After 25 years and many incarnations, the
Soulard Blues Band - arguably the hardest working band in town - still
tears up the town one show at a time.
It is not every band you run across that has
a mission beyond just steady giggin', but then again, as one of the
longest-lasting acts around - and with nine straight wins in the "Best
Blues Band" category in a popular local poll - the Soulard Blues
Band is not just any band.
As bassist and sole remaining founder Art Dwyer will tell you, "Our
mission always is just to leave things around a little better than
we found 'em." That ethic applies equally to song arrangements,
the mood of the audience and the entire musical scene in this city
that birthed such towering talents as Miles Davis, Johnny Johnson,
Henry Townsend, Oliver Sain and many more.
from all appearances, the mojo is working: the blues landscape
in St. Louis now is "better than it's ever been since we started
out, playing in the intersection of Menard and Geyer with absolutely
no cars or people coming by to cause us to have to move," Dwyer
By 1970, much of the housing was vacant. The city floated
a plan to bulldoze everything east of Highway 55. A number
of artists and musicians moved here for the low rent and
made the place a destination.
The Geyer Street Sheiks and the Soulard Blues Band
are among the unheralded saviors of the community.
September 6, 2007
PPC Sine Blogs
Art Dwyer (Bassist)
King Solomon Records
He formed the Soulard Blues Band in 1978, "just a long-haired
guy in blue jeans and sandals," motivated in part by memories
of the St. Louis of his childhood, when clubs with names like Shalimar
and Oasis and the Peppermint Lounge and Sadie's Personality Bar jumped
with live music and people "dressed up looking flashy" any
night of the week, and fifty cents' cover got you in to Ike and Tina
Turner's set at the Club Imperial.
town has always been alive with world-class players in neighborhoods
all over the city," Dwyer says, and the rest of his band's
roster bears him out. Guitarist Tom Maloney, guitarist Bob "Bumblebee"
Kamoske, trombonist John "Wolfman" Wolf and drummer Leroy
Wilson create music from both originals and standarts that manages
to let each player shine without sacrificing the song to overblown
solos. Indeed, that's one of the goals in group's frequent rehearsals,
says Dwyer:"We are in the business of supporting each other
in playing, to play in unison with each other." And in so doing,
blending seamlessly into the fabric of a city with a deep history
in the blues."
Amanda E. Doyle, Where Magazine
St. Louis, January 2003