Blues Bios

How to order
~ BC & the Blues Crew ~
~ Juke & the Tone Patrol ~
~ Pennsylvania Blues ~
~ Pennsylvania Blues Calendar ~
(all blues bios/reviews are provided by the performers)

Juke & the Tone Patrol ~ "That Straighter Line"

"That Straighter Line" is the official DEMO recording of Juke And The Tone Patrol, which is best described as a band sounding like Elmore James meets Slim Harpo in Jimmy Reed's basement to jam, and Hound Dog Taylor and Little Walter stop by to join in the fun. It's blue collar blues, with a feeling, real juke joint music that takes you back to the sound of the best blues bar bands of the 1950s. Body music, meant for dancing and drinking and letting those good times roll, on and on and on. Recorded live in the studio with analog equipment, it's not your modern day super-clean, over processed CD with pristine sound. It's raw and real, with the bum notes and less than perfect vocals left in, just as they happened. These guys were having big fun, and it shows in the music. Featuring Pete "The Jukester" Sheridan on guitar plus harp and mandolin, Josh Cunningham on harp, Fred Tumbleson on bass, and Bobby Dorsey on drums, it's the calling card the band put together to garner some gigs. Pete handles lead vocals and the rest of the guys join in on backing vocals. Try it, you'll like it, guaranteed blues!

Item: TP001 ~ That Straighter Line ~ $10.00

Tracks: 1) Big Leg Woman 2) Talk To Me, Baby 3) You've Been Gone So Long 4) Come On In My Kitchen 5) Got Love If You Want It 6) Rollin' and Tumblin' 7) You Don't Have To Go 8) Groove Push 9) Party Till The Cows Come Home 10) No Money Down 11) Just A Little Bit 12) That Straighter Line

Return to Pennsylvania Blues Return to the PA Blues Calendar


BC & The Blues Crew



~ Band Biography ~

~ Reviews ~ Awards ~

~ Summary & Contact Information ~


BC & the Blues Crew won the 1998 Talent Audition in for the Billtown Blues Society, which led to competing internationally, landing them as one of seven top finalist at the Blues Foundation's International Blues Talent Competition in Memphis, TN. Their most recent awards come from their home base in the Lehigh Valley as the Best Blues Band (1999, 2000), Best Female Singer (2000), Best Keyboardist (2000) and Best Artist CD (2000, Creole Etouffee). They've headlined numerous area festivals in addition to performing at festivals across the Northeast. Both of their releases Unfinished Business and Creole Etouffee have been given airplay in over 17 different countries showcasing their ability to collectively write, produce, and arrange. In addition to these CDs, the band is included on Hobo Jungle (1999; and BummerTent (2001; Blues Compilations. BC & The Blues Crew is a unique blend of blues, R&B, Soul, Zydeco, Jazz, and Rock. They have a signature style all their own and continue to increase their audience as a first-class and original Urban style blues group. BC has a voice that will capture your soul and keep you completely mesmerized and in touch with the lyrics as she has a distinct way of telling a story in verse and song.

BC (Vocals): In nine years of performing, New Orleans, Louisiana native Beverly Hardin Conklin ("Bev Conklin") has finally found her calling. Thinking corporate America would fulfill her dreams after earning her masters degree in Public Administration at Penn State, and preparing for Law School, Bev left her position as a Director in Human Services in Central PA and started over in 1990 back in Allentown, PA. Two years later, her opportunity to lead a blues band was a foreign and completely unknown concept. In 1992, her best friend's brother asked her to audition for their band because they needed a front person/lead singer. He gave her all the materials she needed to start the process and from that point forward, "BC" has taken the band out of the garage and into the circuit. BC & The Blues Crew has performed in feature events with Koko Taylor, Shemekia Copeland, Son Seals, E.C. Scott, Sista Monica, The Holmes Brothers, Lil Ed & The Blues Imperials, Little Charlie & the Nightcats, Kenny Neal, Eddie King, Carl Weathersby, Lonnie & Ronnie Brooks, Sandra Hall, Ann Rabson, Eddie Kirkland, and so many more. Joining the local Blues Society in 1994 led to her position as President (formerly held positions included VP & Business Mgr. and newsletter Editor). As the Concert Chairperson, bringing in top regional and national artists to the Lehigh Valley (PA), while working with area venues, Bev Conklin has become a formidable and highly visible ambassador of the blues community.

