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For almost 20 years, the red-hot Texas rockin' blues of Smokin' Joe Kubek and Bnois King has been thrilling music fans all around the world. Kubek's raucous roadhouse fretwork is expertly complimented by the equally fiery guitar and soulful vocals of Bnois King. With literally thousands of live performances under their collective belt, the two create a one-two punch of raw, tough, blues-rock filled with intensity and purpose. Gigging with legendary musicians like Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert King, Freddie King and B.B. King (among so many others), Kubek learned first-hand how to live and play the blues and how to lead a band. Harp
declared, "Kubek and King pump out rocking, kicking blues for those times when the feet just want to start stomping."
The band's Alligator Records debut, Blood Brothers
, produced by Kubek and Alligator president Bruce Iglauer, is a blues lover’s delight. The CD features 14 rocking blues songs (13 originals) filled with Kubek's larger-than-life fretwork and King’s smoky vocals and economical, tasty guitar playing. Recorded with Kubek and King’s road-honed touring unit, the album captures all of the band’s legendary live energy and highlights the seemingly telepathic interplay between the musicians.
According to Iglauer, "Joe and Bnois are a real powerhouse blues combination. Joe is an amazing guitarist who can play anything in blues, from the most traditional Texas style to totally blowout blues-rock. Bnois is a gorgeous singer with deep Texas soul, and his guitar playing is subtle and melodic. Together they make an unbeatable two-man front line backed by a solid, versatile rhythm section."
And Kubek is simply thrilled to be with Alligator. "Alligator is the Rolls Royce of blues labels. After all my life of being a musician, this is the greatest achievement and brightest spot of my career. I'm looking forward to making the best recordings I’ve ever made, and I’m looking forward to seeing all of our fans on tour."
Kubek was born in Grove City, PA in 1956 but grew up in Irving, TX. He was leading his own bands and gigging in clubs all around Dallas when he was only 14. Bowled over by the blues a short time after first hearing Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck, Kubek soon discovered the music of Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf and other early blues masters. By the time he was 19, he was backing many famous blues players in the area, including legend Freddie King. In 1976, Kubek was about to head out on tour with King when King died suddenly of a heart attack. "I was in awe any time I was around him," Kubek recalls. "I learned a lot about feeling and execution. He always came onto the stage hot. You have to entertain people from the second you start."
Kubek next worked with R&B singer Al "TNT" Braggs and made a host of new friends, including Albert King, Stevie Ray Vaughan (with whom Kubek became close), B.B. King and many other blues icons. He often found himself jamming with these larger-than-life blues stars, while playing constantly around the Dallas area. He not only learned tips and techniques, but also soaked up stories and lessons of being a professional touring musician. One night, he even had the chance to play B.B.'s guitar, Lucille. "King admired my enthusiasm and he encouraged me, which really meant a lot. When times got hard, I always remembered how B.B. King had given me some encouragement."
In 1989, Kubek met guitarist/vocalist Bnois King at a Monday night Dallas jam session. The two became fast friends, and melded their seemingly divergent styles—Kubek a rocking and fierce picker and slider, King a jazz-inflected chorder (who could also solo with flaming electricity)—into one of the most potent guitar combinations the Southwest had ever produced. Kubek explains the relationship succinctly: "I pull the blues out of him, and he pulls the jazz out of me. Bnois knows so much about jazz it's amazing."
King was born in Delhi, LA in 1943. He was inspired to play guitar by his high school music teacher. Before long, Bnois was playing blues cover songs with a local band. On his own, he traveled through Texas, Oklahoma and Colorado, finding local bands to gig with and also performing with carnival tent show combos. King made his way to Dallas in 1979, gigging with jazz bands until he hooked up with Kubek 10 years later.
Calling themselves The Smokin' Joe Kubek Band Featuring Bnois King, they were signed to Bullseye Blues and released their debut CD, Stepping Out Texas Style
, in 1991. The band immediately grew out of Texas and began touring nationally. After a successful series of Bullseye releases, they signed to Blind Pig Records in 2003. As their popularity continued to build on the strength of their music and the energy of their live shows, Kubek and King began playing over 150 dates per year all across the United States, Canada and Europe.
More than anything else, Smokin' Joe Kubek and Bnois King exist to perform live. With Blood Brothers
and a massive tour planned, the band will gig from coast to coast, bringing their no-holds-barred brand of soul-charged, Texas rockin' blues to old fans and newcomers night after night. From the smallest Texas roadhouse to clubs and concert stages all over the country and around the world, Kubek and King—band mates and blood brothers—are ready to welcome everyone into their Texas blues family.