The Blasters exemplify the best traditions of American Music, performing with passion and honesty that for over three decades has won the hearts and souls of fans worldwide. Composed of founding members vocalist-guitarist Phil Alvin, drummer Bill Bateman and bassist John Bazz with Keith Wyatt on guitar, they carry on a hard-won legacy as one of the most recognizable and credible bands in American Music. Their influences range from the likes of George Jones and Carl Perkins to Ike Turner, Howlin’ Wolf, James Brown and Big Joe Turner, all blending into a sound that ignores the lines between Rock & Roll, Country, Blues and Rockabilly. “Fun On Saturday Night” (Rip Cat Records) is the Blasters’ sixth and latest studio album, featuring twelve tracks that extend the band’s legacy of classic recordings. Fronted by Phil Alvin’s powerful vocals, the band follows through with spontaneity, power and grit that make their live performances into experiences not to be missed.
BEN MILLER BAND:
Ben Miller – vocals/guitar/banjo
Scott Leeper – one-string washtub bass
Doug Dicharry – drums/trombone/trumpet/mandolin/electric washboard/spoons
“I like the idea of saying something very complicated in a very simple way,” says Ben Miller, discussing the trio that bears his name. “That’s what we strive for musically, and what I strive for lyrically—to get directly to the point and save the flowery b.s. for the romantic poets. John Sargent, the painter, said ‘That which is not necessary is detrimental,’ and we try to live by that.”
Since its formation in 2004, the Ben Miller Band has staked out a singular niche that’s established the Joplin, Missouri threesome as both a potent creative force and a perennial fan favorite. Any Way, Shape or Form, the BMB’s New West debut release, showcases the seasoned threesome’s fierce creative spirit and infectious performing chemistry, as well as Miller’s melodically catchy, lyrically resonant songwriting.
On Any Way, Shape or Form, the Ben Miller Band channels a century’s worth of wide-ranging influences into 13 new songs that radiate with energy, smarts and soul. The result is music that’s wholly contemporary, while ringing with ages-old echoes of bluegrass, delta blues, Appalachian mountain music and more. A stew they lovingly call “ozark stomp.”
Miller writes roots-rocking barnburners (“The Outsider,” “Burning Building”), thoughtful ballads (“I Feel for You,” “Prettiest Girl”) and left-field departures (“23 Skidoo”) with melodic skill and lyrical insight, and the band elucidates them with urgency and eloquence. While those tunes show off Miller’s songwriting craftsmanship, a memorable workout on the traditional “The Cuckoo” underlines the band’s interpretive abilities.
The hard working threesome has already won a substantial—and still-growing—grassroots fan base through old-fashioned ingenuity and an unstinting work ethic. Their D.I.Y. success helped to win the band its current deal with New West, and led to some high profile touring with ZZ Top, thanks to the enthusiastic patronage of avowed fan Billy Gibbons. Opening for ZZ Top on a 2013 tour of Europe, the humble BMB wowed unfamiliar crowds on stages in large halls and arenas, including a triumphant set at the fabled Montreaux Jazz Festival.