JW Gilmore and the Blues Authority
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JW Gilmore and the Blues Authority

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JW Gilmore and the Blues Authority @ 29th Annual Lincolnville Festival

St. Augustine, Florida, USA

St. Augustine, Florida, USA

JW Gilmore and the Blues Authority @ Calico Jack's

Jacksonville, Florida, USA

Jacksonville, Florida, USA

JW Gilmore and the Blues Authority @ Your Place

Jacksonville, Florida, USA

Jacksonville, Florida, USA

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



Our vivacious veteran staff member, Joan Gallagher, told me that the Gypsy Cab Co. in St. Augustine was featuring blues and barbecue every Sunday from 2:30 pm to 5:30 pm and asked if I would be interested in going down to cover this event. Yes, blues and barbecue go together like peanut butter and jelly, beer and nuts, or Paris Hilton and incarceration. So, I blitzed down there to catch JW wail on harmonica with his band of experienced players showcasing Coop Cooper on bass, Keith Blake on lead guitar, and Phil Reed on drums. It’s a natural lure to enjoy Gypsy Cab Co.’s delicious barbecue and blues on a day trip to St. Augustine on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

      JW and the Blues Authority are an authentic Mississippi Delta blues band that delivers its blues straight up with no chaser. JW and the band members live in St. Augustine but play around the North Florida region. As his day-job, JW has been a master baker for Publix for the last thirty years. For about the same number of years, JW has played harp and sung the blues. He’s passionate about playing old dirty blues that is not fused with modern influences.

      For blues aficionados, JW can be heard on Blue Beat’s CD Blues from the Swamp by Tabby Thomas. JW has a gritty blues voice that captures the blues mood perfectly. His presentation is reminiscent of Muddy Waters, in that he jokes with the audience and is charismatic on stage. JW’s brand of blues is unvarnished by rock influences, staying close to the blues of yesteryear. Keith Blake doesn’t use effects pedals and plays with a clean sound with his large semi-hollow body guitar. Coop on bass and Phil Reed on guitar lay down an infectious groove that sets the scene with toe-tapping rhythm.

      Since JW started playing in St. Augustine, he’s been backed by a variety of musicians. In the early days, when he was struggling to get the band together, members would come and go. He joked, “the marquee should read, ‘JW Gilmore and to be announced’ or as commonly abbreviated, TBA”. As JW found the players who would stick around, the name JW Gilmore and the Blues Authority stuck, which, coincidently, is also abbreviated “TBA.”

      Now, JW’s band is a stable entity and they play regularly. Keith Black (sic) is an advanced guitarist who adds the authentic orchestration to the band with his original jazz influenced style. His comping fits well with JW’s soulful and bluesy harmonica style.

      Veteran bassist Coop has been playing since he plugged in his first bass and learned licks off the first ZZ Top album. Since then, Coop has performed many diverse styles including jazz, rock, soul, world music and traditional American roots music. When Coop had hair, he was the original bassist for Jacksonville’s seminal 1980s experimental new wave bands The Reacterz and The Great Invisibles, which featured Arvid Smith on guitar and effects. Arvid is now with Tammerlin with his wife Lee Hunter. Coop doubles as a sound engineer and manager for the group.

      Drummer Phil Reed brings his own brand of West Coast blues/funk to the Blues Authority. Phil spent 20 years in San Francisco Bay Area as a first-call session drummer and as an on-demand live player. Phil is one of the most respected drummers playing on the East Coast.

      As a unit, JW & TBA kick butt. The Blues & Barbecue Sunday afternoon is going strong at the Gypsy Cab Co. It’s worth the trip down to the oldest city for JW and barbecue bash from 2:30 to 5:30 pm. - Entertaining U Jacksonville


Choice Cuts, V.1 is JW Gilmore and the Blues Authority's first CD and includes a mix of live and studio tracks. Originally intended as a "demo" to distribute to club owners and festival promoters, the recording turned out so well the band decided to release it as a full-fledged project. JW and the TBA have been heard on the radio in St. Augustine, Baton Rouge, LA, Orlando, FL, Atlanta, GA and a variety of internet radio stations where the CD has gotten good airplay.



A while back, a young harp player who was playing with blues great Tabby Thomas at his legendary club, the Blues Box in Baton Rouge, was told by Tabby that he "got what it takes to make it." Today, JW Gilmore is a master storyteller, a demon on the harp, a well-versed musician and, above all, a showman extraordinaire.  From slow dirty blues to frenetic swing, JW keeps audiences laughing, smiling and dancing into the night.  He has been playing harmonica for over 20 years, from Baton Rouge to Ft. Lauderdale, playing with greats like Tabby Thomas, Chris Thomas King, Louisiana Red, Todd Hart, Luther Kent and Joey Gilmore.  He can be heard on the Blue Beat CD Blues From the Swamp by Baton Rouge blues legend Tabby Thomas.  JW was also a regular on the South Florida blues circuit, playing both coasts from Ft. Lauderdale to Naples, bringing his burning harp playing and his soulful song stylings to thousands of fans.  Seeing JW live is a true treat.   Part Muddy Waters, part James Brown, JW puts on an energetic entertaining show while keeping true to the roots of the music.  Just close your eyes and you can see him on a front porch spinning a yarn or in a small juke joint belting out the blues on a sweltering Mississippi summer night.  JW is a blues performer that takes to heart the legacy of the legendary bluesmen that have come before him.   He's much more Muddy than Stevie Ray, more Little Walter than Eric Clapton, he plays a pure blues rather than rock versions of blues classics.  Just like the great bluesmen, JW can surprise you with new tunes and old classics with new interpretations; with JW you just never know what to expect and that's half the fun.

Since JW started playing in St. Augustine, he's been backed by a variety of musicians. In the early days, when he was struggling to get a band together and members would come and go, he joked that his marquee should read "JW Gilmore and (to be announced)", or as commonly abbreviated, "TBA". Well, as the band formed, the name stuck. To give a little substance to the joke and to answer the questions from fans, the meaning of the abbreviation was changed to "The Blues Authority". We still answer to both, of course.