Born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, Buddy Shute now calls the Ozark Mountains in Northwest Arkansas home. "Honest", "natural" & "real blues" are words often used to describe Buddys' music. "Oh yeah, that's the way I like it," said "Sunshine Sonny" Payne of King Biscuit Time upon hearing him play. This music is a pleasure to experience, whether it's Buddy's acoustic listening tunes or the down-home blues he plays with his band The Motivators, featuring Mark McGee (harmonica), Brenda Baskin (vocals), Steve Baskin (bass) and Randy Reese (drums).
Memphis, the right place at the right time. "My family owned an apartment and a car lot one block from Sun Studios; I remember the "music people" stopping in to check out our cars. My best friends' uncle was WHBQ's "Radio Rebel," deejay Dewey Phillips, who, upon a request from Sun Records founder Sam Phillips, debuted a kid named Elvis Presley, singing "That's All Right Mamma".
Buddy began playing the bar scene when he was sixteen, playing all the classic Memphis tunes he learned from his older band-mates. He drifted down to New Orleans "where the young players respect the older players and everybody plays with everybody," Buddy says. "I was playing a hole in the wall on Bourbon St. for tips, and Ike & Tina Turner's band came in and asked if they could sit in."
A little more Buddy lore:
He was a founding member of THE BACK DOOR BLUES REVUE which included Leigh "L'il Queenie" Harris, bluesman John Mooney, Brooklyn Robert, and the Subdudes' John Magnie;
> played with the seminal band ABRAHAM. which included renowned pianist George Winston;
> had a steady gig with a Cajun band on a paddle-wheeler on the Mississippi River;
> opened for Henry "Professor Longhair" Byrd at his Birthday Bash at the original Tipitinas in New Orleans.
> played piano at a genuine Burlesque House on Bourbon Street (the last one known to exist);
> played with old-time fiddle band, ROARING JELLY;
> recorded two CD's with the band ROUNDHOUSE, who represented the state of Maine at the International Blues Challenge competition in Memphis;
> played regularly with Clarence "Frogman" Henry and his band;
> played a 6-hour gig with Walter "Wolfman" Washington on Bourbon Street;
> has opened for: John Hammond, Magic Slim & the Teardrops, Shaun Murphy, Otis Taylor, E.G. Knight & the Chicago Blues Revue, and Kelly Hunt;
Buddy has recorded two solo CD's: OUTSTANDING IN HIS FIELD and OZARK MOON. For the past decade, he's been performing in the Northwest Arkansas area. He's represented the Ozark Blues Society three times at the I.B.C. in the solo/duo category. Be sure to check out his new CD with his band, the Motivators, A WHOLE LOT LIKE THE BLUES, which was chosen to represent the Ozark Blues Society of NWA at the 2018 International Blues Challenge in the "Self-Produced CD" category.
ABOUT THE MOTIVATORS
Mark McGee (harmonica): Originally from the West Coast, Mark's family moved to Arkansas when he was eleven. He describes his musical style as “country boy meets the blues.” Influenced by Charlie McCoy and John Hammond, he's a fan of blues, Cajun and gospel traditions. Mark bought his first harmonica in 1970 for a whopping $7.50, and has been playing ever since. His preferred harp is the Hohner Golden Melody. A fan of bayou music, he's also been known to play a mean rub board.
Brenda Baskin (vocals, percussion) also hails from Memphis, and is the band's newest member. Her many influences include Etta James, Al Green, and Mavis Staples. In addition to singing the blues, she sings, plays guitar and hits the washboard in an Americana/ folk duo with her husband, Steve. A longtime resident of northwest Arkansas, she reports that so far, her second childhood is a lot more fun than her first.
Steve Baskin (bass) has been a staple of the Northwest Arkansas music scene for many years. He was possibly the first music major with a concentration in upright/electric bass at the University of Arkansas. He's played in many bands over the years, in a variety of genres, as well as directing band at the middle and high school levels. With that background, he helps keep the band in line and grooving. A blues afficianado, Steve's also a fan of jazz, classical and rock. He also plays guitar in an Americana/ folk duo with his wife, Brenda.
When Randy Reese was a twelve-year-old Ohio farmboy, his father promised him a drum kit if he took care of the family cattle for one season. No cows have ever been treated so well. He got his drum kit, and at age fifteen, he and his family relocated to Arkansas. His musical influences include Steve Gadd, Omar Hakim, Buddy Guy, Keb Mo and Taj Mahal. He's played in many cities, in many bands over the decades, and counts Buddy Shute and the Motivators among his favorites.
Listenable, danceable, likable—Buddy Shute and the Motivators bring joy to the blues.
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