Friday, November 22 / 6:00 p.m. & 11:30 p.m.
BMA Award Winners
THE NICK MOSS BAND featuring DENNIS GRUENLING
and THE BERKS HORNS
Crossroads at the DoubleTree
TICKETS GO ON SALE MONDAY, JULY 15 @ 10:00 a.m.!
Chicago guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Nick Moss, who won the 2019 Blues Music Award for Traditional Blues Male Artist of the Year, is a bona fide bluesman down to his soul.
He is a 30-year veteran of the city’s take-no-prisoners blues scene. He paid his dues gigging in Chicago’s rough and tumble West and South side blues clubs under the tutelage of some of the city’s greatest blues luminaries.
Dennis Gruenling, who won the 2019 Blues Music Award for Instrumentalist – Harmonica, is among today’s best blues harmonica players. His high-energy, full-throttle playing has earned him comparisons to the late James Cotton.
Recording together for the first time, The Nick Moss Band featuring Dennis Gruenling made their Alligator Records debut in 2018 with The High Cost Of Low Living, a dream come true for both musicians.
The High Cost Of Low Living is a tour de force of the classic Chicago blues ensemble sound Moss and Gruenling know, live and love. But it’s no recycling of old songs. Moss wrote nine memorable new originals and Gruenling wrote two, all deeply rooted in the blues tradition with a touch of old school rock ‘n’ roll.
Their highly anticipated new Alligator Records album Lucky Guy! Is a foot-stomping showcase featuring the classic Chicago blues sound the band is known for. But there also are a few other flavors such as Louisiana swamp pop, West Coast blues, New Orleans funk and even some rock and roll.
All but one of the 14 songs are originals, with 11 by Moss and two by Gruenling. Lucky Guy! Is a joyous, sonic blast of pure blues power.
Although Moss and Gruenling had known each other for 20 years and had jammed together often, it wasn’t until 2016 that they decided to team up full time.
Moss’ deeply rooted yet fully modern guitar playing flawlessly meshes with Gruenling’s monster harmonica chops. On stage, the two communicate seemingly telepathically, as Moss lays down the deepest blues licks and Gruenling’s harmonica wails and howls in perfect response, with Moss’ top-notch band adding their energy and expertise to the ensemble.
Originally a bass player, Moss got his first professional break touring and playing bass with legendary West Side Chicago guitarist Jimmy “Fast Fingers” Dawkins. He next toured with Willie “Big Eyes” Smith (longtime Muddy Waters’ drummer), leader of the Legendary Blues Band.
Finding himself in need of a guitarist, Smith insisted Moss switch instruments. Combining his natural talent with non-stop woodshedding and playing every open jam session, Moss quickly became one of the city’s most highly sought-after players.
Bluesman Jimmy Rogers (famous for his pioneering guitar work with Muddy Waters and for his solo hit “Walking By Myself”) hired Moss to join his touring band and became his mentor. Moss’ other influences include B.B. King, Freddie King, Earl Hooker, Magic Slim and many more.
Moss formed his own band in 1997 and released the first of his 12 solo albums a year later on his own independent Blue Bella label. He has received 21 Blues Music Award nominations and has earned legions of fans around the world, playing over 100 shows a year. Moss has shared stages with Buddy Guy, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Gary Clark, Jr., David Hidalgo and many others, and is an in-demand guest, always welcome to sit in with his musician friends around the world.
As a teen, Gruenling heard the Alligator recording Harp Attack! (a summit meeting of Cotton, Junior Wells, Carey Bell and Billy Branch) and decided that blues harmonica was his life’s calling.
In addition to Cotton, Gruenling was inspired by blues harp masters Little Walter and George “Harmonica” Smith as well as by saxophonists, including Lester Young and Red Prysock.
A self-taught player and a natural entertainer with seven solo albums to his credit, Gruenling’s giant, fat-toned harp work, raw-boned singing and untamed energy are a perfect foil for Moss’ hair-raising guitar playing and straight-from-the-shoulder blues vocals.
The Berks Horns are Mike Anderson on
saxophone, Rob Diener on trumpet and John Loos on trombone