Alligator Records presents Have Blues, Will Travel from Texas guitar slingers Smokin' Joe Kubek And Bnois King. The two Lone Star guitarists -- one a hard-edged, hard rocking blues player and the other a jazzy, elegant rhythm player who delivers raw, spontaneous solos -- have taken their dual guitar attack from the heart of Texas to fans around the globe. Kubek and King's twin-frontman lineup is unparalleled on the blues scene. Backed by their rock-solid rhythm section, Kubek's fiery guitar work is perfectly matched by King's sophisticated rhythm playing and rough-edged, down-home soloing and his soulfully conversational vocals. Their new CD (their second for Alligator and the 12th of their careers), Have Blues, Will Travel, is a collection of fresh, original songs played with passion, taste and a white-hot intensity.
With Have Blues, Will Travel, Smokin' Joe Kubek and Bnois King take a giant step forward. The chemistry between Kubek's blistering fretwork and King's savvy vocals and unpredictable, multifaceted guitar work creates a roadhouse blend of muscular blues-rock, hip-shaking shuffles and slow-burning blues. Each song is infused with deep, from-the-heart musicianship, carefully crafted, true-to-life lyrics and delivered with the occasional smile. King wrote or co-wrote every song on the album, with words that are clever and poetic. The slice-of-life lyrics, delivered with King's dry, storyteller's drawl, are honest, believable, wryly humorous and truly insightful.
Joe Kubek was born in Pennsylvania in 1956 but grew up just outside of Dallas. He was leading his own bands and gigging in clubs all around Dallas when he was only 14. Bowled over by the blues a short time after first hearing Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck, Kubek soon discovered the music of Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf and other early blues masters including Freddie King, Johnny Copeland and Lightnin' Hopkins. By the time he was 19, he was backing many famous blues players in the area, including legend Freddie King. In 1976, Kubek was about to head out on tour with King when King died suddenly of a heart attack.
Kubek next worked with R&B singer Al "TNT" Braggs and made a host of new friends, including Albert King, Stevie Ray Vaughan (with whom Kubek became close), B.B. King and many other blues icons. He often found himself jamming with these larger-than-life blues stars, while playing constantly around the Dallas area. He not only learned tips and techniques, but also soaked up stories and the lessons of being a professional touring musician.
Bnois (pronounced Buh-noice) King was born in Delhi, LA in 1943. He was inspired to play guitar by his high school music teacher. Before long, Bnois was playing blues cover songs with a local band. On his own, he traveled through Texas, Oklahoma and Colorado, finding local bands to gig with and also performing with carnival tent show groups. King made his way to Dallas in 1979, gigging with jazz combos until he hooked up with Kubek ten years later. A master storyteller, King didn't start writing and singing until he joined forces with Joe, when both duties fell on him. "We needed a singer so I sang," King recalls, "and every time I did the crowds went wild. We needed songs so I wrote about things that happened to me, to people I knew. That's what I still do today." In 1989, Kubek met King at a Monday night Dallas jam session. The two became fast friends, and melded their seemingly divergent styles into one of the most potent guitar combinations the Southwest had ever produced.
On the strength of their huge local following, Kubek and King signed to Bullseye Blues in 1991 and released their debut recording. After conquering the Dallas scene, the band began touring clubs, concert halls and festivals nationally and internationally. Following a successful series of Bullseye releases, they signed to Blind Pig Records in 2003. As their popularity continued to build on the strength of their recordings and the energy of their live shows, the band's touring schedule grew to over 150 dates per year all across the United States, Canada and Europe (where they have toured more than a dozen times).
Kubek and King signed with Alligator in 2008 and released Blood Brothers. The fresh approach, the smoking hot playing and the original, slice-of-life lyrics all added up to a blues lover's delight. The Dallas Observer said, "An electric blast of twelve-bar heaven...they blow the roof off."
More than anything else, Smokin' Joe Kubek and Bnois King love to perform live. With Have Blues, Will Travel and another massive tour planned, the band will hit the ground running as they gig from coast to coast, bringing their no-holds-barred brand of soul-charged, rockin' Texas blues to old fans and newcomers night after night. Have Blues, Will Travel is not just the name of the new album. For Smokin' Joe Kubek and Bnois King, it's a way of life.