Bobby Messano
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Bobby Messano

Warwick, New York, United States | SELF

Warwick, New York, United States | SELF
Band Blues Rock


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"Bobby Messano Live in Madison"

Bobby Messano Live in Madison
Style: Blues/Rock

5 out of 5 Stars

Bobby Messano is a journeyman musician. He has been around the block and lived to talk about it. Mes¬sano has played guitar with and for Steve Winwood,Lou Gramm, Clarence Clemmons, Peter Kriss, Benny Mar-dones, Joe LynnTurner, and Fiona. He grew up listening to Clapton and Duane Allman. He has studied the mas¬ters well. What sets Messano apart from the other Strat wielding Blues rock guys are his passion, technique, and singing voice. The man can really sing!
This CD was recorded in Madison, WI at last years BamFest. Engineer and producer Jack LeTourneau and Geoff Wilborn have done a fantastic job capturing Mes¬sano in his true element, live on stage. This is not a con¬trived live album with canned applause, this is the real deal. Edgy, gritty, sweaty, and loud! LeTourneau's ability to capture this event as both a live concert and docu-mentary of Bam Fest should be applauded. Wilborn's keen ear and laid back production style is evident in this' fine recording.
Stellar cuts include the opening Ramblin on my mind, Sea of hope, In the depths of love, Crossroads,The way things used to be, an unbelievable rendition of Little Wing, and the show ender Get up and Dance to the Blues. My personal favorite is Messano's version of Can't find my way home by Blind Faith. It is tender yet awe-inspiring.
Messano deserves much more attention form the le¬gion of blues fans that live and go to clubs in the Mid¬west. He is a true talent that needs to be a headliner. This CD should help to break him out! LeTourneau and Wilborn deserve as much credit for capturing and pro-ducing one of the best live albums 1 have heard since REO Live and Get your Ya Ya's Out from the 1970's. Recording quality live albums is a lost art. Hopefully Live in Madison will awaken engineers and record compa¬nies to the fact that this art form needs to be revived.
Reviewed by.Andy Ziehli

"Bobby Messano Live at Darwin's 4/3/10"

If you have not caught this guitarist/vocalist as of yet, do it!!! This guy has played with Lou Gramm, Eric Clapton and Stevie Winwood.

I thought I was impressed with Sean Kellerman who played at Darwins last week. But this guy just knocked my sox off. This was just blistering blues rock.

I am glad Bobby started off with an acoustic set. Because even though that was hard-hitting, nothing prepared me for the onslaught that followed. Wow!! Killer versions of "Little Wing" and "Dear Mr. Fantasy" and of course playing Cream's "Crossroads was just sent into hyperdrive. He works only with a drummer and bassist. But that was a helluva an engine room. At times, he would have a guest drummer come up and he was not less titantic.
This whole band was hot. I did not know how much my heart was going to take because this guy just kills it. After the first set, I told him any guitarist I would see after him would just suck. I was half serious and he was so humbled by the remark. A down to earth person who deserves more recognition.

It is'nt often you see a player that can play with jaw-dropping intensity. I am just grateful Bobby would slow it down on occasion because listening to him, your heart would just about explode.

This is not your daddy's blues. This is blues for the millenium. Bobby holds the torch.


"BOBBY MESSANO, guitar legend"

