Sean Carney Band
Calgary International Blues Festival (2010)
“The next big thing has already been around the block,” a Canadian newspaper reporter wrote of The Sean Carney Band’s impressive showing and subsequent victory at The 2007 International Blues Challenge, held in February in Memphis, Tennessee, explaining that Carney and his crew are no newcomers to Blues. The IBC is presented by The Blues Foundation, who also awarded 34 year-old Carney the Albert King Best Guitarist Award and Best Dressed in their 23rd annual competition, before an audience of 1,700 blues lovers from all over the world.
A Columbus, Ohio native and veteran of the scene, like Carney, drummer Eric Blume has been performing with Carney in Columbus venues for over a decade, backing blues and R&B artists Christine Kittrell, Hank Marr, Jimmy “T-99” Nelson, Willie Pooch, Big Joe Duskin, Joe Weaver and Johnnie Bassett. In his early twenties, Carney’s passion for the Blues extended beyond the stage as he bolstered the scene in his hometown, organizing concerts featuring the likes of Jimmy Witherspoon and Charles Brown, writing blues-related articles, co-hosting a radio program called Spontaneous Combustion on WCBE 90.5 FM, organizing fundraisers for ailing artists and serving three terms as President of The Columbus Blues Alliance. When Hubert Sumlin and Henry Gray were recently in need of a backing band at The Soul Shine Blues Festival in Bascom, Ohio, organizers knew to look no further than The Sean Carney Band for professionalism and musicianship. Producer/guitarist Scott Cable also selected The SCB as backing band band for pioneering R&B vocalist Nappy Brown for a number of 2008 festival dates - unfortunately, it was not to be as the blues world recently lost Mr. Brown following a lengthy illness.
In 1998, Carney released his first CD, “Provisions” – re-released in October 2007 as, “Provisions – A Second Helping,” featuring the final recording of Nashville R&B pioneer Christine Kittrell. Also in 1998, the German label Taxim Records licensed a Christine Kittrell track produced by Carney and featuring his skillful and understated guitar work.
Carney celebrated another significant professional milestone in a 2001 with a performance at The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival backing Cincinnati Blues piano master Big Joe Duskin, along with drummer and Rolling Stone Magazine contributor Ben Sandmel.
It was through Christine Kittrell that Carney met Teeny Tucker and eventually became her musical director and songwriting partner in what led to the recording of “First Class Woman” with producer “Kaz” Kazanoff and special guest Nick Curran. Carney performed at The Ratskeller Jazz Festival in Berlin, Germany with Tucker and Blume soon joined her band, backing the two-time IBC finalist at venues such at The Monterey Bay Blues Festival, The Fleet Blues Festival and Buddy Guy’s Legends in Chicago.
Blume attended The Fort Hayes High School for the Performing Arts, along with Carney, and gigged with singer Willie Pooch as well as recording and performing frequently with Central Ohio legend Ray Fuller.
Carney and Blume formed Nite Owlz Records in 2006, for the release of their self-produced CD, “Life of Ease,” and embarked on a summer tour of Western Canada organized by guitarist/producer Steve Gerard. Gerard, who joined the touring band on guitar, paired the visiting players with top-notch Canadian musicians, Graham Guest on piano/organ and Chris Brzezicki on upright bass, for an itinerary that included The Yale in Vancouver, The Red Onion in Calgary and Blues on Whyte in Edmonton. Following Canada, The Sean Carney Band toured the Midwest with Phil Berkowitz, West Coast harp boss and Louis Jordan specialist, performing at Chicago’s House of Blues and The Slippery Noodle Inn in Indianapolis, among other venues.
In July of 2006, Carney traveled to France where he performed with venerated saxophonist Hal “Cornbread” Singer and trombonist Sarah Morrow at The Paris Jazz Festival.
Fueled by outstanding audience and critical response, Carney and Blume returned to Western Canada to once again perform with Guest and Brzezicki. Blume recorded the band’s week long engagement in February of 2007 and a CD release is currently in production. In March, Carney and Blume performed at San Francisco’s famed Biscuits & Blues with Dave Workman and Wendy DeWitt and entertained a sell out crowd at The Thirsty Ear in their hometown of Columbus, Ohio.
