Anthony Gomes

 “Gomes’ authentic voice and the formidable guitar chops place him in the forefront of modern blues.”

 - Blues Music Magazine

Anthony Gomes, #1 Billboard Blues Artist, is a triple threat force as a guitarist, vocalist and songwriter. This, along with his high-energy shows and dynamic stage presence, make him one of the top draws on the Rock/Blues circuit today.

Gomes’ new record Peace, Love & Loud Guitars, named Best Blues Album of 2018 by Blues Rock Review and SoundGuardian Magazine, is the culmination of a life spent honoring Blues traditions while never losing sight of his own identity. The Toronto born guitar slinger stands his ground as a creative artist and is eager to push the Blues back into the mainstream.

“My goal is to keep the Blues fresh, exciting and even dangerous," says Gomes. "I want to bring back the thrill longtime Bluesmen created in their day. At the same time, I think it’s very important for the music to grow and evolve.

”He has performed with the likes of B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Robert Plant, Heart, Sammy Hagar, .38 Special, Jonny Lang, Robert Cray and Kenny Wayne Shepherd. Gomes recalled a conversation he had years ago with one of those legends. “B.B. King told me the Blues are like the laws of the land. They need to be amended to the times we live in,” Gomes said. “As an artist, it's very exciting to think that the Blues can be just as ground-breaking today as it ever was.

"Believing that music can inspire the human spirit, Anthony founded the Music Is the Medicine Foundation in 2010. This non-profit organization is dedicated to changing the lives of others through the healing power of music.

Anthony Gomes has nothing left to prove while leaving all his passion on the table. Nonetheless, he continues striving to not only find the legendary “lost chord,” but the ultimate combinations of words, notes and performance. Looking for an actual 21st Century guitar hero? Here he is.

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South Farwell

One listen through South Farwell’s exemplary album Tear Everything Down demonstrates why the band is difficult to categorize. Delivering elements of Blues, soul, country, and Southern rock, intertwining solid musicianship with sincerely-written lyrics, the band is a singular entity in a world of imitators. Although their music defies comparison, it speaks eloquently for itself.

Interviewing the members of the closely-knit group is an often hilarious undertaking akin to herding kittens.“That's it! ‘South Farwell, cute as kittens,’” quipped Bill Boles (lead vocals, acoustic guitar), when asked how he’d describe the group.

Boles (formerly of Easychair; lead vocals, acoustic guitar) and Cory Dahl (formerly of MOJO, Day Old Bread, and CrossRoads Blues Band with Sue Orfield; drums) are more likely to crack jokes and toss jovial banter back and forth than to discuss themselves. That authentic humility, and Boles’s purposeful, heartfelt songwriting, define the substance of the band.

Citing the emotional connection between the members, Dahl says, “As a band, we never play more than a half dozen shows a year. Right now this works for us. It keeps us eager; every show is a big deal to us. We are all great friends and have a deep appreciation for one another, which we hope shows when people come out to listen to us.” He spoke of newest member Ethan Schmidt (bass/vocals) as not just a long-time friend, but as family.

According to Dahl, “It’s our variety of perspectives that truly creates our vibe and sound. In the ten-plus years that we’ve been a band, there has never been a point where we’ve all lived in the same city. This long-distance relationship in music-making has allowed us to be more spontaneous and to live in the moment. It just so happens that the Blues welcomes this approach, and I guess that is where we find ourselves fitting in the Blues genre and community.”

Dahl continues, “Our influences are diverse. Freddy King, Allman Brothers, Black Crowes, Jason Isbell, Dawes, Ray Lamontagne, and many other folk, Blues, jazz, and singer/songwriters have helped shape our sound.”

Rounding out the band are brothers Tim Coughlin (formerly with noted country star Chase Rice; lead guitar, vocals) and Joe Coughlin (saxophone, auxiliary percussion).

“Over time our mission evolved to simply have a great time being together, being creative, and playing music that we love. The Blues community has been a supportive group, welcoming us at festivals and concert series such as Tuesday Night Blues, even though we don’t completely fit the mold of what most would identify as ‘a Blues band,’” says Dahl

Original. Genuine. Distinctive… just a few of the words we’d use to describe South Farwell, because they’re too focused on the joy of making music - and joking with each other - to talk about themselves.

--Anastasia Vishnevsky

facebook.com/SouthFarwell/

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Jontavious Willis

 Every generation or so, a young bluesman bursts onto the scene and sends a jolt through the blues community.  Jontavious Willis may just have that effect on people. The 22-year-old rising multi-instrumentalist has released a new album, Spectacular Class. Through original lyrics written by Willis himself, the gifted musician delivers a timeless album that features dynamic vocals and all types of blues: Delta, Piedmont, Texas, and Gospel. His stand-out fingerpicking, flat-picking, and slide prowess are also on display.

GRAMMY award-winning artists Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’ played an active role in producing Spectacular Class with Taj Mahal credited as Executive Producer and Keb' Mo' as the Producer. In addition to its digital release, the album will also be available on CD and vinyl.

Hailing from Greenville, Georgia, Willis grew up singing Gospel music at the Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church with his grandfather. Since an early age, he had the talent and passion for the music and the ability to sharpen his skills fast.  At the age of 14, he came across a YouTube video of Muddy Waters playing “Hoochie Coochie Man” and was instantly hooked on the blues.

