News

Come see us on our two-week Florida Tour!

The Chris O'Leary Band Florida 2017 Tour ScheduleWe’re tak­ing the show on the road, going on a two-week tour of Florida start­ing Jan­u­ary 14 and going through Jan­u­ary 28. We’ll be play­ing in some of Florida’s best blues clubs from New Smyrna Beach to Key Largo on the Atlantic coast and Engle­wood to Marco Island on the Gulf coast. On the way down to Florida, we’ll be stop­ping in clubs in Wash­ing­ton DC, Bal­ti­more, and Rich­mond. We’ll be play­ing all your favorites from our first four CDs plus some new tunes on our upcom­ing fifth CD.

Please check the cal­en­dar and come on out and see us if we’re in a town near you. It’s gonna be a whole mess of fun!


Join us at The Towne Crier for New Year’s Eve!!!

We are delighted to be return­ing to one of our favorite music venues in the Hud­son Val­ley this New Year’s Eve, The Towne Crier Cafe in Bea­con. We’ll be joined by Sari Schorr and her band deliv­er­ing their high energy blues-rock sound. The chefs in the kitchen are plan­ning a mem­o­rable New Year’s Eve feast buf­fet, includ­ing a vari­ety of appe­tiz­ers and entrees, capped off by dessert — sump­tu­ous choco­late truf­fles, petit fours and fresh fruit. Also included for din­ner guests: a com­pli­men­tary bot­tle of cham­pagne per cou­ple. Get your tick­ets now!

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Join Us at Daryl’s House Club on July 15th!

ChrisO'LearyPosterWe’re excited to be play­ing this new venue for the first time, and we’ll be singing tunes from our upcom­ing CD and other new songs, plus plenty of your old favorites. This will be our only Hud­son Val­ley appear­ance in July, as we’ll just be back from our Euro­pean Tour and get­ting ready to head out on our west­ern US tour at the end of the month. Come on out and join us! This is a small venue and may sell out, so get your tick­ets now!


Gonna Die Tryin’: “Clearly one of the best releases of 2015″

Gonna Die Tryin'

Another stel­lar review of our new CD, Gonna Die Tryin’, appears in the lat­est issue of Big City Blues Mag­a­zine. Here’s the com­plete review:

2015 was a year that saw a num­ber of impres­sive harmonica-led record­ings. For this writer’s money, Chris O’Leary stood at the head of the class. With a fat tome that some­times reminds of William Clarke, O’Leary is an excep­tion­ally impres­sive song­writer and vocal­ist, as well. He’s as steeped in real life as he is in poetic paint­ing. On the opener, Can’t Help Your­self (“If you want to do it/ ahead and just say screw it.”) Chris Vitarello’s gui­tar is fluid and sting­ing. O’Leary blows crys­tal clear harp. 19cents a day is a glimpse into the real­ity of war (“A pat on the back/HR will show you the door/when they fin­ish screwin’ dad they’ll send junior off to war/3 years in the guard he’s on tour num­ber 2 when it’s some­one else’s son it’s an easy thing to do/See we appre­ci­ate your ser­vice sir, but sir you’ve got to go … I’m sure they can help you down at the VA/where they fly Old Glory proudly/for 19 cents a day”). Bruce Katz burns up the B3 on this. Hook Line and Sinker has a horn vamp (Andy Stahl, tenor sax and Chris DiFrancesco, bari­tone sax) that reminds of the Otis Redding/Carla Thomas tune Tramp. The gui­tar work is straight out of Mus­cle Shoals. O’Leary’s vocals are as strong as most any­one out there. Part Kim Wil­son, part Tad Robin­son. The title cut (“There’s gonna be some killin’ … /it’s a razor thin line between right­eous­ness and dyin’/ make your mind up quick or you’re gonna die tryin’/things ain’t men­tioned in polite conversation/one nation under god ain’t a lit­eral trans­la­tion…”) is brilliant.

