Tallan Noble Latz
www.tallanlatz.com (MySpace Page)
Tallan Noble Latz (aka: The T-Man) now 9 years old, seems to be destined for the big stage. He has been playing music since the age of 3, picking up the guitar for the first time at 4 and finally getting serious about the guitar at age 5.
Everyone is talking about this young guitar slinger, who possesses an old musical soul, the way he carries and conducts himself on stage is something that just has to be seen. As one reporter put it, ¨When T-Man takes the stage, people stop what they're doing and collectively stare. People entering the room look up and stop as if their shoes were suddenly glued to the floor, not moving again until the song is over, when they reflexively break into wild shouts and applause. Everyone is saying the same thing ¨You gotta see this kid called T-Man!!!¨
Tallan has been on featured on:
CBS' Rachael Ray TV Show,
WGN’s Morning Show,
Fox’s Morning Show,
CBS’ Early Show,
FOX News: Studio B with Shepard Smith,
The Bonnie Hunt TV Show,
NBC's Today Show with Meredith Vieira,
NBC's Today Show with Kathy Lee and Hoda,
Chicago's WLS TV Morning Show,
NBC's America's Got Talent
and Almost Live with Johnny B TV Show are just a few.
He’s been talked about on news broadcasts and radio programs all over the country and the world, Tallan was featured on the BBC. His story has appeared in every major newspaper, worldwide. He was even the feature story on Yahoo’s Homepage.
Tallan had the privilege to perform and share the stage with some of the best guitarist around:
Wayne Baker Brooks
and Greg Koch to name just a few.
Tallan recently had the honor of sharing the stage with the LEGEND himself, Mr. Les Paul.
Tallan has had the opportunity to play at some of the best venues in the country. Venues such as:
Chicago’s House of Blues,
J & J Blues Club in Dallas,
Cowboy's in Dallas,
Buddy Guy's Legends,
Kansas City's Knuckleheads,
Austin's Fuel Room,
Raue Center for the Performing Arts,
Milwaukee Art Museum,
The Harley Davidson Museum,
Club 152 in Memphis,
BB King's Blues Club in Memphis,
Brown Theatre in Houston, TX
and Dogwood Center for the Performing Arts in Fremont, MI are just a few from a long list of great venues.
Tallan has performed at many major area festivals:
Bloomin Days '07-'09,
Lakefront Art Fest,
Steel Bridge Songfest 4 & 5,
IL Blues Fest,
Harley’s 105th Birthday Celebration,
Paramount Blues Festival,
Westmont Blues Fest (Muddy Water's Blues Fest) '08-'09
and CO-HEADLINED the SRV Ride and Concert in Dallas, TX are a few of festivals already on Tallan’s resume’.
Tallan has endorsement deals with:
DBZ Guitars (New Endorsement),
Curt Mangan Strings,
Effects Pedal Boutique,
Point Premium Root Beer Company,
SCLW Light Picks,
Seymour Duncan Pickups,
and Bombshell Kustom Cases.
Tallan is the YOUNGEST musicians that any of these companies have ever endorsed. That speaks volumes of what the industry thinks of his talent and potential.
There is nothing like the T-Man Experience! Booking Tallan for your event will definately be one of the highlights and a definate draw for your event!
This is what fellow musicians and reporters are saying about Tallan:
As GM Planell, (a reporter for ChicagosRock.com) after watching Tallan’s last performance of 2008 wrote, “I have never witnessed anything like I was about to see in the course of my music evolution. Never. An averaged sized nine-year-old boy, by the name of Tallan “T-Man” Latz. On a Fender Telecaster, this child opened up like a raging bluesman in his finest. He played his guitar behind his head and cranked out riffs that would have embarrassed Jimi Hendrix himself. Tallan is a Wisconsin native and exuded pure showmanship and blaring riffs that left most speechless. I was exhausted.”
Joe Bonamassa said of Tallan T-Man Latz, "You are a true prodigy and I am very proud of you.. one blues wonder kid to another. You are so far ahead of me at your age its not funny."
Buddy Guys said of Tallan: “When I see somebody at that age, that amazing on guitar, I just have to try to express myself the best I can how good that is.”
Jonny Lang said ' "Tallan's future is going to be whatever he wants it to be! He's way ahead of the curve."
John Schuld, co-organizer of the Kenosha Bloomin' Days Festival, stated "Tallan is amazing and he's an inspiration to all of us. His talent is matched only by his passion and enthusiasm. Tallan is an intelligent, polite and generous little boy offstage and when he's on stage... he plays the blues as if he's been doing it for 60 years. The entire planet needs to see this kid play."
Hubert Sumlin, Blues Legend, Howlin' Wolf's Guitarist said, "Right here, this is the future of blues!!!"
Walter Trout said "T-Man has IT, one in a million have IT and he has a ton of IT, so much at such a young age that it's scary! Now I know the blues are in good hands! He can play with me anytime, anywhere!"
