Wednesday, August 28, 1996

Ponty Bone and the Squeezetones ~ 1996 & 2002

Ponty Bone is a Texan accordionist who has led his 1980s band, the Squeezetones to international popularity over a twenty year period.

Originally from San Antonio, Texas, Bone began studying accordion when he was only 5 years old. Later, he learned to play trumpet also. Ponty attended Texas Tech in Lubbock. Early in his career Bone became a member of the Joe Ely Band.

By the mid 1980s Ponty Bone had formed his own band, Ponty Bone & the Squeezetones. The group's early style ranged through Russian gypsy dances, reggae-blues, Tex-Mex polkas, and Cajun boogie. In 1987, early in their career, the group made their singular appearance on the PBS music television program Austin City Limits, as part of a "Squeezebox Special" episode with Queen Ida and Santiago Jimenez, Jr.

With his band, Ponty has shared the stage with such artists as The Clash, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, King Flaco Jiménez, Linda Ronstadt and Ronnie Lane.
Bone's album, "Fantasize" has been described as drawing from Tex-Mex, rock, blues, R & B, zydeco, and even Caribbean music to create a whole new style.

Tuesday, August 6, 1996

Big Mike Griffin ~ 1996 & 2000

Nashville's aptly named Big Mike Griffin (6'10", 350 lbs.) is a no-holds-barred blues guitarist new to the 1990s blues scene. Griffin grew up in Lawton, Oklahoma, and regularly traveled 125 miles as a teen to hear blues in Dallas and Fort Worth clubs. Griffin was influenced by the second generation of blues artists, like Albert King, Mike Bloomfield, Albert Collins and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. After the local economy turned sour, he left for Nashville. Initially, he did session guitar work for country artists and played anywhere he could, eventually building his own Unknown Blues Band. After releasing a self-produced album that sold well in Nashville, the band signed with Malaco/Waldoxy Records in 1992. They had already earned a reputation beyond Nashville's city limits, playing at such prestigious festivals as the W.C. Handy Blues Festival in Memphis and the King Biscuit Blues Festival in Arkansas. The band toured incessantly and developed East and West Coast followings before recording Gimme What I Got Comin' in 1993, which was a hit among blues fans and DJs. Griffin played a month-long tour of Europe that year with labelmates Denise LaSalle, Little Milton, and Artie "Blues Boy" White. Griffin's unique, economical guitar style can also be heard on White's Different Shades of Blue album and James Peterson's Don't Let the Devil Ride. His three albums for Malaco include Back on the Streets Again (1992), Gimme What I Got Comin' (1993), and Sittin' Here With Nothing (1995). All are outstanding efforts that incorporate Griffin's gift for humorous storytelling and blend elements of jazz, funk, and swamp rock into his arrangements. ~ Richard Skelly, All Music Guide