Mike Brandt (Guitar): Mike's first introduction to the blues was in 1983 at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA where he studied jazz guitar. Although Jimi Hendrix was his first influence to blues guitar, Ronnie Earl, Charlie Baty, Alex Schultz, and Debbie Davies captures Mike most. Mike has a style like no one else and he seldomly puts himself at the front of the stage (because he is truly introverted). But, when he plays, every essence of his personality and style becomes the focus of the moment. He is unknowingly building himself a fan-base of people who identify with his "scintillating" and "scorching" and "smooth" leads that capture an entire room. He's the most humble, yet confident player we know on the indie scene today.

Dave Small (Harmonica/Flute): Dave's been playing harmonica over 27 years. Along with Sonny Terry, Dave?s first influences were Alan Wilson (Canned Heat), Paul Butterfield, James Cotton, and Magic Dick (J. Geils); more recently, Big Walter Horton, Little Walter, Rick Estrin, Rod Piazza, William Clarke, and Sonny Boy Williamson.

Mitch Shelly (Bass): Mitch is the most respected player among bass players in the Lehigh Valley/Philly area. His passion is jazz. A performer for over 20 years, Mitch offers the highest physical energy level to the band. Every note he hears, feels, and plays is permeated throughout his entire body. The man is doing jumping jacks and playing a line with such depth that it gives us all a jolt. Whether it?s his electric or upgright bass, you'll be consumed with powerful bass lines.

Wayne Smith (Keyboards, Rhythm Guitar, Drums): Wayne is our primary producer/arranger for the band's repertoire. Formerly with Jay & the Techniques (Apple, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie, Keep the Ball Rolling) and formerly with the Rock Roots in the Schools program during weekdays with Dave Fry (Godfrey Daniels, Sing Out Magazine), Wayne is our primary Band Leader. You might even see him as our drummer or rhythm guitarist on occasion, since he is a multi-proficient musician.

C.J. Coyle (Drums, Vocals): Mr. Coyle's day gig is a H.S. History and Psychology teacher at Wilson H.S. Formerly with Lucky 7, Craig now fills the drumming spot for the band. CJ has a very soulful vocal style and dabbles in the area of Delbert McClinton, which Wayne Smith won't argue with at all.



Awards/Honors: 1998 - Finalist - Blues Foundation International Talent Competition, Memphis TN 1998 - Winner of the Billtown Blues Association Talent Audition 1999 - Lehigh Valley Music Award (LVMA) for Best Blues Group 2000 - Finalist - WZZO Battle of the Bands 2000 - LVMA (Best Blues Group, Best Female Singer, Best Keyboardist, Best Artist CD)


Reviews: "Dear BC, You guys are tight and professional. I respect the good musicianship and that you have a distinct style and aren't an imitator, plus you do originals, which is refreshing. Final Chapter On You - pretty good original song, good New Orleans-ish groove, nice harp and guitar. Searched So Long - I like this one. Simple, but you sing it with a lot of soul. Good guitar solo too. Tear It Down - good harp, lots of energy. Good solos all the way around. Don't Mess with Me Baby - good guitar work here, nice slinky groove. this is probably my favorite song on the album. You do more with your voice, it's bluesier, the band groove is tight. What's not to like." Bruce Iglauer - Alligator Records & Artist Management, Inc. (February 25, 2001)

"BC & The Blues Crew get adventurous, with hints of influences from Stax to Santana, on their fat-sounding Creole Etouffee. "To Whom It May Concern," like much of the album, bears a mid-60's R&B-groover feel, but Wayne Smith's organ veneer suggests a countryish, Band-like influence. The heart of the batting order? "Baby She's Your Crime," with cool changes and Mike Brandt's torrid guitar; the Steely Dan-ish "Taking Out the Garbage"; Bev Conklin's roaring, funky "Searched So Long". Smith cracks that toughest of nuts, the midtempo ballad, with "Many Miles" on the strength of BC's delivery..." Tom Hyslop - Blues Revue, November 2000