Shirley Kennedy
Bobby Messano
In the world of guitar, Bobby Messano ( stands alongside the greats such as Eric Clapton ( Bobby has had the pleasure of serving as band leader for Steve Winwood (, during which time he met Eric Clapton. Was he intimidated to play alongside such well-known artists? Not when he’s Bobby Messano, one of the greatest guitar players alive and on the circuit today. Bobby’s rhythmic finger work is matched by few and can be heard in many well-known arenas, including the MTV jingle, CBS’s “The District,” and movies “A Chorus Line,” “No Small Affair” (starring Demi Moore), and “Love, Cheat, and Steal” (starring Eric Roberts and John Lithgow).
Born in New Jersey, Bobby now resides outside of New York, though Nashville is a second home of sorts. Having spent more than 30 years working in the music industry, Bobby has no plans to do anything else. And why would he? Nominated for a Grammy and playing with some of the best the music industry has to offer, Bobby has carved a living out of his love. As lead guitarist for Stanky Brown, Bobby has opened for noted groups Kansas, The Allman Brothers, Outlaws, Boston, the Beach Boys, and the Steve Miller Band. Following his stint with Stanky Brown, Bobby joined Starz, where he enjoyed opening slots with Styx, Rush, and Ted Nugent, among others. Today, Bobby leads his own band and recently co-headlined BamFest in Madison, WI (, with Chris Duarte (
Bobby brought his brand of heavily blues/funk music to Marietta’s premier blues venue Darwin’s Blues ( The night started out slowly, competing with the Atlanta Blues Society Blues Festival, but picked up steam later on. By10:00 p.m. the place rapidly filled with fans of this stellar guitarist, and the placed rocked out. Burdened with a bad head cold, Bobby nonetheless forged on to thrill the crowd with his guitar prowess and soulful vocals. Repeatedly apologizing for being hoarse, Bobby need not have bothered; his talent and skill took over, and no one in the room could tell that he was even under the weather, let alone hoarse. Between songs, Bobby entertained the crowd with tales of his life on the road and the people with whom he has collaborated, giving everyone a glimpse of his past, present, and future. In a sense, the crowd enjoyed a bit of living history, if you will.
Bobby’s latest CD “Trials, Traumas, Tribulations, and Demos” is currently available on Rhapsody,, and iTunes. Bobby periodically visits Darwin’s, so watch his calendar for a return engagement ( Should the opportunity arrive, don’t miss this stellar guitarist and amazing talent. Bobby’s guitar playing is nearly unmatched; his songwriting reveals the sheer depth of his skill and soul. Buying the CD might suffice, but Bobby’s unique musical stylings are best experienced live.
- Atlanta Live Music Examiner


By all rights, Bobby Messano shouldn’t sound this good. Sure he’s been playing guitar since he was ten and hails from the New Jersey club circuit but his wildly checkered past might suggest he’d be anything but a new blues hopeful. Until you give this disc a spin. Messano’s blues leans heavily toward rock but in a strong, sturdy Tommy Bolin meets Chris Duarte vein. There’s lots of flash that borrows from the Church of Hendrix but, unlike many pretenders, the material here (ten originals written or co-written by Messano) is built upon substance and originality. His keyboard player – Tom Grose – is an integral part of Messano’s mix, jumping from piano to B3, driving Messano forward. Messano’s vocals are accomplished and assertive – slightly raspy and rockish, yet soulful and convincing. His chance to jump on a solo career with Sire Records suffered a detour for the opportunity to play lead guitar in a local-hero band, Stanky Brown (circa 1977). This was followed with stints in Starz, Tycoon, Ellen Foley’s band, Benny Mardones’ band and Franke & The Knockouts. Commercial session work paid some bills as did high profile tours with the likes of Lou Gramm and Steve Winwood. All of which supplemented his chops for a foray into solo work. He released his first in ’89 on the Relativity label under his own name, followed by a ’92 release with the slightly funkier “Bobby Messano & NBO”. Many roads later lead to the solo release, Dominion Roads (Ichiban, ‘97). He’s logged many miles and it shows in this self-assured release. It’s a gradual build as the reflective title track sneaks up with its slow pace and smoldering, but still subtle, leads whereas the second track, “Hard World”, enlists slide guitar and a tougher, more rock-based sound. Zappaphiles will delight in the rich tone of the extended solos Messano wields across the bluesy 8 minutes of “Dominon Roads”, which is only one of many stand-out tracks and a song that has some heritage in Messano’s personal catalogue. Grose takes a Jon Lord turn here on keyboards which grounds Messano until he approaches lift-off. The track sounds thoroughly road-tested. Likewise, the slower blues of “In The Depths of Love” makes the most of Messano’s slick yet sinewy leads and expressive vocals as Grose fills in any voids with his big’n’beefy organ sound. “Sea of Hope” is reminiscent of mid ‘80s Eric Clapton but this track is easily eclipsed by others. Similarily, “The Way Things Used To Be” is solid, yet forgettable, compared to the strength of tracks where, for example, Messano dips into his funkier side which results in such radio-friendly fare as “Get Up & Dance (with the Blues)” – a surprisingly solid single. Special attention is merited in the somewhat anthemic “Guess Life Always Works That Way”, all dressed up with Grose’s organ, the piano of Elizabeth Barnes and the added depth afforded by Francince Reed’s background vocals as Messano glides over the top with perfectly punctuated leads. All in all, Messano does more than hold ground on this latest release. Indeed, he captures some turf of his own. - Blues Review Magazine


