Peggy Ratusz & Daddy LongLegs
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Peggy Ratusz & Daddy LongLegs

Asheville, North Carolina, United States | SELF

Asheville, North Carolina, United States | SELF
Band Blues Soul


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



"Peggy Ratusz & Swing Daddies"

Last fall I had the pleasure of seeing Peggy Ratusz and The Swing Daddies play at Jack of The Wood–the floor was increasingly full of people shaking it down to Peggy's full bodied voice and great covers by the likes of Emmy Lou Harris and Billie Holiday–it doesn't hurt anything that she's backed up by great players. I asked Peggy a few questions and she sent these answers our way...

Do you come from a musical family?

My maternal grandfather, who was born in the early 1900's in New York was a vaudevillian song and dance man in his late teens and early 20's. My father was born in the early 1920's and was an alto saxophone player in a big band when he was 15 and until he left for WWII at age 18. Growing up 1 of 8 children and 1 of only 2 girls, my dad made sure music and dancing was part of our upbringing. He allowed each of us to spend allowance money on the types of 45 rpm records and 33 rpm albums we individually wanted. Every day of my childhood included music.

When did you realize you have a strong voice?

It was purely by accident. As a pre-teen, I'd sit in my room with my own record player and sing to records. I was especially drawn to the 2-album Broadway soundtrack to Jesus Christ Superstar and Hair. I knew all the words to all the songs on those records. I was singing along to one of my favorite tracks on the JCS album, I Don't Know How to Love Him by Yvonne Elliman, and suddenly the door opened and there was my mom with 4 of my brothers applauding when I finished.
How did you form the band and how do you describe the music?

Because I book the live music at a local downtown venue where Swing music draws audiences and local dancers, I wanted to justifiably book myself there on occasion. My regularly working Blues band didn't draw as much when I booked us there, so I reached out to musicians who were performing jazz and swing and asked them to come together and rehearse for a date I aimed to book at the venue. At that same time, a drummer friend got wind of it and put me in touch with a booking agent he works with who needed a Swing band on her roster. He recommended us to her and gigs for me and The Swing Daddies has taken off from there. I've been describing our material as "every swing in between." We do Jazz, Western, Texas Swing and Rhumba Blues material that's completely danceable.

What are some of your favorite songs to cover?

Irma Thomas is dubbed the Soul Queen of New Orleans and she's got some great songs we do in both the blues and swing bands. We do Hip Shakin' Mama, It's Rainin' and Ruler of My Heart from her. Walter Hyatt was an astounding writer and performer who hailed from South Carolina and transplanted himself to central Texas where he formed Uncle Walt's Band. He died in a plane crash in the late 1990's but left a legacy of incredible songs that we cover like Foolin' Round With You and Reach for Me. Also, a contemporary Jazz musician and vocalist, Melody Gardot has some amazing material and we cover a couple of her tunes that I love including Your Heart is as Black as Night. Madeline Peyroux is a jazz/pop vocalist who's arrangements of jazz standards and contemporary jazz songs are popular like Leonoard Cohen's Dance Me to the End of Love and Don't Wait Too Long. We do some Emmy Lou Harris, Billie Holiday, Asleep at the Wheel and basically I guess you could say the playlist for Peggy & the Swing Daddies is nothing but songs I love to cover and sing.

How does it fell to know your music inspires people to shake it down?

It feels tremendous. That was the goal from the get-go when choosing the songs to work our own arrangements for and perform.
How do you work with a couple to plan the music for their reception?

I email them a press kit that includes sample tracks and a huge list of songs. I ask them to review the songlist and pick out their must-haves which gets them involved and most of the couples we play for are huge music lovers. If they're not huge music lovers, I recommend songs that are proven pleasers and if they don't already know what special songs they want for special dances, I steer them in the right direction by asking how they met, about their romance–and tailer make a set list for their receptions. We know how to prepare for learning and performing special songs couples request that may not already be part of our songlist. Musicianship in Peggy & The Swing Daddies is high, which enables us to fulfill special requests!

What are some of your up coming gigs?

