Sean Carney Band
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Sean Carney Band

Columbus, Ohio, United States | INDIE

Columbus, Ohio, United States | INDIE
Band Blues Jazz


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"New York State Blues Festival"

Sunday, July 22, 2007
By Mark Bialczak
Staff writer

The Sean Carney Band opened the main stage action with an extremely tasty set. Carney showed why he won the best guitarist award this year at the International Blues Challenge.

The 34-year-old from Columbus, Ohio, took control of the stage with grace and skill. His original songs from his latest CD, "Life of Ease," hooked the crowd from the start. They dug the swing of "Bad Side Baby," cruising angst of "All These Worries" and swampy sound of "I've Got a Gypsy Woman."

With his precise notes and smooth, rich style, Carney made it look easy.
- The Syracuse Post-Standard

"BluesWax reviews Life of Ease"

Sean Carney
Life Of Ease

BluesWax Rating: 9 out of 10

If you were at this year's International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis, you couldn't avoid Sean Carney. Of the over 100 bands that participated, Carney and his band were the winners of the 2007 IBC. Carney himself copped the Albert King Award for the best guitarist of the weekend and this CD, Life of Ease, made it to the top ten in the Best Self-Produced CD competition. This near triple-crown win finally announces Carney as an exciting, formidable talent on the Blues scene.

Here Carney treats us to a 70-minute tour of the Blues he loves. Armed with his huge Gibson arch top, Carney writes, sings, and plays with the spirit of a Duke Robillard. His musical vision accurately captures a time period when the lines between Blues and Jazz were blurred, when Blues guitarists like T-Bone Walker and Jazz guitarists like Charlie Christian were supported by horns and keyboards. The title track opens the disc with a steamy, late-night musical conversation. Carney's old school, T-Bone guitar work, John Popovich's warm piano work, Chuck Moore's late-night tenor, and Steve Perakis' sturdy upright bass all center this original in an early morning, after-hours joint. You can almost picture the chairs up on the tables, a bartender washing out the last of the glasses, and these friends sharing stories of the day through their instruments.

Carney's next tune, "Why Do You Lie," is an earthy, Texas-styled organ/guitar shuffle. Instead of quietly summoning T-Bone, Carney calls the spirit of Texas greats Albert Collins and Freddy King to his string work. On "Pennies And Teardrops" Carney's sparse guitar work continues to shed light on his broad, talented guitar.

Other highlights include the guests Carney calls into the studio. Detroit's soulful Joe Weaver sings on the B.B. King classic "Outskirts Of Town." The weave of Weaver's leathery vocals with Carney's tireless guitar makes this song seven minutes of slow Blues heaven. On his own R&B song "Farm Boy" Weaver adds his piano as Carney and Gene Walker trade 1950's guitar and sax verses. Singer Willie Pooch and Carney invoke gut bucket Soul on Jimmy McCracklin's "Tramp." Finally, Teeny Tucker, the Blues vocal partner Carney often backs, sings "I Live Alone." In 2005 Tucker and her big voice combined with Carney in the IBC finals.

Other classics include T-Bone's "I Know Your Wig Is Gone," with Carney strummin' his acoustic arch top in a stylish 4x4 and Steve Perakis thumpin' the upright bass like he's Willie Dixon in the late 1940s before electricity. He ends the CD proper with his stylish approach on Pee Wee Crayton's "When It Rains It Pours," vitalized by Carney's blistering T-Bone Walker guitar riffs and Popovich's playful piano.

Finally, there is a three-song bonus at the end. Carney treats us to three live cuts following the Crayton tune. He replays "Bad Side Baby" and "Why Do You Lie," doubling its length. This 15-minute set is highlighted by Carney's seven-minute slow Blues take on "Take Your Shoes Off." Again Willie Pooch sings while Carney delivers his most devastating slow Blues guitar solo. Like a Ronnie Earl or Duke Robillard, Carney knows exactly how to build from the quietest whisper to a thunderous volley. I saw him three times on Beale at the IBCs and I can tell you that he must be seen live.

