Anson Funderburgh - Guitar, Arranger, Producer
Anson is a local hero to blues guitar players across the state of Texas. And there's good reason. He and his bandmates have brought 9 W.C. Handy blues awards, the blues world's equivalent of a Grammy, back to the state of Texas. This is quite an accomplishment. And it's part of the reason why so many young guitar players today look up to Anson. The other reason is that his body of work on guitar is considered by both fans and critics as some of the best blues guitar ever recorded. Anson has played with some of the finest blues, R&B and country musicians in the land, including such notables as the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Snooks Eaglin, Delbert McClinton, Boz Scaggs, David Sanborn, Huey Lewis, Betty White, Earl King, Hal Ketchum, Thunderbird Davis, Grady Gaines and Clarence Hollimon & Carol Fran. Anson plays guitar on all of the tracks on the "Mill Block Blues" CD. And once again, it's tasteful stuff from the living Godfather of Texas Blues.
Gentleman John Street - Keys, Arranger, Producer
Gentleman John Street is the musical genius behind the "Mill Block Blues" CD. Not only did he do most of the arranging of the tunes, he also did all the recording and engineering on the album. His keyboard work is stellar on the album. And the basic song ideas sprung to life when John got his hands on them. John's been involved in music in one way or another since he was 8 years old. This includes musical director for off Broadway productions, stage managing, production managing, sound engineering, guitar tech, keyboard tech, complete electronics tech, and player for national & international touring acts and recording on dozens of albums. He was Stage Manager for the '87-'89 Gregg Allman Band Tour. He also did many Scandinavian tours playing traditional blues with Rock Bottom (Parsifal Artist). He toured with Anson Funderburgh & The Rockets featuring Sam Myers for 8 years & still plays with the Rockets. John now runs his own recording studio called "Little House of Audio" where he is currently working on future Ruff Kutt projects and others as well.
James Goode - Bass, Songwriting
James is the heart and soul of this project. It was his idea to record a CD to try and help musicians in need. And he wrote the lyrics to all the songs on the CD and helped with the arrangements as well. James is also an accomplished musician in his own right as he is now a full member of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame with his old band, The Excels.
James' role cannot be undersold. He played bass on all the tunes. But he is also the guy that brought all of these fine musicians together and united us on this common goal. Without James, there would be no "Mill Block Blues" CD. The songs on that CD tell the story of James' life growing up on the Mill Block. The CD and the music are a reflection of James, the man. James has also written the songs for his next blues project called, "That's When The Blues Begins."
FORREST WESLEY STARR was born on May 22, 1955 in Rome, Georgia. At the age of nine, Wes began his formal training with private drum lessons. Wes joined his school band program in the fifth grade. In the ninth grade at Pepperell High School, Wes was made Drum Lieutenant, a position he held through graduation. During these years, Wes played in local rock, jazz and dance bands in and around Rome and Atlanta, Georgia. Early influences include Gene Krupa, Elvin Jones, and Butch Trucks of the Allman Brothers Band. When an offer came in 1979 from his friend, Kim Wilson (The Fabulous Thunderbirds), to audition with "Omar and the Howlers", Wes moved to Austin, Texas. For the next four years, he toured around the country with "Omar and the Howlers" and recorded Omar's first LP, Big Leg Beat. This was to become for Wes, the beginning of a long music career in Texas and the developing of his own creative style of Texas drumming. After one and a half years with "Asleep at the Wheel", which included the recording of one LP and a touring schedule of more than 250 dates a year, Wes left "the Wheel" to join Louisiana's up-and-coming R&B artist Mason Ruffner. During the nine months Wes played with Mason, they toured as support act for The Firm's U.S. tour, featuring Jimmy Page and Paul Rogers. After doing a stint in Delbert McClinton's band, Wes joined long-time friends Anson Funderburgh and Sam Myers touring the U.S., Canada, Scandanavia and Europe taking May 2001 off to tour Europe with Lee McBee.
After getting his Bachelor of Music Education at the University of North Texas, Ron went on to get his Masters in Music at NYU. He's studied with the likes of Chris Potter, George Garzone, Lenny Pickett, Jim Riggs, Jim McNeely, Kenny Werner. Ron recorded on Al Green's "Love Is Reality" (Sony 1990) and he's recently recorded on CD's for Anson Funderburgh, Wanda King, Christian Dozzler and Rhett Butler. Ron has opened concerts for Crosby Stills & Nash, Tower of Power, David Sanborn, Liebman/Brecker/Lovano, Temptations, Earl Klugh. And he's jammed onstage with Smokey Robinson, Mick Fleetwood, Gregg Allman, Kirk Whalum, Delbert McClinton, George Thorogood and Buddy Miles. Ron has also taught Jazz at Richland College, Brookhaven College and was the Jazz Band Director at Northlake College. You can get a healthy dose of Ron's tasty sax work on this CD.
