The Stafford Palace Theater Presents
Roomful of Blues
Mike Law & The Playboys
75 Main St.
Stafford Springs, CT, 06076
Doors 5:00 PM / Show 7:30 PM
This event is 18 and over
Watch & Listen
Roomful of Blues
With an almost non-stop performance schedule for the last 40 years, Roomful of Blues has earned critical, popular and radio success and a legion of fans around the globe. Twice, the prestigious Down Beat International Critics Poll selected Roomful of Blues as Best Blues Band. Roomful's horn section has won The Blues Foundation's W.C. Handy Award for "Best Instrumentalist" three times and in 2004 won the prestigious W.C. Handy award for "Best Blues Band. They joined the Alligator Records family with That's Right! in 2003. The CD received massive amounts of praise and received yet another Grammy© nomination.
Remaining together for so long is not simply a matter of survival, but rather a testament to Roomful of Blues' commitment to its originality and its ability to evolve. Currently an eight-piece unit led by guitarist Chris Vachon, the band has never sounded fresher or stronger. With vocalist Dave Phil Pemberton, upright bassist John Turner, drummer Ephraim Lowell, keyboardist Travis Colby, baritone and tenor saxophonist Mark Earley along with long-time member tenor and alto saxophonist Rich Lataille (the longest-standing member of the group) and trumpeter Doug Woolverton.
It all began in Westerly, Rhode Island in 1967 when guitarist Duke Robillard and keyboardist Al Copley started a band that played tough, no-holds-barred Chicago blues. They soon began exploring the swinging, jumping blues, R&B and jazz of the 1940s and 1950s, and added a horn section in 1970. The band's ability to ignite a sedate crowd into a dancing frenzy solidified their reputation as the best "little big band" in New England and expanded their following into New York and Washington. In 1974, they performed with Count Basie, and a few years later, legendary songwriter Doc Pomus helped them land their first record deal. In 1977, Roomful of Blues' self-titled debut album on Island Records (recently reissued on Hyena Records) brought them to the attention of fans and critics from coast to coast.
Over the years there have been at least 55 Roomful of Blues members, each bringing his or her own unique talent and vision to the mix. When founding member Duke Robillard left the band in 1980, equally talented guitarist Ronnie Earl replaced him. Singer Lou Ann Barton joined the band at this time, sharing vocals with Greg Piccolo. By now the band was touring nationally and attracting bigger and bigger crowds. Roomful recorded the critically acclaimed Hot Little Mama for their own Blue Flame label and two successful albums for the Varrick label during the 1980s. In 1994 they released Dance All Night, their first featuring guitarist Chris Vachon (who joined the band in 1990) and harpist/vocalist Sugar Ray Norcia. Radio play was increasing, as was the band's stature. Their 1995 album, the Grammy©-nominated Turn It On! Turn It Up!, was a remarkable mix of big band swing and rock 'n' roll, bringing the band its greatest radio and sales success to date, and giving them credibility with the rock radio audience.
In addition to their band recordings, Roomful of Blues have often backed legendary musicians like Jimmy Witherspoon, Jimmy McCracklin, Roy Brown, Joe Turner, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson and Earl King—stars of the 1940s and 1950s blues scene, and the very people who created the music that Roomful still keeps vital and alive. Roomful recorded albums with Turner, Vinson and King during the 1980s, and all three recordings received Grammy nominations. They backed rocker Pat Benatar on her 1991 album, True Love, further establishing Roomful of Blues' reputation as one of the best blues bands in the country. The Roomful Horns backed many other artists as well, including Canadian star Colin James on his double platinum album (in Canada), Colin James and the Little Big Band, and Stevie Ray Vaughan on his 1984 Live At Carnegie Hall album on Epic.
As always, the driving philosophy of Roomful of Blues as a musicians' band puts the unit ahead of any one individual. Their winning combination of jump, swing, blues, R&B and soul remains their calling card, as does their ability to fill the dance floor.
Over the years Roomful of Blues has played countless gigs and many major festivals. They've gigged with blues stars ranging from B.B. King, Otis Rush and Stevie Ray Vaughan to rockers Eric Clapton and Carlos Santana. Now as always they continue a on-stop, hitting cities from coast to coast, and traveling abroad to England, Spain, Italy, France, Portugal, Switzerland, Finland, Holland, Belgium, Turkey and Russia.
With their non-stop touring schedule, long-time fans and new converts alike can see for themselves why The San Francisco Examiner called them "the hottest, most solid and wonderfully entertaining band around."
To learn more about Roomful of Blues visit their website:
Mike Law & The Playboys
Mike Law & the Playboys founding members Mike Law and Carl Ricci started the band in 2002. Begun as merely a side project for both, after their first show they realized they had something special. Fast forward to the year 2013 and Mike is well known in the northeastern blues scene, paying his dues and laying down the ‘Law’ with his unique brand of Deep Blues.
Finding American roots rock, rhythm and blues for the first time, Mike was won over. The soul, the passion and the strength of the music had made him realize what his true love in life was. His musical influences include the likes of Johnny Guitar Watson, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Muddy Waters, Jimmy Rogers, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter, Wynonie Harris, T Bone Walker, Gene Vincent and the Blasters.
With the stamp of approval from many local and national acts, Mike Law & the Playboys have not only entertained crowds throughout New England but have also gained the respect of their peers in the music industry.