Mike Hammar has been playing
the blues in Central Valley and East Bay Area of California for the past
25 years. This Oklahoma born Native American was brought up on the blues
by his father Mike Hammar, Sr. who introduced him to the music of
Lightin' Hopkins, Gatemouth Brown, T-Bone Walker, and BB King. Still,
Mike considers local bluesmen to be some of the greatest influences in
his career. Mike spent time learning from and playing with all of his
After years of being a sideman, Mike set out to create
his own legacy. He put together a hard working blues band in 2001 and
swore he would do his best to record and perform his own style of blues.
Mike Hammar and his band, The Nails, released their first album "Going
Home" in the summer of 2004. Their album has received airplay on
American Roots Music Radio in Norway, England, Germany, Belgium, Canada,
and on the college radio circuit here in the United States. They have
opened for Duke Robillard, Michael Burkes, Chris Cain, James Armstrong,
Daniel Castro, Jerry Portnoy, Smokin Joe Kubek and Bnois King, and Tutu
Jones, to name a few.
Mike and the band are currently playing as many dates as
they can while writing their second album. Mike brings a fiery fusion of
many styles of blues guitar with passion and a whole lot of heart and
been playing around the Central Valley for over 8 years. Formed out of
the want to play blues songs we really enjoy. We believe that if we
play songs we love, that feeling will be passed onto our audience where
they will join right into the fun. Every now and then a group of
musicians get together that really make something special and this is
just that. With some member changes along the road, its staple has been
that of Jim “Gumbo” Furnas on guitar & vocals and Don Heflin on
bass & vocals. Opening for many great blues artist along the way, like
Sonny Rhoads, Ron Thompson, Rod Piazza,
Little Charlie, Tommy Castro just to name a few . Now with Rich Graham,
(original keyboardist for Hwy 61) and Don “Squeek” Clarey (drummer of
The Groove Mercenaries) on board, there is a new sense of feel and
groove we are sure you will enjoy.
Daniel Castro is a force on
guitar. With his pure passionate sound reminiscent of B.B. King, Albert
King, and Albert Collins, he is on the forefront of the Bay Area Blues
Arriving in the Bay Area only a short time ago with his trademark Fender
Telecaster and backed by one of the hottest bands around, he has already
gained quite a reputation as a Bluesman.
Born in 1954, Daniel started playing guitar at the age of 12, when his
older sister gave him a $13 guitar and a stack of B.B. King albums. She
taught him his first three chords and he's had the Blues Bug ever since.
His real Blues education came at the age of 15 when he began playing the
Blues Scene in South Central L.A. There he was noticed by "Loud Mouth"
Delmar Evans, who had been working with the Johnny Otis Show. Daniel cut
his teeth backing up many of the great artists from the Johnny Otis
Show, including Pee Wee Crayton, Little Ester Phillips, and Delmar Evans
himself. They all took Daniel under their wings and he toured with many
of them across the U.S. From there, Daniel began fronting his own Band,
playing clubs from San Diego to L.A., always playing from his heart, and
trying to live up to the integrity of the musicians who taught him how
to play the Blues.
In 1989, Daniel began commuting to the Bay Area, playing a series of
monthly venues. In 1995, he made the move permanently, putting together
a band that literally burns up the stage. The Daniel Castro Band
provides an incredible musical spirit and is an awesome vehicle for
Daniel's guitar playing, leaving audiences in a cold sweat of amazement.
The Band is just as comfortable playing tough, raw Chicago Blues as they
are playing a hard-driving-funky-rockin'-down-home-boogie. Continuously
playing to a captivated audience and consistently bringing the house
down, Daniel keeps his band soaring while always remaining true to his
Blues roots. His style of Blues has taken him through tours of Japan and
the U.S., including Chicago, New York, New Orleans, St. Louis, and
Austin. He has shared the stage with John Mayall, Joe Lewis Walker,
Walter "Wolfman" Washington, The Staple Singers, CJ Chenier, Long John
Hunter, Tab Benoit, and many other great artists.
With the Daniel Castro Band you are guaranteed great Blues. The kind
that gives you the uncontrollable urge to dance, as well as heart
wrenching songs to move your soul.
Big Nation is an American
Band that is dedicated to keeping indigenous American Music alive.
According to guitarist Joel Kemps, “American Blues and early Rock &
Roll are at the center of our music. We want to keep this musical
genre alive in the hearts of our fellow Americans. Music is an art
form and we want people to continue to enjoy this art form”. Big
Nation has taken the over 40 years of experience of Joel Kemps and
fused it with the versatility of veteran drummer Mike Cline and
modern rock bassist Mike Brenner. This has produced a sound that
incorporates the older school of blues and early rock, with a more
modern style that comes from a tight rhythm section. Big Nation can
play either softer jazz versions of classics or crank out the harder
sounds of West Texas style Blues and Rock. We also believe in God
and want to be able to honor Him through various songs that we
perform; therefore we are careful about the lyrics that we
incorporate into our music because we want entire families to have
fun enjoying our sound. Because of their versatility, Big Nation is
able to perform in different venues ranging from motor cycle club
rallies, festivals, community events, fundraisers and everything in
Ron Hacker "The first time I got the blues, I mean
really got the blues, was in 1956. A friend and I got caught breaking
into parking meters. I was eleven - he was twelve. Off we went to the
juvenile center. The counselors in the center were young
Afro-Americans in their twenties and they loved their music, like
young dudes do. In '56 their music was Elmore James, Howlin' Wolf,
Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Jimmy Reed. I fell in love with the music and
it's been a part of my life since then. As I've gotten older I've
tried to concentrate more on playing the Blues than living them."
