There ain’t much else in the world like a live big blues band show – the combination of sights, sounds and pure aura are hard to match on any stage in any part of the world. It goes without saying, if you haven’t seen a big blues show; you should probably start looking around. And if you’re in Tallahassee, well then you’re in luck. The areas #1 blues act is also #3 in the country, and considered the eighth best blues outfit in the entire world – I’m talking about none other than the Wailin’ Wolves Band, a collective consisting of “Wailin'” Bert Calderon, Tracy Yacobellis, "Slim Shaw" From, Jay Schwartz, Robert Bloodworth, Bob White and the occasional guest appearance from Shawn Scott and "BB" Bryant Williams.
Band leader Calderon formed his style from his upbringing in Chicago, a city with a well documented history of blues mastery. His band brings a true blend of musical tastes, ranging from recent college grads to a drummer that’s 78 years old! Their sound is so original because, according to Bert “we do our own unique arrangements to a lot of the songs and have a wide variety of music spanning 3 or 4 genres but still have a unique blues feel and sound. What makes us stand out is the mix of instruments and having a female lead vocalist w/ 3 lead instruments - guitar, harp and keys.” You gotta check out this live band sound for yourself! Check out the schedule, but before that, keep reading for all the answers to the XXQ’s.
XXQs: The Wailin' Wolves Band
PensEyeView.com (PEV): How would you describe your sound and what do you feel makes you stand out over the others in your genre?
I feel like our sound is unique because we do our own unique arrangements to a lot of the songs and have a wide variety of music spanning 3 or 4 genres but still have a unique blues feel and sound. What makes us stand out is the mix of instruments and having a female lead vocalist w/ 3 lead instruments - guitar, harp and keys.
PEV: Calling Thomasville, Georgia home, what kind of music where the members of the band into growing up? Do you remember your first concert?
My first big concert was in 1966 in New York where my band at that time opened for The Young Rascals followed by a number of gigs opening for The Blues Project and Butterfield Blues Band in numerous clubs in The Village in NYC. The members of our current band are living either in Thomasville, Ga or Tallahassee, Fl. Me and the keys were raised in New York between Queens and Long Island. I was born in Chicago, Illinois. The drummer was raised in New York and moved to Fl about 10 years ago. He was a professional jazz drummer in the Musicians Union in New York for 40 years and has played behind some of the jazz greats and in studio work. The bass player has been playting about 15 years and can play bass or guitar. I have been playing since 13 yrs old and have played live since I was 14 years old.
PEV: What do you think of mainstream music today – as in what’s being played on the radio?
I think that there are good and bad things to the industry right now. CD sales and record sales have dropped tremendously due to the internet so it seems much harder to get a recording contract with a major label and that seems to be the only way to get major air play on major stations. But on the other hand more musicians are able to get their music out there because of internet marketing than ever before and because of sites like reverb nation, sonic bids, you tube, and itunes, etc.
PEV: What was the underlining inspiration for your music? Where do get your best ideas for songs?
My inspiration comes from my heart in combination with my creativity, mind and soul. I was inspired most by the bands of the 60's and 70's that I grew up listening to and play mostly in the style of that era with a new twist. My best ideas for songs comes from jams with our band. Can write a lot of stuff right there and then.
PEV: Thinking back to when you first started out do you ever look back at your career and think about your earlier days and how you’ve arrived where you are today?
All the time. Just wish I would have stuck with it full time like I am now instead of part time.
PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about the members of The Wailin Wolves Band?
That we are a great mix of ages which helps to create our unique sound and our drummer is still rocking at 78 yrs old.
PEV: Was there a certain point in your life when you knew that music was going to be a goal for you?
When I was 14 and started playing in bands.
PEV: Tell us about your latest release. What can fans expect from this album?
Originals that span from blues to rock to funk to R & B with some possible remakes of our most popular covers.
PEV: What is the feeling you get after a song is complete and you can sit back and listen to it being played the way you envisioned?
Great feeling, a natural high especially when I get a great response from listeners.
PEV: With all your traveling is there one area you wish you could travel around and play that you have not yet?
California and Texas. UK, Germany and Australia.
PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your career? What’s it like when you get to play at your hometown?
Feels good to have a loyal following.
PEV: What can we find each of you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?
Some of the members have day time jobs and families so that keeps them busy. I am either playing, writing, teaching guitar or promoting the band and maintaining all the sites.
PEV: Name one present and past artist or group that would be your dream collaboration? Why?
Rolling Stones because I love and feel their music totally and I admire the way they can work an audience. BB King cause he's the man
PEV: Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for now?
In Australia there is an artist named Adi Burgess who is an incredible vocalist and very beautiful. Also Kelsey Stroud from Virginia in the US. Great artist.
PEV: If playing music wasn’t your life (or life’s goal) what do you think each of you would be your career?
Well as far as for the other members I guess their careers that each followed is it and raising their kids and having a close family relationship. If it wasn't music, it would be either a business owner of retail business or restaurant/ bar or Lawyer.
PEV: So, what is next for The Wailin Wolves Band?
Hoping what is next is catching a break and finding some backing to cut a CD with distribution contract and setting up a tour. Also to play at least 2-3 days a week professionally.
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