Maybe you know Bobby’s name, or maybe not. Bobby Messano has been playing mostly rock guitar for some time with many well known names like Steve Winwood and Lou Gramm, he has played guitar on about 35 albums. Bobby has now done his own blues CD, and a good start for going down that road it is.
Bobby has the right kind of voice for the blues, rough enough to sound "for real" and smooth enough to sing more soulful lyrics. Bobby’s guitar playing on this album is crisp, clean and clear as a bell, it’s real fine. The title track Holdin’ Ground has killer smoking guitar with a laid back feel and great singing, it’s smooth stuff. The song Hard World is just that, a harder style but still super, this tune fires up acoustic and shifts to electric slide This track is a bit hard to describe, at times is has a down home quality, but at other times it has a rock anthem feel. What I mean is you can picture thousands pushing at the stage when Bobby sings "Hard World High, Hard World Low", it just has that sound, and that’s a real good sound.
Get Up And Dance (With The Blues) is funky, I mean like Parliment Funkadelic funky. If this song doesn’t get you out on the dance floor you are never going, it’s hot stuff. If you like a good jam you should like Dominion Road, this one has a driving beat like a train going down the tracks. This jamfest (almost 8min long) has all kinds of solos and lots of wah-wah for the guitar fans, I am out of breath just listening to the band work out on this song. To help you relax after the last track, the band does In The Depths Of Love, a slow soulful number with a nice groove, it’s a smoothie.
The CD takes a detour with Guess Life Always Works That Way, it’s a nice slow ballad style tune, done very well, it even has a good mix of acoustic and electric. Another part of the detour is I Will Try (less than 3 min), this one is much too nice & sweet for me, but I bet the ladies will swoon over it, nice acoustic Dobro touch if I do say so. Bobby turns the rock back on with Sea Of Hope, this one has a driving beat that you can tap your toes to, both Guess Life…& Sea Of Hope gave me a similar feel to what I thought about Hard World. These two songs are very different in style although they both give me that "big stadium" feeling as I mentioned before.
One Way Lover is something like the blending of rock / jazz music and blues lyrics, it’s a really unique style and it rocks with plenty drums and keyboard action going on. I think the final track on this disc is one of my favorites, The Way Things Used To Be is a very easy to get into song, just super stuff with a great dancing beat. This song is one of those new songs that has a familiar feel to it, you like it the first time you hear it.
Overall, Holdin’ Ground is a good one with a great blend of blues / rock or rockin’ blues if you prefer, either way if that’s your style then you should like this one. Bobby has done a lot of other styles over the years, I hope he continues down the blues highway, is a great road to travel.
You can check out Bobby at
- Mo Blues.Org-Chris Puyear


