Mingo Fishtrap
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Mingo Fishtrap

Austin, TX | Established. Jan 01, 1993 | INDIE

Austin, TX | INDIE
Established on Jan, 1993
Band Pop Soul


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



"Best Bets"

How about some horn-heavy, danceable soul-funk to liven up your weekend? This Austin-based eight-piece offers energy and musicianship that make it irresistible. Velvet-voiced Roger Blevins, Jr. carries the vocals, and Motown-smooth harmonies help fill out the sound on "My Yesterday," where the mournful lyrics "Feel so lonesome, and I can't recall why my heart is breaking" stand in bold contradiction to the joy of listening to the music. - Providence Journal

"triThese - Picks for the week ahead"

After hearing their new CD, "Yesterday," we highly recommend giving this group a live hearing. The CD is packed with electric tunes that will make you move. If you need a little something to make you jump and jive when you're down, this is the group to bring back the good times and energy you were missing. - triCityNews

"More Than The Horn Band You Heard Yesterday"

Suddenly, I found myself listening to "Yesterday" even when it wasn't playing - its melodies making their way into my head's internal rotation, sneaking past the [Medeski Martin & Wood] I've heard so often that I'm blessed to have [it] unintentionally memorized. And yet with only a few spins, I'd been infected by Mingo Fishtrap. With their sound, its hard not to be. An eight-piece ensemble centered on the father/son tag-team of Roger Blevins, Jr. & Sr., the band is growing a regional following rooted in a rabid hometown fan base. And when your hometown is that pantheon of good music, Austin, Texas, having a rabid fan base says a lot. - Central Plains Jamband Society (CPJS)

"Spotlight – Texas talent you should know about"

Winter 2000 – Premier Issue

Where Mingo Meets Fishtrap

In North Texas, just east of Denton, Mingo road meets Fishtrap road at an intersection with a farm, a junkyard and a beauty salon. It is here that Roger Blevins found a new tire, a slice of Americana and the inspiration to name his band.
"I had a blowout and needed to replace the tire and remove the spare," said Blevins, leader and guitarist of the Denton-based group, Mingo Fishtrap. "The directions I got said this junkyard was on Mingo-Fishtrap road, so I drove around on this doughnut of a tire all through the country, trying to find the place. I finally came upon this intersection and thought 'what an unusual combination of establishments out here in the middle of nowhere.' The name stuck with me and that’s what I decided to call the band."
A nine-member ensemble with a horn section, keyboardist and Latin percussionist is certainly an unusual combination in a music scene known for the standard guitar/bass/drums format. Mingo Fishtrap’s sound is schizophrenically described by fans and critics as soul, jazz, funk, blues and rock, among other things. "Our sound is hard to categorize. I would describe it as deep-fried soul with '60s and '70s funk influences and a New Orleans twist," Blevins said. The Louisiana flair comes form Blevins' father, Roger Sr., who spent time playing bass in bands around Baton Rouge and New Orleans and who has been a member of the current lineup of Mingo Fishtrap for seven months.
The original lineup met in 1992 as students at the University of North Texas College of Music. Blevins, himself an anachronism, a 26-year-old sporting a '20s-style newsboy cap, long sideburns and just a smudge of a goatee on his chin, speaks insightfully regarding the value of his education.
"The great thing about that kind of education is that it gives you a common language. It makes it easier to communicate with one another. It also gives you a larger palette of options in terms of the colors you can use effectively," Blevins said. "But, it can’t teach you how to write a good song that people want to hear. What it can do is teach you how to make a good song better."
The college provides Denton with a steady stream of talent giving the city the reputation as a music hotbed, launching the likes of Tripping Daisy, Brave Combo and Deep Blue Something. This abundance of musicianship makes for a competitive environment.
"It’s a small town with thousands of musicians and artists. There are great bands in every genre. If you suck, they know. If you miss a note, they know. If you look the least bit uncomfortable on stage, throw some salt on yourself, you’re about to be eaten,” Blevins said. “But it is a great place to go through basic training."
The proof of that training is evident in a Mingo Fishtrap live performance. A typical show is an energetic romp. Throughout, the horn section pulls off slick choreography and mimics lyrics, at times jumping off stage and traipsing through the crowd like an impromptu Mardi Gras parade. Covers of the Cajun classic, "Jambalaya (On the Bayou)" and the '70s hit, "Pick Up the Pieces" from the Average White Band get the crowd moving, but it’s the group's original pieces that reflect their tightness and ability to execute smooth transitions between genres. Blevins delivers vocals ranging from smooth Texas blues through a rapid-fire hip-hop delivery on "People Person." Throwing in some DJ vocal scratching and rap licks that would make Will Smith proud, Blevins provides the hub around which this ragtag crew revolves.
A full dance floor and an audience ready to soak up the energy emanating from the stage complete the experience. "The best performances for us are the ones where we have an audience that understands where we are coming from. The ones that can relate to our influences and really get into the show," Blevins said.
References to the dream sequence in the musical Oklahoma and a Maceo Parker number paying homage to everyone from Otis Redding and Wilson Picket to Cameo and Lauryn Sill make the show a mirthful overview of music history.
"I think a sense of historical relevance is important in music," Blevins said. "We do the Maceo Parker tune to show respect to our influences—pretty blatantly!"
Those diverse influences are due in part to the timing of Blevins' musical upbringing. Blevins thinks nostalgically back to his childhood in the early '70s when radio was less format-driven.
"The first song I remember hearing on the radio was 'Sir Duke' by Stevie Wonder. Then I think they played some Billy Joel. That would never happen today. There is a very separatist attitude in music today race-wise, but age and gender, too."
Mingo Fishtrap has opened for big audience draws like the Neville Brothers, the dirty Dozen, and Blood, Sweat, and Tears, but now faces the challenge of headlining some o - Texas Music

