John the Conqueror
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John the Conqueror

Band Blues


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The best kept secret in music


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Still working on that hot first release.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Starting with the ethic of classic blues and soul music and the energy of good-time rock and roll, John the Conqueror blends classic and original songs for a good-time, dance-and-party night of fun.

They performed at the “Blue Cross” Hurricane Relief benefit alongside Ricky “King” Russell, Racky Thomas, James Montgomery and others. They opened for local artists like the Jones Brothers, Liz Lannon Band and RC Blues Alley, and played a variety of clubs and outdoor festivals on their own.

Nicole Nelson said, “You guys are awesome … I’ve signed your mailing list and look forward to coming out to catch a full show!”

Manny Barros’ wide range and soulful vocals reflect the deep emotion that makes the blues real. Many find it hard to believe this is his first band, but he’s honed his chops in a few short years. His voice can also be heard as the lead vocalist wih VMF.

Varis “Voose” Ozols brings over a decade of professional experience and fiery approach to guitar that blends blues, funk, jazz and every other style you can imagine into a tasty mix. Additionally, it was his vision that created VMF. Check them out at

Clayton Dutcher plays guitar—all kinds of guitar—lead, rhythm and slide. He’s taken lessons from former Jefferson Airplane/Hot Tuna guitarist Jorma Kaukonen as well as country blues artists Josh White Jr. and Paul Rishell.

Skip Spoerke adds jazz, funk and Latin elements with his trumpet and percussion. Skip has played in Las Vegas, Atlanta, Miami, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iraq. He claims jazz greats Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Arturo Sandoval and Louis Armstrong as influences. He is also a member of VMF.

Keyboardist/vocalist Katie Whalen spends her days teaching music and her nights playing. Formerly of the jam band Groofus, she also sits in with New Hampshire’s Rhythm Ship and often performs with VMF.

Drummer Rich Milne has appeared with local blues greats Chris Fitz and Ryan Fardy, and also lays down the backbeat for the soul outfit VMF.

Bassist Russ “Dog” Dougherty’s knowledge of blues, swing, soul, funk, and jazz helps keep John the Conqueror’s rhythm section pumping. He’s performed with local blues legends Nicole Nelson, Toni Lynn Wash­ington and Shirley Lewis (at the 2005’s K.D. Bell benefit) and Chris Fitz.