Artist biogs W - Z
On this page: Little Toby Walker, Geno Washington, Whiskey River Boys, The WIYOS...
March 2004 & 2006 LITTLE TOBY WALKER
guitar work is inspired. His fingerpicking is as intricate as any linen
finery... a pinch of Piedmont, a dash of Delta, a solid Chicago undercurrent
minus the amplification but not the electricity - a brilliant, remarkable
Winning the prestigious 2002 Memphis International Blues Challenge Award, Little Toby Walker is an exceptionally gifted guitarist, singer, songwriter and storyteller whose music draws from traditional and contemporary blues, folk, ragtime, and country. RA
A remarkable, humorous and entertaining storyteller, Toby paints pictures of his travels in the minds of each member in the audience. He can tell you of his hitch-hiking across the country, riding freight trains, playing on street corners from New York City to San Francisco and learning the blues at the feet of old time blues musicians in the deep south.
Toby has been warmly received both nationwide and in England at coffeehouses, libraries, concert halls, festivals and schools, and has been reviewed and featured in the New York Times and Newsday, among other music publications.
Walker has researched the music of the blues by making several field trips throughout the south and learning from such masters as Eugene Powell, James Son Thomas, Jack Owens, Etta Baker, Turner Foddrell, Sam Carr and R.L Burnside. He has also contributed two articles that were published in the magazine Blues Revue. Over the years he has been a featured speaker and performer for the Sam Ash Music Workshop series.
He has opened shows for numerous artists including Taj Mahal, Bo Diddley, John Hammond, James Cotton, Johnny Winter, Paul Oscher, Bob Margolin, Charlie Musselwhite, Hubert Sumlin, Lonnie Brooks, Johnny Copeland, Bobby Radcliff, Savoy Brown, John Sebastian, Chris Smithers, Cliff Eberhardt, Eric Bibb, Roy Bookbinder, Christine Lavin, Cheryle Wheeler and J J. Cale.
For more information about Toby check out the website at www.littletobywalker.com
November 2004 GENO WASHINGTON
Geno Washington and The Ram Jam Band had two of the biggest selling UK
albums of the sixties. Amazingly both of these were live albums. Hand
Clappin, Foot Stompin, Funky Butt Live was in the album charts for 48 weeks
of the year in 1966 and was only out-sold by The Sound of Music and Bridge
over Troubled Water.
US soul acts rarely visited the UK and, having come over as a part of the
USAir force and stayed, Geno was our soul man. His level of touring and the high
energy of his gigs was, and still is (as immortalized by Dexy's Midnight Runners
in the 80's hit Geno) the stuff of legends. During his sets, the beat was
continuous and the hits were incessant. It was really Geno who pioneered this
Go, Go style of performing and the audiences simply could not get enough. With
the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Cream, and Pink Floyd in support Geno could never
Eventually, having made PYE records and numerous managers millions of
pounds, Geno decided a break might be a good idea. Rock and Roll had taken its
toll and being on the road with every sixties act you care to think of, had
finally drained the mighty Washington batteries.
Geno did do some recordings in the States in the seventies, some never
released stuff with the Beach Boys for example, but he largely retreated from
the world of show biz and studied hypnosis and meditation.
These spiritual meanderings were abruptly halted when, in 1980 Old
Blighty beckoned once more. A call came from old friends in the UK that a
tribute called Geno (mentioned above) had gone to number one in the charts. In
interviews, the singer, Kevin Roland, was speaking of this legendary soul man,
whose name they used to chant up and down the land and public interest in Geno
was growing for a new generation. Soon, Anglophile Geno was back in the UK and
back on the road.
The arrival of the nineties saw Geno go back to his roots (he was a Blues
singer originally in his home, town of Evansville, Indiana) doing a show he
called Cut Loose and Singing the Blues. This was a great success and spawned the band The Purple
Aces. He then took this band to Edinburgh for the Fringe Festival, had a great
reaction and a three-week sell-out run. This in turn resulted in collaboration
with Ray Fenwick (The Spencer Davies Band) and an album called Change Your
Thoughts You Change Your Life.
The new millennium kicked of for Geno with the desire to "get some
of this stuff down on tape". Following collaborations with Adamski and
Gabrielle and a duet with Kermit (Black Grape) on the forthcoming BIG DOG album
on Zomba records, Geno returned to the recording studio. The result is "the
most righteous sounding s**t I've ever been involved in."
Check out Geno's latest release, 'The Return Of The G'.
December 2003, 2004, 2005, Oct 2007 THE WHISKEY RIVER BOYS
Laissez les bon temps roulez!
