Next Big Thing In The Blues
“The next big thing has already been around the block,” a Canadian newspaper reporter wrote of The Sean Carney Band’s impressive showing and subsequent victory at The 2007 International Blues Challenge, held in February in Memphis, Tennessee, explaining that Carney and his crew are no newcomers to Blues. The IBC is presented by The Blues Foundation, who also awarded 34 year-old Carney the Albert King Best Guitarist Award and “Best Dressed” in their 23rd annual competition, before an audience of 1,700 blues lovers.
Columbus, Ohio natives and veterans of the scene, like Carney, drummer Eric Blume and bassist Steve Perakis have been performing with Carney in Columbus venues for a decade, backing pioneering blues and R&B artists like Christine Kittrell, Jimmy “T-99” Nelson, Big Joe Duskin, Joe Weaver and Johnnie Bassett. In his early twenties, Carney’s passion for the Blues extended beyond the stage as he bolstered the scene in his hometown, organizing concerts featuring the likes of Jimmy Witherspoon, Hank Marr, Earl Gaines, Luther Allison and Charles Brown, writing blues-related articles, co-hosting a radio program, organizing fundraisers for ailing artists and serving three terms as President of The Columbus Blues Alliance. Carney released his first CD, “Provisions,” in 1998 and celebrated another milestone in a 2001 with a performance at The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival backing Cincinnati Blues piano master Big Joe Duskin.
It was through Christine Kittrell that Carney met Teeny Tucker and eventually became her musical director and songwriting partner in what led to the recording of “First Class Woman” with producer “Kaz” Kazanoff. Carney performed at The Ratskeller Jazz Festival in Berlin, Germany with Tucker and Blume soon joined her band, backing the two-time IBC finalist at venues such at The Monterey Bay Blues Festival, The Fleet Blues Festival and Buddy Guy’s Legends in Chicago.
Blume attended The Fort Hayes High School for the Performing Arts, along with Carney, and gigged with singer Willie Pooch as well as recording and performing frequently with Central Ohio legend Ray Fuller. Perakis, an OSU Music Department graduate performs often in Columbus as a sideman, arranger and composer, as well as leading and recording with his own band, Honk, Wail & Moan.
Carney and Blume formed Nite Owlz Records in 2006, for the release of their self-produced CD, “Life of Ease,” and embarked on a summer tour of Western Canada organized by guitarist/producer Steve Gerard. Gerard, who joined the touring band on guitar, paired the visiting players with top-notch Canadian musicians, Graham Guest on piano/organ and Chris Brzezicki on upright bass, for an itinerary that included The Yale in Vancouver, The Red Onion in Calgary and Blues on Whyte in Edmonton. Following Canada, The Sean Carney Band toured the Midwest with Phil Berkowitz, West Coast harp boss and Louis Jordan specialist, performing at Chicago’s House of Blues and The Slippery Noodle Inn in Indianapolis, among other venues.
Fueled by outstanding audience and critical response, Carney and Blume returned to Western Canada to once again perform with Guest and Brzezicki. Blume recorded the band’s weeklong engagement in February of 2007 and a CD release is currently in production. In March, Carney and Blume performed at San Francisco’s famed Biscuits & Blues and entertained a sell out crowd at The Thirsty Ear in their hometown, in a reunion with Perakis and pianist John Popovich. The Sean Carney Band will return to The Yale in Vancouver, B.C. for two big shows with Brzezicki and Guest on July 6 and 7.
Summer of 2007 will see The Sean Carney Band performing at such festivals as The Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland, Oregon, The Telluride Blues and Brews Festival in Colorado and The Long Branch Blues & Jazz Festival in Red Bank, New Jersey as well as a June date in The South of France with R&B Queen Teeny Tucker and a VIP performance at the prestigious Blues Music Awards in May. Respected publications such as Blues Revue Magazine and the venerated DownBeat have awarded “Life of Ease” enthusiastic praise and the disc enjoys frequent airplay on XM Radio’s “Bluesville,” and Listener’s Choice, in addition to excellent international radio support. The Sean Carney Band will embark on a second European tour with Teeny Tucker in late 2007 and set sail with Taj Mahal on The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise in early 2008, followed by The St. John Blues Festival in the Virgin Islands.
Sean plays an Albert King Andrew 2 x 10 combo by Category 5 Amplification.
Sean Carney's website
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