Through it all, here on record and in the three times I caught him live in Memphis, Carney displayed a very intelligent and concise style of playing. His solos are so tightly constructed that he always strikes a chord in your soul and his warm vocal delivery complements what he plays. Both guitar and voice are firmly entrenched in the era and locales of the music he loves. Yet it all sounds like he's breaking new ground with every note played. When he plays a T-Bone Walker song you've heard before, Carney's hotshot fret-work ideas makes those vintage solos sound brand new, like an exciting twist to a favorite meal.

Blues folk take note, Carney, a two-time veteran of the competition, is at the forefront of an energetic new crop of musicians who have done their late night homework and have a lot to offer. Like recent IBC winners Zac Harmon,, Richard Johnston, Fiona Boyes, Eden Brent, and Diunna Greenleaf, Sean Carney live or on disc is part of an exciting time for the Blues.

Art Tipaldi is a senior contributing editor at BluesWax
- BluesWax

"Blues Revue reviews Life of Ease"

The Sean Carney Band
“Life of Ease”
Nite Owlz Records

A one-man ambassador for the blues, Sean Carney has brought his music to such far flung locales as France, Ecuador, and Costa Rica. He has served three terms as President of The Columbus Ohio Blues Alliance, and he promotes concerts as musical director of The Island Arts Foundation in Ft. Myers Beach, Florida. He plays a mean hollow-bodied guitar, too.

It’s that final piece of the Carney persona we’re concerned with here. On his second album, Life of Ease, the guitarist/singer pursues his love of jump and jazz-styled blues in the T-Bone Walker and Louis Jordan mold. He’s a better than average singer with an approach similar to that of the Blaster’s Phil Alvin. Ever the gracious host, Carney turns over the vocal spot to underrated blues veterans such as Willie Pooch, Teeny Tucker and the late Joe Weaver for five of the 16 tracks on this 70-minute disc.

It’s a swinging energetic combination of originals and covers of mostly obscure material from artists such as Jimmy McCracklin and Pee Wee Crayton, who are obvious influences on Carney’s sound. From finger-popping hard shuffles (“Why Do You Lie”) and jazzy material (“Bad Side Baby”) to oozing swamp blues (“I’ve Got A Gypsy Woman”), Carney shifts from an easygoing Texas/West Coast feel to tougher Chicago-inflected playing. He’s an accomplished guitarist in the spirit of Duke Robillard, spinning out taut solos but getting out of the way before the sings become a vessel for his six string prowess.

The four piece backing band is top flight; special acknowledgement should go to upright bassist Steve Perakis, whose rubbery bottom work helps to keep the music grounded in tradition, especially on a hip-swiveling version of “Tramp!” Three live tunes close the album on a rowdy note, even if the slow number that wraps it up doesn’t properly ice the cake. Life of Ease is an impressive, moving offering from a committed young bluesman whose best years are still ahead of him.

Hal Horowitz
- Blues Revue Magazine

"Rootstime reviews Life of Ease"

Together with Teeny Tucker (Tommy Tucker’s daughter), he wrote most of the songs of her first album “First Class Woman” and from that time they have collaborated very closely. At his beginning, he also received her vocal support. Sean was twice nominated (2003-2005) as best guitarist in the contest of the Albert King Blues Foundation and he won the award in 2007. He is in fact a very promising guitarist. Although he comes from Ohio, his guitar style is above all a Texas style and recalls the style of Ronnie Earl. Moreover, his voice recalls the voice of Darell Nulisch who sang on several albums of Ronnie Earl. The resemblance is striking. Most of the songs of this CD are originals, but there are a few covers from masters such as T-Bone Walker, Louis Jordan and Pee Wee Crayton. Concerning the recordings, Sean is a perfectionist. This is real blues. You notice this when you listen to “When it rains it Pours”. You can imagine yourself in a club where Pee Wee Crayton is on stage because it sounds true. You can persuade yourself of this with the attached video of this track. In “Tramp”, it’s the real Stax sound that we can hear. But it’s not a copy because Sean makes a real blues song out of it. But the soul feeling is true. When Teeny participates in “I live alone”, we go for boogie and she shows us that she is a real daddy’s girl because she was born a first quality blues singer, full of passions. This (long) CD presents 13 studio recordings but also three live tracks at the end and gives us a nice idea of the talent of this band. Without a doubt, we’ll hear more about them in the future. And if you are lucky, you’ll be able to see them work in October because of the European tour organised by GL from Belgium. You must jump on the opportunity to see that band because if the name is not yet well known, they are great artists.
- Rootstime (Belgium)

