra on drums who had played in two of the biggest Latin American bands, Los Sinners and Los Hooligans.

The band attained three worldwide hits, “On The Road Again” in 1968, “Let’s Work Together” in 1970 and “Going Up The Country” in 1969 became rock anthems throughout the world with the later being adopted as the unofficial theme song for the film Woodstock and the “Woodstock Generation.”

They secured their niche in the pages of rock ‘n roll history with their performances at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival (along with Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and The Who) and the headlining slot at the original Woodstock Festival in 1969. The band can boast of collaborations with John Mayall and Little Richard and later with blues icon, John Lee Hooker, the musician that they initially got much of their musical inspiration from in the first place. This union produced the spirited and revered album, “Hooker ‘n Heat.” The band is also credited with bringing a number of other forgotten bluesmen to the forefront of modern blues including Sunnyland Slim, who they found driving a taxi in Chicago, Skip James, who they found in a hospital in Tunica, Mississippi and took to the Newport Festival, Memphis Slim and Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown with whom theyrecorded in France and Albert Collins.

On September 3rd, 1970, the band was shattered by the suicide of Alan Wilson. His death sparked reconstruction within the group and member changes have continued throughout the past three decades. On April 5th, 1981, at the Palamino in Los Angeles, gargantuan vocalist,Bob Hite, collapsed and died of a heart attack and on October 20th, 1997, Henry Vestine died in Paris, France following the final gig of a European tour. In 2008, singer/harmonica frontman Robert Lucas passed away from a drug overdose.

Despite these untimely deaths and assorted musical trends, Canned Heat has survived. They have performed at world-renowned venues such as Paris’ Olympia, both Fillmore Auditoriums, The Kaleidoscope, Carnegie Hall (with John Lee Hooker), Madison Square Garden and even Royal Albert Hall and have played more biker festivals and charity events than any other band in the world. They and/or their music have been featured on television (In Concert, David Frost, MervGriffin, Midnight Special, Playboy After Dark, etc.), and in films (“Woodstock,” “Flashback,” and “Forrest Gump”) etc. Their legend has recently been heard and felt in various television commercials (“On The Road Again” for Miller Beer, “Goin’ Up The Country” for Pepsi, Chevrolet and McDonalds, “Let’s Work Together” for Lloyd’s Bank, England’s Electric Company and for Target Stores along with other songs for 7-Up, Levi’s and Heineken Beer).

Now, more than forty-five years later and with thirty-eight albums to their credit, Canned Heat is still going strong. They have been anchored throughout the past forty years by the steady hand of drummer/band leader Adolfo “Fito” de la Parra. Joining “Fito” is original bassist Larry “The Mole” Taylor and New Orleans legend, Dale Spalding on harmonica, guitar and lead vocals. Chicago great Harvey Mandel is the regular guitarist but has been temporarily replaced by John “JP” Paulus while “The Snake” deals with serious health issues.

Fito’s book, “LIVING THE BLUES” tells the complete and outrageous Canned Heat story of “Music, Drugs, Death, Sex and Survival” along with over 100 captivating pictures from their past and is available through the band’s website at and at most popular book outlets.

Biography Big Daddy Wilson

No matter where Big Daddy Wilson travels on this big, beautiful, mixed-up planet of ours, he takes the South with him.

Listening to the soulful storytelling of the man born Wilson Blount in a small town in the Inner Banks region of North Carolina, it's impossible not to conjure images of dusty back roads, cypress groves, a Saturday night juke joint or Sunday morning revival meeting. It's a nostalgic and – some might say – glorified image of rural America. Yet in an age of ruthless demagogues and divisive politics, Big Daddy Wilson chooses to celebrate the simple things that bond us as human beings – a smile, a shared meal, a helping hand – along with cherished values like faith, perseverance and devotion to family. For more than two decades, he has been carrying his message of hope and unity to each and every show, whether in New York, Paris, Auckland or – in the case of his new live album Songs From The Road – the village of Rubigen in central Switzerland.

The concert recorded at the Mühle Hunziken exemplifies Wilson's uncanny ability to connect with an audience. The key ingredients are honesty, his natural charisma and the sheer power of his voice. This performance from the fall of 2017 is a testament to just how far the American ex-pat and former soldier has come since answering a newspaper ad and summoning the courage to sing "Stormy Monday" for a group of young German blues musicians way back in the 1980s. He's ably supported by a tight and versatile four-piece unit comprising Cesare "Smokestack" Nolli (g), Paolo Legramandi (b), Nik Taccori (dr) and Enzo Messina (k). A band that backs Big Daddy Wilson always has to be at the top of its game, because his music isn't any one thing. From song to song, it may transform into something hard-driving or laid-back, funky or bluesy, joyful or brooding, stripped down or supercharged.

