I saw The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show when I was five years old. My love for music actually goes back further…my mother told me that when I was a small child, I took 45 rpm records to bed with me instead of a teddy bear.
After embracing the Beatles, I started tracing the music backwards. I noticed that the Beatles recorded three Carl Perkins tunes, so I figured this guy must be good if the Beatles covered so many of his songs. After becoming a Carl Perkins fan, I learned that he was influenced by Hank Williams, so I started listening to Hank. The Rolling Stones named their band after a Muddy Water’s song, so I knew I should check him out as well. And on and on….
I had been playing and singing old Country and Blues songs for years, mostly as a hobby. I came up with the concept for “The Sensational Country Blues Wonders!” as a vehicle to start performing and take advantage of the vibrant art and music scene in Jersey City. I’m a record collector and I have an extensive collection of old Gospel 45’s. That’s where I cull a lot of the material I perform and where I got the band’s name, which is a homage to all the great groups from the golden age of Gospel. It’s amazing music that many people haven’t heard and is mostly out of print.
“The Sensational Country Blues Wonders!” were designed to replicate the original instrumental lineup of acoustic rhythm guitar, electric lead guitar and upright acoustic bass used on the first rock and roll records recorded by Elvis Presley at Sun Studio in Memphis, Tenn. So Sam Phillips, founder of Sun Records and Elvis loom large in my list of influences. Other who have inspired me include many seminal figures in American music, such as Hank Williams, Chuck Berry, Gene Vincent, Reverend Charlie Jackson, Wilbert Harrison, Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Brother Joe May, Charlie Feathers, Carl Perkins, Smiley Lewis, Brother Claude Ely, and Ernest Tubb. I like to think that “The Sensational Country Blues Wonders!” are the sound of America, starting at the intersection of all it’s best influences!
We’ve gigged extensively in Jersey City and Hoboken over the years at many great events like Project Greenville, Riverview Farmers Market, Live at The Lumberyard, Hamilton Park BBQ Festival, Groove on Grove, Liberty State Park Summerfest Concert Series, and JC Fridays. We’ve shared a bill with national acts Marshall Crenshaw and The Smithereens at the Hoboken Arts & Music Festival. We’ve opened for Evan Dando (of Lemonheads fame) at Monty Hall. We’ve performed at many Manhattan and Brooklyn venues.
I also perform solo as “The Gospel Wonder” at church services and events. I have a fine, handpicked repertoire of classic Gospel tunes. My electrifying singing and performance style is a throwback to the gritty Gospel sounds from the deep South.
I’ve picked up some theater experience along the way, performing in a musical production of “Jacques Brel is Alive and Well & Living in Paris” as well as composing and performing songs for “The Box” at Jersey City Theater Center.
The music that inspired me was born in Nashville and Memphis Tenn. as well as in the Mississippi Delta. I’ve always been interested in that point where Blues, Country and Gospel music intersect. Elvis Presley and a few others captured lightning in a bottle in the fifties and changed the world. I’ve always had an affinity for this particular brand of American Roots Music that originated in the South. I’ve been chasing this sound for years now, and having the time of my life doing so.