Making a Scene Talks 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 new album, Ten Thousand Watts, September 6 on Blind Pig Records. Recorded over four days in Nashville, TN and produced by three-time Grammy winner Tom Hambridge, the 12 tracks stir up a thunderstorm of original, roots-rockin’ music. The set kicks off with the burning boogie of “Right On, Right On” and is followed by “Too Mad to Make Up,” a roadhouse rocker about a relationship in peril. The title track then finds Taylor strutting his stuff, testifying his powerful passion. The audacious theme continues with “Mischief Man,” before the band cuts loose on “Great Minds Drink Alike,” a sure-fire hit with the bar crowd. “Don’t Rock My Blues” eases the tempo and captures a traditional vibe. The collection of succinct, tight-but-loose songs reflect the continuing evolution of the band’s deft songwriting, blended with the intuitive musical interplay of the longtime bandmates.
The new album arrives on the heels of back-to-back award-winning records. Cryin’ Mercy won “Best Self-Released Album” at the International Blues Challenge in 2015, and Charmed & Dangerous scored Song of the Year at both the Independent Music Awards and Wisconsin Music Awards in 2018. Both albums reached the Top 5 in the iTunes blues store and hit #1 on the Roots Music Report Blues Album Chart. 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.”
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: 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), Buddy Guy’s Legends (Chicago), and several appearances on local television. They will also return to Europe in the Fall of 2019 for shows in Switzerland.
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.