Blue Ribbon Healers
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Blue Ribbon Healers


Band Folk Jazz


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"Blue Ribbon Healers bring "thrashed-out swanky tonk" -- November 21, 2012"

The Gulf Coast doesn’t necessarily strike music fans as a bastion of Old Time string music, but Cindy Rose and Rob Pate of the Blue Ribbon Healers have managed to make it work.

Between their hometown of Panama City, Fla., and New Orleans, they’ve carved out a niche for themselves as purveyors of “thrashed-out foot-stompin’ swanky tonk,” and this weekend they’ll set up shop for a week in East Tennessee for a trio of performances that ends on Thursday, Nov. 29 at Brackins in downtown Maryville.

“There’s a large grassroots-based community here that really loves string music and Old Time grassy music,” Pate told The Daily Times this week. “We play a variety of styles, and what we play is very related to what people are used to hearing — bluegrass, old Hank Williams. From there, we’ve branched off into Texas swing and New Orleans jazz, and now we’re getting into diverse folk styles — Brazilian, Greek and klezmer pieces.

“But we still play those Old Time folk songs and bluegrass tunes along the lines of Doc Watson. It’s familiar enough to people that they can get on that and jump on board.”

The two met in the Panhandle’s club scene and struck up a musical and personal chemistry almost immediately. They started playing together, making a living along the Gulf during the spring and summer tourist seasons and retreating to New Orleans for fall and winter.

“In New Orleans, we just started developing a gumbo of styles and creating a repertoire where everything’s a pretty big mix,” he said. “It goes right along with how things develop in the culture down there, and it’s kind of what we feel in our hearts. It’s a meeting point of a lot of different styles, and if you work them out and play them long enough, they take on their own form.”

Although the two began by dabbling in various traditional and public domain songs, they now write their own original music; after returning to Florida and implementing their Big Easy education into their mix, they decided to take the Blue Ribbon Healers on the road.

“We were wanting to get out and meet up with people we played for down on the beach,” Pate said.

In the spring, they came through East Tennessee and enjoyed a rousing welcome at Preservation Pub in downtown Knoxville. Playing their chosen style of music in what’s essentially the cradle of Old Time and Appalachian traditions was an honor, the couple said, and they were received warmly.

“Cindy has a very developed sense of harmony, and she can write songs that are a little more free in the poetic sense,” Pate said. “She writes really, really cool stuff to play.”

“Rob is so harmonically diverse, he’s like a mad painter,” Rose added. “His songs, to me, are really songs people can get behind if they hear them. There’s always a new twist or turn to keep me excited about it.” - Maryville Daily Times

"March 24, 2011"

“Rob “Ribplate” Pate and Cindy McDermott (a/k/a Cindy Rose) have been around the block a time or two when it comes to “newgrass.” The couple met in Panama City Beach when Cindy was performing with Hellalujah, and the chemistry was instantaneous—musical and otherwise. “We have a good symbiosis,” says Pate. That is quite evident in their live performances, as their harmonies and all-around stage presence are very tight and well rehearsed. Both have incredibly unique voices, producing a completely signature sound. With inspirations such as Ella Fitzgerald, Satchmo, Billie Holiday, Jethro Burns, Grateful Dead, and even the Marlboro Man—Pate lists the latter as his vocal inspiration—it’s no wonder this band took flight with a full-fledged fan base in New Orleans.” - Destin Beachcomber

"March 31, 2011"

““We write our own material, but we work hard in our approach to the variety of styles that spark our interest. We explore folk forms where literacy wasn't exactly a strong suit.” That exploring took Rose and Pate from their home base of New Orleans to the campus of Warren Wilson College in January 2010 for a packed show during a snowstorm, as well as many other shows in small, intimate rooms where their music warmly fills in the spaces between audience members. “A lot of times, those places tend to be smaller, but the crowds heartily approve of the stimulating way they can listen to, drink to and dance to our music,” she continued. “Festivals also attract large gatherings of people who can get down to good music, and the ones we played last year naturally motivate us to want to play more, but as far as dreams go, being able to travel the country and play for people full time is pretty dreamy.”” - Asheville Citizen-Times

"December 27, 2011"

“Looking like a trio of Appalachian hippies, The Blue Ribbon Healers provide an old-timey sound with a swanky infusion of honky-tonk. The Devil Makes Three with less devil and more saintly sentiment, this guitar, stand-up bass, and mandolin trio (with the occasional kazoo) has been wowing crowds across the country, inspiring the lame to dance and the weak to be strong. With a wide selection of songs lamenting and celebrating the finer things in life, the band loves to partake in ceremonious medicating—so be sure to pass it around!” - Good Times Santa Cruz

"Swing Shift -- January 5, 2012"

“They're gypsy troubadours who turn Big Easy jazz blues, Texas swing and mountain jams into sprightly irrepressible music with a speakeasy flair. And while the Blue Ribbon Healers' sound may be weathered and old-fashioned, their subject matter is infused with a modern sensibility. Reminiscent of acts like the Squirrel Nut Zippers and Asylum Street Spankers, they're distinguished by the interplay of Pate's gruff baritone and Rose's sultry fluttering croon, a sort of fire and ice like Tom Waits courting Bessie Smith. "A lot of people have commented they like the contrast of our voices," says Rose. "My voice is softer and sweeter, and he's got that gruff, gritty, underworld-sounding voice. It's a nice balance." Pate's less diplomatic. "She's the orchid and I'm the rusty beer can," he says. ” - Colorado Springs Independent


Caribbean Sex Music -- August 2012, recorded live at the A&M Theatre in Panama City, FL
EP -- August 2011, recorded in-studio in Austin, TX
Live at Mimi's -- January 2011, recorded live at Mimi's in the Marigny in New Orleans, LA
Live at the Martin Theatre -- August 2009, recorded live at the Martin Theatre in Panama City, FL



In 4 years of playing full time and traveling coast to coast, The Blue Ribbon Healers have concocted a sonic gumbo of tasty treats for the ears and feet, a sound you can drink to, dance to, and smoke to, a feeling that warms the heart and brings people together in lively celebration. Their driving string band sound, which draws heavily from the old-time jazz of New Orleans, proves a lively vehicle for original material, and a rich base for the gumbo of choice ethnic and folk flavors that come together in one delicious danceable sound. The music is fresh, homegrown, and high quality, which makes the band popular with craft breweries, farmer’s markets, festivals and venues whose vitality comes from the support of the community. Their spirit is hearty, and so is their belief in working (and playing!) hard -- after a packed spring and summer’s worth of shows at the beach, their third annual cross country tour included 15 shows in California, 10 in Colorado and a run up the Mississippi River, all in just under 2 months. For the fall, winter, and spring, the BRH are based back home in Panama City Beach, FL and actively venturing around the southeast, bringing the sound many will recognize from their summer vacations down on the Gulf. Preview their new crop of recordings and videos and check the show schedule online at!