Bobby Messano has had the kind of career that most artists can only dream of. He's appeared on a who's who of AOR artists that includes such heavyweights as Joe Lynn Turner, Tycoon, Glen Burtnik, Fiona, Martee LeBow, and Franke And The Knockouts to name just a few. He also had a memorable tenure in the cult rock band Starz, cutting the Impressive and ground breaking "Colliseum Rock". He's just reissued his debut self-titled album on the Retrospect label. As you would expect, with a background like Bobby's, this classy CD is stuffed full of great songs. "Hide Our Love Away (Tell Me Why)" (From the Tycoon album "Opportunity Knocks") is a great way to open the album. With the likes of the Starz classic "Sing It, Shout It" to follow it up and songs co-written with the likes of Franke Previte and Chuck Burgi amongst others, this is a great hard rock album that any self respecting fan should own. Bobby handles all the vocals, and handles them well, might I add and the whole album has a real great vibe about it. With such a varied and colourful AOR past I thought it was high time we had a chat with the man who's been on some of the best AOR albums of the eighties. Ladies and gentleman, I give you Mr. Bobby Messano……
According to your biography your first band was Stanky Brown. Was that your first introduction to the music business?
Well, I had been playing for many years in clubs, but this was my first time actually doing concerts and large venues with Major artists.
I must admit that Stanky Brown are an unknown quantity to me. Tell us a bit about them?
S.B. were an interesting band. They were on Seymour Stein’s Sire label along with Climax Blues Band, Renaissance and I think Talking Heads. John Scher who was one of the biggest promoters in the U.S. managed them, so we opened for virtually everyone. Boston, The Allman Brothers, Wet Willie, Steve Miller, The Beach Boys, Kansas…you name it. They were a cool band..sounded sort of like Firefall, but they just never caught with radio.
I take it that through Stanky Brown that that is how you got the Starz gig. Am I right? Actually no, I already knew Richie Ranno and he called me to see if I knew any bass players to audition and he said..”hey bring a guitar and we’ll jam”…Then, Michael Lee and Ranno tied me up and forced me to join the band or they said they would shoot my dog!! (kidding)
It was actually on "Coliseum Rock" that I first heard of you. For a young guitarist that must have been such a big gig? At the time, it was just sort of a cool, new band to be in. I knew the guys, but wasn’t really aware of how big they actually were…When we were in Toronto doing C.R. people and fans thought I was a roadie…LOL
You actually toured the U.S and Canada in 1978/79. Was that as headliners or with high profile acts? We were Special Guests on the RUSH Hemisphere’s Tour, Ted Nugent’s Weekend Warriors Tour and we did some headlining and Styx shows. We also did a club tour in California and did a week at the Legendary Starwood in LA…it was great, they changed the name to STARZWOOD!!
What's your favourite road story from that time period? I’ll think about that one…and discuss it with my lawyer before I answer. LOL
After Starz you worked with a couple of lesser known AOR acts in the shape of Benny Mardones and Tycoon. Tell us a bit about that time period? Well, I was actually starting to do more sessions during that period Peter Criss, Suzanne Fellini,…I loved Tycoon, Mark Kreider and, of course, my late great brother in arms Norman Mershon..I actually wrote a bunch of GREAT songs with the bugger…so talented and someone who never really got the accolades he deserved
Although you actually toured with Tycoon, you never actually appeared with them on record until the third album "Opportunity Knocks". Did that album ever get an official release? I've got an official MP3 version. I actually was on the last Arista album, Turn Out The Lights…Really good album produced by Vini Poncia…Mike Braun on drums, John Gordon and I on guitars….great tunes…a very good sophomore effort that got squashed by the powers that be..Opportunity was the sessions for the third album that we never released.
Now it's at this point in time that you joined an AOR band that happen to be one of my favourites, Franke & The Knockouts. You joined them on the "Makin' The Point" album. Tell us about that time? Great band, great time. Well at that point, Tico Torres (before BonJovi) and I were working together all of the time, so when I joined Tycoon, I got him in along with Benji King before Scandal. When TT was asked by Frank to join, he brought along some of the Tycoon tunes we were doing and he wanted me to join, but I was doing so much work, that I just said no…T and Franke called me up one Friday night from California and said…PLEASE join the band on the road and they convinced me to do it…I said I would after they came back to the East Coast a few weeks later…so they said cool…and about an hour later, th - Robbie Evans-POWERPLAY/AOR UNDERGROUND


From the Americana Gazette
5 out of 5 notes on the review
"What sets Messano apart from other Strat wielding Blues rock guys are his
passion, technique and singing voice. The man can really sing."

"This is not a contrived live album with canned applause this is the real deal.
Edgy, gritty, sweaty, and loud!"

"LeTourneau and Wilbourn deserve as much credit for capturing and producing one
of the best live albums I have heard since "REO LIVE" and "Get Your Ya Ya's Out
from the 1970's"


The CD arrived and I must say this one hits EBR dead on. I like pretty much the entire CD, even the softer/acoustic opening cuts. But I especially enjoy the raw, edgy playing that make up the heart of the performance. I love the controlled chaos feel of a balls out live performance.

Many tracks will be finding their way into the library and rotation. I'll be sure to get a couple of cuts in the April rotation when I put that out.
- Electric Blues Radio


Messano Label: Relativity/CBS 1989
Dominion Roads
Label:Ichiban/EMI 1998
Holdin Ground
Label: Fishead/Koch 2003 (Grammy Nominated)
Bobby Messano Live In Madison
Label:Prince Frog 2010



If you’ve never heard of Bobby Messano, he was born in New Jersey very close to New York City.He grew up in a time when a young guitarist could work hard, learn his craft and maybe become a guitar hero...(or at least play on a record or two) His main influences as a young guitarist were Jeff Beck,BB King,Eric Clapton,Duane Allman and Jimi Hendrix. He also listened to as much Beatles and R&B as he could get his hands on.Bobby played in NJ club bands from the time that he was fourteen years old, and by the mid seventies, he had become rather well known in the North Jersey area.His first big break came when Craig Leon and Seymour Stein of now famous Sire Records tried to sign him to a solo deal.