Bryan Lee said, "I couldn't believe my ears, I just wanted to stop what I was doing and listen. I asked, is that really a kid? Tallan is amazing!"
Jackson Browne said, "Are you kidding me!"
Les Paul,"You passed the audition. I didn't know what to expect but you can definately play at my concert on Saturday!"
Albert Cummings, "Nobody told me he could play like that."
Greg Koch had this to say, "Tallan Latz (the 8 year-old, blues guitar phenom) plays in a way that people think is impossible at that age (not only what he plays but how he plays it, because of hand size etc.). All I can say is "Unleash the beast!"
The Tallan Noble Latz Band is:
Tallan Noble Latz; Guitar/Vocals
Davey Price: Keys/Vocals
Alex Hamberger; Bass/Vocals
Dan Froelick: Drums
For booking inquiries please contact:
For Chicago Area & Southland Showcase contact:
John Orzel or Jeanne Christensen
New CD will be coming out Winter '09.
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What has Tallan accomplished so far?
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Everything listed below Tallan has accomplished since April of 2007. Companies that are currently...Everything listed below Tallan has accomplished since April of 2007.
Companies that are currently endorsing Tallan:
Curt Mangan Strings
Morley Guitar Pedals
SCLW Light Picks
Seymor Duncan Pickups
Point Root Beer Company
Festivals and Benefits Tallan has been a part of:
SRV Ride & Concert - Dallas, TX
105th Harley Birthday Bash - Milwuakee, WI
Paramount Blues Festival - Grafton, WI
IL Blues Fest - Peoria, IL
Summerfest - Milwaukee, WI
Steel Bridge Songfest - Sturgeon Bay, WI
Lakefront Festival of Arts - Milwaukee, WI
Bob Handel’s Benefit – Elkhorn, WI
25th Annual Thanksgiving All Star Blues Revue – Blue Island, IL
Dennis Lynn Benefit - Salem, WI
Fall Music Menagerie - Alpine Valley Music Theater - East Troy, WI
Ruben's Run - Twin Lakes, WI (2X)
Whitewater 4th of July Fest - Whitewater, WI
Jeff Jacobs Memorial Benefit - Kenosha, WI
Benefit for Zach - Whitewater, WI
Riverside Rob's Benefit - New Munster, WI
Libertyfest - Twin Lakes, WI
Bloomin' Days - Kenosha, WI (2X)
Walworth County Fair - Elkhorn, WI (2X)
Guitar Center Guitar Clinic - Country Club Hills, IL
Siscofest '07 - Kenosha, WI
Venetian Days - Winthrop Harbor, IL
Concerts in the Garden - Hales Corners, WI
WoofStock 2007 - Kenosha, WI
Some of the locations Tallan has played at (many of these places Tallan has played at multiple times):
Knuckle Heads - Kansas City, MO
Cowboys - Dallas, TX
Dino's Live - Ft. Worth, TX
East Texas Choppers - Terrell, TX
Sons of Herman Hall - Dallas, TX
J & J Blues Bar - Ft. Worth, TX
House of Blues - Chicago, IL
Pabst Theater - Milwaukee, WI
Alpine Valley Music Theater - East Troy, WI
Turner Hall - Milwaukee, WI
Shank Hall – Milwaukee, WI
Milwaukee Art Museum _ Milwaukee, WI
Greenbelt Cultral Center - N. Chicago, IL
Monte Carlo Room – Elkhorn, WI
Elkhorn Saloon – Elkhorn, WI
Tommy’s Place – Blue Island, IL
Cali's - Brookfield, WI
Hollyrock's Tavern - WI Rapids, WI
Sweet Spot - Whitewater, WI
Last Resort - Trevor, WI
Lindy's - Lake Beulah, WI
Riversedge - Salem, WI
Bobby Rocket's - Lyons, WI
Breakers - Elkhorn, WI
Harry's - Lake Geneva, WI
Tibbet's Elementary School - Elkhorn, WI
Curtis Strange Elementary School - Kenosha, WI
Dairy Queen - Delevan, WI
Lumpy's - Salem, WI
Bad Brad's - Janesville, WI
Mark Anthony's - Milwaukee, WI
Moose Lodge - Kenosha, WI
Fitz Woody's - Twin Lakes, WI
VFW - Twin Lakes, WI
Doyle's Pub - Richmond, IL
McBride's Hilltop - Waukesha, WI
Hiawatha - Sturtevant, WI
Silver Moon - Darien, WI
Toby's - N. Chicago, IL
Kirsch's - Lake Geneva, WI
Liquid Johnny's - Milwaukee, WI
Big Cities Lounge - Rockford, IL
Guitar Center - Country Club Hills, IL
Honey Lake Inn - Honey Lake, WI
Elkhorn Middle School - Elkhorn, WI
Scream-In Mimi's - Kenosha, WI
Mamie's - Milwaukee, WI
New Horizon's Sports Bar - Delevan, WI
Broken Spokes Roadhouse - Darien, WI
Mario's - New Munster, WI
Highlander Customs - Crystal Lake, IL
Whitnall Park's Botanical Gardens - Hales Corners, WI
Mustang Shelly's - New Berlin, WI
Como Inn - Lake Geneva, WI
Piano Blu - Pewaukee, WI
TV and Radio shows Tallan has been featured on:
WLS (ABC) TV Morning Show - Chicago, IL
The Jonathon Brandmeier Radio Show WLUP-FM - Chicago, IL
NBC's Today Show - NYC, NY
CBS' Early Show - NYC, NY
The Bonnie Hunt Show - LA, CA
WKOW News - Madison, WI
Fox 6 Wake Up - Milwaukee, WI
WGN Morning Show - Chicago, IL (Multiple times)
WISN 12 Nightly News - Milwaukee, WI
WISN 12 TV Sunday News ~ 5+ Minute Feature Spotlight Segment – Milwaukee, WI
WKLH 96.5 Morning Radio Show – Milwaukee, WI (Multiple Times)
WI Rapids Local Cable Network - WI Rapids, WI
WLIP AM - Kenosha, WI WGN Morning Show - Chicago, IL
Kenosha Local Cable Network - Kenosha, WI (Multiple Times)
Some of the newspapers that have featured Tallan:
Every Major newspaper in the world covered Tallan's story on August 12th, 2008.