"Rockin' Ralph reviews Life of Ease"

When it comes down to what "is" and what "isn't," Sean Carney's CD
"Life of Ease," "is." It's the Best Rhythm & Blues CD release of 2006.

It's like reaching through a porthole in time of original R&B. Grabbing hold of the real-deal music and bringing the "authentic stuff" back through time and space into the new century. This is it.

It happened. The result is "Life of Ease."

It's the most original sounding rhythm and blues release from a younger artist I've heard in many, many years. The talent and love of the real thing shines through in the body & soul of Sean Carney. Exceptional Vocals, Guitar, and tremendous Bandleader too.

Guest artists include Willie Pooch, Joe Weaver, Teeny Tucker, Gene Walker, Phil Berkowitz.

A sincere congratulations and boy howdy! What a CD!
16 tracks of phenomenal defining R&B.

Everyone-------needs to get this CD!

In my opinion-----------Best R&B CD of 2006!
- Rockin' Ralph KHDC 90.9 FM Salinas, CA

"In the presence of greatness!"

Weekend Review
-- Ric Kalef, The Red Onion, Calgary

Ever had the feeling that you've been in the presence of greatness? That was
the way I felt after watching and listening to the SEAN CARNEY BAND perform last weekend. Those who joined us were witness to one of the finest blues players to hit the Onion, who combined great style and musical talent with a real ability to entertain. I was left thinking that "this guy is going to be
very successful". The good news is that we expecting to see them in the new
year. Consider yourself notified.
- Weekend Review - The Red Onion, Calgary

"Blues Matters! (UK) reviews Life of Ease"

A native of Columbus, Ohio, Sean Carney recently won The Albert King Best Guitarist Award and Best Dressed category at this year’s International Blues Challenge. “Life Of Ease” shows him on sparkling form on both fronts. His guitar playing smokes and he looks pretty dapper on the front cover too. This CD is more than just a standard Blues release; it is more like a late night jam session with Carney himself sharing the spotlight with his stellar band and several guest stars, including Joe Weaver, Willie Pooch and Teeny Tucker. The CD has a relaxed live vibe to it. In fact, the three live bonus tracks at the end merge seamlessly into the studio recordings. The emphasis is on jazz-tinge, swinging Blues, which would be played in the wee small hours in some dark and smoke filled club. As a singer and guitarist, Carney is superb. His playing is as solid and stirring as it comes, and the very epitome of good taste. Nothing is overplayed or overblown. The music is all about ensemble playing, with some great Hammond organ from John Popovich, superb drumming by Eric Blume, and Steve Perakis on upright bass. When the guest stars take the mic, like Willie Pooch on “Tramp!” the band slips into an effortless groove. This is a damn funky and jazzy affair, best served chilled. As the “Fast Show” character would say, nice!

Jamie Hailstone
- Blues Matters Issue 39 - UK

"BluesRag reviews Life of Ease"