Every other Wednesday, from 9:00 to midnight, we play at Tressa's Downtown Jazz & Blues, 28 Broadway– those dates coming up are Mar 30th, April 13th and April 27th. We've got a wedding on April 30th at Pack Tavern and another wedding reception - Asheville Indie Weddings

"Peggy Ratusz strongly emerges in North Carolina contemporary Blues scene"

"Peggy Ratusz “Infused With The Blues” Self Production 2010. A woman gifted with a wrapping sensual voice, Peggy Ratusz strongly emerges in North Carolina contemporary blues scene, not only by the magic and sensitivity of her voice, but also by the kind of songs she writes. Peggy has rounded up a good work, with a convincing bunch of musicians who give the best of themselves and also capture the magic essence and feeling of Peggy’s singing. Great performance, with restrained arrangements, able to sweeten any listener dreams sensitive enough to capture the magic and the climax of the whole recording. So this is an album full of sensitivity and deep passion that should not go unnoticed among good quality music connoisseurs. Ten cd cuts are Peggy Ratusz’ own songs, the other three ones belong to Doc Pomus, Ma Rainey and David Grissom. If you like blues with jazz and bossa influences spiced with twist drops, then this cd is perfect for you. VERY GOOD. "Vicente Zumel - La Hora Del Blues - La Hora Del Blues

"Peggy Ratusz introduces Swing Daddies to Asheville - ASHEVILLE -- Peggy Ratusz is ready to swing."

Peggy Ratusz is ready to swing.
The popular local blues queen, who usually holds court with a weekly residency on Thursdays at Tressa's Downtown Jazz and Blues Club with her skilled band Daddy Long Legs, is about to unveil a new project.
On New Year's Day, Ratusz is set to introduce the Swing Daddies at Jack of the Wood. The new group will focus on varieties of dance-friendly acoustic swing music, including vintage country, Texas swing, string jazz and rumba blues.
"The swing thing is in," says Ratusz. "I'm a very young 53, but I'm highly influenced by the swing era. This will be exclusively all kinds of acoustic swing -- basically stuff people can dance to."
In addition to Ratusz's sultry range of vocal styles, the band will include Jonathan Pearlman on acoustic guitar, Michael Hynes on bass and Justin Watt on drums.
Ratusz moved to Asheville eight years ago from the music hotbed of Austin, Texas, where she learned her trade. Since arriving, she has provided a consistent, authentic voice for the blues in Western North Carolina.
In addition to the Tressa's gig on Thursdays, she plays every other Friday at Vincenzo's Ristorante and Bistro in a duo project with guitar player Duane Simpson.
A few years ago she teamed up with a group of local musicians and started the Southern Fried Blues Society, an organization she hopes will grow in the near future.
"I'd like to see a little bit more support of the blues," Ratusz says of the local music scene. "It's definitely alive, but it needs to have a faster heartbeat. You have to have a core group to keep a blues society alive and deliver to the community."
When she's not singing, Ratusz stays busy behind the scenes. She handles booking for Jack of the Wood, and this year she started writing a column for Western North Carolina Woman magazine. She also helps young singers as a vocal coach.
"I had people mentor me when I was younger, so I am trying to pay it forward," Ratusz says.
Jedd Ferris writes about entertainment for take5. E-mail him at
- Asheville Citizen - Times - Asheville, N.C

"Groovin at Grovemont"

Peggy Ratusz and the Daddy LongLegs Band bring a diverse blend of timeless old-school Soul & Motown and mix it with the guitar driven influences of the greatest Blues players of our time. Their inspired arrangements of classic songs set them apart from other bands as they performs an array of striking original material.
- Buncombe County, NC

"Concious Party"

Something strange happened to Asheville singer Peggy Ratusz when she heard that Branford Marsalis and Harry Connick Jr. had teamed up with New Orleans Habitat for Humanity to create a Musician's Village in the storm-ravaged city. "This sounds so odd, but I felt this tapping on my shoulder," she told Xpress weekly.

Judging by what Ratusz did next, it must have been some sort of divine inspiration – and it must have known that the best way to communicate with a blues musician is through rhythm. She hit up some local talent, sought out donations, and finally pulled together a benefit for the duo's effort to re-plant NOLA's jazz community.

The outdoor concert, dubbed "It Takes a Village," will be held from 12:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 25, at the Secret Garden Inn & Spa in Weaverville. Along with Peggy Ratusz and Daddy LongLegs, of course, the lineup will include a blend of jazz, blues, big band and Cajun-infused sound with local artists Jen & the Juice, Current Invention, Sons of Ralph and the 10-piece Nouveau Passe Orchestra. Audience members are invited to come with blankets or lawn chairs, but are asked to leave pets at home.
- Mountain Xpress, NC

"Main Street Jazz"

Incredibly talented and personable musicians such as Duane Simpson-guitar; Joey K-drums, Rob Geisler-bass and Peggy Ratusz on vocals. Audiences of all ages have found their renditions of classic tunes and their pop, jazz and rock originals, innovative and infectious. They'll get your juices flowing with that back beat and they'll melt your heart with love songs.

