On April 23, 2017, Chris Ruest and Gene Taylor paid a visit to Indianapolis as a part of their Midwest tour. Their concert at the Circle City Industrial Complex was incredible and showcased the talents of both of these amazing artists. Derek Bonn from St. Louis was on drums and he kept it in the pocket all afternoon.
It is always a joy to experience music by musicians of this stature and dedication. They indeed are artists in the truest sense of the word. They dedicate their lives to their music and to sharing it with audiences all over the world.
Chris became known to Satch and me thanks to Ed Kobek, a major talent behind the drum kit. I’ve loved Chris’ guitar work and signing since Ed brought him to play in Carmel, Indiana many moons ago. I’ve been a Gene Taylor fan thanks to his playing in many bands that I love, including The Blasters. Chris, Gene and Derek are the real deal, period.
Below is a playlist of short videos from the show and a gallery of excellent photographs by Cheryl Gregory. It was an afternoon to remember!
Photographs by Cheryl Gregory (click on the first photograph to open a gallery)
Bios for Chris Ruest and Gene Taylor:
If you haven’t been paying attention to his career, this is the short version of what you need to know: Chris Ruest is the real thing. The New Englander has been a resident of Texas for well over a decade.
Chris Ruest belongs to the impressive class of serious Texas blues guitarists, a group that includes Johnny Moeller, Shawn Pittman, and Nick Curran. While the others may have wider name recognition, Ruest has quietly built a reputation of excellence that is spreading beyond his Austin home base. A veteran with nearly two decades’ experience on the bandstand, Ruest’s passion for classic blues and roots rock forms comes through in an original voice that combines immediacy and authenticity. Dead-on songwriting and savvy selection of covers provide a platform for his unaffected, honest vocals and tough guitar.
Ruest’s band has opened for Bobby “Blue” Bland, Johnny Winter, Anson Funderburgh and the Rockets, and Little Charlie and the Nightcats. 2005 brought Ruest’s recording debut as a solo artist, Too Many Problems, a spirited collection that captured crisp performances in glorious, true-to-vintage sound. He now has three solo albums to his credit and one as a member of the Texas Cannonballs.
Gene Taylor is an extraordinary blues piano player and singer, born in Los Angeles, California, in 1952. At the age of eight, he came under the influence of a family of blues and boogie-woogie players who moved in next door to his house.
Having lost both his parents and brother by the age of 15, Gene was firmly committed to the life of a musician. After obtaining his driver’s license at age 16, and looking much older, thanks to an already receding hairline, he started finding local work with such L.A.-based blues legends as Big Joe Turner, T-Bone Walker, Lowell Fulson, and Pee-Wee Crayton. The word got out that he wanted to work! Since he was young and would work cheap, he was hired by these famous blues artists and played as a ‘fill-in’ on local gigs for the older piano players who weren’t available or wanted too much money!” During this period, he met both James Harman and Phil and Dave Alvin—who later formed The Blasters.
After working for James Harman during most of 1974, Gene was asked to join Canned Heat. He was a member of this legendary band from November, 1974 until June, 1976 giving him his first international exposure.
After leaving Canned Heat, Gene worked as a solo performer around Long Beach, California. He had a 2-year ‘house-gig’ at a notorious Long Beach bar called the Falcon’s Nest, owned by a now deceased gangster. At this lively spot, Gene’s audience occasionally included various Los Angeles-area celebrities, most notably, actor Robert Blake and poet Charles Bukowski.
In 1981, while working with his good friend James Harman, Gene was asked to join the Blasters, a band comprised of four friends from his teenage years, Phil and Dave Alvin, John Bazz, and Bill Bateman. He played with The Blasters for 4 1/2 years, recording four critically-acclaimed albums for Warner Brothers records and appearing on every important music television show of the period. Gene also released his first solo record, ‘Handmade’, in 1986. If this wasn’t enough, he also toured with the late Rick Nelson, between Blasters engagements.
In 1993, Gene relocated to Austin, Texas, and joined The Fabulous Thunderbirds, remaining with this internationally acclaimed band until September of 2006. During his almost-14 years with the T-Birds, he toured the world constantly and recorded two studio albums and one live album with the band.
This bio is just a sample of Gene Taylor’s history. Gene continues to tour and record, most recently touring the United States and the world with renowned Austin guitarist, Chris Ruest.