____________________________________________________________________________ Finis Tasby
Born in Texas
Moved to California in 1973
As a young man he listened to the blues on KRLD in the
Groove at 3 PM weekdays with artists like John Lee Hooker & Jimmy
Witherspoon at the age of 7. At 18 he
first sat down to the drums. After 6
years of drumming, he wanted something more.
He joined the Blues Master Band playing bass on 2nd Ave &
all around Dallas with different musicians until he finally formed his own band,
The Thunderbird Band, with Jr Boy Jones on guitar. In 1963 they were hired out by John Henry
Branch to play behind different artists including Freddie King, Jimmy McCracklin, Clarance Carter, Lowell Fulson,
ZZ Hill, & Al Braggs. Living in
California gave Finis opportunity to work with Big Mama Thornton, Percy Mayfield, John Lee Hooker, Pee Wee Crayton,
Big Joe Turner, Elvin Bishop, Mike Zito, Kim Wilson, & hundreds more over a
lifetime. He has worked over 20 years
with Randy Chortkoff, CEO of Delta Groove Records recording on 6 CD’s. Here are some other recordings displaying his
Jump Children Evidence
People Don’t Care Shanachie
What My Blues is all About Electro-Fi
Tribute to J-L-H Concord
Finis appears on CD’s by Enrico Crivellaro, Kirk Fletcher,
Elvin Bishop, & Cannon Ball. He has
33 unreleased tunes in the can also.
His voice adds great character to any song he sings &
his talent with pitch & phrasing always adds more than the sum total of
performance with any group. Finis is a
proud addition to the Ruff Kutt Record lable.
Born and raised in the heart of Jackson, Mississippi, Zac Harmon is a true disciple of the music that emanated from the city’s historic Farish Street district, universally recognized as the home of such great blues legends like the late, great Elmore James.
While in high school and college, Harmon gigged as a guitarist for the likes of Z.Z. Hill, Dorothy Moore and Sam Myers. Relocating to L.A. in the early eighties, he worked as a studio musician and then established himself as a writer and producer, crafting songs for the likes of the O’Jays, Whispers, Karyn White, Alexander O'Neal and Black Uhuru.
Composing and performing music for a movie score, Harmon was compelled to pursue his longtime dream to return to his roots and record his first Blues project. The result was 2002’s Live at Babe & Ricky's Inn, an electrifying testimony to Mississippi Blues, which showcased the sound at its best and introduced Harmon as a true torchbearer for the “next generation of the Blues”. In 2004, with his then band, the Mid South Blues Revue, he won the Blues Foundation’s prestigious International Blues Challenge (IBC) title of “Best Unsigned Band".
That release was followed by The Blues According To Zacariah, which garnered major national airplay, including XM, Sirius and the American Blues Network. XM listeners voted Harmon “Best New Blues Artist” in the inaugural XM Nation Awards in 2005. In 2006, Harmon won the Blues Music Award for “Best New Artist Debut” for The Blues According to Zacariah. Later that year, he was featured in Blues Revue magazine, as one of the 10 artists that “…represent the future of the blues”.
2007 saw Harmon named to the Blues Foundation’s Board of Directors and entering into an endorsement deal with Category 5 Amplification. In 2008, he released Shot in the Kill Zone in Europe, recorded live at the Lionel Hampton Room in Paris. He then signed with the Northern Blues label for his third and much-anticipated U.S. album, From the Root that was released April 2009.
Harmon also marked his acting debut in ’09 with a major role in the independent feature film Black and Blue, which is to be released in 2010. Also, in 2009, he was honored for his career achievements in his beloved hometown at the Jackson Music Awards and weeks later in Nashville, the Jus’ Blues Music Foundation bestowed the “Little Milton” Guitar Award for “Outstanding Guitar Player” upon him.
Zac Harmon entertained U.S. troops in Iraq and Kuwait in 2008 as one the stars of Bluzapalooza and while headlining “The Pizza & Pyramid Tour” of Sicily, Italy and Cairo, Egypt in late 2009, Harmon and company made history with a rare performance at site of the Great Pyramid and the Sphinx, making the ensemble only the second Blues act to do so; Louis Armstrong being the first.
More recently, Zac was featured performer for the 2010 “Mississippi Celebrates its GRAMMY® Legacy” celebration, hosted by Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, where he was presented with a Peavey Award by Peavey Electronics founder and CEO Hartley D. Peavey. The Peavey Award honors the state's many GRAMMY® winners and nominees as well as individuals who have played a significant role in developing and furthering Mississippi's musical heritage.
Zac Harmon continues to tour internationally as an ambassador for the Blues.