- City of Greenville, SC

"Jomar Records Review"

PEGGY RATUSZ musically and vocally paints a very soothing, passionate and sensual picture as she sings about being on a "SEXUAL HIGH". Trust me on this one, this sultry mood setting music is not intended to be listened to while typing a review.

- Jomar Records, Peter Lauro

"It Takes a Lot of Faith"

Chanteuse Peggy Ratusz is a Soulfilled, Swingin` Jump, Jive and ruby throated vocalist. -

"Downtown After 5"

Downtown After Five. Aug 15th, 5 to 9 pm. This free 20th annual downtown concert series is located on Lexington Avenue, near Hiawassee and Woodfin Streets. There's beer from five local breweries. This night's entertainment will be provided by Jeff Sipe and Shannon Whitworth Band with Peggy Ratusz - Lover's Loop Retreat

"Women in Blues 3"

The National Women in Blues Festival

Wilmington, N.C.: Sept. 26-27, 2008


Have you ever had a good idea, but been told that no one would bother to support it? That’s what happened to Women in Blues Festival CEO and CBW (Chief Bottle Washer) Michele Seidman a few years ago.

“I was told by a music representative that no one would pay to see a woman singing the blues. And here we are. . . our third year, and plans are already underway for next year’s festival,” notes Seidman. “Without the many supporters, the festival would have been a dream instead of a wonderful reality and growing sisterhood of the blues.”

Talk about women being more than just a side note!

The 3rd annual Women in Blues Festival began Friday night with Rose and Charlie Lucas opening at the recently renovated Greenfield Lake Amphitheater in Wilmington. The ‘Grandparents of the Blues‘ are well known in North Carolina, and have opened the festival every year since its inception.
As heavy showers threatened to cancel the outdoor performance, some patrons refused to let passing rain spoil their evening. An alternative location was waiting on standby just in case. The weather held out, allowing headliner Gaye Adegbalola the opportunity to grace the amphitheater stage. Ms. Adegbalola presented a video screening of The History of Women in Blues, which spoke of blues singers/musicians--including Mamie Smith, Alberta Hunter, Ida Cox and Deborah Coleman. Later, Ms. Adegbalola entertained the audience with a potpourri of Blues songs, past and present. She was accompanied by Roddy Barnes on piano/keyboards.

Day 2 of the Women in Blues Festival-Saturday Jam was held at The Cellar, a brand-new venue located next to Cape Fear River in the downtown area. Opening the jam was a group of young individuals from Charleston, SC-- Stone Cold with Sarah Cole. Sarah is an accomplished blues singer and guitarist--at 15 years old. Her band mates are 14-16 years old as well. How in the world could someone so young have the blues? “The blues, to me, is just to put every little bit of soul and emotion that you have into a music form,” says Sarah.

And indeed she did. She ripped through “Woman,” a female version of the classic tune “I’m a Man” with self-possession and convergence. The band played originals as well. Her parents were in the audience, smiling with pride as she played each and every note on her guitar.

Versed saxophonist Pat Pepin sat in on a couple of songs during Stone Cold’s set-- encouraging & supporting the band. Ms. Pepin performed later in the afternoon, entertaining the crowd with her vocals and saxophone. She also plays guitar, flute, drums and bass. She recently represented the state of Maine at the International Blues Challenge this year--also in 2002 and 2004. Pepin’s inspiration for playing the blues? “Honesty. (The blues). . . is who you are, where you are going and where you want to be,” she said.

Next up was The Dynamic Thermatones featuring Shelly Broome. Michele Seidman was watching their performance through the French doors. “Now there is a woman (Shelly Broome) who can fill the house with sound and barely need have a microphone in her hand,” she said. Shelly Broome announces to the audience that she loves to sing about happy blues.

Patty Benson was back for the second year in a row, governing the stage. If titles for blues singers were given freely, she would be known as the ‘Marquess of the Blues.’ Her call-and-response energy, along with a willingness to enter the song through characterization makes EVERYONE feel her lyrics, feel her pain. . . feel her joy.