"If the main factor was chops, BC & The Blues Crew's thick groove-making might have won the day, exemplified by guitarist Mike Brandt's scintillating lead work, and the deep, funky bottom provided by bassist Mitch Shelly and drummer Billy Wear." John Terlesky - Morning Call, September 2000

"We appreciate the contribution you made to our program and the impact you had on attracting a culturally-diverse, multi-generation audience. Your dynamic performance created a great deal of enthusiasm and helped us with our mission to bring blues to Prince George's County. You are to be commended." Jay H. Boyar - Chair, Bluebird Blues Festival Committee

" BC & The Blues Crew achieved the difficult feat of staying true to the blues sound while making it seem fresh. Their best songs of the evening were the soulful and melodic "Many Miles" and "I Just Want", from the band's upcoming disc. Unlike many blues bands centered on standardized guitar solos, vocalist Bev Conklin led a group that incorporated elements of funk and jazz, while maintaining its blues roots with the sound of Dave Small?s harp, Kevin Brown (drums), Mike Brandt (guitar), and Mitch Shelly (bass) worked together in different styles with an energy that was sometimes close to being manic." Dave Howell - Morning Call 12/98 Hailing from the Lehigh Valley

"... Their performance at the auditions made the reason for this meteoric ascent clear. Delivering the goods in styles similar to those of Etta James and Big Mama Thornton, BC & The Blues Crew are sure to become a formidable force on a much larger scale. Billtown Blue Notes Out Pennsylvania way, BC and the Blues Crew reach out with a sensuous, slow hand on "Chain of Fools", one of the highlights of Unfinished Business" (Bluescrew Records).

"Vocalist Bev Conklin ("BC") and the snug rhythm section perform solid work, especially in those sultry tempos where the heartache burns and the longing gets real long. The funky sax/organ/guitar set-up is forceful but leaves plenty of room for solos from harp stand-out Dave Small and the others. Original tunes share the spotlight with selections by Willie Dixon, Randy Newman (!!) and Detroit Jr. BC's a growler when she needs to be, and... she's got a knack for vocal tension-and-release that brings those slow cookers to life. Bill Kisliuk - Blues Access The playlist mixes band originals... with songs from such varied sources as Aretha Franklin, Detroit Junior, and Randy Newman. Best of these is the substantially revamped "Mellow Down Easy", while the reggae-inflected "You Must Think I'm Blind" stands out among the originals. JDK - Living Blues Magazine Pennsylvania?s BC & The Blues Crew sound... Unfinished Business - well-chosen covers including "Chain of Fools" and "Call My Job" here, notably "Down at Mike's", a showcase for Dave Small's harp and Mike Brandt?s guitar, and bassman Al Guerrero's outstanding soul tune "Tomorrow Morning". Tom Hyslop - Blues Revue.

"From the way that the disc was selling and fans were hounding band members for autographs, Unfinished Business could be the start of something big for BC & The Blues Crew. For almost five hours the band drove the crowd wild with the originals... Lead vocalist Bev Conklin, who often sang with a radiant smile and her eyes closed, displayed great versatility." Linda Beck - Morning Call


Summary & Contact Info.: The chemistry of this six-piece group is what makes BC & the Blues Crew's unique, award-winning Blues style forge ahead each year as new fans determine their path forward. Bev "BC" Conklin is the sensual, yet gutsy singer/songwriter empowered by the lyrics and music that is masterfully arranged and often written by Wayne Smith, the band's playful, creative, sixties era loyalist, and multi-talented keyboardist. Tempered by Mitch Shelly on bass, his profound and decisive jazz-rock energy will give you a virtual jolt. Mike Brandt is the jazzy-funky-blues stylist in the group laying down guitar riffs so smooth or forceful it defines the group's overall sound. C.J. Coyle is our newest talent to the group and he gives us that solid blues link on drums and vocals. And the icing on the cake, Dave Small who has the Chicago Blues harmonica presence to get your feet tapping and body rapping as he swirls and hovers over his notes. The list of professional touring/recording artists each of these members have performed with is long and continues to grow. Perhaps it's the synergy in perpetual motion that keeps this band performing and gaining broader recognition beyond the Northeast and throughout the world.

P. O. Box 126, Easton, PA 18044-0126. phone: (610)439-8210 fax: (610)439-2103

Return to Pennsylvania Blues Return to the PA Blues Calendar