"Texas Platters"

A waft of deja vu hovers after spinning Mingo Fishtrap's new platter. Songs hit right from the get-go, like a friend of a friend you immediately dig after meeting. Its clear this funky Austin octet has a deep affinity for the title's alluded-to musical greats - Stevie Wonder, Tower of Power, Rejuvenation-era Meters. Yet this well-crafted album ain't about naked derivation: the 15 original tracks are as fresh as new car smell. The fourth release and second full-length of these Austin Music Award winners, Yesterday is a refinement of form and not a new stylistic direction. Wise choice, as their gumbo of tight 'n' punchy horns, deep rhythms, restless melodies, and emotive singing has garnered Mingo justified respect as a live powerhouse. - The Austin Chronicle


Head for the cashier with a copy of Mingo Fishtrap's funky disc 'From the Private Bag.' The odd name comes from an intersection near Denton, Texas, where singer Roger Blevins Jr. found himself fixing a tire. Described by Blevins as 'a great place to go through basic training,' the musically rich college town prepped Mingo Fishtrap for life on the road, where the handful of horn players easily lifts the group's upbeat jazz and zestful soul. - The Oregonian

"Kristina Loye - Writer"

Masters of music and entertainment, the music was tight, the tunes were big and moving. This is the kind of band that will swallow you with their talent. The music turns and twists, it curls up inside of you, this is a band you cannot ignore. - MTV Online

"What's Going On Here?"

Ever wonder what the love child of Stevie Wonder, Jamiroquai, and Billy Vera would sound like? [It would sound like] five-time South by Southwest/Austin Music Award winner Mingo Fishtrap: an octopus of tenacious funk. - PlaybackSTL

"Defining the Blues-Funk-Jazz Genre in Austin?"

