Gulf Coast Records announces the signing of acclaimed St. Petersburg-based Backtrack Blues Band and will release their label debut, A Day by the Bay, on April 14th.
Recorded live at the Tampa Bay Blues Festival on April 10, 2022, the new live album showcases the band that consists of Sonny Charles on harmonica and vocals, Kid Royal on lead guitar and vocals, Little Johnny Walter on rhythm guitar, Joe Bencomo on drums and Stick Davis on bass. On larger shows, the band is joined by Wayne Sharp on B3 organ and the Backtrack Angels on backing vocals. These seasoned musicians combined have garnered a Grammy Award, two Blues Music Awards, a Keeping the Blues Alive Award, and three Tampa Bay Music Awards for “Best Blues Band.“
“I have been a friend and fan of Sonny Charles for years,” says Gulf Coast Records founder Mike Zito in announcing the signing. “His band has been a staple in the Florida Blues scene for 40 years. This live album is a wonderful culmination of his great band and love for the music.”
“A Day by The Bay captures the energy and excitement of the band performing live at a major festival,” adds Sonny Charles. “Lots of guitar, harp and B3 organ on these original tunes to please Blues music fans. We think blues music is best when it’s experienced live. This album represents our decades of performing together, and the band’s longevity is reflected in the strong guitar, harp and B3 organ that really shine here.“
The Backtrack Blues Band was formed in St Petersburg, Florida in 1980, and is one of the longest-running blues bands in America. This high-energy quintet features Chicago- style blues, with Texas influences. Exceptional guitar, harp, and vocals have made this band a favorite on the American and international festival circuit.
Backtrack Blues Band has performed in concert with the world’s greatest blues artists, including Stevie Ray Vaughan, BB King, Buddy Guy, Gregg Allman, Robert Cray, Johnny Winter, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Koko Taylor, John Lee Hooker, and many more. The group has released eight albums of original music, including this latest album on Gulf Coast Records.
The group’s members are serious students of blues music, and their influences include Little Walter, Albert King, Ronnie Earl, Paul Butterfield, and Sonny Boy Williamson. Sonny Charles is an accomplished harp player in the mold of the great Chicago blues harmonica legends. Kid Royal is influenced by the Texas blues sounds of Freddie King, T-Bone Walker, and Jimmie Vaughan.
Together, they comprise one of Florida’s longest-running and most accomplished blues bands, displaying original, electric blues music with honesty and panache!
A Day by the Bay Album Credits
Sonny Charles - lead vocals and harmonica
Kid Royal - lead vocals and lead guitar
Little Johnny Walter - rhythm guitar & backing vocals
Joe Bencomo - drums
Stick Davis - bass
Wayne Sharp - B3 Organ
Latonya Oliver - backing vocals
Dana Merriwether - backing vocals
Producer: Jim “Pinky “Beeman
Best Friend’s Grave (Sonny Charles)
Make My Home in Florida (Sonny Charles)
Help Me Just This Time ( Sonny Charles)
Dixie Grill ( Sonny Charles)
Natural Born Lover (Jimmy Reed)
Rich Man Blues (Sonny Charles)
She Might Get Mad (Kid Royal)
Times Is Hard (Kid Royal)
You’ll Come Back Someday (Sonny Charles)