When blues veteran and Kingdom Brothers’ founder Bob Walther formed the group in 2005, he wanted to do something really different on the St. Louis music scene. “What you will not hear in our set list is ‘Sweet Home Chicago’ and ‘Rock Me Baby’,” says...
When blues veteran and Kingdom Brothers’ founder Bob Walther formed the group in 2005, he wanted to do something really different on the St. Louis music scene. “What you will not hear in our set list is ‘Sweet Home Chicago’ and ‘Rock Me Baby’,” says Walther. “Both are fine songs but can be heard seven nights a week in every blues club in the area. Instead, we cover our favorite cuts by the blues greats – Otis Rush, Freddie and Albert King, Bernard Allison, Guitar Shorty…to name only a few.” A fresh approach was a bit risky but has paid huge dividends for the band. Also featured in Kingdom Brothers’ set list are traditional gospel/blues numbers made popular by groups like The Blind Boys of Alabama. And Kingdom Brothers’ original songs, which include the title track from the band’s 2008 CD release Shine a Light, continue to win listeners over as well. Notable local Kingdom Brothers’ events have included a TV appearance on KNLC Channel 24; a July 4th ‘08 main stage performance in Granite City before an estimated crowd of five-thousand; two very successful nights at BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups; and a recent blow-out show at Harrah's Casino. The line up of lead guitarist Ron Roskowske, vocalist Tom Wilson and bassist Walther have logged a combined one-hundred-five years of major blues performances. Roskowske, easily recognized for his high-intensity electric leads and smooth bottle-neck slide solos, is just as comfortable accompanying Wilson’s soulful vocals with some tasteful flat-top work, a la Robert Johnson. And Walther spent years alongside the piano legend Johnnie Johnson. Stan Gill, a veteran keyboardist and formerly the stage manager for a major label, singing songwriter/guitarist Chris Shepherd, and award-winning drummer JR Payne round out the group. Shine a Light is receiving FM radio play on four continents and has received excellent reviews here in the U.S. and in Europe. Kingdom Brothers continues to be a major crowd draw in St. Louis as they expand their listener base beyond just hardcore blues fans.
Kingdom Brothers by Ron, Rootstime Belgium (translated from the Dutch) This blues band from Saint Louis, is not an ordinary blues band. They use, as it happens, the devil’s music to spread the message. You see it already if you undertake...
Kingdom Brothers – Shine A Light by Peter 'Cornbread' Cohen, CBP I’m at the crossroads again. About nine years ago I was in LA, went to B.B. King’s and caught “Brothers N’ Blues”. I remember being blown away as I listened to a Christian based blues band, and...
Kingdom Brothers by Ron, Rootstime Belgium (translated from the Dutch)
This blues band from Saint Louis, is not an ordinary blues band. They use, as it happens, the devil’s music to spread the message. You see it already if you undertake their CD. On the cover stands a church building, and the title lies there also, "Shine A Light". This is real blues. Only their texts indicate the direction of the sky (heaven? –SG), and then still, outside the title song and the following "Testify,” nowhere can be found an indication on sermons. (I think this means the CD doesn’t preach at you – SG)
The voice of Tom Wilson, the lead vocalist is strong and soulful in the compelling title song, which opens the Kingdom Brothers disc. "Testify" with Chris Shepherd on the vocals shows that he also stands well as vocalist and guitarist. With a sound which sometimes brings Santana to mind, he makes of this song, in a way, a modern-sounding poppy blues song. Stan Gill raises that Santana quality still more. The well-known blues traditional "Blind Man" gets also an in-depth, modern implementation. Shepherd himself wrote and prayed "Bad Love," still another demonstration of the Santana inspiration, whereas Stevie Wonder’s "Higher Ground" gives occasion to guitarist Roskowske to demonstrate southern slide guitar. "Turn Around", a song which was written by several band members, sits also with Southern rock influences.
"You Was Wrong" by ZZ Hill is based on the version of Freddie King from his Texas Cannonball CD, still one of my favorite blues discs. Chris Shepherd’s “Feel Like Crying” validates his voice and soul.
The southern slide guitar with Wilson’s soulful vocal, reminding you of Terry Evans’ voice, give "Ain't Nobody’s Fault But Mine" a feel and sound reminding us of Ry Cooder’s best pre-recordings, and without doubt also the best song of this disc.
The instrumental New Orleans classic, The Meters "Cissy Strut" gets a real Allman Brothers sound, and concludes "Shine A Light" of the Kingdom Brothers in more than a convincing manner. You would convert you for less. Hallelujah! (RON)
Kingdom Brothers – Shine A Light by Peter 'Cornbread' Cohen, CBP I’m at the crossroads again. About nine years ago I was in LA, went to B.B. King’s and caught “Brothers N’ Blues”. I remember being blown away as I listened to a Christian based blues band, and also remember thinking it was a paradox within itself. Now nine years later and in St. Louis I keep hearing about this band tearing it up around town, the Kingdom Brothers, and yes, a Christian based blues band. With much anticipation I got their newest CD from my buddy, Bob Walther (Bass). Walther is joined by Tom Wilson (Vocals), Ron Roskowske (Guitar), Chris Shepherd (Vocal/Guitar), Stan Gill (Piano/Organ), JR Payne (Drums) and Beth Tuttle (Tambourine).
1. Shine A Light
3. Blind Man
4. Bad Love
5. Higher Ground
6. Turn Around
7. You Was Wrong
8. Feel Like Crying
9. Nobody's Fault But Mine
10. Cissy Strut
Musically, this was nothing short of a great album with some blues highlights. The rich soulful vocals, plenty of guitar, piano boogie woogie and prominent bass make it an enjoyable listen. I liked it. In particular Shine A Light was guitar-o-plenty with a solid bass and piano. You Was Wrong is a terrific version of ZZ Hills song with killer guitar. Bad Love is a cool, Robert Cray-like song and among my favorites. Blind Man takes us on a blues journey to Chicago with guitar and organ each taking shots at solos. Feel Like Crying tastes like Freddie King with fancy fret work that left my mouth watering for more. The Kingdom Brothers bring together a mix of R&B, Blues and Gospel from their hometown, St. Louis.