JC "Chris" Balding
In 1991, Chris went to a local Tallahassee watering hole to catch a gig featuring harmonica master Jerry Portnoy, a veteran of Muddy Waters’ band. “That show changed my life,” he remembered. Chris has been obsessed with the harmonica ever since. His vocals conjur up images of another one of his heroes, James Harman. Chris is one of your hosts for the monthly Juke Joint Jam at the Blue Tavern and has played harp for 30+ years. After decades of playing with some of the most notable Blues bands in Tallahassee, he now fronts his new venture, JC and The Backscratchers. Some of you may remember him from the Blue Monday Jam at The Pearl Oyster Bar, where he caught the ear of, and became friends with, the late, great Pat Ramsey. Major harp influences include the late Gary Primich and James Harman, Rick Estrin and others.
55 Rose Street - Review by Blues Blast Magazine and Rhys Williams
Since Southern Red Bird announced the release of the 55 Rose Street album ‘Misery’ the reviews are in. The album was recently reviewed by Blues Blast magazine and Rhys Williams had some great things to say about the project. Williams says “…deserves great credit therefore for producing an excellent album of modern blues-rock that sounds like it was produced by a band that had been playing together for years. The pop of “Ray of Texas Sunshine” and “Juke Joint” sits easily next to the heavy riffing of “The Blues Is What I Live With”, the blues-rock of “Empty World”, the straight-ahead shuffle of “Thunderbolt” and the closing slow blues of “Misery.” Williams continues “Don’t be misled by the album’s title. Misery is actually an upbeat, life-affirming collection of music. Metz is a smart songwriter, delicately treading the fine line between blues and rock, with a fair amount of pop and soul thrown in.” In Bman’s Blues Report, he uses the terms “cool”, “smooth”, and “nice” so often you’d think he was hitting on the band. :-) Bman is one of the most well known and well read blues reviewers in the U.S. This excellent album covers a wide range of blues, blues-rock, funk-blues, and country blues. The opening blues-based ballad ‘Black Ice’ showcases an incredible vocal performance from guest Sarah Mac. The title track at the end features rising star Heather Gillis in a traditional slow blues that highlights her vocals and lap steel guitar, and is reminiscent of the delta birthplace of the blues. In between are blues-rock and country-blues tracks featuring the guitars of Gillis and guest artist former ACM Guitarist of the Year, Nashville’s Pat Buchanan. The album also includes shuffle blues and funk blues tracks featuring vocalist and harp genius Chris Balding, and guest artist North Florida’s Clyde Ramsey providing his firebrand keys and vocals. . . continued