After teaching himself to play guitar,
Ron met the late Yank Rachell, famous partner of Sleepy John Estes.
Yank trained Ron on the finer points of Delta Blues, and they became
life-long friends in the process.
The actor Peter Coyote helped Ron get his first gig in San Francisco
at a neighborhood coffee shop. It wasn't long before Ron put together
the Hacksaws and was tearing it up in clubs all over the Bay Area.
Since then, Ron has played every major festival in Northern
California, including the Monterey Jazz Festival, the San Francisco
Blues Festival and the Marin County Blues Festival. Ron has also
toured extensively in Europe playing major festivals in Belgium,
Holland, Denmark, and Norway.
Ron has put out five albums which include "No Pretty Songs", "Bar
Stool Blues", "I Got Tattooed", "Backdoor Man", and "Burnin".
Movie credits: "The Blues Guy" in Just
Like Heaven; September 2005
was born in Durban, South Africa. When he was only 10 months old,
his family moved to Los Angeles, California, where they stayed until he
“When I was a kid in L.A. there was a club called the Ashgrove, where
you didn’t have to be 21 to get in. All the local and touring blues bands
would play there. I would go there with my older brothers to see and
hear many great performers such as T-Bone Walker, Joe Turner, Roy Milton,
Johnny Otis, John Lee Hooker, and Johnny Shines.”
The next move was to Northern California, where he still
resides. His earliest guitar influences were Elmore James, B.B.King, and
John Lee Hooker. Anthony, has spent the major part of his career in the
supporting role. Since 1987, he’s recorded and toured with the likes of
Earl King, Brownie McGhee, Charlie Musselwhite, Bo Diddley, Jody
Williams, Johnny Adams, Maria Muldaur, Tom Rigney, Johnny Nocturne,
Brenda Boykin, Boz Scaggs, Doug Jay, Phil Guy, Faye Carol, Johnnie
Johnson, Mark Hummel, Big Jay McNeely, Louisiana Red, and Tommy Ridgely.
He’s performed at the du Maurier Jazz Festival,
in Vancouver, B.C.; the Victoria Jazz Festival, Victoria, B.C.;
the Monterey Jazz
San Francisco Blues Festival; Summerfest, Milwaukee;
the Sacramento Blues
Festival; Juneau Jazz Festival,
Alaska; The 1996 Summer Olympics, Atlanta;
Mississippi Valley Blues
Festival; Eureka Springs Blues Festival;The Waterfront Blues Festival,
Bumbershoot, Seattle; Umbria Jazz Winter Festival, Orvieto,
Jazz Summer Festival,
Perugia, Italy; Massa
Maritima Blues Festival, Italy; Bordighera Blues Festival,
BluesFestival, Ecaussinnes Spring Blues Festival, & Negar Blues
Festival, all in
Blues Festival; Wakura Blues Festival,
Japan; Yapi Kredi Youth
Festival, Istanbul, Turkey.
Rocket 88s have been the torchbearers of a great American blues
musical heritage, not for two years but two decades. Taking their
inspiration from the great jump n' boogie outfits of the late 40s and
early 50s, they breathe fresh life into the music that gave birth to
rock n' roll. Woods styled his group after the jumpin' n' jivin',
shoutin' n' honkin', pumpin' n' poundin' bands of Louis Jordan, Wynonie
Harris, Joe and Jimmy Liggins, Amos Milburn, and Roy Milton. Adding a
healthy dose of New
Orleans rhythm and blues, pile drivin' piano, and some of his own
contemporary playful lyrics, Woods and His Rocket 88s forge their own
brand of music they call "rock-a-boogie."
Mitch Woods and His Rocket 88s, which started in 1980 and quickly rose
to the top of the Northern California club circuit. Their first album,
Steady Date (Blind Pig Records) got hot reviews in 1984 and led to
appearances at two San Francisco Blues Festivals, openings for the
Fabulous Thunderbirds, Stevie Ray Vaughan, The Blasters, The Neville
Brothers, and James Brown. By
1987, Woods was doing a six-country Europe tour highlighted by a rousing
performance at the Belgium Rhythm and Blues Festival.
constantly in the mid-1990s, stopping long enough to put out Shakin' the
Shack (Blind Pig Records) in 1998. Woods wrote all but one song,
demonstrating how well he's absorbed the conventions of blues and boogie
woogie music, further proving his ability to inject new life into these
vintage forms. Woods also realized another dream in 1998 when he brought
together some of the surviving kings of the American blues legacy, like
John Lee Hooker, James Cotton, Johnnie Johnson, Earl King and Lee Allen,
to make Keeper Of The Flame (Lightyear/WEA Records), all paired with
Woods in a wonderful run of classic tunes.