- 2013 WAMI Award Winner for Male Vocalist of the Year
"With a fascinating story singing with soul greats at both Motown and Stax during it's heyday, Smokey's been bringing his trademark sound to the blues in Tweed Funk." - Click Here to Read the Full Article by R. Leckey Harrison in American Blues Scene Magazine
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 Wisconsin Area Music Industry Award (WAMI) for Male Vocalist of the Year. In 2015, 2014 and 2012 Smokey was nominated for a WAMI for Male Vocalist of the Year. Smokey has also helped co-write songs on all 3 of Tweed Funk's CDs and helped co-produce and arrange songs on First Name Lucky and Love Is.
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 served as the primary songwriter and has co-produced 4 CDs with Hounds Tooth and Tweed Funk. 3 of the CDs have charted nationally and received extensive reviews and worldwide airplay.
In 2014 JD was featured in the April/May issue of Dartmouth Alumini Magazine's Voices in the Wilderness. 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 Award Winner for Bass Player of the Year
Eric has been a part of the Milwaukee music scene for over twenty-five years, getting his start gigging with his dad's oldies cover band singing and playing keyboards when he was just twelve years old. In his senior year of high school he was awarded the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award for his jazz drumming. 2006 brought his first Wisconsin Area Music Industry (WAMI) award for Cover Band of the Year with former Milwaukee cover band powerhouse Old Mil. Eric teamed up with nationally recognized blues and soul band Tweed Funk in 2012 and he received his second WAMI award in 2013 for Bass Player of the Year. In 2014, Eric arranged, co-produced and performed on Tweed Funk's release First Name Lucky and received his second consecutive WAMI nomination for Bass Player of the Year.
Having collaborated with many of Milwaukee's top musicians both on the stage and in the studio, and crediting Donald "Duck" Dunn as one of his biggest influences, his bass playing style is known to have a very "deep pocket" with just the right amount of flair.
Eric is a Bergantino bass cabinet user and has been highlighted on the Bergantino Website.
- 2014 WAMI Winner for Brass/Reeds Player of the Year
Kevin has been on the Wisconsin Music scene for the past 20 years and has toured nationally. Kevin played on the last 2 Tweed Funk CDs and helped arrange and write parts for the band's First Name Lucky 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.
A long-time Milwaukee resident, Nick Lang attended UW-Milwaukee, where he received a BFA in classical percussion in 2010. He then went on to study with world-renowned drum set educator Steve Houghton at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, where he received an MM in Jazz Studies in 2012. Having been immersed in Classical and chamber music, as well as many popular American and world styles, Nick brings a diverse pallet of influences and background to the many musical projects he participates in around Milwaukee. Nick spent the previous four seasons (2010-2013) performing with the house band of local vaudeville group The Deadman’s Carnival, and also currently plays with alternative-folk group the New Seven. As far as freelance work, Nick has performed in various atmospheres, from small groups at the Jazz Estate, to musical pit orchestras, to multiple performances with the Milwaukee Pops Orchestra. In addition to freelance performance, Nick is also a very active percussion educator, traveling to different schools around Southeastern Wisconsin, teaching at any level, from primary schools to College-level classes, as well as offering private lessons. Nick also arranged, co-produced, and performed on Tweed Funk's release First Name Lucky.
- 2015 and 2008 WAMI Winner for Brass/Reeds Player of the Year
Andrew is a multi instrumentalist performing primarily on the saxophone family as well as incorporating clarinet and flute, and is versed in many varying genres of music including Pop, Funk, Rhythm & Blues, and American Roots musics. An avid performer and recording musician, Andrew is now playing with Tweed Funk across the Midwest. He studied music at both Milwaukee Area Technical College and University of Wisconsin Parkside, and has a background in Jazz Improvisation and Live/Studio recording. He has been a professional musician for more than a decade, performing with groups that include the Paul Spencer Band, the Dead Man's Carnival, and the Uptown Savages. A WAMI award winner for Reeds and Brass Player of the Year in 2008 and 2015, he holds numerous nominations with multiple groups throughout the Wisconsin Area Music Industry.