Joseph "Smokey" Holman rose onto the national scene coming out of Gary,
Indiana in the late 60's with the Domestic 4. The band became Love's
Children and they were signed to Curtis Mayfield's Chicago based label,
Curtom Records. 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
JD Optekar Guitar/Vocals
endorsed by Lentz Guitars
JD Optekar continued to make a name for himself in 2010 on
the regional and national blues scene while finishing up a successful
run with the band he founded, Hounds Tooth. Playing some of the
top regional blues festivals including Big Bull Falls, Prairie Dog Blues
Festival, Nothin But the Blues Festival, Paramount Blues Festival, and
many others - JD's music has been heard across the Midwest. JD spent
the last year co-fronting Hounds Tooth along with Jared James Nichols
and they played over 90 shows at festivals, fairs, blues societies, and
clubs. He has also opened up for some of the top names in the
blues including Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Shannon Curfman.
His last CD with Hounds Tooth, Soul Rockin, also made the national
charts hitting #41 on the Roots Music Report Top 50 Blues Albums.
JD continues to garner critical acclaim for his original song-writing
and guitar playing: "Solid guitar work, well written and well done
original songs" - The Blues Blast Magazine.
JD has studied guitar locally under
Reverend Raven, Misha Siegfried (Charles
Walker Band), and Steve Cohen.
Donnie Mac Bass/Keys/Vocals
Mac is one of the top bass players in Milwaukee laying
down the tightest grooves and playing some of the fastest funk out there
with his unique style of poppin'-n-slappin'. Additionally, he
lends versatility to the band with his harmony vocals and his ability to
simultaneously play the keyboards with his right hand and the bass with
his left hand. Donnie Mac got his start in music listening to
Howlin' Wolf and father playing in the
basement of their Westside Chicago home. At age 7 Donnie Mac started
his musical journey playing in bands and church. His band opened
for the Jackson 5 in 1969 at the Central Park Theatre in West Chicago.
Donnie Mac received a scholarship to play music at Fisk University and
has played professionally for 35 years in Chicago and Milwaukee.
He has played with some of the biggest names in the business including a
5 gig stint with BB King in Chicago in the
late-80s; and filling in for Chaka Khan's bass player for a single gig.
He continues to be one of the most in-demand bass players in Milwaukee,
recording and playing with some of the top acts around town including:
Urban Soul; Faith, Hope, & Love; and Omar Sigma. He has opened for
some of the top national acts including Ludicrous.
Marcus "MG" Gibbons Drummer
has toured and recorded with some of the biggest names in US over the
past 15 years of his professional career, including tours/gigs with
Keisha Cole, Aaron Moore, Harvey Scales, The Esquires and as part of BB
King's House Band in Memphis. Additional credits include playing
in the Broadway production of The Wiz; promo spots for BET network; a
member of NAACP House Band; and working as a Nashville session musician
for children's CDs. Around Southeastern Wisconsin, MG has played
the top venues including: The Pabst, Riverside Theatre, The Rave,
Bradley Center, Turner Hall, and Summerfest. MG's drumming style
can lay down a funky groove, sit in the pocket, or hit hyper-drive with
a flurry of fills and high-energy, mesmerizing drum solos.
MG also displays versatility in his profession, programming drum loops
for both live and studio work. Additionally, he will be
co-producing the Tweed Funk CD, which includes original tunes that he
wrote for the band.