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Uncle Billy's Smokehouse

Uncle Billy's Smokehouse- for the Grateful Web

The brother duo of guitarist Sean Ryan and keyboard ticklin brother Jody has revived what, to many, is a lost sound in bands today. The throw back to sixties rock has become their signature sound and the major reason Uncle Billy's Smokehouse has been gaining the attention and respect of music lovers far and wide.

Turning heads every time they take the stage, Uncle Billy's Smokehouse is quickly becoming one of the hottest live music acts in the Northeast. With an in-your-face stage presence, dark and nasty jams and beautiful melodies UBS combines an obvious passion to create unique and emotion evoking music, resulting in rock driven originals that take you back to the good ole days of rock n roll. Named in part as a tribute to their father (Uncle Billy), and a surprisingly inspirational hot-dog cart (Billi's Smokehouse) seen for sale on the side of the road while living in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the Ryan brothers Jody and Sean created Uncle Billy's Smokehouse in November of 2000. First formed as a classic rock cover band to feed the brothers need to play music. Uncle Billy's Smokehouse soon grew into a vehicle for Jody and Sean to explore original songs and sounds without any outside influences besides themselves. In 2002, longing for the concrete landscape and random hostility of their hometown, the brothers Ryan returned home to Worcester, Massachusetts. Back home, Uncle Billy's Smokehouse quickly entered the New England circuit with friends and former band mates Jon Golen (bass) and Bill Connor on drums. Infusing the varying musical tastes of each member, UBS began to churn out new songs that exposed a wide range of influences and genres, five of which were captured in the studio in the fall of 2002 for their debut EP. With live shows consisting of numerous originals and the occasional tasty cover, Uncle Billy's was quickly filling clubs throughout Central Massachusetts with some pretty rowdy crowds.

In December of 2003, UBS made a rhythm section change to old friends Matt LeBoeuf and Brad Simmons. And even more original songs began to find their ways into setlists. Life was good for UBS but there was something that was missing, a bassist from hell, and then he was sent from below. Long time Worcester musician Steven 'Janky Bones' Sullivan returned from an 8 year absence from California's Bay area. California was the perfect place for Janky to hone his skills playing a variety of styles of music. From the jam sessions with Stephen Perkins of Jane's Addiction and Banyan to the touring funk band .dias funK, to the king of punk/jazz Willie Waldman, to the L.A. based Pop Killers with guitar great Ronnie Rey Gunn. It was time to return home to the east coast where he quickly started to admire the direction Uncle Billy's Smokehouse was taking their music.

Today, Uncle Billys Smokehouse, armed with its hand selected line up, and a bevy of original tunes is resurrecting the soul of rock n roll past. With an all out musical attack of towering beats, heart thumping bass lines, gritty guitar licks, and pounding keys, the band pays tribute to when rock and roll was both exciting and revolutionary. With electrifying performances that leave their audiences exhausted and spell bound, Uncle Billys Smokehouse has been gaining interest from industry big wigs, to kidz in the lot, to the 1960's era flower children, to some of the best bands out there.

uncleHailing from Worcester Massachusetts this four piece rock out fit has seen their fair of the road in the past three years. Playing shows from Burlington Vermont to New York City the band seems to have found what rock n roll has desperately been in search of for so many years. Songs that have feel good lyrics, intricate composition, and music that fuses the blues based psychedelia of the 60s and 70s with modern day intensity.

In March of 2005 the release of their first full length album 'Tracks', has already sold over 1,500 copies without any outside help. The album has quickly gotten the band on the 'must see' list so many bands spend years attempting to reach. The album received a number of very positive reviews from a variety of different types of media, including a cover feature on the March 2005 issue of the nightlife entertainment publication The Pulse Magazine. "One song and you'll be converted by the power of their blues and funk inflected rock n roll" -Pulse Magazine March 2005.

A review by Mick Skidmore, a writer for Relix Magazine for over 20 years says "A hot quartet that is intent on taking the ballsy blues-rock and psychedelic rock of the early 70's and melding it with a savvy 21st century jam sensibility, and on the evidence of their recent Tracks album that was released earlier this year they are doing a pretty darn good job at it!" -Mick Skidmore September 2005.