Hi-Liter - Burlington, WI
MKW Magazine – Milwuakee, WI
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – Milwaukee, WI
Walworth Sunday Paper – Walworth, WI
The Journal Times – Racine, WI
Janesville Gazette –Janesville, WI
Walworth Community Shopper – Walworth County, WI
Elkhorn Independent – Elkhorn, WI
The Week Extra – Walworth County paper, WI
Kenosha News – Kenosha, WI
Some of the bands Tallan has shared the stage with:
Bugs Henderson & The Shuffle Kings
Paul Byrd Band
Wayne Baker Brooks
Walter Trout and the Radicals
Aaron Williams & the Hoodoo
Mike Miller & Piles of Rhythm Band
Bev Perron & the Boogie Band
Pistol Pete & the Young Guns
The Blue Olives
The Real Deal
Bar Stool Bob's Band
Reverend Raven and the Chain Smokin' Alter Boys
Dan Noland & Blues Plus
Julie Stewert & The Motor Kings
Matthew Haeffel Band
Dave Sandleback Band
Southside Jimmy's Blues Band
Eric Mantel Band
Old Blues Boys
Mountain Lions International
J. B. Ritchie Power Blues Band
Joe Kelly and the Blues Shadow
Rick Holmes and the All Star Band
Robert Allen, Jr. Trio
Hobie and the Left Overs
There's a NEW Young Gun in Town and his name is T-Man
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Sopro Music’s / Sopro Records 25th Annual Thanksgiving Silver Anniversary Chicago All Star Blues Re...Sopro Music’s / Sopro Records
25th Annual Thanksgiving Silver Anniversary Chicago All Star Blues Revue
November 24, 2007 @ Tommy’s Place Night Club / Blues Island, IL
By: Bud Monaco for Sopro Music’s On Line Magazine
For the next segment of the show, which was highly anticipated by the audience, the performers and the Sopro production crew, ‘The World’s Youngest Blues Guitarist’, Eight year old, Tallan ‘The T-Man’ Latz took to the stage. This young man absolutely blew everyone away into the next realm of Blues Music as he showed that he was not just another kid banging on the guitar but an absolutely proficient and talented young guitarist. Joining Tallan on stage with the Blues Revue Band for his first song ‘Mustang Sally’ was vocalist Deb Seitz along with The Chicago Horns kicking brass. The crowd rose to it’s feet to get a first hand look at this diminutive, yet standing tall on his custom made stage riser, eight year old Blues guitarist, as Tallan proved he belonged on stage with all these veteran Blues performers. Tallan then ripped into ‘The Sky Is Crying’ as he dedicated this song to Riverside Rob. Following up with his own ‘T-Man Boogie’ and then rambling into ‘Red House’, Tallan displayed more of his guitar proficiency as he slung his guitar up over his head and played behind his little head as the crowd stood in shocked admiration. Closing out his segment, Tallan blazed into ‘Sweet Home Chicago’ with The Chicago Horns, Deb Seitz, guitarist Joe Jammer and Harmonica Man Doug Lee joining him and the Blues Revue Band on stage as they performed a rousing rendition of the great American classic. Tallan was trading guitar licks with the world traveled Jammer, the veteran Blues Guitarists Johnny Cosgrove and Joey Drada and followed Doug’s Harmonica tones and notes as if he had been performing with these veteran performers for years on end and left the crowd in shock and awe as he finished his segment and made his way off of the stage. This was a truly classic moment in Sopro Music history to be remembered for years to come. Tallan will surely be seen in the near future on, yet to come, Blues Revues as after this break out performance he has already garnered his own south side crew of Blues fans demanding a return engagement.
