Jeff Powers
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Jeff Powers


Band Blues Singer/Songwriter


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"Cleveland Plain Dealer"

"There’s no denying the fiery passion found on the self-titled debut album from Cleveland trio DEAD GUY BLUES...modern-day disciples of Freddie King and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Guitarist Jeff Powers’ talented chops are obvious in the blistering solos and catchy lead work. "
- John Benson, Cleveland Plain Dealer (Nov 25, 2006)

- John Benson

"Texas Blues Cafe"

"I only play the best "hand picked" indie bands to play on my gig. DEAD GUY BLUES without a doubt, has the right stuff. Thanks for being part of what I do."
- CowDog, Texas Blues Cafe (Nov 13, 2007)
- CowDog


Cold Wind Coming
Dead Guy Blues returns with another album
by Keith Gribbins

Jeff Powers needs only his six-string to tell you stories. "Every guitar has a couple of songs in it," he says, sipping a Stella at Tremont's Prosperity Social Club. "Pick up even a crappy guitar, and it'll still have a couple of stories to tell. All of a sudden, a chord you play all the time will sound awesome, and that one chord — it can spawn something."

Powers' journey is full of crossroads and chord progressions. Today, he's the singer-songwriter for Cleveland trio Dead Guy Blues, which is set to release its second album, Cold Wind in Cleveland. Powers notes that for the 10-song record, he picked up only one guitar — his red Fender Stratocaster — and the strings told the story of a Cleveland-kid-turned-classical-guitarist-turned-Mexican-bandito-turned-Cuyahoga-Delta-bluesman.

He explains the CD's blistering basement-blues sound, proud of its gritty electric guitar, heavy-handed lyrics and raw production:

"I really dialed in my distortion, and when [engineer and local guitarist] JBlues mastered it, he put it at the hottest level with as much compression as you can put for blues, which makes it sound in-your-face," he says.

The sound recalls Stevie Ray Vaughan's Tex-Mex style, hell-fire blues drunk on mescal, loud enough to raise Johnny Winter from the grave (if he were actually dead). Cold Wind in Cleveland chronicles Powers' travels as a virtuoso guitarist from the Cleveland Institute of Music to Mexico City. Since he was nine, Powers has been sharpening the edge of his axe. But he didn't take it too seriously until he heard Jimi Hendrix and found a teacher who could give him basic blues lessons. Eventually, he was accepted at C.I.M. and earned his bachelors and masters in classical guitar.

"The day after I did my final recital, I moved to Mexico," he says. "But I got really sick of playing classical. You just sit alone for hours and hours, and then you'll play your recital alone with three people in the audience. You feel like you're having a nervous breakdown every time you perform."

So Powers quit classical and played in blues groups in Mexico City for seven years. Barely eking out a living, he wrote more than 200 songs, melding his love for blues guitar with classical technique.

"I taught myself to groove, but it took me a long time to unravel that," he says. "I was technically advanced, but when I started playing the blues, I would kind of lose the groove because of the junk I practiced. I had to break out."

Fast-forward to 2000. Powers had found his way back to Cleveland. He quickly formed Dead Guys Blues with bassist Chris Boross and drummer Steve Zavesky. In 2005, the trio released its self-titled debut, a solid, 13-song, blues-pop album engineered by Paul Hamann at Painesville's Suma Recording (where the Black Keys recorded Attack & Release). "The first record was too polished and too safe," says Powers. "Cold Wind in Cleveland has that rock sound I wanted."

From the blues-swing shuffle of "Pocket Full of Money" to the Latino instrumental "Aztec Trot (Jose's Boogie)" — something you might encounter after drinking Mexican water — Cold Wind in Cleveland is a spicy blend of blues stew, spiked with Powers' edgy guitar style.

"Rock folks will say it's blues, but a stone-cold blues guy wouldn't agree," he says. "But I'm not a blues guy from Mississippi. I didn't work in the fields, and my baby didn't leave me. Well, that's happened, but these songs are not in that tradition — they're overly heavy-handed on purpose. It's not a blues record all the way, but I've never cared about those blues Nazis anyways."

- Keith Gribbins


All acoustic CD: Jeff Powers
All original song CD: Tall Buildings
All electric blues CD: Dead Guy Blues
All electric blues CD: Cold Wind In Cleveland



While living in Mexico City for 7 years, guitarist/singer/songwriter, Jeff Powers cut his teeth with various blues bands. Though Jeff moved to Mexico City to perform and teach classical guitar he soon dropped out of the cozy and well paid classical world to live and play in the down and dirty clubs, jails and places at the end of dirt roads.

Barely eking out a living Jeff would cross the entire city with guitar and amp in hand by bus and subway to get to a gig or rehearsal but during his years there he wrote over 200 songs and developed his own standout style of blues guitar based around his virtuoso classical technique.

After returning to his home town of Cleveland Jeff formed his own blues band and started recording his original songs and playing as a solo acoustic act. Jeff has been playing in the Cleveland area for 15 + years in his blues bands Dead Guy Blues and Clarksdale and also as a solo acoustic artist.

Jeff''s acoustic sets include: singer/songwriters like: Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Jeff Buckley and blues by: SRV, Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson and Lightnin' Hopkins. Jeff incorporates finger picking, slide and a loop station to stretch out on lead guitar and give his shows a lot of variety.

Some highlights include: a delta style version of "Voodoo Chile", Jeff Buckley's magnificent version of "Hallelujah", the Stephan Stills' classic "Treetop Flyer" and a Dobro slide version of Charlie Daniels' Long Haired Country Boy.

Jeff has performed in many clubs, concert venues, cafes, wine bars and on outdoor stages around the Cleveland area for the last 15 years.

Jeff has released an all acoustic CD with 15 arrangements of his favorite covers and 2 Blues CD's with 23 of his original blues songs. Two more CDs are in the works and will be released this year on Whiskey Island Records. An all acoustic blues CD and a CD featuring an all original song list. Other projects are in the works that will showcase Jeff's songwriting and guitar work.