Grammy Nominee to Perform at Knoxville Art Museum

Communications Deputy Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Grammy Nominee to Perform at Knoxville Art Museum

Posted: 10/28/2008
The Knoxville Museum of Art's Alive After Five concert series presents the Tony O Blues Band, led by Grammy Nominee Tony O, on Friday November 7, 2008, from 5:30-8:00 pm.

Tony O was born in Queens, NY in 1955, but had his spiritual birth at age 15 when he discovered Chicago blues. Not only did the 15 year old teach himself how to play the blues, but by age 18 he was welcome in the company of blues legends Victoria Spivey, Howlin' Wolf, and Willie Dixon, among others. By the early '80s, Tony was touring hard as a guitar player and part-time vocalist with the NYC based Little Mike & The Tornadoes. This band, which included Brad Vickers and Rob Piazza, as well as Little Mike, not only did constant touring on their own but also served as backup band of choice for blues legends Pinetop Perkins and Hubert Sumlin and did special tours with Jimmy Rogers, Snooky Pryor and Lester "Big Daddy" Kinsey. They lived for the music, and one could hear the effect this had on Tony O - he was emerging as a mature blues player.

As the '80s began to fade, the road finally took its toll on the original cast of Little Mike and The Tornadoes, and they went their separate ways. In 1990, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, who was the drummer in Muddy Waters' band, invited Tony O to join the Legendary Blues Band, a band with a most impressive lineage which was still going strong. Tony toured and recorded three albums with Legendary. In 1997, he played guitar and wrote one of the songs on the Pinetop Perkins CD Born in the Delta, which received a Grammy nomination for "Best Traditional Blues Recording". He has also released three CDs as the leader of his own band.

Admission to this performance of Alive After Five is $9 for non-members, and $5 for museum members and students. Alive After Five is sponsored by ORNL Federal Credit Union, Cherokee Distributing Company, Knoxville News Sentinel, WDVX-89.9FM, and WVLT-TV8. For more information about the Alive After Five series, please contact Michael Gill at 865-934-2039 or via email mgill@kmaonline.org.