Smokestack Lightnin' Home Page -- The Blues Profile Page
In 2004 Michigan guitarists Rusty Wright and Laurie Wright put together the first incarnation of the group that would become the Rusty Wright Band. It was only the band's second show together when they opened for Lynyrd Skynyrd, a performance which garnered them a standing ovation and prompted Skynyrd guitarist Rickey Medlocke to exclaim “Dude – where the hell did YOU come from?”
Since then, Rusty, Laurie and their band have made the leap from regional favorite to enjoying international recognition and performing at music events on four continents. St. John Blues Festival promoter and Bluzapalooza founder Steve Simon described the Rusty Wright Band as “One of the most entertaining Blues bands in the country today.” Their live blues and southern rock show has been described as “an energized blues storm.”
The band's fourth album, titled "This, That & the Other Thing" is slated for release January, 21 2013.
Early 2012 marked the band's national television debut. The group was featured on an episode of WKAR's Backstage Pass, a syndicated PBS music program produced on the campus of Michigan State University. The episode has aired repeatedly across the country. In spring 2012, Former Grand Funk Railroad bassist Dennis Bellinger joined the group, replacing longtime bassist Andrew Barancik who left to focus on his church and ministry.
In October, 2011 the band quietly released "Live Fire." a digital album of live concert tracks, compiled from several years' worth of mixing board recordings. In July, 2010 the band embarked on a successful commercial concert tour through Italy, sharing billing with the late Michael Burks [Alligator Records].
At the invitation of the US Department of Defense, the band undertook an Armed Forces Entertainment tour in the autumn of 2009, entertaining troops stationed at nine US military bases in South Korea and Japan.
In early 2009, the band's second album, "Playin' with Fire" [Rusty Wright Band/Sadson Music] released. The disc made the regional Billboard Top 10 chart, the Roots Music Report Blues Chart, Sirius/XM's BB King's Bluesville chart,and spent more than two years making appearances on the iTunes Blues Charts, including top 10 rankings in several European countries, .
Blues Matters Magazine, Europe's largest roots and blues publication dubbed the album “brilliant,” and The El Paso Times described Playin' with Fire as “a smart collection of adrenalized modern blues that showcases not only Rusty Wright's considerable guitar chops but an obvious ability to fuse blues and rock in a way that draws from the former's traditions and the latter's high-voltage power.” The CD received significant global airplay on hundreds of terrestrial and satellite radio stations in the US, Canada and Europe, and Podcast and Internet radio airplay reached listeners in more than 100 countries. Playin' with Fire continues to receive regular spins on Sirius/XM radio's B.B. King's Bluesville station.
For the band's 2006 recording debut "Ain't No Good Life", [Rusty Wright Blues/Sadson Music] Wright enlisted the help of longtime friend and former Godsmack drummer Tommy Stewart for the recording. Garnering international acclaim and excellent reviews, "Ain't No Good Life" was named one of the year's top five albums by Midnight Special Blues radio in Paris, France.
While the band's recordings have been generously lauded and applauded, the stage is where the group shines brightest. Fellow touring acts and talent buyers have been generous in praising the band's live show. Rik Raven of Rev. Raven & the Chain Smokin' Altar Boys said "The Rusty Wright Band should headline EVERY show they are on. This band is THAT good. Best I've seen in years."
Kirby Milton of Lansing, MI said “I was one of the guys who was responsible for booking RWB into the Old Town Blues Festival and was completely blown away by the band. They are a real treasure.”
Pix Theatre Executive Director Craig Martin who has booked RWB multiple times for the theatre's premiere concert series said “Make no mistake; this act is much more than a 'guitar' band. They are the embodiment of what The Blues is all about. Some the best blues I've ever heard.”
Marquette Area Blues Fest director Mark Stonerock called RWB's performance “One of the best we've ever had.”
In addition to shows with Skynyrd and Burks, the Rusty Wright Band has shared stages and billing with an eclectic array of roots and rock acts including the late Etta James, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Johnny Winter, Edgar Winter, Charlie Musselwhite, Leslie West & Mountain, Janiva Magness, Zac Harmon, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Blessid Union of Souls, Slaughter, Bettye Lavette, Walter Trout, Coco Montoya, Mark Farner (formerly of Grand Funk Railroad), Nick Moss, and many others. In their home state of Michigan the group has become a 'go-to' act for blues festivals and concert venues wanting to boost ticket sales.