2013 WAMI Winner for Male Vocalist of the Year!!!
Joseph "Smokey" Holman rose onto the national scene coming out of Gary, Indiana in the late 60's with the Domestic 4. Initially the band made 2 trips to Memphis and worked with Rufus Thomas and Willie Mitchell recording songs for Hi Records. The business agreement fell apart and the songs were never released. With Stevie Wonder's first cousin (Charles Simmons) in the band - they also got a chance to audition for Motown. Motown liked what they heard and the band was sent immediately to Studio B to record 2 demos. Again the business fell apart and the music was never released.
The Domestic 4 were playing a show on the West Side of Chicago. Their manager had arranged for Curtis Mayfield to attend the show and he loved what he heard. Curtis Mayfield renamed the band as Love's Children and signed them to his Chicago based label, CurTom Records. Curtis penned 4 songs for the band to record. Their best known singles were 1971's Soul is Love and This is the End. Soul is Love was a Soul Sauce pick by Billboard Magazine to hit the Top 20 on the Soul Charts. Love's Children toured extensively for 3+ years and had the Ohio Players open for them at a show.
Smokey left the band in 1972 and as with many musicians his road took a different path as he joined Marines, got married, and ended-up working in steel mill to make ends meet. During the ensuing years he also faced his own challenges and personal demons that took him further away from the music he loved. Eventually, Smokey righted his ship and in 1994 began performing in the greater Milwaukee area with Marvelous Mack and the Pressure Release Band.
Smokey's smooth vocals capture the magic of the classic "soul era" and contain a sweetness and joy that evokes memories of a simpler time. Meanwhile his journey and life experiences contribute to the grit and emotion as he belts out a blues shuffle channeling his "ups and downs" into every note. A consummate showman, Smokey is always working it on the stage providing energy and entertainment to audiences large or small.
Smokey took home the 2013 Wiscosin Area Music Industry Award (WAMI) for Male Vocalist of the Year. In 2012 Smokey was nominated for a WAMI for Male Vocalist of the Year. Smokey has also helped co-write songs on Tweed Funk's debut CD, Bringin It and latest CD, Love Is.
Below is a photo of Love's Children with Curtis Mayfield in the old RCA Studios at 1 Wacker Drive. Smokey is pictured 2nd from the right.
Here is Smokey with the band Love's Children. Click here for the interview on WHPK's program Sitting in the Park with Joseph "Smokey" Holman and Glenn Ross.
JD is endorsed by Lentz Guitars
JD Optekar has been instrumental in starting two WAMI (Wisconsin Area Music Industry) Award Winning bands since his arrival on the music scene in 2006. His initial blues-rock project, Hounds Tooth, took home a 2008 WAMI and his current band, Tweed Funk, was the 2012 WAMI Winner for R&B/Soul Artist of the Year. He has co-produced 3 CDs of which two of them made the Roots Music Report Top 50 Blues Albums Chart.
JD has played throughout the Midwest at some of the top blues rooms and festivals including: Big Bull Falls Blues Festival, Ain't Nothin But the Blues Festival, Prairie Dog Blues Festival, Paramount Blues Festival, Waukesha Blues Festival, Summerfest, House of Blues - Chicago, BBs Jazz, Blues, and Soups, River City Blues Society, Dan Electro's Guitar Bar, 2012 International Blues Challenge, and numerous regional festivals in SE Wisconsin.
In October of 2012 JD made the cover and was featured in RockWired Magazine's 25 Guitarists You've Gotta Know. JD continues to garner critical acclaim for his songwriting and playing receiving praise from Living Blues Magazine, Big City Rhythm & Blues Magazine, Vintage Guitar Magazine, Blues411, and many more publications.
JD has studied guitar locally under Reverend Raven, Misha Siegfried, and Steve Cohen. JD exclusively plays Lentz guitars and Dr. Z amps.
2013 WAMI Winner for Bass Player of the Year!!!
Eric got his start in music at a very young age. Recruited to his dad's oldies cover band to sing and play keyboards at the age of 12, he's been gigging steadily ever since. During his teen years he got the opportunity to tour the Midwest and play at some of Milwaukee's biggest festivals with internationally renowned Elvis impersonator Garry Wesley. In 1997, Eric picked up his first bass and had so much fun playing the instrument in various bands that he never put it down. He joined WAMI Award winning cover band Old Mil in early 2003 and during his time with the group, Eric played at most of the top clubs and festivals in Southeastern Wisconsin including repeat appearances at Summerfest and State Fair and at venues such as the Bradley Center, Eagles Ballroom, and Shank Hall. In 2004 he also got the opportunity to perform for the President of the United States in front of 16,000 people. Eric remained with Old Mil until the group disbanded in early 2012. Having collaborated with many of Milwaukee's top musicians both on the stage and in the studio, his bass playing style can best be described as smooth and "in-the-pocket" but with just the right amount of flair to get his point across.
Eric took home the 2013 WAMI Award for Bass Player of the Year for his work in Tweed Funk and harmony driven classic rock band, The Orphans.
Jon Lovas is an up-and-coming woodwind performer in the Milwaukee area and performs regularly on Saxophone, Clarinet, and Flute. He is a recent graduate of UW Milwaukee where he studied Music Education and studied the saxophone with local jazz legend Curt Hanrahan. Jon has performed with the Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra and Milwaukee Opera Theatre. During the day he teaches primary music education at two schools in the greater Milwaukee Area and has a large roster of students taking private lessons. Jon arranged all of the horn-parts for Tweed Funk’s CD, Love Is.
A 2013 WAMI Nominee for Brass/Reeds Player Player of the Year!
Kevin has been on the Wisconsin Music scene for the past 10 years and contributed to Tweed Funk’s latest CD. Kevin works at Hal-Leonard during the days and saves his evenings playing in New Orleans style brass band and with Tweed Funk. Kevin has played in a variety of bands around Wisconsin including jazz, big band, funk and cover bands.
In 2013 Kevin was nominated for a WAMI for Brass/Reeds Player of the Year. Additionally, Kevin drew praise from Bruce Iglauer (Alligator Records) for his trumpet playing during a recent performance at Buddy Guy's Legends.