Since 1990, The Blues Disciples have been entertaining fans with their offerings of blues music. The band is especially popular among people in Milwaukee and the Midwest. It was founded with the intention of remaining true to the electric blues music by Jimmy Schwarz.
Their music was initially influenced by Muddy Waters and Little Walter. Later, they were influenced by the renowned names in Wisconsin Blues, such as Billy Flynn and Jim Liban. Through their power-packed shows, the band rose to prominence on the Milwaukee Blues scene. They made the whole new generation fall in love with the Blues genre by their weekly performances.
These performances were mostly held at the Milwaukee Blues fixture and The Up & Under. The band has maintained the necessary freshness and relevance in their music. Despite all the changes over the years, the band still remained true to its roots of blues.
Eloise Davis is the cellist and bass player of The Blues Disciples. She resides in New Orleans, where she gives regular performances with bands such as The Swampdaddys and Major Bacon. She has served as the bassist for Pat Ramsey and the nationally touring blues band The Blues Disciples. Pat Ramsey was the frontman of this band. Unfortunately, he died in November 2008.
Eloise has also played alongside the some established female musicians. Moreover, she regularly plays bass as a substitute in several other local bands. Eloise played cello on many albums by the popular bands including The Bourbon Cowboys and The Parishioners. She has also given some wonderful performances as a solo cellist with orchestra.
She has even composed classical and modern pieces, thus utilizing her education in advanced music theory. Before pursuing music in 2005 full-time, Eloise was a writer and editor for 15 years. During this period, she worked for local, regional, and international publications.
Starting off at the age of 10, Renson has been playing guitar for nearly 46 years. The first gig for which he got paid happened when he was 13 years of age. His mother worked with a church choir and later became a music teacher. She had his brother and sister take piano lessons. Thus, music had an influence on him right from his childhood.
Around 1970, his mother took him to The Paul Winter Concert. He described the music as very creative that didn’t quite fit into any of the typical genres. Johnny Winter, Jimi Hendrix, and Gibson Firebird were some of the musicians who had a great influence on him. According to him Johnny didn’t sound like anyone else. He had also mentioned that no one sounded like Johnny either.
Remembering his early years, he said that he used to spend many hours listening to the great blues musicians. He also played along with Johnny Winter, B.B. King, Jimi Hendrix, and Jeff Beck. Renson currently fronts his own band known as Major Bacon. It has three musicians from the blues rock genre and they have their weekly gigs in New Orleans.
He has spent more than a decade playing on the road with Pat Ramsey and The Blues Disciples. Before this, he had played with the singer and harmonica player, JD Hill and the Jammers. All the bands he played for are in the blues rock genre with a little bit of fusion.
3. Pat Ramsey
He was a veteran who spent more than 30 years in the trenches. Ramsey is famous for his work in White Hot & Blue, a critically-acclaimed album that came out in 1978. In the early 1970s, he was playing with the Bunny Brooks Band in Denver. He was a skilled harpist, which was noticed by Rick Derringer, a member of Johnny Winter’s band. Derringer recommended this young player of harmonica to Johnny Winter.
In order to join Butch Trucks from the Allman Brothers Band, Ramsey relocated to Florida. He joined the blues rock band from the 1980s, Crosscut Saw, as a harp player and frontman. While he was a member of this band, he opened for many great artists. They included B.B. King, Johnny Winter, and the Nighthawks. This also gave him the opportunity to tour the east coast extensively.
Crosscut Saw recorded Mad, Bad and Dangerous, which was an album for a Florida-based indie label. This album was later reissued by Akarma, an Italian rock label. After five years, Crosscut Saw disbanded when Julien Kasper left the band. This young blues guitar prodigy wanted to attend graduate school.
Ramsey collaborated with a number of bands from the late-1980s through the 1990s. They included the Poulos-Ramsey Band that he had formed with Greg Poulos, the former guitarist of Freddie King. From Sarasota to Memphis, this band became a popular name. It also opened for artists such as James Cotton and Charlie Musselwhite.
Ramsey recorded It’s About Time in the early 1990s. This was his first solo CD. He became a part of The Blues Disciples with drummer Steve Howell and guitarist Dave Renson. This band soon became one of the favorite bands of Florida. They played at the clubs and festivals. The Blues Disciples also released two live albums.
Ramsey wasn’t a celebrity and kept a low profile for much of his career. Despite this, he was a favorite among many of the blues and rock fans across south-eastern United States. He was an extremely talented and hard-working musician who was a personification of the blues spirit.
4. Steve Howell
A drummer for Pat Ramsey between 1986 and 1992, Howell has been a Sarasota resident since he was 12. He started drumming in bands featuring his brother Mike when he was a teenager. He was a drummer for The Blues Disciples for nearly seven years. In the early 2000s, he recorded and toured with Coco Robincheaux in France. Howell also toured with him at the New Orleans Heritage Jazz Festival in 2000.
His recording credits include Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know and Live at the Grand. Steve Howell was the co-writer for Allergic to Work and Build Me A Woman. These two songs featured Pat Ramsey and played on global blues radio channels. Howell also played behind some great musicians such as Johnny Marshall, Eddie Kirkland, Bill Wharton and Jason Ricci.