Thirty-four year old singer/songwriter/guitarist Sean Carney is based in Columbus, Ohio. In February 2007 his band (drummer Eric Blume, upright bassist Steve Perakis, keyboardist John Popovich and saxist Chuck Moore) won The Blues Foundation’s International Blues Competition and, armed with his arch top hollow body, Carney won The Albert King Award for best guitarist. On this self-produced, self-released album debut, this brilliant young blues renaissance man (he is also a concert promoter, columnist, and past President of The Columbus Blues Alliance) will be recognized as one of the brightest young stars of the current scene. His taste, intelligence, versatility and panache often draw comparison to Duke Robillard and rightfully so. There are nine Carney originals (including a studio and live version of “Bad Side Baby,” a tale of woe about a recalcitrant vixen) and six covers. There are guest vocalists on five cuts (Willie Pooch, the immortal “Tramp!” and a live “Take Off Your Shoes,” previously recorded by B.B. King, Bobby Bland and Junior Wells; the late Joe Weaver, the brooding “Outskirts of Town” from Louis Jordan via B.B. King, and an autobiographical blues with “Farmboy”; and Teeny Tucker’s rollicking lament about the vicissitudes of modern romance from a woman’s point of view, “I Live Alone”). Carney’s compositions feature a variety of beats with shifting tempos and tight jazzy arrangements. His clear, ringing solos are complimented by bright, full-bodied chords in the style of T-Bone Walker and Pee Wee Crayton; he defintinely values style over substance as further demonstrated by his covers of Walker’s “I Know Your Wig is Gone” and Crayton’s “When It Rains It Pours.” He also covers Nappy Brown’s “That Man,” which is slightly reminiscent of The Coasters. It’s hard to cherry pick favorite originals as they are all good. With some serious air play on the radio and internet, some press coverage, and some hard touring behind this fine album, The Sean Carney Band will make their mark from coast to coast.

Thomas J. Cullen III - BluesRag - The Baltimore Blues Society

""Putting Passion to the Pavement""

Having grown up around the pits and paddocks of Mid-Ohio, Nelson Ledges, Sebring and Road Atlanta I had heard the term “putting passion to the pavement” when describing people with a passion for racing. The Paul Newman’s, Bobby Rahal’s and Mark Donahue’s of the world. In Sean Carney’s case it turns out to be a matter of style. What ever he does it’s with an honest, sincere passion. From being a highly talented, internationally recognized lead guitarist and bandleader to an internationally published journalist Sean’s passion completely shows through, he has no choice. This interview will hopefully give you a view into Sean’s life, past, present and future, read on racing fans!

Peter: Was there a watershed moment that made you want to take a break from playing music?

Sean: No, there wasn’t a particular point in time that I decided to leave Columbus or curtail my musical activities. I did visit Ft. Myers Beach to perform at the Fatback Blues Festival with Teeny Tucker. I returned for several subsequent engagements, then decided to spend some time in Florida. In addition to becoming an accredited journalist, I did keep my foot in the musical pool by organizing blues events while performing with some of my favorite people, Joe Weaver, Bo Diddley Jr. and Wendy DeWitt. In addition, I’ve been performing with pianist Doug “Sarg” Rynack, who was a member of Anson Funderburgh & the Rockets, playing on many of the recordings that people consider to be their finest.

In February, the Island Arts Foundation celebrated Black History Month with the third annual Fatback Blues Festival, plus an educational presentation at Beach Elementary School with Columbus Blues stalwarts Willie Pooch, King Sax Gene Walker and drummer extraordinaire Eric Blume. During my time in Florida I also got the opportunity to play in Costa Rica and Ecuador.

Peter: So you haven’t fallen off the face of the earth?

Sean: No, but I’ve been to some corners of it.

Peter: What’s involved with your decision to come back to Columbus?

Sean: Columbus is very important to me, it’s my hometown. The family tradition of music is deeply rooted here. Furthermore, finding sidemen and associates with the talent and dedication as the ones I have here is a formidable task. As you know Peter, the Blues Alliance is very important to me and I look forward to seeing what the new officers will bring to the table.

Peter: As a Bandleader, Lead Guitarist, Blues Archivist, Re-discoverer of past talent, nurturer of new talent, now journalist. How are you going to get people to buy the “Life of Ease” title for your new CD?

Sean: I think you’ve got me there.

Peter: Remember Sean, I know you’ve been living within fifty yards of the beach, tread lightly.

Sean: Your right Peter, “Life of Ease” is the title of the new CD from the Sean Carney Band, and it will soon be available. Remember, you have to take ease where you find it.

