Start the New Year out with a raucous night of original songs by the cream of the SF Bay Area blues scene. You'll laugh, weep, and stomp your feet to the emotive offerings of Ron Hacker, Steve Freund and Jan Fanucchi, Cathy Lemons and Stevie Gurr, Wendy DeWitt and Kirk Harwood, and Stan Erhart. At times backed by the thumpin' rhythm section of Paul Olguin and Paul Revelli, this promises to be an eye-opening evening that'll be talked about for years to come!
Stan Erhart's roots go back to the family farm in Kansas where hard work and play were accompanied by John Deere tractors, V-8 cars, and country guitars. A multi-instrumentalist, he plays guitar (his main instrument), sings, plays tenor and alto sax, flute, and occasional keyboards. Stan spent his college years studying music in Michigan, later moving to Chicago to play its clubs, and finally to San Francisco to form one of the hardest working bands in the Bay Area for over a decade. Stan employs, regularly, the very best musicians in the Bay Area and is known for setting the stage for live, highly creative collaborations.
“An eclectic mix of some of the finest musicians in the San Francisco Bay Area. This group plays for the moment, and covers a spectrum of blues/r&b, rock, soul-jazz, & originals. Served separately, or mixed and stirred ... with signature danceable grooves ... always!” -Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro (Mary4Music.com)
"San Francisco singer/songwriter Stan Erhart exists in that bluesrock space occupied by John Hiatt, Warren Zevon, and Dave Alvin. With his weary, gravelly voice, Erhart exists well outside of the pop mainstream, but should find fans among those who seek a rootsy, American style."--Doug Cornell (HitSession)
“Included in the mixes (at Villa Montalvo show, March 2011) was Stan Erhart, San Francisco singer/songwriter, on guitar. With his own solos, or backup guitar, he melted the crowd.” -Marilyn Stringer (Blues Blast Magazine)
Wendy DeWitt, otherwise known as “The Queen of Boogie Woogie,” spreads the gospel of Chicago based blues piano and boogie woogie from Seattle to Paris. She's well steeped in the stylings of Otis Spann, Memphis Slim, Sunnyland Slim, and Albert Ammons and honed her skills working with contemporary artists Steve Freund, Otis Rush and the late Hank Ballard. Wendy is also a fine vocalist and has become a great songwriter. Along with her busy performing schedule, Wendy is the producer of the popular “The Queens of Boogie Woogie” and “The Blues Piano Orgy” shows. Songs from Wendy's 6 albums are heard on radio around the world, and she has been a frequent guest on the nationally syndicated “West Coast Live.”
Wendy is joined by her musical partner Kirk Harwood on drums who is best known for touring and recording with Norton Buffalo from the mid 1990's. Kirk is Wendy's regular drummer and appears on her latest CD “Industrial Strength” as well as 3 other Norton Buffalo CD's.
“Wendy's vocals are natural and unaffected, ...her piano work is of the first order.” --Sean Carney (Columbus Blues Review)
“DeWitt is a sweet-voiced chanteuse with a strong reliance on jazz phrasing and inflection. Her piano style is based on those of Otis Spann, Albert Ammons and other blues masters, and she tears it up on the closer, 'Chupacabra Boggie Woogie.'”--Bob Cianci (Blues Revue)
Wendy DeWitt's latest release “Industrial Stength” has gained her a place in that exclusive realm titled world-class.” -Robert Feuer (Blues Revue)
Cathy Lemons is a blues singing legend who has performed regularly in the Bay Area for 25 years. She has been described as “the finest light-skinned female blues vocalist in the U.S” (Real Blues 2010) with a “velvety and hypnotic voice--resonant of “a female Howlin' Wolf” (Fulltimeblues 2010). Hailing from Dallas, TX she honed her chops with the likes of Anson Funderburg and performed with Stevie Ray Vaughan. She has worked with some of the great names in blues including John Lee Hooker. Cathy with x-partner Johnny Ace co-wrote 10 of the 12 songs on her latest CD “Lemonace” on the national label Vizztone which climbed to #3 on XM Sirius (BB King's Bluesville Picks) in 2010. Her first CD “Dark Road” has been highly praised.
"I declare this [“Lemonace”] to be the greatest thing I've heard so far in 2010!" Andy Grigg (Real Blues)
“The album [“Lemonace”] is a real joy … one of the coolest records of 2010.”--Johnny Fulltime (Fulltime Blues)
“I remember the first time I heard the Butterfield Blues band as if it was just yesterday. Those guys knew the formula--they had listened to and played with everybody who was anybody in Chicago--and they brought the music to rich throbbing LIFE. It was new and yet it wasn't, and they didn't give a damn if you liked it or if you didn't. Well, this CD captures a bunch of that same feel. It's hard and deep and rich.”--Bruce Edwards (Sunday Night Blues Project)
“[Dark Road]a burnished, scintillating disc and certainly one of the finest debuts from a contemporary female blues singer this year.” -Hal Horowitz (Blues Revue)
"She presents an almost classical quality to her voice. A dangerous approach to a tradition? You bet! But Lemons makes it work. The more you listen to this self-produced effort, the more you realize that it is a very individualistic emotional approach." (Vintage Guitar)
Steve Freund, Brooklyn born guitarist, producer and bandleader, has been praised by Rolling Stone for his "masterful, no-nonsense guitar work.” Steve has appeared on over 34 albums and has produced 7. His third album, “Lonesome Flight,” was released by 9 Below Productions in 2010 and included 9 original songs along with 4 blues classics. His blues career began in Chicago where he played with legends like Hubert Sumlin, Lee Jackson, Homesick James, Louis Myers, Big Walter Horton, Floyd Jones, James Cotton, and for over a decade with the great Sunnyland Slim. He also played on Koko Taylor's Grammy winning Blues Explosion. His recording credits include work with Boz Scaggs, Koko Taylor, Bonnie Raitt, Hubert Sumlin, Pinetop Perkins, Maria Muldaur, and many other stars. He is based now in the Bay Area and often plays with singer Jan Fanucchi.