For 8-year-old guitar prodigy Tallan Latz, happiness is playing the blues
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Thursday, November 29, 2007 The dark glasses and black attire Tallan Latz is wearing in photos o...Thursday, November 29, 2007
The dark glasses and black attire Tallan Latz is wearing in photos on his Web site make him appear older than his eight years.
So does the way he plays Elmore James’ “The Sky is Crying” on his electric guitar.
Tallan, a second-grader at Tibbets Elementary School in Elkhorn, loves to play the guitar. He also loves blues music, especially that of Stevie Ray Vaughn and Jimi Hendrix. And he will share both of those passions with folks in Racine County on Saturday night when he brings his band, T-Man’s Blues Project, to the Hiawatha Bar & Grill to play.
OK, you say, an 8-year-old playing guitar is one thing, but how can someone who has lived less than 10 years understand the blues?
“He is an old soul,” said Carl Latz, Tallan’s father, manager and roadie. “When you watch him play the blues, you can see he really feels it. It is both weird and cool at the same time.”
Dressed in jeans, a football jersey and sneakers during a reporter’s recent visit to his Elkhorn home, Tallan looked more like a typical second-grader. But when he strapped on his guitar and played, the blues musician emerged. His singing may give away his youth, but the T-Man, as his fans call him, plays beyond his years.
When asked why he likes to play the blues, Tallan said “It sounds cool. I just like the blues.”
Inspiration from afar
Tallan’s love affair with music dates back to age three, when he started playing the drums. He picked up a guitar a year later and began getting serious about the instrument at age 5, according to Carl Latz.
After watching a video of guitarist Joe Satriani, he asked for an electric guitar for Easter, and his parents told him that if he got the guitar, he would have to take lessons and practice.
“He has done both ever since,” said Carl.
Those lessons — along with Tallan’s devotion to his craft — have paid off in recent months as the young guitarist has taken his talents on the road playing for audiences at a variety of venues in the Midwest.
Before he turned eight, Tallan had already shared the stage with a number of musicians ranging from local and regional bands to nationally and internationally-known performers including Walter Trout, whose career includes time playing with Canned Heat, John Lee Hooker and Big Momma Thorton.
“He invited me up on stage for the second set and I asked him to sign my guitar,” Tallan said of his experience with Trout.
“Afterward, he was so excited about meeting Walter he was bouncing off the walls,” said Carl.
Another of Tallan’s favorite gigs so far was playing at Alpine Valley, where he took the stage on his eighth birthday in September. You can see video footage of his Alpine Valley performance on his MySpace page at http://www.myspace.com/tmansbluesproject
Standing on stage in front of thousands of people might make some people nervous, but not Tallan. He is used to playing with the big boys.
“It doesn’t seem to be a big deal to him,” his father said. “But when I watch him perform, I am still amazed every single time.”
With out much musical history in their family, Carl Latz said he isn’t sure where his son’s talents came from.
“It might go back to when he was still in the womb,” he said. “We did some of that Mozart effect thing, where we played music to him with pillow speakers before he was born.”
Or maybe it is just a godsend, said Carl.
Either way, the T-Man has talent, says Dave Zuniga, who is entertainment coordinator for the Hiawatha and has heard Tallan play at the venue twice in the past year.
“This kid is going to be big,” he said. “I’ve been dealing with bands most of my life and I’ve never seen this much determination at 8 years old. He has natural ability. I give it two years, tops, until he gets national attention.”
Response from patrons at the Hiawatha to Tallan has also been very positive, Zuniga said.
“You wouldn’t believe it,” he said. “Girls were lining up to get their pictures taken with him.”
That said, Tallan is still a second-grader who enjoys watching and playing football (he is both a Packers and a Bears fan).
“My most favorite thing, besides playing the guitar, is reading,” he said. “I like to read chapter books like ‘The Magic Tree House’ and ‘Junie B. Jones’.”
In between reading and football, Tallan manages to squeeze in two hours of guitar practice a day. And, yes, he dreams about performing at Buddy Guy’s Legends in Chicago and sharing the stage with B.B. King. Who, knows? He just might get there.
The kid already has about a half dozen endorsements ranging from Dean Guitars to Laney Amps, and a fan base that continues to grow, both regionally and on his MySpace page. Meanwhile, he is happy to be able to share his music with people of all ages near and far.
“I like to make people smile and help them forget about everyday life,” Tallan said.
Quotes about Tallan
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"We saw T-Man at Piano Blu and were blown away. He is a special talent and a special boy. Way to g..."We saw T-Man at Piano Blu and were blown away. He is a special talent and a special boy. Way to go T-Man!"