A feature that had the band sharing the cover with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra in the Boston Massachusetts based music publication Metronome Magazine "They have resurrected the energetic pomp and circumstance of bands and days gone by that arose out of the ashes of the flower-child movement of the late 1960's" -Shaun McNamara December 2005 Metronome Magazine.

A review in Massachusetts' internet live music playground Wormtown.org "It's the vocal harmonies that do it for me. They really hark back to the AM radio days of the mid 60s. No one even bothers trying to harmonize like this nowadays, but I'm glad they did" -Phil McNamara September 2005 Wormtown.org.

Now playing the club circuit throughout New England Uncle Billy's Smokehouse is steadily carving out their niche in the scene, kicking out some good ole' down-home Rock n' Roll and bringing a party to every new club they set foot in. Today in 2007, fresh off a little time in the practice space and not so much pushing the pavement week in and week out, the band has begun to once again hone its sound in. With the band's newfound time, motivation and ambition new songs from both Jody like 'Candy' and 'Holland' add an even more funky and edgier sound to the band, along with Sean's new tunes like 'JJ's Circus' and 'Almost Done' showcase the band around his complete guitar prowess. So whether you like to dance, stomp your feet, raise a fist, or just toss back a few and get a little silly. See when we come by your place or come visit us sometime, cause right about now its a good time to be in the Smokehouse!

Tommy Ramone's Bluegrass Blitzkrieg Uncle Monk

Tommy Ramone & Claudia Tienan- for the Grateful Web

The New York Times preview said it best: "There is life after the Ramones, but who knew it would be bluegrass?" The write-up referred to Tommy Ramone's new bluegrass duo Uncle Monk, co-fronted by Claudia Tienan. In what seems an improbable second act for the man who wrote "Blitzkrieg Bop" and "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend," Uncle Monk is rooted in the old-timey and bluegrass traditions. The duo's self-titled debut album featuring 14 original songs will be released to brick and mortar retail on the indie Airday Records label, distributed by Burnside Distribution, on May 22.

 
"We are doing what feels natural to us," says Ramone. "We are making use of string-band instrumentation along with alternative rock flavorings. We're drawn to the classic simplicity of string-band music, but at the same time we are deeply involved with the aesthetics of indie  music. There is a similarity between punk and old-time music — both are home-brewed as opposed to schooled. Both have earthy energy. And there is a certain cool in old-time music that is found in the best alternative artists."

 
The songs of Uncle Monk run the gamut of emotions from exhilaration to sorrow, focusing on many aspects of modern existence: small-town life, coming to the big city, urban gentrification, interpersonal relationships and spiritual longings.

 
Tommy Ramone began his musical career as Tommy Erdelyi, an engineer at the Record Plant. Born in Budapest, Hungary, and raised in Forest Hills, Queens, N.Y., he co-founded the Ramones with Johnny, Joey and Dee Dee and participated in the birth of punk and indie-rock, working as the band's drummer, producer and manager. He has also produced recordings by the Talking Heads, Redd Kross and the Replacements.

 
Claudia Tienan hails from Minneapolis, where she was part of the local music scene  and came to New York to study philosophy at Hunter College. She was later a member of the Simplistics and then formed Uncle Monk with Ramone — originally as an electric jam band, and later as an acoustic duo. Her penetrating lyrics and haunting vocals add facets and dimensions to the songs. There is a yin and yang sensibility here, a touch of light and dark, of bitter and sweet, as the music of each artist complements the other's.

 
Uncle Monk delivers thoughtful and measured crafting of lyrics and melodies, and is dedicated to music that inspires the heart and tingles the spine.
 

Time Out New York recently wrote of the band: "If we tell you that Uncle Monk is a bluegrass duo with Tommy Ramone in it, you're bound to think of something like punkgrass or bluepunk. But [they] serve it up pretty straight — and solid. There is no doubting that Ramone's protean experience informs Uncle Monk, but he's no dilettante. This stuff is real."