"I tried to give my listener a small view of the journey, the good, the bad, the highs and the lows," explains Wilson in the liner notes to the album. He and the band open the set sounding figuratively uptown: "Wake Up" is a steady grooving call to action, "Drop Down Here" a reggae-tinged plea for help from the man upstairs, "Miss Dorothy Lee" a guitar-fueled tribute transported on a Bo Diddley-like rhythm. The bawdy blues of "Texas Boogie" gives way to the dead serious testifying of "Ain't No Slave." Then it's time for a little side trip to the countryside: "Anna Mae" and, later, "Cross Creek Road," are sun-drenched and pastoral. The band picks up steam again on "Neckbone Stew," ultimately climaxing with the earthy "Baby Don't Like." The twelve-song live CD closes with the eloquent simplicity of "I Just Need A Smile."

As usual with the long-running Songs From The Road series, there are visuals as well. The accompanying DVD in the two-disc set includes 15 songs in all and offers a good long look at Big Daddy Wilson in action. It opens with the familiar gospel blues of "John The Revelator" and closes with something he revealingly calls his "Country Boy Medley." But don't expect to see him standing onstage in overalls and work boots. As always, Wilson is nattily attired in fine threads, a short-brimmed hat and the ubiquitous pair of dark shades.

Some years ago, Big Daddy Wilson told an interviewer that the main reason he wears sunglasses onstage is his inherently shy nature. "I'm no entertainer," he claimed at the time. Songs From The Road delivers some pretty strong evidence to the contrary. And yet, in a certain way, he's right. Wilson's music – like Wilson himself – is real. It's honest. At no point is this man ever putting on a show. "I’m just interested in singing, getting my message out and feeling the people – and hoping I can make them feel me."

Biography Dani Wilde

Young British Blues & Soul Songstress 'Dani Wilde' first broke in to the public eye at the tender age of 17 opening for Steeleye Span's Maddie prior. Having been brought up listening to her fathers record collection ranging from Bob Dylan to Motown, Stax and Chess records, Dani's childhood dreams were always of singing, songwriting and performing.

Dani grew up in Hullavington, a small Wiltshire village, just a few doors down from popular jazz artist Jamie Cullam. Dani says "Jamie is quite a few years older than me so I really don't remember him that well from School. I really admire how he took an un-commercial genre of music and managed to cross over to a mainstream pop audience. I would love to do that with the blues!"

At the age of 18, Dani moved to Brighton where she spent three years achieving her 1st Class Ba Hons Degree in Music whilst also promoting herself as an artist. In 2006, she was noticed by Jools Holland's younger brother 'Christopher Holland'... One thing led to another and by Christmas that year, she was opening for Jools Holland at The Royal Albert Hall.

News of Dani's incredibly soulful voice, unique finger picking guitar style and growing success soon spread and in September 2007 she was picked up by prestigious international blues record label 'Ruf Records'. Dani recalls "Signing to Ruf was a dream come true for me. More than anything I wanted to follow in the footsteps of the contemporary blues women I admire such as Susan Tedeschi and Shemekia Copeland. Thomas Ruf gave me that opportunity!"

In January 2008, with the release of her debut album 'Heal My Blues' , Dani Wilde embarked on the 'Blues Caravan' tour of the UK, Europe and America. Each night she had the opportunity to open up for her hero's Sue Foley, Candye Kane and Deborah Coleman. Following this tour, Dani continued to tour the USA opening for Candye Kane and Robben Ford as well as headlining European tours with her young British band. "Touring 'Heal my blues' was such a learning experience for me. I found myself on the same bill as my hero's, such as Koko Taylor for example, at some of the biggest blues festivals in the world... I had a lot to live up to!"

With regular BBC Radio 2 airplay and magazines from Blues Matters to The Times and Classic Rock giving glowing reviews, Dani Wilde continued to develop as an artist. In March 2010, she went back into the studio to record her second album for Ruf entitled SHINE. The record, produced by legendary British blues producer Mike Vernon really has captured Dani at her very best. "Working with Mike Vernon was such an incredible experience. He is so tremendously talented and creative. I really wanted the new record to capture my vocals at their very best; and from a songwriting and production standpoint I wanted to have a real mix of my blues and soul roots combined with more contemporary influences such as Alanis Morrisette and Joss Stone. I really feel we have achieved just that."

Shine, which features Van Morrison's horn section and pianist, is due to be released in August this year followed by tours of the UK and Europe; and 2011 will see Dani back on the world-wide Blues Caravan tour. In the meantime, Dani is continuing to fundraise for her on-going charity work in the slums of Embu, Kenya... "Every year I visit County Primary school and Toto Love Orphanage in Kenya. The level of poverty there is so horrific. HIV and aids are also a huge problem. Seeing the hardships these kids have to endure is so heartbreaking. With help and donations from my fans, we have been able to improve these children's education and are able to give them opportunities that they will always remember and be proud of. So many more children in Embu desperately need our help. Please do read more about my work in Kenya on my website WWW.DANIWILDE.COM".

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