-Tom and Shelia, - Waukesha, WI
"The music in Milwaukee has flat lined lately and T-Man is bringing people back out to see live music. He's come at the right time to revive the music scene."
-Rick Holmes, Bassist
"When T-Man takes the stage, people stop what they're doing and collectively stare. People entering the room look up and stop as if their shoes were suddenly glued to the floor, not moving again until the song is over, when they reflexively break into wild shouts and applause."
-Excerpt from an article written by Donna Lenz Wright for the Week Extra
"We have a lot of professional acts come perform for us, but Tallan is one of the best acts we've ever had on. We want him back in the spring."
- Jeff Hoover, WGN Morning Show Producer
"T-Man has IT, one in a million have IT and he has a ton of IT, so much at such a young age that it's scary!"
"T-Man when you play, you're playing from within, you played what you felt and man was it beautiful!"
"Now I know the blues are in good hands!"
-Walter Trout, Internationally-known Blues Guitarist
"Tallan is a great kid, and it was nothing but pleasurable to sit and talk to him.
His talent is endless."
-Craig Young, guitarist for the Terri Clark Band
and multiple winner of the CCMA guitarist of the year!
“Not only can he play the guitar, he plays it unbelievably well.
This kid’s got some real talent.
He's one in a million!”
- Manyer Greene, owner of the Guitar Gallery in Whitewater, WI
"Tallan Latz is an amazing talent, a REAL 7 year old GUITAR PRODIGY!
I'm scared to see what he'll be like in 10 years!
I have taught over 4,000 students and Tallan is by far the most gifted student I have ever taught."
-Eric Mantel, Guitar Virtuoso and Guitar Instructor, Matteson, IL
"I met Tallan on Sunday at Michael Coleman's jam at Bobbie Rockets, and let me tell you...my blues musician friends were equally as pleased as I was. I cannot believe what God has given us now...a true prodigy! Tallan is not only a fabulous guitar player...he has stage presence, as well. And talking to him, I was truly amazed. He is some great blues musician now gone, reincarnated!!! God Bless you, Tallan and I will be following your career. I will definitely see you again. What a treat!! PS: Your website is great!"
-Suzan M., Genoa City, WI
"I had goose-bumps on Sunday and every time I tell someone about you (which is every minute someone will listen), I get goose-bumps again! My 9 y/o grandson plays guitar, too. Certainly nothing like you!!! I would love to give him the opportunity to meet you. Keep up the excellent work, Tallan. You will see me again!!"
-Another email from Suzan M.
"Right here, this is the future of blues!!!"
-Hubert Sumlin, Blues Legend, Howlin' Wolf's Guitarist
"Tallan, you ROCK! I met you Friday night in Milwaukee. I was with Roscoe, Malford, Greg and Brannen and took some pictures of you with Roscoe, you with your dad and you playing ON STAGE with the great and mighty Roscoe Beck. It was an HONOR to see you and meet you and your dad. I'm an artist too. When you play, what are you thinking about? The music just flows out of your tiny hands. You are a wonderful young man and I will keep my eye on your career over the next few years! Take care Tallan."
-Suzanne C., Lawrence, Kansas
"I look forward to hearing many good things from you!"
-Roscoe Beck, Music Producer and Legendary Bassist. Austin, TX
"Dear Tallan, I met you and your dad Friday night in Milwaukee. It was such a pleasure to meet you. You captured my attention the moment I saw you, and reconfirm my belief that a greater power puts angels on this earth to bring us joy. It was so cool watching you jammin' with Roscoe Beck. I'll never forget you, and I'll never forget Roscoe for giving us the opportunity to listen to your magic."
-Tisa S., Minneapolis, MN
"This 7 year young boy is incredibly talented.
Eat your heart out fellow guitar players."
"Tallan, it was great to see you playing on stage with some of the greatest guitar players I know. Every guitar player in the place wanted to be up there with you. People’s faces just lit up when you got up there, and then the looks of disbelief turn to smiles. Your onstage presence is remarkable. Your talent incredible. May you continue to be the spiritual person that you are and all good things will be attracted to you."
-Joanne Johnson, from Big Cities (home of the blues in Rockford.)
"I met this little guy named Tallan the day after "Riverside" Rob passed away. This kid changed my life. He showed me that when one door closes, another opens. He humbles me to the extreme. I was totally off guard. The kid can trade licks, knows his keys, leads the band, sings, and has total stage presence."
-Jason "Mr. Slick Fingers" Kent, Kenosha, WI
"The 'T' Man is awesome. He's already opened up for me for a few gigs, he brought the house down! All I ever ask, "What were you doing at 7 years old?"
I have a feeling we're all witness to something big here!"
-Bev Perron, (from Bev Perron and The Boogie Band)
“When Tallan gets up on stage you’re watching a miracle in front of you. He has a gift and it’s a joy to see. He loves his music. And people love him because they see the honesty he projects. He’s sincere. The guitar is not a toy to him.”
