Vizztone Label Group
Tony Holiday used to play guitar and front the Salt Lake City based Tony Holiday and the Velvetones. When he switched to harmonica he recruited the then young prodigy Landon Stone as the band’s guitarist. The band won the Salt Lake City Weekly Music Awards and was named 2016’s “Best Blues Band”. Now residing and working out of Memphis the band is now named The Tony Holiday Band. They play 200 shows a year and have shared the stage with Guitar Shorty, Lazy Lester, Tinsley Ellis, Curtis Salgado, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Toronzo Cannon and many others.
For their debut album Holiday and his guitarist Stone decided to record in the spirit of the early field recordings and traveled from coast to coast recording on the porches of some of the country’s best blues musicians. Especially nice was recording duets with some of our great harmonica players. The album is produced by Greg Shaw and Kid Andersen who plays bass throughout the recording.
“That’s Alright” written by Jimmy Rogers was recorded sitting on Charlie Musselwhite’s porch in Geyserville, a community in Sonoma County, Ca. A third harp player Aki Kumar, joined Musselwhite and Holiday, and guitarists Stone and Rockin’ Johnny Burgin on this fine track with Alex Pettersen on drums. The vocal is by Kumar.
In January of 2018 Holiday and Stone were back in Memphis recording with the two-time Blues Music Award winning John Nemeth heard singing and playing harp on Junior Wells’ “Blues Hit Big Town”. They were joined by Nemeth’s band The Blue Dreamers on Bettye Crutcher’s “Woman Named Trouble” with the addition of Jake Friel also on harp.
They caught up with Californians James Harman also a two-time BMA winner, harp and vocals; and guitarist Kid Ramos in May and recorded “Pick Pocket Fingers”, “Special Friend” and “Goin’ To Court” with a fabulous solo from Ramos.
“Becky Ann” written by vocalist and harp ace Mitch Kashmar was originally included on his 2005 album “Nickel and Dimes”. It is reprised with Ronnie Shellist joining them on harp.
BMA winner’s John Primer who played with both Muddy Waters and Magic Slim, and harpist Bob Corritore join Holiday, Stone and their regular drummer Joel Meza, Jr. on both Jimmy Dawkins’ “Tell Me Baby” and on Primer’s signature song “They Call Me John Primer”.
Shellist joins Holiday and Stone on the Instrumental “Hip To It”. They are joined again by Burgin’ on “Coin Operated Woman” written by Victor Wainwright; and on James Harman’s song “Three Way Party” with the lyric “It was me and Jim Beam baby, when Jim Beam spilled his guts all you could do is stare”. Soul singer William Kidd sounds great on Don Robey’s “This Time I’m Gone For Good” recorded by Bobby “Blue” Bland in 1970 with Shellist once again joining Holiday and Stone.
The musicianship heard here, especially with the various harmonica combinations; make this a great debut. We’re look forward to seeing The Tony Holiday Band next time we’re in Memphis.