DOUG DEMING & THE JEWEL TONES: Double Downâ€œWe have no gimmicks,â€ says leader Doug Deming. â€œWe play pure traditional music from the heart, with an image that conveys a deep respect for the genre.â€
As a result, Doug Deming and the Jewel Tones have been in demand as a backing band for a Ã¢â‚¬Ëœwhoâ€™s- whoâ€™ of todayâ€™s top blues performers, including Chicagoâ€™s A.C. Reed, Louisiana Red, Chicago Pete, Cannonball vocalist Alberta Adams, Black Topâ€™s Johnnie Dyer, W.C. Handy Award winner Johnny Ã¢â‚¬ËœYard Dogâ€™ Jones and the legendary Lazy Lester. â€œThese are my babiesâ€ says Alberta. â€œThese guys are my pride and joyâ€ says Lester. Detroit guitarist and Handy multi-award nominee Johnnie Bassett describes the band as â€œGreat talent...that people outside the area will come to know.â€
Just who are these unlikely young guys from the Motor City? Doug Deming has been the driving force behind the Jewel Tones (formerly known as the Blue Suit Band) since itâ€™s beginning in 1991. As a guitarist and vocalist, he acknowledges a musical debt to T-Bone Walker, Charlie Christian and other Texas bluesmen as well as moderns like Jimmie Vaughan and Ronnie Earl. Says Detroit blues writer George Seedorff: â€œDoug is equally at home playing straight ahead on the solid body guitar or swinging on the big jazz box.â€
Greg â€œFingersâ€ Taylor, a Mississippi native now living in the Detroit area, is considered by many to be one of the premiere harmonica players in the world today, in any genre of music. Fingersâ€™ tasteful, eclectic showmanship and electrifying, energetic performances have become legendary over the last 30 years in concert halls, on the club circuit, and on the numerous recordings he has graced. After more than 25 years as a member of Jimmy Buffettâ€™s Coral Reefer band, Fingers is eager to pursue his life-long passion, playing the blues; and following in the footsteps of his earliest influences, Jimmy Reed, Muddy Waters, Walter Horton and Little Walter Jacob.
Bassist Bob Connerâ€™s diverse experience includes backing such touring artists as Hubert Sumlin, Earl King, Johnny Adams, Eddie Bo and Big Jay McNeely. Bob has also recorded and toured with Detroiters Johnnie Bassett, Joe Weaver and Bill Heid. Bobâ€™s swinging lines on the upright and solid bottom on the Fender bass add depth and authenticity to the groupâ€™s sound.
Drummer Charlie Koltak honed his skills in the jazz program at Detroitâ€™s Wayne State University. This Houston native derives his style from jazz drummers Jim Keltner, Shawn Pelton, and Tony Williams.
The groupâ€™s recordings achieve originality while staying deep in the genre. Released in 2002 on the Chase Music Groupâ€™s Mighty Tiger Label, Ã¢â‚¬ËœDouble Downâ€™ was recorded at Pacifica Studios in Los Angeles and produced by Rick Holmstrom and Steve Mugalian. The record displays playing and song writing maturity beyond the groupâ€™s years. Featured guests include Holmstrom and Mugalian, as well as the harmonica playing of Fingers Taylor. Taylorâ€™s latest recording entitled Ã¢â‚¬ËœHi-Fi Babyâ€™, released in 2003 on the Warehouse Creek label and produced by Kim Wilson, digs deep to find some very obscure covers to put his stamp on. Featured guests include Deming on guitar and producer Kim Wilson on harmonica.
After years of playing together on and off, the group and Fingers are optimistic about their new alliance. â€œWeâ€™re ready to hit the road and make an impact on todayâ€™s blues scene.â€
"Deming writes memorable songs....consistantly outstanding
-Karen McFarland, Big City Blues Magazine Feb/Mar 2003
"It's easy to understand why Doug Deming has worked with Johnny Dyer, Lazy Lester, Johnny 'Yard Dog' Jones..." Craig Ruskey
(Mighty Tiger Records (2002) MTD 6007)
by Craig Ruskey
Review date: November 2002
"Keeping the Blues Alive Award"
Achievement for Blues on the Internet
Presented by The Blues Foundation
If the efforts of Doug Deming don't garner him widespread attention and glowing reviews, there's something seriously amiss in the music industry, much more than anyone thinks. Hailing from Detroit's Motor City area with a guitar in his hands, the 52 minutes of swinging jump blues, gritty shuffles, and driving boogies parlay plenty of evidence to his talent. Perhaps one of the most impressive features of this CD is that each of the dozen tracks are originals, which in itself is a rarity considering the number of bands determined to mine the same territory, most showing the same results that come from beating a dead horse. From the opening deft licks that propel Goodbye Baby, Deming employs all the necessary ingredients to deliver a solid and rewarding blues album; taste, tone, restraint, timing, and phrasing with his guitar plus worthy vocals, all of which should mark him as an up-and-comer. The storming Chicago thrust of Bad For You and the lowdown Chess-era approach of Let Me Be both find Greg "Fingers" Taylor working some rasping harp licks to great effect, but the regular slot held by Brian Miller isn't in danger as he offers his own nasty-toned solos, a potent chromatic grip in Make It Last and the throbbing jungle roll of HDF. Deming and Miller plow through a fiery double shuffle in Mr. Blues as Dale Jennings and Don Gruendler hold rhythm chores steady while adding plenty of dynamics when things build to fever pitch, while on the brooding T-Bone Walker-ish It's A Crime, the groove slows to a crawl allowing Deming plenty of room to toss a multitude of Texan guitar licks about with no grandstanding, and once the fuse is lit, he rises to the occasion with brilliant bends and double stops searing with thick tone. You Don't Even Care combines spellbinding guitar and harp chops behind a breakneck pace and Rick Holmstrom stops in playing tandem guitar lines for the closing title track, also featuring Steve Mugalian's percussive help. Denny Freeman, an elder statesman from Texas, handles piano duties for close to half of the tracks and he blends so well it's more like he's a regular as opposed to a special guest and Chris Codish's organ adds distinctly to a handful.