-Steve "Rainman" Rainey, (drummer from The Real Deal) Kenosha, WI
“He wowed the crowd. He’s one of those parrot players. He has a mental tape-recorder and can play the lines back note for note. For the short time he’s been playing, and for his age, he’s amazing.”
-Phil DeGracia, Guitarist with the Dave Sandle Back Band, Kenosha, WI
"This kid is a guitar genius."
-Pee Wee Hayes, Blues Guitarist, Chicago, IL
"The 8th Wonder of the world!!!"
-OC Woods, Drummer for the BB's
"Thank You a million for posting that, he's warmed my heart and made me smile again.
Hope to get to meet him one day. We don't get many like him here on Earth."
-Jane, a Tallan fan
"Sweet! (In all senses of the word!) I don't know ANY other first-graders who are THAT cool! I'm just glad Tallan enjoys the guitar and the blues as much as he does.
There's hope for the future!!! :)"
-Donna from Indy
Those 2nd-grade blues
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September 9, 2007 Elkhorn's 'T-Man' was inspired at 5 to join ageless tradition When Tallan La...September 9, 2007
Elkhorn's 'T-Man' was inspired at 5 to join ageless tradition
When Tallan Latz takes the stage at Liquid Johnny's, 540 S. 70th St., one thing is certain: The audience will rise to its feet. It may be the only way they can see the 7-year-old guitarist.
"They call me T-Man," Tallan tells a full house. "I'm going to dedicate this song to my man, Jimi Hendrix. Oh, yeah." Then the second-grader with the hazel eyes and spiky hair makes sparks of "Voodoo Child."
At 4 feet 2 inches, Tallan stands only slightly taller than the Dean Cadillac guitar in his hands, but the kid can shred. When he throws his head back during a solo, his two front teeth are missing.
Rarely is the adjective "adorable" attached to a blues guitarist. In this case, well, leave it to Tallan to come back with a full tip jar.
"He's a prodigy," said blues fan Kris Weber of West Allis, enjoying her second T-Man show. That word will come up again.
"It's like Stevie Ray Vaughan's soul was transferred to him," Weber said.
Tallan's skill doesn't impress her nearly as much as his personality.
"He's still a 7-year-old," she said. "He came in and told me all about his dinosaur project."
The first time the Reverend Raven and his Chain Smokin' Altar Boys invited Tallan to the stage, the Rev figured Tallan would be shy and awkwardly plink out a couple of tunes. He figured wrong.
"He's so self-possessed, he talks to the crowd like I do," said the WAMI award-winning band leader.
Before the show, Tallan sat on a picnic bench outside Liquid Johnny's in West Allis with Milwaukee blues bassist Rick Holmes at his side offering words of wisdom: "You'll be fine, just stay away from women."
Tallan looked confused.
When you're a kid surrounded by adult professionals, your age can work in your favor. Tallan found a like-minded buddy in P.J. Barth, a blues guitarist who sat in with the Reverend from time to time before taking a job out of town. To anyone who doesn't know them, Barth, 26, might be Tallan's older brother.
"I act like a kid around him," Barth said. "We have fun. I want to make sure of that. He's got so many of these big guys clamoring all over him."
For most performances, Tallan is dressed more for the first day of school - tennis shoes, shorts and a plaid shirt - than a smoky bar blues performance. The only blues affectation is the ever-present pair of sunglasses, and maybe the business cards he gives away after his first set.
He's told the story of how a preschooler from Elkhorn came to the blues several times before, but he repeats it with a smile. Sitting at home one day, he remembers watching a Joe Satriani DVD that had been squirreled away in his dad's collection. He was inspired.
He was 5.
"I turned around to my dad and said, 'That's what I want to do,' " Tallan said.
His parents, Carl and Doris Latz, got on board. They sent their son to eight different guitar teachers, hoping for a range of approaches so that the youngster would not copy any one style. He's currently working with Robert Allen Jr., who says Tallan may be in the early stages of his career but has limitless potential.
"I love the kid," Allen said. "I look at him like he's my prodigy now."
Tallan's dad has had to make some lifestyle changes to accommodate his son. He spent his summer days and nights as Tallan's roadie. And success has meant trading his affection for classic rock to a shared passion for Tallan's preferences.
"Now we're listening to the blues together," said Carl, who sculpts nature figures from wood and synthetic materials in a studio in the family's rural backyard. Tallan's mom continues her job working overnights in quality control for Plymouth Tube.
"He wants to go on tour, he's got it all planned out," said Carl, 42, a smile on his face. "I'm just along for the ride."
Making the rounds
Tallan's gigs already have taken him to locations as disparate as country roadhouses to the Bloomin' Festival in Kenosha and, to his eternal happiness, the Dairy Queen in Delavan. He played for his summer school class blending "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" with "Voodoo Child," a combination that may have confused his classmates but seemed to delight his head-bobbing principal. This month he played "Red House" on the WGN-TV morning show in Chicago.