Let­ters From Home is a slow blues writ­ten from a marine’s per­spec­tive. (“I’m ter­ri­fied and lonesome/about a thou­sand miles away from home/desert wind chills me to the bone/Mail call’s about the only thing keeps a man sane/in this god for­saken com­bat zone….I need your let­ters from home.” Again, Vitarello’s gui­tar work is impres­sive. The Devil Drove to Town in a V8 Ford is a work­out for every­one on board. O’Leary’s writ­ing, here as else­where on the disc, is as impres­sive as the best of Spring­steen or any other acknowl­edged mas­ter. Emo­tive, cin­e­matic. He sings, “Jesus said you got noth­ing for me/So be gone and tempt me no more/The Devil jumped into his coupe/and started up that V8 Ford.” The Machine show­cases his excel­lent harp work while bemoan­ing the drudgery of get­ting by. Walk­ing Con­tra­dic­tion (“throw me to the wolves and just let it all go.”) is hard core Chicago. Har­vest Time, with its piano, drum, bass, and horns is the story of a man steal­ing elec­tric­ity from his neigh­bors (“I got a two year plan to get me off the grid.”) and doing “some ille­gal agri­cul­ture when the sun goes down.” The addi­tion of back­ing vocal­ist Libby Cabello gives it a cross between church and fes­ti­val. One More Sat­ur­day Night speaks to the fall­out from tour­ing (“I gave you all I had and you still walked away … the bad was pretty awful but the good was pretty great”) and spot­lights O’Leary’s pow­er­ful harp work. Every­thing works. Strong vocals, a com­mand of the lan­guage and mus­cu­lar harp work. Clearly one of the best releases of 2015. —Mark E. Gallo


“Gonna Die Tryin’ is full of first-rate musicianship”

Gonna Die Tryin'

Our lat­est album gar­ners this acco­lade and more from reviewer Marty Gun­ther, in the lat­est issue of Blues Blast Mag­a­zine. Here’s a reprint of the full review:

Vet­eran New York singer/harmonica player/guitarist Chris O’Leary is a tal­ented, down-to-earth blues­man who speaks from his heart, and that’s clear as a bell for Gonna Die Tryin’, his lat­est imprint on the Amer­i­can Show­place label.

A true Amer­i­can hero who spent seven years in the U.S. Marines, O’Leary’s approach deals dif­fer­ently from many harp play­ers on the scene today. After his dis­charge, he spent six years as front man for Levon Helm’s band, The Barn­burn­ers, recorded with Hubert Sum­lin and Bill Perry. He deliv­ers straight-ahead blues with a mod­ern feel, aided by horns, which take his sound to another level while giv­ing him space to deliver his ample vocal skills.

This is Chris’ fourth release since suc­cess­fully mak­ing his debut as a solo record­ing artist in 2010 with Mr. Used To Be. That album earned the 2011 Blues Blast Music Award for best New Artist Debut Release. O’Leary’s most recent work, Live At Blues Now!, was a 2015 BBMA nom­i­nee for Live Album Of The Year. He’s backed here by his reg­u­lar align­ment of Chris Vitarello (gui­tar), Andy Stahl and Chris DiFrancesco (tenor and bari­tone saxes), Matt Ray­mond (bass) and Jay Devlin (drums). They’re aug­mented by Bruce Katz on keys, Vin­nie Nobile on trom­bone and Willa Pan­vini McCarthy and Libby Cabello on back­ing vocals.

All of the mate­r­ial here is orig­i­nal, and O’Leary writes about what he knows, some of it humor­ous, some reek­ing with images of the bat­tle­ground, as he paints a clear pic­ture of life in 21st Cen­tury Amer­ica. Dur­ing the Viet­nam era, it wasn’t unusual for a blues artist to record songs about the hor­rors of war. Today, how­ever, O’Leary is in the minor­ity as he describes cur­rent war­zones and their effect on valiant folks who serve.

A catchy riff from Vitarello, who’s stel­lar through­out, intro­duces “Can’t Help Your­self,” the first cut, the story of Bay­onne Bobby, a tat­tooed ne’er-do-well who’s vowed to set­tle down with a good woman and make his mother proud. Despite his efforts, how­ever, he sim­ply can’t get out of his own way. O’Leary sug­gests it’s time to stop try­ing to be some­one else, fin­ish­ing the num­ber with an elec­tri­fy­ing harp solo that stops just short of distortion.

“19₵ A Day” fol­lows with a lyri­cally rapid-fire take on one of the biggest com­plaints work­ers deal with today: com­pa­nies out­sourc­ing labor to places where folks will toil for the mea­ger wages of the song’s title. The mil­i­tary theme makes its first appear­ance with ref­er­ences about the gov­ern­ment turn­ing its back on dis­en­fran­chised vet­er­ans who find them­selves being shut­tled from one agency to another, unable to secure jobs, unless elec­tion time is near and politi­cians actu­ally do some­thing to help in order to sway votes.

“Hook, Line And Sinker,” a love song deliv­ered with a Mem­phis feel backed by the horn sec­tion, fol­lows before the theme dark­ens once more. “Gonna Die Try­ing” pro­vides a funky, hor­rific view of bat­tle using Sam­son vs. the Philistines for imagery before it evolves into visions of men with guns who have Satan in their ears spurring them on for more blood­shed. He’s got “the rules of engage­ment and the worst of inten­tions,” O’Leary says, and “there’s a razor-thin line between right­eous­ness and dyin’.” The theme con­tin­ues with “Let­ters From Home,” a seven-minute slow blues opus that details the power of receiv­ing mail and phones from loved ones when at the front line.