Read the Louisiana visit article!
Whiskey River is a
rocking 5-piece Cajun/Zydeco band, hailing from Cardiff and the Welsh Borders
through Hereford. They have been together for many years, with many different
changes in line-up, the anchormen being Aidan Sheehan (Box) & Paul Rogers
(Bass). They have employed 3 members of the long defunct, pioneering British
Cajun band "Bon Ton Roulez!!" for the last 2 years.
- vocals, melodeon, harmonica, mandolin, penny whistle,
guitar... & endless chat
- vocals, guitars & hair galore
- bass, backing vocals
-Electric violin, sandals & socks
The band has recently changed its name from Baton Rouge, after Martin and Aidan made the trip to Cajun country in south west Louisiana and visited 'Angelle's Whiskey River Landing' on the Levee Road, just out of Henderson, LA, in the Atchafalaya Swamplands. This is a dance hall to die for; an experience not to be missed and we have changed the name in tribute to the good people of the Henderson Swamp. www.angelleswhiskeyriver.com
Martin and Aidan have lots of stories to tell and songs to sing as their newly formed duo, 'The Whiskey River Boys'-Ideal for smaller venues, restaurants etc. Check 'em out somewhere soon!
a look at the band website
from the Swamp'
new album: 17 tracks for £10 (+£1.50 p&p) - email for more details
July 2005 THE WIYOS
Vaudevillian Ragtime Blues, Hillbilly Swing and Old Time Country
"Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, The WIYOS
blew my musical mind. The trio has developed a sound and performance reminiscent
of the early '20s and '30s with a completely contemporary feel. At times as I
listened to this talented trio I swear I was watching them in black and white.
From covering songs by Louis Armstrong, the Memphis Jug Band, Blind Boy Fuller,
the Washboard Wonders (and many others) to creating their own unique originals,
the WIYOS are bringing an almost lost generation of music into a new era
complete with old-time souls to truly expand anyone's musical experience."
The WIYOS began as mythically as their namesake, the toughest street gang to grace the streets of old New York. Rooted in vintage American musical traditions, the music and dynamic performance style of The WIYOS takes anew generation of listeners back to a time before genre distinctions separated blues and country, ragtime and gospel, swing and hillbilly music.
A trio comprised of three vocals, washboard/ harmonica/kazoo, guitar, and upright bass, The WIYOS transport listeners back to a time before TV and mass-media were the main sources of entertainment, to the days when music could be heard on live radio and at community dances, juke joints and house parties.
WIYOS perform acoustically whenever possible, or in front of two condenser stage microphones to preserve a
performance style that is visually stimulating. Incorporating elements of
physical comedy and theatricality,
The band is passionate about infusing
old-time American music with new blood; carrying this rich musical heritage into
the 21st century and having a darn good time doing it. Since forming in New York
City in 2002, The WIYOS have toured Canada, the southeast, New England and the Midwest
playing theatres, clubs, coffeehouses, pig roasts, street corners and parks.
They have been selected to participate in the Carnegie Hall Neighbourhood
Concert Series, and have played at notable festivals throughout the country
including The2004 Newport Folk Festival, The Piccolo Spoletto Festival
Michael Farkas (lead vocals, harmonica,
washboard, banjo, kazoo) is a self-taught musician who has achieved expertise on
a wide array of instruments. Originally from New York, his musical career has
carried him to the shores of San Francisco, France and the streets of Spain
where he built his reputation playing with such bands as Dog Talk, Ruckus,
L-Producto, the Begat Companie, as well as performing with the internationally
acclaimed clown Moshe Cohen.
Parrish Ellis (guitar, vocals) comes
from Virginia where his first teacher turned him on to John Hurt and Elizabeth
Cotten. Since then he has continued to pursue his interest in country blues,
studying the styles of Gary Davis and Blind Blake with Woody Mann. He also plays
the banjo, bass, national steel slide guitar, Cuban tres, and mandolin. Parrish
has recorded two previous CD's, Moonrise on the Mountain, and a collection of
ragtime blues and original songs entitled The Small Room Sessions.
Joseph "JoeBass" DeJarnette (upright bass, sound engineer, vocals) also a native of Virginia started collecting 78's at age 5. This early interest in music eventually led to a degree in Music Industry and Media Arts and design from James Madison University. He has played professionally in Virginia and Washington state with a variety of Americana acts, and has opened or shared bills with Ricky Skaggs, Del McCoury, Gwar, and John Jackson. He has been a finalist in several large music festival contests including the Telluride Bluegrass Festival band competition in 2001, and the Clifftop Appalachian String Band Festival in 2003.