May 2000

How many true blues, funk, or jazz bands have played Austin down through the ages? How many are Austin regulars now?
The latter question was tonight's topic-of-the-moment amongst friends between sets of Mingo Fishtrap and The Dirty Dozen Brass Band (Saturday, May 20). Considering that Jazz is king in neighboring New Orleans, and Blues is central here in Austin (no offense Memphis) - it only seems natural that the complimentary and contagious Funk infusion into these genres would be mainstream here in Central Texas. But which local bands are ready to "step up to the plate and deliver" to this captive market?
Well Clifford Antone is about to deliver his own personal opinion about who the gems of this genre are - and he will be doing so in strong fashion the final five days before accepting his sentencing for recent drug convictions. That's right Austin, your legendary club and record label owner must pay his penalty to society for being a herb lover and naturalist. But let's not quickly forget that this is the same guy who brought the likes of Buddy Guy and Maceo Parker to downtown Austin for intimate gigs.
Is it coincidence that Cliff twice books local Mingo Fishtrap and New Orleans' Dirty Dozen Brass Band during his last five days? I doubt it. Next Wednesday the 24th, it's the unofficial "night before Cliff goes up party" featuring a bill that includes Extreme Heat, Fishtrap, The Dozen (unlisted) and "special guest" (rumors of Jimmy Vaughn, the Scabs and even Maceo Parker are being tossed around.) Wow! Clifford will not only be throwing a fine party in his own honor, but he'll be making a statement as well -- a proclamation that blues-funk-jazz music is not dead in Austin!
So what's up with the obscure 9-member Austin band known as Mingo Fishtrap? We know they linked up in the early 90's while in Denton attending the North Texas College of Music. We know their name is based on a road intersection in rural north Texas. We know they have gained the favor of Clifford Antone…
We also know that they, count 'em folks, have a four-piece horns section, a rarity these days. We quickly notice and appreciate the stellar funk lead guitarist and lead vocalist, Roger Blevins (the primary songwriter). We observe the distinct sound that only a Hammond keyboard can emit. We hear cool funk bass lines and drums (they recently dropped the bongo player, however.) We notice that all their sounds blend well together and although are not unique, they sound crisp and brassy. We hear vocal styles and horns rifts that ring vaguely familiar.
But what is meant by "ring vaguely familiar?" I guess it stems from Fishtrap's ability to pull from a wide variety of influences. Throughout the set we hear hints of Stevie Wonder, Otis Redding, James Brown, Earth Wind & Fire, Tower of Power; we hear traces of vocal styles ranging from Lennie Kravitz to Jimmy Cliff, even undercurrents of noir Morphine-like baritone Sax. Whoa, these guys are all across the board and man they do display lots of black influences for an (almost) all-white band. Hey if Elvis Presley can cite mostly black influences, why not Mingo Fishtrap?
Roger Blevins is quick to point out his list of favorite influences too. While he voices his homage to those who preceded him, he lists the headliner, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, as a primary influence as well. This is interesting, but no real surprise. Although Fishtrap lacks the soul, experience and tightness of The Dozen, they pay their respects pretty darn well. Even when the Dozen brought 'em up on stage to join 'em, they stood their ground to The Big Easy brass-masters and came off sounding great. (For those who like math and are familiar with The Dozen, that's 10 pieces of brass on stage at once!)
The show as a whole was a shake-yo'-booty-until-yo'-can't-shake-it-no-mo' type of gig. Both bands were successful in whipping the grateful crowd into a funk-frenzy and everyone left exhausted and satisfied. The Dozen are at a whole different level compared to Fishtrap, but this is no slam on Fishtrap as their elders simply drip and ooze pure unadulterated soul. A solid case can be made for Roger Blevins' guitar work, however. His super-funky guitar is actually better than what The Dozen offers, and is the critical element Fishtrap needs to continue to build their sound around.
But original funk-centric tunes like "Bitta Honey", "You Can Leave", "People Person', and "Out of Control" are solid compositions and work to highlight their talents. Can you imagine adding female backing vocals and additional percussion to their live shows? How about bringing in a big-ole' sousaphone? They have no place to go but up! - they are certainly more deserving than that!
This 9-piece ensemble is worthy of fronting The Dirty Dozen Brass Band. They are worthy of being on Clifford's final bill before he "goes up". They are definitely wort - Austin Rocks

"News Of Record"

