C.W. Stoneking

C.W. Stoneking

BandBluesAlternative

C.W. Stoneking is a musician/entertainer who draws inspiration for his original compositions from 1920s & 30s blues, jazz, hillbilly, and calypso music.

Biography

C.W. Stoneking - Composer of Blues, Hokum, and Jungle music

"One afternoon, back in Port of Spain, Trinidad, I met four scientists in a bar, they were on their way to West Africa to study a type of parasitic worm that attacks the eyeballs of human beings and turns them into blind men. That day I was avoiding my Calypsonian friends, Methuselah the Great, and King Iere, who, having witnessed an impromptu display of my natural aptitude with a snooker cue a few nights before, had begun a campaign to coax me into the stick fighting competition at the upcoming carnival.

"That afternoon I bypassed all my usual haunts and went to one of the more upscale drinking joints in the waterfront district where I got to talking with these four scientists. As it turned out, they were great admirers of the old-time blues and after regaling them with stories about my time as a root doctor's assistant in New Orleans - preparing mojo hands, hoodoo spells and magic oils - they invited me back to their boat to continue our drinking session and play them some songs on my banjo. If I could have foretold the calamitous disasters that lay in store for me, I'd have gone straight-away, found my two friends, and let them enter me in any stick fighting competition they could find, near or far. Instead, I went with the scientists... and so, nearly, to my doom.

"We drank rum 'til late in the night, I sang calypsos, every old-time blues that I'd ever known and requests. As the sun came up, I christened their boat, 'The Mississippi Song-O', and decided to join them on their journey, across the Atlantic and into West Africa. This is how I ended up with the dreaded Jungle Blues."
C.W. Stoneking, September 2008


Two years after the release of his internationally acclaimed debut album King Hokum, the inimitable C.W. Stoneking - guitar & tenor banjo player, singer/songwriter and raconteur - returns with a new collection of original tunes, Jungle Blues. Inspired in part by his amazing experiences as a survivor of a shipwreck off Africa's West Coast in 1998, it draws on the blues of the Southern U.S.A., calypso music of Trinidad, jungle jazz of the 1920s, and hillbilly music of the 1930s for a musical journey into a heart of darkness.

It features C.W.'s live band the Primitive Horn Orchestra (featuring trumpet, trombone, clarinet, alto, tenor, and baritone saxophones, sousaphone, piano, harmonium, and double bass) and adds to the mix the unmistakable drumming of Jim White (Dirty Three, Cat Power), as well as traditional African percussion and touches of orchestral timpani drums.

Jungle Blues sheds light on C.W.'s skills not only as musician, but as a lyricist / composer / arranger of the highest order. Ranging from full-blown jungle epics to desolate guitar and singing-country-blues, the album tells the Jungle Blues story from all sides. Opening with the title track, 'Jungle Blues' which invokes the tale of a poor shipwrecked soul stranded in the jungles of darkest Africa. What follows are hair-raising stories that will haunt your dreams, and voodoo tunes evoking memorable scenes from the world of the jungle.

C.W.'s wife Kirsty Fraser makes a guest appearance as lead singer, too, but gone are the risque' double entendre's of King Hokum - now it's the 'Housebound Blues' being sung, a blues dirge of domestic misery and discontent. Throughout the album, free reign is given to this matchless performer's love of storytelling songs, from the allegorical 'Talkin' Lion Blues', to the calypso-styled, black magic murder ballad, 'The Love Me Or Die', or the lonesome lament of 'Jailhouse Blues'.

C.W. Stoneking's recordings and live shows have attracted steadily escalating praise and attention from critics and audiences internationally. In 2007 he toured the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, England and Ireland, promoting the European release of King Hokum (on Voodoo Rhythm Records), as well as playing sold out headline shows across Australia, and a national tour supporting Paul Kelly.

By April/May 2008, C.W. was enthralling audiences across the U.S.A., from Texas, to Louisiana, Mississippi, New York City, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles, with his authentic and unique take on old-time blues styles. In September 2008 C.W. returned to the United States for an eight night residency in Los Angeles with an alternative Primitive Horn Orchestra made up of American players, creating a huge buzz in the local scene and within the upper echelons of the entertainment / music industry. C.W. also performed a string of shows in New York City alongside some of the unsung heroes of modern 'old-time' original music, again making great waves in front of rapidly growing audiences and through word of mouth amongst fellow musicians alike.

C.W. Stoneking is a 34 years old, first generation Australian of American-descent. He was born in the top end of Australia's Northern Territory and spent his childhood growing up in Central Australia,

Discography

August 2006 'King Hokum' album LTI/Inertia (Australia)

March 2007 'King Hokum' album Voodoo Rhythm Records (Europe)

February 2008 'King Hokum' album re-release King Hokum/Shock Records (Australia)

October 2008 'Jungle Blues' album King Hokum/Shock Records (Australia)