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B Street Blues
Boston was the home of the Tea Party and Revere’s epic ride. It was the flash point of the Colonists’ revolt. So, perhaps it is only irony that a group of blues musicians would have united in this place to spark their own musical coup? It was in July of 2003 - in the shadow of Bunker Hill – where B Street Blues ignited a true Boston blues revolution.
In less than a decade, B Street Blues have evolved into a finely-tuned and hard-driving, blues machine. Along the way, band members Norm Tiedemann, Dave Schaefer and Chris Chesna have earned accolades as one of the premiere blues bands in Boston. With an intermingling of classic and modern blues, they unleash a unique blend of roots, blues, jazz and rock music. Their live performances contain progressive vocals and potent lead guitar – all wrapped in powerful percussion. The result is a rare eclectic energy.
Elements of a “live performance” atmosphere exist within each of B Street Blues recording projects. Their debut album, B Street Blues Live, received many optimistic reviews. The Blues Critic described the album as, “Steady power blues on three originals and three covers.” Adam Gamble, from Glocester England’s CamFM 106.7, called the tracks, “Very well produced, and the musicianship sublime.”
In December of 2010, B Street Blues began a new journey with the
release of Car Won’t Go. In the project, theyworked with a diverse team
of many first-class musicians. The outcome was a ten-track collection of
blues music. The album featured the session work of Allman Brothers’
guitarist Jack Pearson, legendary saxophone player Richie Cole and blues
harmonica master James Montgomery. However, it is the multiplicity of
musical talents within the core members of the band that generate their
revolutionary sound. Although the band often invites additional
musicians to perform, tour or record - Tiedemann, Schaefer and Chesna
are the nucleus of B Street Blues.
“Norm T” is fueled by a pure adoration of music that has stretched over four decades. The “T” could stand for tenacity – evidentin his constant desire to evolve as a musician. As a young child, his songwriting skills and musical ear already were apparent. He began to pick out tunes on the family’s piano. By the age of fourteen, Norm had already been a lead singer in a band. While still in his early teens, he began playing guitar. Influenced by greats such as Eric Clapton, BB King, and Stevie Ray Vaughan, Norm has developed an exceptional command of lead guitar over the years. His robust vocals are dynamic and filled with sentiment and passion. Tiedemann can wrap around the surplus of styles in the band’s original catalog – yet also tap into interpretations of blues legends on live covers. “It’s the years of exposure to all types of music, life events and flashes of inspiration that I believe I offer to the band,” says Tiedemann.
Dave Schaefer – Drums/Vocals
A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Dave joined the band in 2005. He was a musical product of a non-musical family. “Even the radio was absent in our house,” Schaefer explains. Nevertheless, Dave’s interest in drums and percussion seemed innate. It all began at the age of five when he was captivated by the bass drums of a marching band. Since the age of thirteen, Schaefer has either performed, or taught percussion. His prior band experience includes opening for groups such as The Ohio Players and Bo Donaldson. Schaefer has also toured with well known acts such as Gloria Gaynor and Edwin Starr. Graduating Cum Laude from the renowned Berklee College of Music, Dave earned a degree in music composition in 1980. “I bring a creative spontaneity to the band – I love going in new directions,” says Schaefer. A musical scholar, Dave is B Street Blues’ “Professor of Percussion.” However, he also lends his pen to the band’s compositions as a well-developed and very talented songwriter.
Chris "Chez" Chesna – Bass
Chris "Chez" Chesna joined B Street Blues in 2006. His journey into music began at age seven when he picked up his first guitar. He is a self-taught saxophone player. However, he became a serious bass player as a teen. Chris studied bass at the University of Lowell under professor Marc Henry. In 2009, he graduated at the top of his class from Berklee’s Jazz Bass Performance Program. His wide array of musical influences embodies everything from Van Halen to Beethoven and BB King. He has had the opportunity to perform or record with the likes of Chuck Berry’s band members, Count Basie’s Orchestra and Iggy Pop. Chesna owns Middlesex Music, where he is an instructor of bass, guitar, and saxophone. Chris has become a regular on the music scene around Boston.
It is the creative diversity among Chris, Dave and Norm that yield the distinctive style of B Street Blues. “We’ve all adopted each other as brothers,” offers Schaefer. He continues, “We’re family. We can yell and scream and throw things at each other ... however, we are still there at the end.” Akin to a three-piece Fife and Drum core, Tiedemann, Chesna and Schaefer march forward as true musical revolutionists. “Norm T” sums it up, “Each one of us brings a mastership of their instrument. When combined this forms a whole greater than the sum of the individual parts.” That statement is so true for any revolution. What makes B Street Blues special? Each band member contributes their own artistic nuances to form a powder-keg of blues fusion. Already working on their third album, they have plenty of “aural ammunition” yet to come in their Boston Blues revolution.