Peter: Can you break the seal and give us a view in print?

Sean: I’m elated about this CD, because it’s centered around a collection of original tunes that I feel feature my own vocals, along with stellar sidemen such as Eric Blume, John Popovich, Steve Perakis and guests Teeny Tucker, Willie Pooch, Gene Walker, Phil Berkowitz, Joe Weaver, Chuck Moore, in addition to some surprises I’m not going to give up.

Peter: Let’s talk about your past a moment and discuss one of our mutual affections Christine Kittrell, how did you get together?

Sean: Christine was discovered to be living in Columbus by Curt Edwards and Dan Axt who quickly brought her to the attention of the Blues Alliance, in fact it was during a CBA meeting upstairs at Planks that I became acquainted with Christine. I was playing in The King Bees, with my uncles Dave and Dan West. We asked Christine to join us at Stache’s for CBA benefit in 1992-her first return to the stage in twenty years without performing. From that point she became my mentor and we enjoyed a ten-year friendship that lasted until her death in 2002.

Peter: So give me a tale involving Christine.

Sean: My favorite story was one told by she and her mother, Roberta Pennington, in Nashville dating back to the days before world war two Roberta was a seamstress for Black Politicians, business men and musicians. One of her clients was Little Richard. In his early days he performed often in Nashville and would stay at Christine’s house. One particular evening, Roberta told me that Christine had taken a chair and put it in front of the door of the room where Richard was staying with a friend, so that she could see in the room through the transom window over the door. Roberta told Christine to get down repeatedly, but she continued to look on with eyes as big as golf balls. After a few minutes, Christine exclaimed “Oh my God!” Christine’s mother was no longer telling her to get down but asking ”What’s Heeee doooin’ noooow?”

Peter: Let’s mention the recent CD compilations and recognition Christine has been receiving.
Sean : The Country Music Hall of Fame in 2004 recognized early Nashville Rhythm and Blues with a new exhibit workshops, concerts and the release of a CD entitled “Last Train to Nashville”. Christine was one of the most pivotal artists of that era and two entire discs in Bear family’s eight CD compilation on Nashville R & B are dedicated to her work plus an interview with her. Christine was featured on the cover of the British Blues Magazine Blues & Rhythm, shortly before she passed away.

The German label Taxim Records Released a new version of “Sittin’ Here Drinkin’” that she recorded with my band on a CD called “A Fifth of Good Whiskey Blues”.

Peter: Prior to your recent journalism acclaim, which will get to later, you enjoyed quite a bit of success with your last production involving Teeny Tucker and Kaz Kazanoff. Tell us about that and the ensuing results.

Sean: “First Class Woman” was recorded in Austin, Texas at Fort Horton. Where both Junior Watson and Nick Curran have both recorded. In fact, Nick who is now a member of the Fabulous Thunderbirds recorded two songs with us. Kaz Kazanoff not only produced the CD, but played saxophone. He also developed the arrangements for the original compositions that we brought to the production. One of our songs “First class Woman” received honorable mention in the international song writers competion in 2005. Personally, working with Kaz Kazanoff was a great milestone as well as a tremendously valuable experience. Following the release of that CD, Teeny and I performed at the Ratskeller in Berlin, Germany along with a number of important festival and night club appearances. Including Buddy Guy’s Legends, Biscuits & Blues, the main
Stages of the Fleet Blues Festival and the Monterey Bay Blues Festival. Teeny and I plan to get to work on more original material and a new recording in the near future. For now “I Live Alone” from my new CD will give folks an idea of what Teeny and I have been up to.

Peter: In the last year you’ve changed your scenery a bit, both personally and professionally. You becoming a political reporter in Ft. Myers Beach, Fl., I didn’t see that one coming. How has the last year been?
Sean: I didn’t see that one coming either. But, it was an intriguing opportunity. I’ve always wanted to try my hand at being a writer. The Island Sandpaper gave me that opportunity. An environmental piece that I wrote in the Galapagos Islands was recently published by the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors. I also had the privilege of interviewing U.S. Senator Bill Nelson.

