Booking Blinddog Smokin’
Blinddog Smokin’ Booking Profile
Fatback funk, blistering blues, uptown horns and low-down grooves: Grammy nominated Blinddog Smokin’ renders millions of miles and thousands of gigs into a deep American repertoire of profound authenticity.
In 2014 the band garnered a Grammy nomination for the 57th Grammy Awards for a CD/DVD with the bands longtime soulmate, legendary R&B/Soul/Bluesman Bobby Rush and featuring Rock n’ Roll Hall of Famer Dr. John. The album is up for Song of the Year and Best Soul Blues Album in the Blues Music Awards and won an award for Best Soul Blues Album in the Blues Blast Music Awards. The album debuted at #6 on the Blues radio chart and charted on Americana radio, its received glowing press from The Wall Street Journal to USA Today to Living Blues, radio play on Sirius XM’s B.B. King’s Bluesville, and a music video in rotation on MTV, VH1, and Dish.
The lead dog in this hard traveling show band is the band’s founder and charismatic front man Carl Gustafson; an adventurer, world traveler and philosopher whose gravel road of a voice is paved with the power of his convictions and the revelations in his songs. First chronicling the band’s adventures in an online column, “Tales Well Told,” he authored the book Ain’t Just The Blues, It’s Showtime: Hard Times, Heartache and Glory Along Blue Highway, an enthralling diary of the band’s journeys. Whether in song, performance or prose, he is a masterful raconteur.
New from the studio in 2014 is the CD Decisions, pairing Blinddog Smokin’ with the King of the Chitlin’ Circuit Bobby Rush, a three-time Grammy-nominated veteran featured in the “Road to Memphis” segment in the Martin Scorcese documentary The Blues. Joining the band on “Another Murder in New Orleans” is the great Dr. John, the legendary six-time Grammy-winning Crescent City kingpin. The song has been licensed by the national non-profit organization Crimestoppers for their New Orleans chapter and premiered with a music video on The Wall Street Journal, directed by Jennifer DeLia and produced by Julie Pacino, daughter of Oscar-winner Al Pacino. Donny Markowitz, a roots auteur extraordinaire and the songwriter of the Oscar, Grammy, and Golden Globe-winning “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” is behind the board for the recordings, as he was for the band’s recent CD/DVD Up From the Tracks. The band is gearing up to get back on the road in 2015 behind their Grammy nominated record, with plans to release a new album later in the year.
Blinddog Smokin’ is flexible. They might showcase illustrious guest members like Bobby Rush, Chicago guitar master Carl Weathersby or the brilliant blues harpist
Billy Branch. Regular compadres include the original drummer “Chicago” Chuck Gullens, and 13-year bassist Roland Pritzker a.k.a., Junior Bacon, whose respective pistol hot snare shots and subsonic timbres anchor the rhythm section.
The cast is expandable: as the house band at the Snowy Range Music Festival in Wyoming, they brought a 30-piece orchestra to join them for their feature set. Highlighted performers could include regulars like Mo Beeks (keys and vocals), Chris White and Linda Gustafson (backing vocals), Chalo Ortiz (guitar), as well as their regular New Orleans based horn section.
The songs of Blinddog Smokin’ animate a vivid cast of motley characters. They sport “Pimp Shoes,” see visions of “Angels at the Crossroads,” chase young girls like a “Funky Old Man,” ruminate on “Skinny Little Ladies” arrive on “Bobby Rush’s Bus,” and accompany the ancient bluesman who has “Just Come Home to Die.” We meet a disillusioned preacher in a old West saloon on “Church of Fools,” and Miss Peggy, proprietress of the Pic-a-Rib Café, where a teenage runaway Gustafson was first entranced by the rhythm and blues helped shape his destiny.
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