Leaving their home base in California's Bay Area for a national tour in support of their debut disc, A Winning Hand, blues performers the Lucky Losers are set to play a show at Tulsa's Jazz Depot Thursday evening.
Anchored by harmonica player and vocalist Phil Berkowitz and singer Cathy Lemons - whom Real Blues magazine called "the finest light-skinned female blues vocalist in the U.S." - the touring group also includes drummer David Watson, an original member of Anson Funderburgh's Rockets; bassist Aaron Underwood; and multi-instrumentalist Paul Niehaus.
Lemons and Berkowitz are both veterans of the Bay Area music scene. Originally from Dallas, Lemons has performed with the likes of Funderburgh and Stevie Ray Vaughn and toured with blues legend John Lee Hooker in 1987, while Berkowitz has played and recorded with such acts as Duke Robillard, RJ Mischo, and Gary Primich. Both have also pursued successful solo careers, releasing several CDs each under their own names.
The paths of the two crossed in 2012 at a San Francisco club where Lemons was performing. According to the band's website, "Phil, taken with Cathy's talent and stage persona, asked her to be a paid guest on one of his shows." After accepting that gig, she, in turn, "saw tremendous potential in him as a performer" and was impressed with how he was "adding flavors of country, soul, and rhythm & blues to his sound."
In 2013, finding themselves compatible both musically and romantically, the two joined forces to create the Lucky Losers.
In creating A Winning Hand, the two put, as the site notes, "a personalized spin on traditional forms of music. They are drawing from the American songbook - lyrical ideas and snatches of music from Bob Dylan, to Johnny Cash, to Allen Toussaint, even Fillmore Slim! It's an eclectic sound firmly rooted in blues, but vocals are the centerpiece!"
The Lucky Losers are set to begin at 7:00 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22, at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, located in downtown Tulsa's Jazz Depot, 111 E. First Street. Admission is $10 at the door.
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