Making a Scene Presents an Interview with Jeff Taylor of the Altered Five Blues Band
Altered Five Blues Band makes music with a swaggering stomp of bruising, barrelhouse grit. According to Downbeat magazine, frontman Jeff Taylor “sings powerfully” and “Jeff Schroedl’s live-wire guitar reaches the high bar of mixed invention and fluidity.” Blues Bytes magazine declares the group features “the funkiest rhythm section outside of Memphis.”
A 2018 Blues Music Award nominee, the Milwaukee-based quintet released its latest album, Holler If You Hear Me, September 3 on Blind Pig Records. Recorded over five days in Nashville, TN and produced by three-time Grammy winner Tom Hambridge, the 13 original tracks showcase the band’s deft songwriting, Taylor’s mighty baritone voice, and the intuitive musical interplay of the longtime bandmates. Harmonica ace Jason Ricci also joins the group on five tracks. The album debuted at #3 on the Billboard Blues Chart.
The new album arrives on the heels of three award-winning records. Cryin’ Mercy won “Best Self-Released Album” at the International Blues Challenge in 2015. Charmed & Dangerous scored Song of the Year at both the Independent Music Awards and Wisconsin Music Awards in 2018. Guitar World magazine called the song “Charmed & Dangerous” a “menacing, swampy blues,” and the track has been in regular rotation on SiriusXM’s Bluesville along with many other programs and playlists. The album’s third track, “Three Forks,” was inspired by legendary Delta bluesman Robert Johnson and features music, adapted with permission, from the seminal classic “Crossroads.” Then in 2019, Ten Thousand Watts reached #10 on the Billboard Blues Chart, hit #1 on both the iTunes and Amazon blues charts, and the song “Great Minds Drink Alike” won first place in the blues category of the 2019 International Songwriting Competition. The album’s opening track, a burning boogie entitled “Right On, Right On,” has received significant airplay on satellite and terrestrial radio.
Altered Five Blues Band now have five studio albums to their name, including Gotta Earn It (2012) and Bluesified (2008), both on Cold Wind Records. The group has performed at many renowned festivals and venues such as: Lucerne Blues Fest (Switzerland), Grolsch Blues Fest (Germany), W.C. Handy Blues Fest (Kentucky), Ann Arbor Blues Fest, King Biscuit Blues Fest, Baltic Blues Fest (Germany), Milwaukee Summerfest, Magic City Blues Fest (Montana), Fargo Blues Fest, B.B. King’s Blues Club (Memphis), and Buddy Guy’s Legends (Chicago).
Bassist Mark Solveson anchors the rock-solid rhythm section with drummer Alan Arber, who joined the band in 2017, and Raymond Tevich melds his crafty keyboard work to top off the group’s signature sound. It’s been said that “the blues is a feeling,” so when the Minneapolis Star Tribune states that the band is a “righteous blast,” you know they play it right.