Blue Metamorphosis | 2018 Best Self-Produced CD Award

He got his much-needed break from the living legend Taj Mahal, who described him as the “Wonderboy” and “the Wunderkind.” In 2015, Mahal asked Willis to play on stage with him. That appearance resulted in a roaring response from the audience and led Willis to bigger stages and broader opportunities, including an opening slot at select shows along the TajMo tour, featuring his musical mentors Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’.

Many fans of Willis regard him as an old soul. His style of playing the instruments and his voice touches the very roots of country blues. He brings back the true soul of the music. A newspaper headline once called him a “70-year-old bluesman in a 20-year-old body.”

Spectacular Class is the follow-up release to his debut album, Blue Metamorphosis, which was released in 2016 and garnered him rave reviews from such notable magazines as Living Blues and Blues & Rhythm. In 2018, the album earned recognition by the Blues Foundation through their International Blues Challenge, where he was honored with the Best Self-Produced CD Award.

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By Kevin Sheedy
The Wichita Eagle

Many an aspiring bluesboy stoked his passion by wearing out albums of the masters and sneaking into bars to hear the locals.

Count Ross William Perry among them. But the young guitarist from Minnesota did his peers one better: He raided the library.

After discovering the wonders of blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan, Perry made a shopping list of albums by musicians that Vaughan liked. "Then I went to the library and found a ton of books on the blues, and tried to track it that way," a very youthful-sounding Perry says.

"In school we had study halls. I was never doing homework, I was reading books on music and the blues."

Perry, who will play at the Roadhouse on Saturday with his three-piece band, was primed at an early age to love music. His father owned a bar with live music, but more importantly jam sessions were held at the Perry house starting when Ross was about 3 years old.

A few years later he was given his first guitar.

"I'd go out there in the living room and irritate them, strum my open-strung guitars as loud as I could and not make any music," Perry says with a chuckle.

"For the first couple of years Dad taught me chords, taught me some surf songs. Then when I was about 7, 8, 9, I wanted him to teach me a song. He said, 'You know what I think, it's time for you to learn on your own.' "

Cutting the leash was tough on the young pup. "It really upset me. I didn't realize what he was doing back then, but I eventually figured how to play by ear."

His dad had records from the Rolling Stones, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Booker T. and the MGs. Perry and his buddies were naturally drawn to that music, "but we didn't really know why."

"Then I stumbled upon Stevie Ray Vaughan. I started reading some interviews that he did and found out that the style of music that we really liked and didn't know what to call was called blues music."

Perry, 24, formed his first band when he graduated from high school and has performed mainly in Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin. The gig at the Roadhouse is part of an effort to expand the band's touring base.

Perry has released two albums, 2000's "Live: Blues in Greenville," with a mix of originals and covers such as "Pipeline" and "Superstition," and 2003's "The Move," with all original songs.

"I enjoy writing. It's interesting to give your own perspective,"Perry says, all of a sudden sounding older. "Playing other people's songs is great, but art is about expressing yourself and sometimes you feel like you can do that better playing your own material."

Perry says he struggles with his desire to remain true to the blues yet at the same time expand his horizons.

"I don't want people to think that I forgot my roots. I'm torn between two things because I don't want to keep doing what Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters have done, I want to come up with my own thing. I don't want it to be a final destination."

Kevin Sheedy is torn between the blues, classic cars and OU football. He can be reached at 268-6626 or at
ksheedy@wichitaeagle.com

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Hooten Hallers

Columbia, Missouri trio The Hooten Hallers are a high-energy blues-rock band known for hard-traveling and wild live shows, with a seemingly endless tour schedule. The myriad of influences in their music incorporates elements of rhythm & blues, rock’n’roll, honky tonk, jazz, soul, and punk with a thematic penchant for the strange and the unexplained. Their live shows take the listener on a seamless ride from unapologetically raucous blues on the lap steel and bass sax, to a sweet three part harmony country ballad, to a romping dance number.

2017’s self-titled album ‘The Hooten Hallers’ on Big Muddy Records, is the culmination of their experiences from a decade of performing and traveling together. They’ve injected the album with the stories and characters they’ve encountered over many years and miles. Produced by Johnny Walker (Soledad Brothers, All Seeing Eyes) and Kristo Baricevic (Big Muddy Records), the Hooten Hallers' latest effort showcases their evolution as musicians and songwriters. It garnered attention by Vice’s Noisey - "This album rules"; Rock'N'Reel (UK) - "This is a band that really understands and exudes the history of rock and roll"; Impose Magazine - "another stunner of a music collection"; New Releases Now - "one of the most dynamic live shows around"; AXS - "This album is sheer madness in the best way"; Ground Sounds - "gritty, groovy, and bluesy”; amongst others.

Dec 21, 2018 welcomed the release of a new album, ‘Live in Missouri’, recorded at The Blue Note in Columbia, MO earlier in the year. This new recording closely captures the intense energy of The Hooten Hallers in concert, with a combination of improvisation, extended versions of songs, and many fan favorites. 

Listeners often detect hints of George Thorogood, Morphine, and Tom Waits, but anyone who has seen The Hooten Hallers live knows that this power trio is unlike anything they’ve experienced before.

John Randall’s demonically-tinged vocals and manic guitar, and Andy Rehm's screaming falsetto vocals and steady, pounding drum beat keep the band focused on their unique blend of deep blues and country punk. Kellie Everett brings the power with the deep rumble of her baritone and bass saxophones. When The Hooten Hallers come to town, you know it’s gonna be a party!

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