"Before you plunk down your dollars on today's pop culture blues newcomer, do yourself a favor and first dig into the real thing." (Boston Blues Society)
"Steve Freund shines every time he steps forward, playing with sizzling drive, taste, and real creativity.”-- Pete Welding (Downbeat)
"C" For Chicago should mark the entry of Steve Freund into that exclusive club of first-tier blues musicians. I give it my highest possible recommendation!"(Toronto to-nite Magazine)
"...brings understated class to new originals and standards alike." (Living Blues)
"He is a great guitarist!" (Vintage Guitar Magazine)
Jan Fannucci, vocalist and songwriter from The Bay Area, has often been compared to Etta James because of her sheer vocal power and nuanced phrasing. Although for over a decade she has been partnering with Steve Freund, she has been singing blues for over 30 years. Jan has been nominated for a Bammy (Blues Artist of the Year) along with her then partner from 1988, Doug Hamblin. Her song “Let's Make Love” from the CD “Doug Hamblin/Jan Fanucchi” peaked to #6 on Billboard Magazine's Top Ten for radio airplay. She has toured the U.S. and has 3 CD's out--all critically praised. Movie credits include a song from her CD “Livin & Lovin” in the movie “Angel Eyes” starring Jennifer Lopez, 2001.
For this Slim's show, Steve and Jan are joined by guitarist Walter Jebe.
“Jan Fanucchi has been likened to Janis Joplin because of her husky contralto, though she is a much more musical singer and her careful, subtly emotional phrasing owes more to Etta James.”--Lee Hildebrand
“Jan is a modern blues madame singing with youthful contemporary exuberance, but with a tip-of-the hat to elder masters like Lady Day & Etta James. Get your own copy because I sure ain't givin' up mine.” -Kent Zimmerman (The Gavin Report)
“Bay Area chanteuse Jan Fanucchi seems to have it all, starting with a tough-and-tender vocal approach, continuing through an expert, sympathetic band. The recording is beautiful, Fanucchi's singing is believably nuanced, and the band is with her at every step.”--Tom Hyslop (Blues Revue)
Ron Hacker is known for his burning slide guitar work, his brash singing style--and his gutsy autobiographical songwriting. This real deal bluesman was a protégé of James “Yank” Rachell, and has been playing blues for 4 decades. Ron has played every major festival in Northern California including the Monterey Jazz Festival, and The San Francisco, Marin County, and The Long Beach Blues Festivals. He played slide guitar on Tom Waits' Grammy nominated CD, “Orphans,” released in '06, and has also written a startlingly honest pulp memoir, “White Trash Bluesman.” Movie credits include "The Blues Guy" in the movie “Just Like Heaven” from 2005. Ron has toured extensively in Europe, playing major festivals in Belgium, Denmark, France, Holland, Germany, and Norway. He has produced 10 CD's to date and writes much of his own material.
"His slide guitar work is wicked bad without being obnoxious like (young guitar-slingers fill in your name here)" --Jim White (Blue Notes, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
“Burnin'” is a super set of blues showcasing some dynamite slide guitar work. With their highly original interpretations of older blues songs and some clever original tracks, Ron Hacker and the Hacksaws deserve to be heard and this disc is well worth tracking down." --Graham Clarke (Blues Bytes)
"Well worth the listen!" --Geoff Trubow (Chicago Blues Guide)
"Heaping with stellar bottleneck guitar. His voice is a perfect match to his gritty guitar...Ron Hacker and the Hacksaws have the goods to keep any party rocking to its end." --Craig Ruskey (Blues On Stage)
"Ron Hacker's blues is as real and raw as it gets. He is the San Francisco poet of the blues who travels that big road like nobody else." --Tom Mazzolini (San Francisco Blues Festival)
Stevie Gurr, a native of San Francisco, has played guitar for decades with many of the legends in blues and r&b: Dr. John, Elvin Bishop, Otis Clay, Earl King, and many more. Stevie is the kind of rhythm guitar player that can push a band into a driving force. And he is the kind of lead player that can tell a story with just a few chords or licks. His leads are eloquent--they speak--he has a subtle way in telling a story. And he doesn't have to hit you over the head to tell it.
Paul Olguin is a freelance bassist living and working in the Bay Area for over 20 years. Originally from Los Angeles, where he learned his craft both in school and on the job in a vibrant and thriving music scene, he now averages 250 jobs per year. A firm believer in preparedness, stylistic adaptability, and having fun while delivering the goods seem to be the key to steady employment. That and showing up on time in a clean shirt. He has worked with Maria Muldaur, Elvin Bishop, Angela Strehli--the list is really endless.
Paul Revelli a native of San Francisco has been playing drums for most of his life. Diverse skills, a passion for playing and his intuition as the consummate sideman are at the heart of this drummer's beat. Paul toured the Canada, Europe and Scandinavia several times over with Joe Louis Walker and has shared festival stages with some of the greatest names in Blues and R & B. He maintains a healthy schedule working in the studios on album dates and playing live with Angela Strehli, Lou Ann Barton, Tracy Nelson, Marcia Ball, Bonnie Hayes, Howard Tate, Charlie Musselwhite, Maria Muldaur, Elvin Bishop, and many others.