Willie West is one of the original Soul and Blues men. He was born Millard Leon West on December 8, 1941 in Raceland, Louisiana, a stone's throw from New Orleans. He started singing at 15 when he and his cousins formed a band they called The Sharks. He was known for his high energy performances and wide vocal range. The band became very popular in the local clubs and venues. Willie wrote and recorded his first vinyl 45 in 1959 called, "Did You Have Fun" for Dorothy Lee's Rustone label. His mother had to sign the contract for him as he was just 17. The song became a regional hit and made the Billboard charts.
Award winning musician, Joe Flip, performing with his hand-made oil can guitars, is releasing his new album, “Home Sweet Home,” with an international distribution deal with Loud Folk Records.
His 2019 album, “Tin Can Tunes,” charted #2, along with his song “Mess Around,” charting #1 on the international RMR Radio Charts earning him a Blues Blast Magazine Music Award nomination. Joe also represented Minnesota at the 2019 International Blues Competition in Memphis, TN, advancing to the semi-finals.
His hand-made oil can guitars, "Hayburners," have been sold all over the world and have been featured on FOX 9 News, Blues in Britain Magazine, CNET, and The Drive Magazine.
Not only content with performing, Joe also serves as a music teacher and promoter of "Blues for Kids," a music education program he created at the 501c3 non-profit organization, "Discover Music". The program is known for organizing workshops at schools and festivals with the mission of teaching children of all ages about the Blues music genre with harmonica and guitar.
– Sky Athmann, “The Perfect Solution”
Minneapolis based Sawyer’s Dream is an all original band with amazing 4-part vocal harmonies. The name “Sawyer’s Dream” emanates from the book The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, where in the 18th Chapter “Tom’s Dream,” the boy’s dream was to go home to be with his family. Laden with the outdoors, adventure and family, Mark Twain’s writings really resonated with the band. These inspirations combined with vocal harmonies similar to those of groups such as the Mamas & the Papas, ABBA and Bread, create a unique cross-blending of Americana, Folk, Soul, Pop and Rock. These genres formulate into an adventurous and whimsical music creation, offering the listener a modern take on the classic rock of the ’60s and ’70s. Sawyer’s Dream includes visual and imaginative lyrical masterpieces, all original material focusing on themes of love, life, dreams, the natural, and the supernatural formatted for an audience of all ages. Lyrically, the songs will take you back to simpler times, a time of dreams, nature and human kindness. Comprised of complex instrumental arrangements and intricate four-part harmonies, this daydream trip is an echo of the past and a glimmer of hope for the new day.
Bruce Kurnow, a native of St. Paul, Minnesota and now a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, is enjoying a long career in the music business. At age three he began piano lessons and was immediately hooked. As a teenager he discovered a special connection with the harmonica and has remained dedicated to exploring the possibilities of the instrument. He went on to become a music major at the University of Minnesota, primarily a classical school. He studied piano, stringed harp, guzheng (Chinese harp), voice, theory and composition, which have proven to be a solid foundation for his subsequent work, including forty recordings of original compositions and eleven others of non-original music (see discography). Combined sales of these recordings are over 1,000,000 copies. His recording, Harmonicaland, was nominated for Best Solo Instrumental Album of 2004 by Just Plain Folks. Bruce has been recognized with four Minnesota Music Awards for his harmonica, stringed harp and keyboard work. Since 1971 he has been an active studio musician, playing on hundreds of commercials, albums and film scores. As a performer, Bruce played piano with harmonica master Mojo Buford, who named him “Creeper.” In 1971 he went to Los Angeles on vacation and was surprised by the sudden opportunity to tour the United States and Canada with popular country-rock group Mason Proffit, playing 300 cities per year and recording with the group from 1971-1974 (the group reunited in 2003). During that time he was also fortunate to have been invited to perform with Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker, two of his all-time favorite musicians. When Mason Proffit disbanded Bruce decided to move back to Minneapolis. He co-founded Passage with guitarist Bobby Schnitzer, his long-time friend and band-mate since junior high school. The group disbanded in 1979 and was followed up by the Doug Maynard Band, based around the original vocalist of Passage. This group leaned heavily toward traditional blues and R&B and released a vinyl LP titled The Lullaby. In a recent Minneapolis Star and Tribune poll, both groups were honored as two of the seven greatest live Minnesota rock acts of the ‘70s. Passage was recently inducted into the Minnesota Rock & Country Hall of Fame. Bruce left the Doug Maynard Band in 1980 to pursue a solo career, performing as a singer/songwriter and also showcasing his unique simultaneous combination of stringed harp and harmonica. https://brucekurnow.com