Uncle Sammy (July 2001)

- for the Grateful Web
Uncle Sammy @ Wetlands preserve- for the Grateful Web

EDITOR NOTE MAY 2006: BAND MAY BE IN THE BAND GRAVEYARD? Let us know.

Combining the grooves of funk, rock, latin, drum and bass, reggae, swing and afro-beat with the harmonic languages of jazz, pop sensibilities, progressive composition and full on improvisation, Uncle Sammy has been turning heads and opening ears on the east coast U.S. and around the world for over four years. They have shared the bill with such acts as Steve Kimock, Percy Hill, Moon Boot Lover, Jiggle, The Slip, ulu, The Miracle Orchestra, Sector 9, Psychedelic Breakfast, The Disco Biscuits, Soulive, Foxtrot Zulu, Brothers Past, Ancient Harmony, Blueground Undergrass, JGB, Deep Banana Blackout, The Heavy Metal Horns, Two Ton Shoe, moe. side project Ha Ha the Moose, and many others.

Uncle Sammy finds its beginnings in the halls of the legendary Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. In the fall of 1996, Tom Arey (drums/vocals) and Brian O'Connell (bass, chapman stick and vocals) met in a jazz ensemble class. Simultaneously, Tom and Max Delaney (guitar/vocals) met in Ear Training. While all this was going on Brian and Max met at a late night jam session. Meanwhile, Brian and Beau Sasser (keyboards, vocals) had been jamming jazz standards and funk regularly with a group known as Gabe Turner and the Jazz Explosion. All these paths would eventually cross.

The real start of the band happened when Max's friend Jeff Waful (then an intern at Gamelan Productions) got a gig for a band to open up on a Thursday night concert series put on by Gamelan at the Wellfleet Beachcomber in Cape Cod. So Max secured the talents of Tom and Brian to play every Thursday during the summer of 97 at this beautiful ocean side club. With the addition of Jay Mallory on vocals and rhythm guitar, they played originals and covers to a packed house at every show.

After the summer the boys went back to Boston to continue college. Jay stayed on the Cape and they picked up the talents of Beau Sasser. Rehearsals followed and a few gigs in Boston during the fall of 97. 1998 found the band playing more around the New England area and gaining a stronger fan base in Boston. By 1999, Uncle Sammy had become a regular at the famed Wetlands Preserve club in Manhattan, recognized as the capital of the jamband world. That year also found them performing on the Berkshire Mountain Music Festival as well as branching out farther into New York State and increasing it's gigs across New England. Also that year they independently released their first CD, "Live at Broadway Joe's", that has since gone on to sell thousands of copies.

In 2000, "Naturally Preserved", their second disk was released on Phoenix Presents to critical and popular praise. Another milestone in 2000 was the 5-week tour with Addison Groove Project, another Boston area band. The tour stretched across New England, the East Coast and New York State. In 2001, Uncle Sammy continued to play to bigger and bigger crowds in the Northeast as well as making a 3-week tour East Coast tour that went from Bar Harbor, ME to Key West, FL. They received an incredible response from people who had been waiting years to see them.

In the summer of 2001 they played many festivals including the Berkshire Mountain Music Festival in Massachusetts (for the third year in a row), Livestock in Pennsylvania and Scottypaluza in New York. One of their most historic sets occurred after their early afternoon set was rained out at the Gathering of the Vibes in upstate New York. The band proceeded to set up in a barn by the entrance to the festival and play a three and a half hour set to thousands of festival goers who had been frustrated by massive band cancellations all weekend. This set was released as "In the Barn" in early 2002 on the Live Discs label. The group continues to play in and around its home base of New England and will be touring ever farther into the western states and the south.

Uncle Sammy had increased its fan base considerably with a buzz growing across the country and an increasingly active tape and CD trading community that records and trades copies of their shows. The tapers have pushed the band ahead on its musical journey. "Knowing that a show is being taped makes you want to play even better because anyone will be able to hear it at any time", says Brian O'Connell. The band also has an active internet discussion group on which O'Connell comments, "the discussion group keeps us in constant contact with our fans, many of which are our close friends. It's a real community."

For bookings contact Phil Simon by email or phone: 413-772-8686