Doug Deming seems to be more of a throwback to a bygone era than a purveyor of modern blues in the 21st century and the recording reeks of 1950's Chicago Blues regardless of the liner notes saying it was tracked in California. While he's not yet a smoldering vocalist, he knows his limits and range and manages to stick comfortably within the confines of those areas, another sign of maturity. It's easy to understand why Doug Deming has worked with Johnny Dyer, Lazy Lester, Johnny 'Yard Dog' Jones and others, he's got the goods to go the distance. You can head to www.dougdeming.com for more information.
"Doug Deming & The Jewel Tones is one of the shining lights of the Detroit blues scene." - Mark E. Gallo, Blues Bytes, December 2002
Doug Deming & The Jewel Tones
FROM------- Blues Bytes, December 2002
Review by: Mark E. Gallo
Doug Deming & The Jewel Tones is one of the shining lights of the Detroit blues scene. In spite of years on stages throughout the Midwest with his own band (formerly the Blue Suit Band) and roadwork with the likes of Alberta Adams and Lazy Lester, Double Down (Mighty Tiger) marks the guitaristâ€™s breakthrough release. With cohorts Brian Miller (harp), Dale Jennings (bass) Don Greundler, Jr. (drums), and a handful of special guests, Deming breezes through a dozen superbly crafted originals like a man prepared to make his mark on a bigger map. Indeed, this stands its ground against anything released this year. The Rick Holmstrom and Steve Mugalian-produced effort was recorded in Culver City, California rather than on the home turf. While there is certainly more than a taste of left coast swing in Demingâ€™s tone and execution, as Fred Reif points out in his concise liner notes, Deming is perhaps more influenced by Texan T-Bone Walker. From the opening lines of â€œGoodbye Baby,â€ Deming and company make it glaringly apparent that they are first-class players. Everyone shines here, and Deming and Miller interact particularly well on this uptempo number. They bring it back home for the following â€œBlackjack.â€ This is slightly more upbeat than Kenny Martinâ€™s version on the Motor City Rhythm & Blues Pioneers set from earlier this year. Here the shades are more brilliant, if less warm. Guest Greg "Fingers" Taylor (ex of Jimmy Buffetâ€™s Coral Reefers) proves himself a stellar blues man, as his harp lines inject â€œBad For Youâ€ with a cross between Butterfield and Little Walter attitude. He returns for â€œLet Me Be,â€ on which in combination with Demingâ€™s guitar and Denny Freemanâ€™s piano he helps evince the classic Muddy Waters-Little Walter-Otis Spann lineup of nearly half a century ago without sounding intentional. The hipster grooves of â€œMake It Last,â€ co-written with Jennings, and the scorching â€œYou Donâ€™t Even Care,â€ a tune on which Deming sounds like heâ€™s chasing Little Charlie Baty, again point to both the quality of the writing and playing captured here. If Greundler doesnâ€™t call to mind Gene Krupa on the rollicking â€œHDFâ€ (credited to the band) you need to get yourself back to classics school. The â€œSing, Sing, Singâ€-style intro is a feature for Brian Miller, who plays Benny Goodman to Greundlerâ€™s Krupa. Deming may not be the Charlie Christian in the stew, but thatâ€™s only because he laid low for the rest of the band. On â€œOn the Midnight Shift,â€ courtesy of Chris Codishâ€™s organ, the band revisits the groove of Super Sessions, while â€œMr. Bluesâ€ lets Deming cut loose on the backside of Millerâ€™s stellar harp work. â€œItâ€™s A Crimeâ€ has a decidedly Elmore James groove to it, and â€œItâ€™s All About the Digitsâ€ has a jazzy feel out of the Ronnie Earl book. By the closing instrumental title track, with its almost rockabilly feel, this listener was exhausted. Doug Deming may not be a household name yet, but this is the calling card of a man on his way. Double Down is one of the yearâ€™s best.
Check out the artist's website:
1. GoodBye Baby
3. Bad For You
4. Make it Last
5. You Don't Even Care
6. Let Me Be
8. On the Midnight Shift
9. Mr. Blues
10. It's a Crime
11. All About the Digits
12. Double Down