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mississippi cadillac blues bandMississippi Cadillac Blues Band

Alex Ross - Vocals, Guitars-Alex has been playing guitar since he was 12 years of age. Playing anywhere from Mississippi Delta cotton gin parties, Lafayette County line juke joints, Beale street clubs in Memphis to the main stage of some of the South’s biggest music festivals. Ross states “The groove has always come from Howlin Wolf, Jimi Hendrix, and Elmore James and the soul always felt from B.B. King along with my admiration for many others in the electric blues”.

Bud Bays - Guitars-After picking up the guitar in his early teens, Bud has worn many musical hats in addition to that of an accomplished blues guitar player. Over the years he has owned a recording studio, been involved with booking bands for various international venues and in the production side of the business all while continuing to play alongside recognized names in the blues music genre including Jim, Cody and Luther Dickinson, Frank Frost, Sam Carr, Mojo Buford and Kim Wilson.

John Miller - Bass Guitar- Playing guitar for a number of years, John started to play the Fender Bass as well to explore new territory. Since then John has established a signature groove and bottom that keeps the rhythm of the Mississippi Cadillac Blues Band truly strong.

Will Hunt - Drums Percussion- Another native Mississippian like the rest of the band Will Hunt started at a young age working the percussion section. He has a pocket which complements the Groove/Blues sound that the Mississippi Cadillac Blues Band has shown on its new CD “Stone Cold”. Will has played all over the South with several acts and brings a great beat with him wherever he plays.


Mississippi Cadillac Blues Band
Local flavor guarantees band to be a ‘good, solid fit’ at Rooster’s
BY JEFF MCVAY

In September 2010, music producer and long-time studio musician Bud Bays contacted me about a project he was spearheading, a collaboration with Country Boy Rolling Stone (Bill Crowder) who was in the process of releasing a new CD at the time, “Honky Tonking Too Long.” He assured me that “Honky Tonking” was top-heavy with Oxford talent and I (in turn) assured him that I was interested in helping him get the word out about the album but it wouldn’t be me that did the “shouting.” I’m simply not a country music fan.
That was then.

After devoting some time to the liner notes and on Google, I was hooked — particularly with Bays’ impressive lineup on “Honky Tonking.” The names “Fluke” Holland, Rosamond Posey, Jim Dickinson, Cody Dickinson, Duff Durrough and Jesse Pinion stood up and screamed “attention!” It goes without saying that I did indeed do the research and feature for that collaboration, and I did it happily. I’m stoked that
Bays decided to hang on to my number, too, because, turns out, there’s more screaming and celebrating to do these days.

Bays’ latest undertaking, Mississippi Cadillac Blues Band, is yet another project of his that is loaded with Mississippi talent. This time (when Bays called) there was zero hesitation on my part — “Definitely! Include me in this process. Let me know how I can help.”
Mississippi Cadillac Blues Band has been a work in progress for almost 20 years. It’s the last few months that have catipulted the band into a frenzied touring schedule as venues and private parties scramble to meet the ever-growing demand for Mississippi homegrown blues with a rock ‘n’ roll feel. The band serves up the genre in a big way and they’re headed to Oxford via Rooster’s Blues House on Saturday, May 14, for a rare afternoon/evening jam session on the historic Oxford Square. “Cadillac” is tourning in support of its new CD “Stone Cold.”

Oxford Town caught up with Bays last week and, with the help of his lovely wife Janice manning the pen, we sat and chatted about the band (with its loaded Mississippi cast) the album and their upcoming show at Rooster’s. OK ... so fill us in Bud. What’s the genesis of
this album and band? About 17 years ago I was playing a gig with Duff Dorrough at the SAE fraternity house when Alex Ross, the lead singer and guitar player of the Mississippi Cadillac Blues Band, was in school at Ole Miss. During a break, Alex and I had a conversation
and we realized we had some very close in friends in common. He told me that his favorite place to go on Sunday nights was a club outside of Oxford called Mr. Blues so I realized that we not only had mutual acquaintances but a shared love of Mississippi music.

Alex was playing in a band at the time with Kenny Graeber (current drummer for George McConnell) and a couple other students. They
had a pretty tight little group with lots of talent including some original songs that I felt should be recorded. I got in touch with my friend, Roland Janes, manager and engineer for Sam Phillips Recording Studio to get the songs recorded. Over the years we would have
opportunities to play together occasionally but never put together a working band. After hearing a CD that I had produced, Alex got in
touch and told me that he would like to do some recording at Tweed Recording Studio here in Oxford. He really liked the sound that engineer Jeffrey Reed developed on the other project and wanted to get to work ASAP.

You produced the album, right? You also play guitar on the album. What’s that all about?

My job as producer was to find out which instruments Alex wanted on each of the tracks and then bring together the musicians that I
felt were a good fit for his musical vision and that would complement his style. He wanted to keep the sound close to classic blues artists
but with a rocking contemporary attitude. Alex’s first comment was that John Miller was his pick for bass player. After hearing him play, I completely understood why he was chosen. He’s such a solid player and has all the qualities that are the mark of a great bass player. To quote a bass-playing friend, the late George Allen, “He gets on the bottom like a catfish and stays there.”

The next member added was a talented, young drummer that I had been working with, Will Hunt. Will’s father, who has a real love for the blues, can probably take credit for his son playing with a maturity far beyond his 21 years. But the truth is that he is just blessed with pure, natural ability. After deciding that I would play rhythm guitar, the only unfilled slots at that point were for piano and organ and whether or not we would need a horn section. We may bring in horns the next time around but they just didn’t work for what we did on “Stone Cold.”
Finding the perfect musician for the organ and piano parts was more difficult. After having worked sessions with Spooner Oldham and Jim Dickinson (who was rightfully dubbed ‘The Magical Musical Maestro of Memphis’ by Bob Dylan); whoever took the job had very big shoes to fill. The only musician that could do the job, in my mind, was Billy Earheart. I had long admired his work with The Amazing
Rhythm Aces and Hank Williams Jr.’s Bama band and knew he would be a good fit if he was available. As things turned out, he was able
to work us into his schedule and we are glad he did. He brought years of studio experience that came from being a part of over 200 albums that helped to polish things up — especially on track 3, “Cheatin’ Ways.” Funny story here, I didn’t know Billy or that he was in
Mississippi until he sent me a message on Myspace telling me that he liked some of the music I had produced. He said the only thing wrong with it was that he wasn’t playing on it. I’m glad we’ve had the chance to fix that.

So, what’s next?

The CD release party took place just a few weeks ago but ideas for the next project are already in the works. It helps that we are all so close to Oxford and that we can take care of all our recording needs locally at Tweed Recording Studio, the mastering at Taproot
Audio Design and have promotional items taken care of at Oxford Printware. Nice! Thanks for the cool T-shirt Bud. You sure this is an extra-large? Just put the shirt on editor boy and start typing. (OK ... so I made this one up — but you get the point).

Rooster’s Blues House owner Scott Michael is no stranger to satiating the dynamic musical appetite of Oxford. Landing the Mississippi Cadillac Blues Band for an evening of blistering Mississippi blues/rock is his way of launching Lafayette County into the slow motion bliss
that we call summer. Rest assured however, Rooster’s doesn’t recognize slow motion and will keep the heat on throughout the year (with or without the listening ear of our students). You can hear for yourself what the Mississippi Cadillac Blues Band has to offer by purchasing “Stone Cold” — now available at www.cdbaby.com — or you can pick up a copy at Off Square Books.

Better yet, catch the band live at Rooster’s this Saturday (May 14) from 4-7 p.m. You can also catch up

—jeff@oxfordeagle.com