Peter: Where are you going to be playing?

Sean: I’ll be at the Skylark Lounge in Denver March 10, The D note in Arvada, Co. on March 11 and Kokopelli’s on Saturday night March 11.
The Sean Carney Band will return to Columbus on my favorite holiday of the year St. Patrick’s Day at Barley’s at 10:30pm. - Peter Simon, Columbus Blues Alliance Bluespaper

"Bruce Iglauer on Sean Carney"

“Sean reminds me of a pre- funk Johnny Guitar Watson. While he’s a more traditional player, there’s also a great ‘go-for-it attitude.’

Sean has a ton of energy, and he’s an extremely tasteful guitar player. He’s willing to take risks to the point of making mistakes, but he doesn’t - a go-for-the-gut player.”

- President, Alligator Records


"Provisions" Sean Carney & The Nite Owlz
"First Class Woman" Teeny Tucker, with Kaz Kazanoff & Nick Curran
"Tommy's Girl" Teeny Tucker
"A Fifth of Good Whiskey Blues" V/A Christine Kittrell w/Sean Carney
"King Saxe Plays The Blues" Gene Walker
"Twist of Fate" Ray Fuller
"Don't Borax The Borax Man" Dick Deluxe
"The Best of Columbus Blues Vol. 1" V/A
"The Best of Columbus Blues Vol. 2" V/A
"Blue Bop" LDB-3
"Life of Ease" The Sean Carney Band
"Provisions - A Second Helping" Sean Carney & The Nite Owlz
"Sean Carney's Blues For A Cure" Various Artists
"Sean Carney's Blues For A Cure Christmas" Various Artists
"All Night Party" Phil Berkowitz
"Live Blues on Whyte" The Sean Carney Band



Hailed in Europe as "The New Kings of Swinging Blues," The Sean Carney Band captured First Place at The 2007 International Blues Challenge along with The Albert King Award for best guitarist and the band CD, "Life of Ease" was a top ten finalist in The IBC's Best Self Produced CD category. The band's association with legends such as Christine Kittrell, Jimmy Witherspoon, Hubert Sumlin, Henry Gray, Big Joe Duskin, Hal "Cornbread" Singer, Joe Weaver and Jimmy "T-99" Nelson is well known in the United States and Europe.

Touring behind the band's new release, "Live Blues On Whytw," Carney and his group recently completed a very successful tour Europe, that included dates in France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Italy, Hungary, Slovakia and Germany following a US tour that included The Portland Waterfront Blues Festival, The Telluride Blues & Brews Festival, The Arkansas Blues & Heritage Festival, Morgan Freeman's Ground Zero in the heart of The Mississippi Delta and Blind Willie's in Atlanta. Last winter, the band appeared live on XM Radio's Bluesville with Bill Wax and set sail with Taj Mahal on The Ultimate Rhythm & Blues Cruise.

The Sean Carney Band's "Life of Ease," CD was critically acclaimed by the likes of Blues Revue, DownBeat, Soul Bag and Blues Wax. Sean Carney has arrived as one of the most talented and serious young blues artists you will find touring the US, Canada and Europe. Advance festival bookings in all three countries are a testament to The Sean Carney Band's ability to entertain and enthrall.

Carney has performed at The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Buddy Guy's Legends and The House of Blues in Chicago, The Monterey Bay Blues Festival and Yoshi's Jazz in California, The Ratskeller Jazz Festival in Berlin, Germany, The Paris Jazz Festival in France, The Spring Blues Festival in Belgium, The Kwadendamme Blues Festival in The Netherlands and Edmonton's Labatt Blues Festival in Canada.

Carney band members look forward to a March concert at The Carolina Theater (NC) with legendary guitarist Johnny Winter. In the spring, The Sean Carney Band will tour Europe with concert appearances in Spain, France, Hungary, Belgium, Germany and Austria and return to the US to perform at festivals in Florida, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.