Summer of 2007 saw The Sean Carney Band performing at prestigious events including The Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland, Oregon, The Telluride Blues and Brews Festival in Colorado and The Long Branch Blues & Jazz Festival on the New Jersey Shore, The New York State Blues Festival, The Honesdale Roots & Rhythm Festival in Pennsylvania, an exclusive June date in Carpentras in The South of France, a weekend headlining at The Yale in Vancouver, British Columbia and a VIP performance at the prestigious Blues Music Awards in May. Respected publications such as Blues Revue Magazine have awarded “Life of Ease” enthusiastic praise and the disc enjoys frequent airplay on Listener’s Choice and XM Radio’s “Bluesville” - in fact, Carney and the band will record an exclusive live performance and interview with Bill Wax for XM Radio in Washington, D.C. in November of 2007.
Carney and the band recorded an hour-long concert video in historic Greenwich Village in New York City for Digital Café Tour that will soon be available for download purchase at www.digitalcafetour.com. Unreleased studio recordings of Carney’s band with Christine Kittrell, Big Joe Duskin and Jimmy “T-99” Nelson are currently also being prepared for release.
Fall 2007 engagements for The Sean Carney band in the U.S. included a main stage set at The Arkansas Blues & Heritage Festival in Helena, Arkansas, Morgan Freeman’s Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale, Mississippi and an exclusive SW Florida concert date at Dave’s Aqua Lounge in St. Petersburg, FL for The Suncoast Blues Society. In late 2007, Carney and the band will perform for The Detroit Blues Society and The Baltimore Blues Society.
The Sean Carney Band embarked on a three week European tour with legendary saxophonist “King Saxe” Gene Walker in October/November of 2007 with sold out shows in France, Belgium and Denmark and appearances at The Eslov Blues Festival in Sweden and La Scala Blues Fascht in Switzerland.
With new bassist, 2008 Blues Music Awards nominee Bill Stuve, The Sean Carney Band set sail with Taj Mahal, Tab Benoit, Jimmy Thackery and many others on The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise in January of 2008, followed by The Buckeye Cruise for Cancer in February and in March, The St. John Blues Festival in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
In early April, The Sean Carney Band appeared at The Mud In at Teddy’s Juke Joint in Zachary, Louisiana before returning to Europe with featured guest Gene Walker for a tour that included The Kwadendamme Blues Festival in Holland, Bluesfestival Eutin in Germany, The Spring Blues Festival in Belgium and the first ever Blues@School program in Germany.
In the summer, Sean and band have appeared at The Eureka Springs Blues Festival, Gahanna Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival, The New York State Blues Festival, The Johnnie Johnson Blues Festival, Blue Ridge Blues & BBQ Festival, The Ohio State Fair, Edmonton’s LaBatt Blues Festival, The Blues At The Beach Festival (Virginia Beach, VA), The Soul Shine Blues Festival where they backed Hubert Sumlin and Henry Gray, The Melody Ballroom in Portland, Oregon and they will return to Europe in late October to tour eight countries through early December.
On December 2, 2007, Sean Carney presented the first “Blues for A Cure” all-star concert in Columbus, Ohio including Teeny Tucker, Willie Pooch, Omar Coleman and others, raising $9000 for The American Cancer Society and The OSU James Cancer Research Center. Devoted to community service and "paying it forward," The SCB will once again be at the center of Blues For A Cure on December 13, 2008 alongside such stars as Trampled Under Foot, Dave Specter, Alberta Adams and Henry Gray as Carney's mother, Mary Hinson, is beginning her second battle with Hodgkins Lymphoma.
The Sean Carney Band has recently been recognized by such as icons of the genre as Jimmy Thackery (Sean will appear as special guest with Thackery & The Drivers in Columbus) and Johnny Winter (The Sean Carney Band will open for Winter in Greensboro, NC in March of 2009.
2009 festival bookings for The Sean Carney Band include The Bierbeck Blues Festival (Belgium), Charivari Blues Festival (Germany), Bluesnight (France), The Eslov Blues Festival (Sweden), The Blues Spring Festival (Austria) and The Berlin Blues Festival (CT).
In the summer of 2009, The Jazz Arts Group, CAPA and The Sean Carney Band along with "King Saxe" Gene Walker will team up for for the newly renovated Lincoln Theatre's first concert in well over thirty years on June 19 & 20. The Jazz Academy at Lincoln Theatre will welcome The Sean Carney Band June 22 through 26 as faculty at Camp Blues, a week-long ensemble experience focusing on learning about and playing the blues.