At his Web site, www.tallanlatz.com, the Latz family shares what they consider to be one element of Tallan's success: He applies the philosophy of "The Secret," which he distills down to believing that something will happen so it does happen.
Some disciplines consider 7 the age of reason. For Tallan, it was the age of endorsements - he picked up agreements with three separate companies for his guitar strings, his choice of amp and his pedals.
Tallan practices two or three hours a day in the living room below posters, photos and autographs of his blues heroes tacked to the wall - the largest one is of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Tallan's favorite guitarist at the moment. There are clues to his age, like the picture of Tallan and his Curious George doll at the controls of a plane, and the picture a peer drew of him playing guitar that's not to scale.
Doris doesn't get to see her son perform as often as Carl, except when he's playing one of the 10 guitars in his corner of the living room. She's a bit in awe.
"He either makes me cry or smile," said Doris, 49, as Tallan picks up one of the guitars for a photo shoot. Doris remembers that her jaw dropped the first time she heard him play in front of a crowd.
"It's like this whole other person," she said.
Blues So Good
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June 28th 2007 He makes blues sound so, so good 7-year-old guitarist performs regularly with sea...June 28th 2007
He makes blues sound so, so good
7-year-old guitarist performs regularly with seasoned pros
Tallan Latz is quite literally cutting his teeth on blues guitar. During a recent show, the second-grader lost one of his baby teeth when he began picking the strings with his mouth, a la Jimi Hendrix.
The tooth was hanging by a thread and ready to come out, so it was no dental emergency. Besides, the tooth fairy probably brought Tallan another guitar.
He has nine of them now. And the amazing 7-year-old can play the blues on them.
“He has more guitars then he is old,” said his proud dad, Carl Latz.
Tallan and his family live in Elkhorn, but he’s seeing plenty of southeastern Wisconsin and northeastern Illinois, where he’s sitting in with some of the best blues bands around, including Kenosha’s own Real Deal.
Tallan began playing guitar two years ago — at age 5 — after watching a video of guitar superstars like Joe Satriani.
Said Carl: “He turned to me and said, ‘That’s what I’m going to do.’”
Around Easter, his dad told him that as a gift he could choose between a shiny new bicycle, a remote-control boat or an electric guitar.
“I wanted the guitar,” Tallan said.
Since then he’s been taking lessons and practicing two or three hours a day — and accumulating guitars that his dad buys or family members give him.
“He took half-hour lessons at first, but he learned so quickly he needed more,” Carl said. “So now he takes one-hour lessons.”
Three months ago, Tallan began performing on stage with blues bands as a guest during their shows or at open jams.
“When Tallan plays at an open jam a musician in the audience inevitably comes up and invites him to sit in with their band,” said Carl. “We have open invitations with about 15 bands in the area. We watch their Web sites to see when they’re playing, and when we come in they get him up right away.”
During the recent Bloomin’ Days festival downtown, the baby-faced blues player sat in with the Real Deal band, delighting a crowd of hundreds.
“Everybody stopped what they were doing and watched Tallan,” Carl said. “When he plays people go nuts.”
Said Real Deal’s bandleader and drummer Steve Rainey: “When Tallan gets up on stage you’re watching a miracle in front of you. He has a gift and it’s a joy to see. He loves his music. And people love him because they see the honesty he projects. He’s sincere. The guitar is not a toy to him.”
Tallan picks up music with impressive speed, Rainey said.
“He’s like a sponge. He soaks it all up. He’s commanding on stage, but in a respectful way. And whether it’s a big stage or a small stage, whether it’s 10 people or a thousand, he’s comfortable up there,” Rainey said. “Every now and then he misses a note but, hey, he’s 7 years old. But he feels the music. You can see that by the faces he makes when he’s playing: ‘I have to express this note.’”
Phil DeGracia, a Hendrix style blues guitarist in the local Dave Sandle Back Band, said Tallan sat in with his group recently.
“He wowed the crowd,” DeGracia said. “He’s one of those parrot players. He has a mental tape-recorder and can play the simpler lines back note for note. For the short time he’s been playing, and for his age, he’s amazing.”
Tallan is not intimidated by getting on stage with adults, seeming giants compared with him. He’s barely bigger than his guitar.
“It feels good,” Tallan said. “I’m not scared at all. I like to get on stage and play for people. I’m able to play songs all the way through, and I feel comfortable when I’m playing. It feels natural.”
He also loves to sing.
“It comes from your soul when you’re singing,” he said.
A guitar-slinging Opie Taylor, Tallan gravitated to the blues.
“The blues sound good,” he said with his front-tooth-free smile.
“He’s looking like a real blues player — he’s losing his teeth,” Carl joked.
Tallan is busy. On a recent weekend he sat in with seven different bands throughout the area. He plays clubs, festivals and car shows, usually performing three songs, playing guitar and singing.
