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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Big Road Blues - Delta Swamp Rats

Steve Arvey started playing Music seriously when he was 18 years old. While in college in Gainesville, Florida he met John Vilardo who was the first person that he ever jammed with. Soon after he was meet to Ben Andrews. Ben was a country blues ragtime guitarist from Washington, DC. Bent turned me on to the great country bluesmen like Charley Patton, Robert Johnson, Bukka White and Leadbelly just to name a few. When I first heard Leadbelly it seemed my whole life changed. Ben really was my first big influence into the blues. He showed me how to fingerpick and got me into playing bass. Another person from Gainesville and an early influence was Barrelhouse Chuck. Chuck had a large record collection and was playing in the Robert Hunter Blues Band. Robert Hunter was a blind saxophone player who had worked with Bobby “Blue” Bland in the sixties. Eventually Chuck moved out to Seattle and Ben and I formed another band to back up Robert Hunter. The same year Bo Diddley moved to Gainesville. Soon,the Robert Hunter Band ended up backing Bo Diddley. Arvey eventually returned to Chicago, where he worked as a sideman on the Chicago Blues scene playing bass guitar, guitar, and drums behind such Blues Legends as Hubert Sumlin, Jimmy Rogers, Big Smokey Smothers, Homesick James ,Andrew Brown, Lefty Dizz, Big Moose Walker, BB Big Voice Odum, Detroit Jr, Lovie Lee, Carey Bell, Big Jack Johnson, Sam Carr, Frank Frost, Lester Davenport. Eddie Taylor, Sam Lay, Eddie Clearwater, Sugar Blue, Abb Locke, HipLinkchain, Sammy Lawhorn, Jr Wells, Sammy Fender and others. Then Arvey formed a band called West Side Heat and Released his first Album. The band was very active between 1981-1991 and toured all over the world, sometimes backing up Notable blues artists. The Highlight of the Group was their Performance on The Crossroads Stage at the 1990 Chicago Blues Festival. Steve is again playing the Blues. It’s about getting back to the roots, where it all began in the Mississippi Delta area, true source of Blues music. With his unique style and interpretation, you can hear raw blues music as it was played in the past. Anthony “Tony” Smith, first held a harp at age one when his dad put a harp in his crib. He blew it a few times and tossed it out, only to be picked up again 15 years later. While attending Middle Tennessee State University, a friend introduced him to the music of Muddy Waters, Hound Dog Taylor and many of the early blues masters. He fell in love with the harmonica because it moved him the way no other instrument had ever done before. Being close to Nashville, Tony took advantage of the many talented musicians that lived and toured in the area, catching major blues acts that whetted his appetite for more knowledge and proficiency on the harp. Influenced by studying the masters such as Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller), Sam Myers, Gary Primich, William Clark, Kim Wilson and Little Walter to name a few, he developed his own blues style. His passion drives his playing to express the lyrics being sung and grove of the song, taking the listener into the song and the emotions it was meant to express. The result after 25 years of playing the blues is an approach that is a great fit for the old blues style of playing that is the trademark of the Delta Swamps Rats.  

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