Oh, Yeah, these guys strike a funky groove right from jump street. This is the kind of music you want to listen to when you've been listening to too much dreary pose-rock. They make no bones about being in the business of getting you out of your seat and onto your feet. And if Mingo Fishtrap can't make you shake it, Jack...you dead. - Nightflying


"EP3" - 2008 - five song EP
"Live at the Granada" - 2007 - Live Concert DVD
"Yesterday" - 2005 - full length CD
"EP2" - 2004 - two song EP with extra 5-song live concert video
"From the Private Bag" - 2000 - eight song EP; four studio and four live tracks
"Succotash" - 1997 - full length CD

Documented airplay in over 40 US markets, as well as some international (France, Great Britain, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Hong Kong, New Zealand)



Texas Music Magazine calls Mingo Fishtrap “the space where melodic pop meets gritty Memphis soul, with a twist of N’awlins funk.” That space is growing like kudzoo vine on the Mississippi Delta, crisscrossing the country with a deep, tenacious groove and a sanctified mission to shake your soul.

While attending the University of North Texas’ College of Music, Roger Blevins, jr. casually asked a few dorm mates to jam on some old soul & funk tunes. Missing that sound that he had grown up hearing, the Mississippi-native quickly found himself surrounded by an eight-piece band, replete with percussion and horn section. That first unassuming encounter lit a fire, and once the college crowd got wind of this old-school sound coming from Bruce Hall, it spread to Dallas’ infamous Deep Ellum, Fort Worth’s legendary Caravan of Dreams and down the I-35 corridor to Austin.

Their first album in tow, the band relocated to the Live Music Capital of the World. Mingo quickly carved a niche in the heavily saturated scene, with the Austin Chronicle saying “Their gumbo of tight & punchy horns, deep rhythms, restless melodies, and emotive singing has garnered Mingo justified respect as a live powerhouse.” The album Yesterday also garnered a handful of Austin Music Awards, and they once again set their sights on fanning the flames.

Mingo hit the festival circuit, which carried their brand of whiskey-soaked, funky soul from Portland, OR to Portland, ME and hundreds of shows everywhere in between. Recent support dates for the likes of contemporaries Robert Randolph, Trombone Shorty, MOFRO & Galactic, along with legends such as Parliament, Sting, Little Feat and Earth Wind & Fire, have raised the profile of the band, sharpened their focus and in 2012 led to the band signing with Intrepid Artists Booking and an ever expanding tour calendar. Over 100 shows are scheduled for 2013, and performances will include features at the 10th Wakarusa, the Rochester International Jazz Festival and Ontario’s Thunder Bay festival.

Finding what time they can between shows, Mingo is putting the finishing touches on their fourth full-length album.

Just a few examples of what the critics have said:
"If what James Brown supposedly said was true – ‘the one thing that can solve most of our problems is dancing’ - then Mingo Fishtrap has plenty of business to take care of in our nation's capital." Zoe Polluck – Writer, Washington City Paper

"...tight 'n' punchy horns, deep rhythms, restless melodies, and emotive singing has garnered Mingo justified respect as a live powerhouse." David Lynch, Austin Chronicle
"Ever wonder what the love child of Stevie Wonder, Jamiroquai, and Billy Vera would sound like? [It would sound like] ?ve-time South by Southwest / Austin Music Award winner Mingo Fishtrap: an octopus of tenacious funk." What's Going On Here, PlaybackSTL

"Masters of music and entertainment, the music was tight, the tunes were big and moving. This is the kind of band that will swallow you with their talent. The music turns and twists, it curls up inside of you, this is a band you cannot ignore." Kristina Loye – Writer, MTV Online

For music samples, images, and more information, view www.mingofishtrap.com

Roger Blevins Jr. - Vocals, Guitar
Dane Farnsworth - Vocals, organ, keyboards
Chip Vayenas - Vocals, Drums
Mikel Urdy - Percussion
Roger Blevins Sr. - Bass
Steve Butts - Trumpet
Dan Bechdolt - Alto & Tenor Saxophone
Zol Waterhouse - Trombone