Peggy Ratusz came in to perform from Asheville, NC (along with Big Road). She recently played the semi-finals of the International Blues challenge representing North Carolina’s own Piedmont Blues Preservation Society. Ms. Ratusz is an exceptional vocalist--and her musical essence can be seen through still photography when she performs.

Sarah Lemieux performed for the second year in a row. By this time, Michele Seidman has made her way inside the club and is in the back, enjoying the set. “Her writing is superb and brand of blues all her on and true to the core, Seidman notes. Incredible guitar player Laura Chavez sits in with Ms. Lemieux for a song or two.

And last, but certainly not least, was the headliner Candye Kane. Her blues/rockabilly powerhouse vocal style got the crowd up and moving. Ms. Kane is an advocate for just being who you are, whether it is size acceptance--or just being yourself. The audience knew her songs-- including “200 Lbs. of Fun & ” All You Can Eat.” But for personal reasons, the one that really stood out in the hearts of the audience was “I’m the Toughest Girl Alive.” You had to be there to understand it.

Michelle Seidman has been walking around all night, talking, introducing performers, singing a little, monitoring the crowd--like a Chief Bottle Washer should be doing. Money - Metro Spirit, Wilmington, NC

"Brewer's Breifs"

I don’t know where this woman came from, but Asheville’s Peggy Ratusz can flat out sing some blues, jazz and rock. Equally comfortable kicking funky rock jams and sultry, jazz-tinged ballads, Ratusz and her band Daddy Longlegs are the latest and greatest thing to come out the magical musical wonderland that is our more musically-rich neighbor to the south.
by David Brewer - High Country Press, Boone, NC

"Women Sing the Blues"

Women Sing The Blues
The National Women In Blues Festival was created in 2006 with the idea of promoting an event where blues women take center stage. Many blues festivals feature male performers headlining; this annual event honors the contributions made to the music by the distaff half of blues artists.
Dual Locations, Great Performers
This year's Women In Blues Festival will take place in different locations each night. Friday night's program will feature Rose Lucas of the popular regional blues duo Rose and Charlie Lucas, as well as headliner Adegbalola, performing at the revamped Greenfield Lake Amphitheater. Gates open at 6:00pm on Friday night.
Saturday's longer program will be held at the new music venue The Cellar in Wilmington, with the show beginning at 5:30 pm. Saturday's line-up includes local and regional performers like Peggy Ratusz and Patty Benson, as well as Sarah LeMieux and headliner Kane.

"Where did you find her?"

….people started walking up and looking at me with these amazed faces asking "Where did you find her?" I somehow conjured her up. They were referring to one damn fine blues woman by the name of Peggy Ratusz. This was a tight ass band. She did a mix of her own music and a few very well chosen covers. There was one that I was tickled to find out I liked that had never done much for me before I heard Peggy do it.
Michele Seidman, Women In Blues Festival promotor - Michele Seidman Myspace Blog


Infused With the Blues - 13 song original CD released Jan 2010 and avail on cdbaby and band village.

Sexual High - written by Peggy Ratusz
included on compilation CD 'Women In Blues' released by Jomar Records Nov 2007 avail on line and at fye.

Crowd Around the Mic Vol 12 (2008)- WNCW radio's compilation CD. I'm Lost Without You

It Takes a Lot of Faith - 12 song, original debut released by Peggy Ratusz in 2005. Radio airplay on many independent radio stations across the US including North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennesee, Texas, Louisiana and NY.



Each member of the group contributes and commits fully to the sound. Together for 4 years, we've won contests (Southern Fried Blues Society Blues Challenge 2010, Piedmont Blues Challenge 2007, Semi-finalists at International Blues Challenge 2010 and 2008) and "best of" poles (WNC Best Blues Band 2007-2008). Our calendar is a mixed bag of concerts, festivals, clubs, private events and benefits. Our philosophy is "play it forward." As lead vocalist and main writer for the band, I'm inspired by the incredible chops and inherent listening skills of each instrumentalist. These attributes translate into astounding performances. Duane's guitar style can range from sparse to heavy and he's never one to over or under play. He often sets the mood. Rob, on bass, handles solos like a guitar player and his Funk influences are evident. "All-Day" Joey K on drums, is the man with the plan. His energy level for the Blues is high. The groove is where it's at in this band, and the duty of layin' in down is in very capable hands. Blues-infused Originals, Rockin Blues, Funky Blues, Soulfilled Blues, Country Blues, Traditional Blues...we love and we play it all.