The roots of the Latvian Blues Band (LBB) go back to year 1997, when three young Latvian guys decided to form a band. They started out by listening to different blues masters, such as Elmore James, Robert Johnson, Howlin’ Wolf and, Little Walter. While working hard on their blues skills, LBB received first local and international recognition by participating in several music festivals in Latvia and Lithuania.
In December 1999, LBB had the great opportunity to work together with one of Chicago’s best blues artists – Billy Branch; LBB appeared as guest artists on the CD „Billy Branch and the Sons of Blues: featuring Carlos Johnson” released in 2000.
In the beginning of 2000, Johnny V, a well known Canadian blues player, came to Riga to record his CD „Blues Party” together with LBB. Johnny V also helped LBB to find their way to Canada, where they participated in several blues festivals („Blues Fest International”, Windsor and London, „South Country Fair”, Fort Macleod) and played in different blues clubs, e.g. „Silver Dollar Room” in Toronto.
Just before their trip to Canada, LBB went to Lithuania to participate in „Bliuzo Naktys” (an international blues festival held in Lithuania), where they’ve played as head-liners every year, starting from 1998.
LBB has also had the pleasure to play the opening shows for Joe Cocker (Riga, 2002), Coco Montoya (Vilnius, 2003), and Victor Bailey Band (Riga, 2003); they have been on tours in Croatia (Zagreb blues festival „Century of Blues”, 2004), Greece (Athens - „Euro Jazz 2004”, Thesoloniki, Preveza), Poland (Suwalki, 2003, 2005), Lithuania (with Keith Dunn, 2005), and Spain (Madrid, 2006).
In 2005, LBB went to Chicago, where they played at the „Chicago Blues Festival” and several Chicago blues clubs –„Buddy Guy’s Legends”, „Kingstone Mines”, „B.L.U.E.S.”, „Artist’s Lounge”, „Puffers” and others.
LBB has also received recognition from the France Blues Society, which nominated them as the best blues band of Europe in 2005.
In Latvia, LBB play at the „Bite’s Blues Club” (the only blues club in the Baltics) almost every weekend – here you can enjoy their own shows, as well as see them perform with highest rank blues artists from the U.S. So far, LBB has performed with more than 150 blues stars, such as Bob Margolin, Carey Bell, John Primer, Phil Guy, Grana’ Louise, Louisiana Red, Shawn Pittman, Frankie Lee, Howard Glazer, Duke Robillard, and many more.
Blues, Funk, R&B
Other Info: What others say about LBB...
Out of all of my experiences, my trips to Latvia to play with the Latvian Blues Band are my fondest. Musically, they can really play!!! They are not just another European Amerilife Blues band appearing the style. They get it! And they really feel it deep down. I was at first surprised at the cool dedication to being great musicians all five members live by. They have studied their stuff and maintain a regular hunger for new knowledge. I think the experience pf playing behind a different American Blues act every weekend for four years is about the best music school anyone could attend. Like the masters of old, these guys have learned their craft in the club amongst the smoke, drinks and the crowd who lets you know immediately if something is working or not. There is no better way to develop really sharp musical instincts. Rhythmically, the whole band can groove in many styles and add a refreshing spark of their own. Each player is a true individual and is a pleasure to listen to individually. As a band they have a chemistry that translates into their music. You can feel that each of these crazy Latvian mofos loves the other like a brother. -Chris McDermott about LBB
Traveling to Latvia for the first time I had some misgivings about who would back me up, I had no idea how well they were versed in Blues, I travel a lot and use local bands to back me up more often than not the bands do not measure up to American bands that I play with, but I was pleasantly surprised that not only was the Latvian Blues Band knowledgeable of the Blues, but they had a feel for playing it that you usually only find in American musicians and Much better than most. The guys made me feel I could call any tune and not worry about it. The Blues shuffle, which seems to be one of the most difficult for non Americans to master was not a problem thanks to one of the best shuffle drummers I ever played with, I don’t know where they learned their Blues, but they were obviously paying attention. They can play with me anytime. -Bill Sims, Jr. about LBB
After performing with the Latvian Blues Band at Bites Blues in Riga, I now label them as one of the tightest Blues Bands that I have ever performed with. They are versatile and have a natural feeling for authentic Blues Music. The Blues is about feeling, and the Latvian Blues Band plays with real emotion.
Their ability to master new material is awesome, producing a clear smooth groove on every song… After learning my material so quickly, I only wish that I could keep them as my regular band! -Andre Taylor, Kingston Mines about LBB
You are a great band and I enjoy playing with you guys and I am looking forward to playing with you guys again. You sure do know how to play the blues. You have a huge reputation in the Chicago area for being a great blues band that knows how to play the real blues. Keep the good work up and keep the blues alive in LATVIA!
-John Primer about LBB
I have to say that I was skeptical about working with a group of young guys from Latvia. I have been spoiled living in Chicago for 20 years. I have played with the best. I was totally shocked at the level of musicianship these guys had!! They are some of the funkiest, most soulful players I have ever worked with. I plan on recording with them in the near future. -Joanna Connor about LBB
The Latvian Blues Band is destined to be one of the blues powerhouses of this decade. With the heart of a Lion, The soul of Chicago, and the craft of master bluesmen. This band is comprised of the newest rising stars of the 21st century. These cats are the real deal and it’s an honor to have worked with them.
-J.C. Smith, Guitarist and Radio Personality about LBB
The Latvian Blues Band.
These guys are GREAT!
We have played with musicians all over the world and nobody backs us up like the Latvian Blues Band. Not only are they a pleasure to play with but when they play their own music they are GREAT too.
-Howard Glazer, Harmonica Shah about LBB
This is the most versatile band I have ever performed with. Not only do they perform the music well (not in a cook cutter fashion, note for note), but they have a real deal passion for music. They absolutely love it! If I had to pick a band to back me up – THIS WOULD BE MY CHOICE! -Sharon Lewis about LBB
The Latvian Blues Band that I discovered in Riga that s hidden away from public and international scenes that should be recorded and become international songwriters and band. I had a pleasure to be assist as a legendary musician myself – I just couldn’t believe that they had a knowledge of this music that I was playing, which dates back five decades. They are young band that has been listening apparently this music which they have no idea what it’s all about…. I was surprised to play with these young musicians… They must have been listening to decade music…and I would like to pay them the greatest compliment of being so focused on this music called U.S. blues. It would be a privilege for me and my partner to produce this band on Gilkey Records.
I had a hell of a time!!! -Sincerely-Phillip Walker
They are undoubtedly one of the best bands that I have played with. I have played with backing bands in many countries and all over the United States and they are quick under fire.
I can throw anything at them and am confident that they can follow. -Shawn Pittman about LBB
Last updated: 04/06/2008
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