Being young and maybe a lot scared, he graciously declined the offer and waited to fade into oblivion, despite his yearning to become a famous guitarist. By a strange quirk of fate (or maybe because someone was desperate) he received a call a few months later from John Scher’s office. John was a well known promoter in the NJ/NY metropolitan area. A band that John managed, named Stanky Brown (yes an odd name-BUT A GREAT BAND AND THEY WERE ON THE RADIO!) were in need of a lead guitarist and singer. Bobby auditioned,got the gig, and went immediately on the road opening for the #1 band of the moment,KANSAS. Bobby stayed with Stanky Brown, recording a single and an album. They toured constantly opening for The Allman Brothers,Outlaws,Boston,Beach Boys Steve name it. After his stint with SB, he then joined the band STARZ, who were already a world famous band. He recorded the now infamous Coliseum Rock with them and continued to tour opening for RUSH, TED NUGENT,STYX and others. After STARZ breakup, Bobby settled into the session, scene playing on many records including BENNY MARDONES’ “INTO THE NIGHT”..
His musical resume’ included time with Tycoon,Ellen Foley and Suzanne Fellini.He then joined FRANKE & THE KNOCKOUTS who were just coming off two Top Ten singles. With the KO’s he played headlining shows and opened for Toto,The Beach Boys and many more. Bobby also continued his session work in New York recording with Clarence Clemmons and playing on many of the fledgling MTV jingles and drops including “THE BASEMENT TAPES” theme. In between all of this he took six months to do a European/UK tour with one of his heroes....STEVE WINWOOD. It was an amazing time for the young NJ guitarist. He met many famous musician’s including another hero...ERIC CLAPTON. Over the course of the next five years, Bobby played on dozens of records. Fiona, Joe Lynn Turner, Robey....even David Hasselhoff....he even ghosted on some records that will of course remain nameless. NYC was a great place to be a musician.In 1987, Bobby won the coveted spot on LOU GRAMM’S solo tour supporting his hit “MIDNIGHT BLUE”. He toured the States,Puerto Rico and Germany in the summer of ‘87 with Lou and band.
In 1989 Bobby released the self titled “MESSANO” CD on Relativity/Strategic/CBS Records.The CD garnered amazing reviews (Four KKKK’s in Kerrang) and lots of airplay and to this day it comes up in many Top 50 lists for ‘80’s AOR Classics. In 1990 while on a tour of Germany with Polygram artist ROBIN BECK, he made a decision that he wanted to put a band together doing Blues,Funk and Traditional Blues songs.In 1992 Bobby Messano & NBO was born. Through many personnel and personal changes,Bobby and his crew traveled hundreds of thousands of miles playing over 2500 shows between 1992 and 1999. In 1997 he recorded his second critically acclaimed solo CD...DOMINION ROADS. The CD was released on Ichiban/EMI Records, which went bankrupt shortly after it’s release. The collapse of the label left many excellent artists stranded. Between 1999 and 2002,Bobby searched for a label to re-release DOMINION ROADS and moved from Virginia Beach to Nashville. He also became one of the Blues Rock stars on the fledgling MP3.COM staying at # 1 for 6 months. In 2002, DOMINION ROADS found a new home with Fishhead Records in Cleveland. The renamed,remastered and repackaged DR came out as HOLDIN’ GROUND and garnered a First Round Grammy Nomination and rave reviews World Wide from Blues Radio and the Blues Press.

Bobby lived in Nashville for 9 years, with a short and not so sweet stint in Southwest Florida. He continued to write,produce and play and toured out of Nashville with MCA artist Alecia Elliot, and Number One charting artists Steve Holy, Rodney Atkins and Jimmy Wayne. Bobby also continued doing acoustic and electric dates both solo and with his band. In 2006 he co-Produced the new Shadows of Knight CD, “A KNIGHT TO REMEMBER” and went on the road supporting it on the “LITTLE STEVEN UNDERGROUND GARAGE BAND TOUR”. In 2007, for the first time in nearly 20 years, Bobby relocated to the NYC/NJ area after the passing of his father. 2008 was an exciting year with the re-release of his critically acclaimed 1989 tour de force Rock CD “MESSANO” . Succesful supporting sh