His favorite tunes are “Red House” and “Voodoo Child,” by Hendrix; the blues standard “Sweet Home Chicago;” and “Mustang Sally,” by Wilson Pickett. His favorite artists are Stevie Ray Vaughan, Hendrix, B.B. King, Kenny Wayne Shepard and Buddy Guy.
“I like electric guitar because the tone on it sounds very nice and relaxing to me,” the pint-size performer said.
Tallan’s stage theatrics include playing with the guitar over his head. Again, just like Hendrix.
Will he ever set his guitar on fire, as Jimi did? “I hope not,” Carl said with a laugh. “We do have limits.” People respond to Tallan’s playing in one of two ways, said his dad. “People are blown away when they see him,” he said. “They either have a big smile on their face or tears are running down their cheeks. Music touches people in different ways.” And that’s what he tells Tallan.
“I tell him your music is a gift and allows you to touch people,” Carl said. “After Tallan got off stage during Bloomin’ Days a guy came up to us and said he’d been down in the dumps for a couple of weeks. And as soon as he saw Tallan play he had a smile on his face. He was happy in a split second.”
“I want to be the greatest guitarist there ever was, and the greatest guitarist there ever will be,” he said.
The future of the blues?
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May 09, 2007 Right here, this is the future of blues," Hubert Sumlin, blues legend, said of Talla...May 09, 2007
Right here, this is the future of blues," Hubert Sumlin, blues legend, said of Tallan Latz, aka T-Man.
While that's a heck of a compliment for any musician, it's especially impressive when you learn that T-Man is a 7-year-old guitar virtuoso from Elkhorn, WI.
When T-Man takes the stage, people stop what they're doing and collectively stare. People entering the room look up and stop as if their shoes were suddenly glued to the floor, not moving again until the song is over, when they reflexively break into wild shouts and applause.
T-Man has that stage presence that most lack. No taller than his own Stratocaster, he burns up the strings with blues and classic rock songs that out-age him by generations.
T-Man, who is already endorsed by Curt Mangan Strings, of Colorado Springs, Colo., enjoys all kinds of music ranging from country to Bach. But lately he's taken a keen liking to the blues.
"I like Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix the best," he says. "They're both good guitar players and I like how (Vaughan) keeps his steady beat."
T-Man's parents, Carl and Doris, saw the effect music had on T-Man when he was just an infant.
"He'd be crying and we would put on 'Breathe' by Faith Hill," Carl said. "He'd be just bawling and when the chorus started he would stop crying immediately. Then once the chorus was over, he'd start crying again-it never failed."
T-Man started playing his own music at age 3 on his first instrument, the drums. Not long after, the guitar entered the scene.
"I had a guitar that I got for free so I started messing around with that," T-Man said. "Then I had three choices for Easter-an electric guitar, a remote control boat or a new bike. I picked a guitar."
At first his little arms weren't long enough to reach the end of the guitar's neck, so he used a capo.
"Then one day I could reach it," he said. "I showed my dad. I said, 'Look Dad, I can reach it.'"
T-Man practices every day and takes lessons, but his favorite part is playing music to a live audience, which he's only been doing for a few months.
"My favorite thing is playing in front of people," he said. "I'm not scared because when I'm playing in front of people it makes me happy that I'm making the people feel happy because I'm playing my music and entertaining them."
T-Man's future aspirations are solid-and no less than grand.
At age 15 T-Man sees himself as "better than I am now." And by the time he's an adult, he sees himself as being "the greatest there ever was and the greatest there ever will be."
T-Man is especially enjoying playing with other musicians at the many open jams around the area. He's a visual learner, making this type of forum his forte.
"When I'm playing I'm doing my best to get to play what he's playing. But if he's playing a dead note and I can't see what he's doing, I have to make up something on my own."
While T-Man has many musical plans for the summer, the highlight will come at the end of the season. He recently crossed paths with Roscoe Beck, music producer and bass guitar great, who was so impressed that he invited the mini-man to play the much-coveted stage of Anton's in Austin, Texas.
"That's a big deal. That's where Stevie Ray Vaughan, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf-every great blues player has performed.” Carl said.
"I told him to go in there and kiss that stage because the feet that have been on there are legends."
T-Man's other summer plans include forming his own band and continuing to perform for audiences everywhere. For more information including upcoming shows, visit www.tallanlatz.com or call 742-3947.
Original music ;
Kid in the Region
Cup of Joe
Eye on You
Life Without You
I Like to Play
It Don't Work Like That
Tin Pan Alley
Mary had a Little Lamb
If You Love Me Like You Say
Dang Right I got the Blues
Hoochie Coochie Boy
Sky is Crying
Sweet Home Chicago
Thrill is Gone
Johnny B Good
Let the Good Times Roll
Messin with the Kid
Papa was a Rolling Stone
Star Spangled Banner
Willie the Wimp
Leave My Little Girl Alone
abd more being added all the time.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.