Monday, 7 September 2015

The Whiskey Brothers - New CD Release coming soon from Big Bear Records - Bottle Up And Go

A brilliantly uplifting and authentic collection of 18 catchy bar-room piano boogie blues songs straight from pre-war Chicago and New Orleans but performed by two talented musicians from Brum. If you're planning a party this autumn - get some Whiskey Brothers in and your guests will be howling in the garden, shaking the walls and lifting the roof right off!
Pete Millington - Spaghetti Gazette

New CD release from Big Bear Records

Sponsored by Blue Moon Brewing Company – The American Craft Belgian-style Wheat Beer from Denver,Colorado

The blues takes no prisoners.

It throws you two or three chords – maybe just one – and challenges you to make of them what you can.

It’s the mark of true blues players that they see the possibilities, and not the limits.
The Whiskey Brothers are like that. They’ve dared to take on some well-worn standards, armed only with a piano, a mandolin and a melodic voice with frayed edges.

They’ve also thrown in some of their own songs, which are as honest as the old faithfuls whose company they keep.

As blues players, we go on strange journeys. Our music is set about with romance and myth, and cursed with the test of authenticity.

Some musicians settle for the romance and play the songs, not the stories behind them. Others struggle under the weight of tradition, learning a way of playing that is correct, but disconnected.

Not the Whiskey Brothers. When Richard Heath sings ‘Ain’t Nobody’s Business’, he means it. You get all the bravado of the title, and all the poignancy of a man who might just ‘take a notion to jump into the ocean’.

The Whiskey Brothers’ strange journey has taken them from band to band, club to club, festival to festival, and now to the Big Bear himself for this recording. It’s live and unedited.

And, it’s authentic. Not because it correctly evokes the style of Sonny and Brownie, or Fats, or Big Bill, though
their echoes are there.

It’s authentic because it’s just two men playing the music they love, the only way they know how.

What you have here is two guys in a studio playing the blues. Richard Heath sings and plays the mandolin. Gerry Smith, the piano. Their blues draws on gospel, New Orleans and pre-war Chicago influences. It’s pretty much live and unedited. One take stuff.

The Whiskey Brothers bring something of themselves to each song, in the way that all true blues singers do. So the songs come alive, and there’s something fresh about each one to keep you listening to the end.

A bit more about these two men. They’re from Birmingham and they had a band called the Splinter Blues Band in the 1990s. They also ran the Hare And Hounds blues club on Birmingham’s south side for years. They formed the Whiskey Brothers in 2012. A back-to-the-roots job.

If you’d strolled past a juke joint or bar anywhere from Tutwiler to Maxwell Street, any time between 1920 and
1950, you would have heard music like this. What we call ‘blues singers’ were just singers, really. And they’d play anything that earned them a half pint of whisky or the affections of a pretty girl, or well-set man.

Stuart ‘Son’ Maxwel


RICHARD HEATH: Vocals and Mandolin

Catalogue No: BearCD 54

Release Date: OCTOBER 2015

Sponsored by Blue Moon Brewing Company – The American
Craft Belgian-style Wheat Beer from Denver,Colorado

For more information please contact Jim Simpson
Big Bear Records, PO Box 944, Birmingham, B16 8UT, England

Tel: 0121 454 7020 Email:
Big Bear Records - Real Music - Properly Played


The Whiskey Brothers featuring Richard Heath, on vocals and mandolin and Gerry Smith on piano, perform old style acoustic blues with songs from the great American blues tradition as well as their own material. They believe in playing the blues in a simple, authentic and entertaining way, mixing well known classics with lesser known gems.

Between them they have performed at hundreds of festivals and venues throughout the UK and Europe and beyond .They have played together and apart with numerous bands including The Nighthawks, Mack and the Boys, The Gravelly Hillbillies, The Bushbury’s and The Clarksville Mountain Band. Between them have recorded dozens of albums ranging from jazz and blues to folk and rock.

Their passion for the blues stretches back over 30 years. Richard, who was born in Warwickshire in 1963, was inspired by early recordings of Big Bill Broomzy, Sonny Terry, and Brownie McGee. Gerry, who was born in Cardiff in 1962, was likewise inspired by the early songs of Bessie Smith and Fats Waller. In the mid 90s they formed the Splinter Blues Band which apart from performing at venues like Ronnie Scotts, also hosted a popular weekly blues club at the Hare and Hounds in Kings Heath, Birmingham for many years.

In November 2012 they reunited to form the Whiskey Brothers, returning to their favourite style of music and the songs they most love to play.       

One of their regular gigs in recent years has been the Blue Piano at Five Ways, Birmingham, which is where they first met Jim Simpson of Big Bear Records. Gerry remembers playing at one of the first Birmingham Jazz and Blues Festivals in the late 80’s and having since played everywhere from Norway to New Orleans and most places in between, were delighted to be invited to perform at the 2014 festival. There followed a series of successful and well received gigs which led to the decision to record this, their debut album, Bottle up and Go. It brings together 18 of their favourite songs, recorded live at Gospel Oak Studios in June 2015.

They hope audiences will share their enjoyment and enthusiasm for how great blues songs can sound when stripped back to the bare essentials.



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