“The Devil Drove To Town In A V8 Ford” and “The Machine” are both clever, per­co­lat­ing blues. The first depicts the bat­tle between good and evil with rich visual metaphors, the sec­ond being trapped in the pit­falls of every­day work­ing life. O’Leary puts his harp skills on dis­play for the care­fully con­trolled “Walk­ing Con­tra­dic­tion,” which describes a woman who never ceases to amaze, before “Har­vest Time,” a love song with a funky South­ern feel and lush horn arrange­ments. The lop­ing “One More Sat­ur­day Night” fol­lows before “Tell It To Me Straight” brings the disc to a close.

From the descrip­tion of the songs above, you’d think that O’Leary’s basi­cally a hard-edged Marine, but don’t be fooled. He’s really a softy at heart. He ded­i­cated the album to his new­born son Jack­son, and the pair are depicted in a truly heart­warm­ing image in the packaging.

Gonna Die Tryin’ is full of first-rate musi­cian­ship through­out, and O’Leary’s band is def­i­nitely a group on the rise. But it’s the mate­r­ial that truly shines. Avail­able from Ama­zon, iTunes or directly from the label’s web­site. I’m def­i­nitely going to set this album aside for the end of the year and future award consideration.


Happy New Year from The Chris O’Leary Band!

The COB-MaggieStahlPhoto

A happy and healthy new year to all our fans, fam­ily, and friends! We hope that you’ll come out to see us play at a venue near you in 2016. We’ve already got sev­eral tours lined up in the US and we’ll be back in Basel, Switzer­land in June. Check out our updated cal­en­dar, we’ll be adding more shows as they get booked. We’ve got lots of great music and new tunes to play for you. Thank you for your support!


Blues Blast Magazine Interviews Chris O’Leary

cover9_50medium“‘Play the song.’

“A rather sim­ple and innocu­ous lit­tle com­ment, isn’t it?

“Could be some­thing as inno­cent as a request directed at a disc jockey or a plea from an impa­tient club owner to a belea­guered band.

“But no, this time those three words are a nugget of advice from one of the most leg­endary and well-respected musi­cians in the annals of mod­ern music – Mr. Levon Helm.

““That’s one of the great­est pieces of advice he gave me. Play the song, don’t use the song for what­ever it is you’re try­ing to do … like get­ting up there and show­ing off or show­ing every­body what you know. I remem­ber him telling a gui­tar player, ‘There’s a lot of notes, did you really have to play all of them?’” said singer, song-writer, harpist and band­leader Chris O’Leary. “He would say, ‘Play the song. Go up there and if you’re solo­ing, if you’re singing or if you’re play­ing rhythm, for­ward the song. What­ever the song may be, sup­port it. That’s a les­son that has car­ried me – among a zil­lion oth­ers that he taught me.””

Read the rest of the inter­view by Terry Mullins in the Decem­ber 10, 2015 issue of Blues Blast Magazine


First review of our new CD Gonna Die Tryin’!

Gonna Die Tryin'
Gonna Die Tryin'

Gonna Die Tryin’

“Chris O’Leary has a vocal style that could make a believer out of a devout athe­ist and a har­mon­ica style that will burn a hole straight through to the deep­est part of your heart.  There’s just some­thing in his deliv­ery that has the lis­tener hang­ing on every note and every word.  Seven years as a Marine and six years as a mem­ber of Levon Helm’s Barn­burn­ers are enough to con­vince the hard­ened skep­tic that this cat has paid his dues.  If that’s not enough, one lis­ten to this disc will drive the point home.  A band as solid as the Rock of Gibral­tar back­ing his for­mi­da­ble skills is enough to get the point across that Chris O’Leary is 100% the real deal.  Back­ing him on this album are Chris Vitarello on gui­tar, Andy Stahl and Chris Difrancesco on sax­o­phones, Matt Ray­mond on bass and Jay Devlin on drums.  Add the piano & organ work of Bruce Katz, Vin­nie Nobile on trom­bone, and Willa Pan­vini McCarthy & Libby Cabello on back­ground vocals…then add John Mooney as a spe­cial guest on gui­tar, and this tasty treat has the cherry on top.  The fact that O’Leary wrote all the music and lyrics for the album makes him all the more impres­sive.  As impres­sive a word­smith as he is a har­mon­ica player and vocal­ist, this cat is a threat on so many fronts that it’s not funny.  This is one of the most impres­sive, solid blues albums I have heard in quite some time.  There are no gim­micks, no high-tech pyrotech­nics and absolutely no B.S. to be found, just a band pour­ing heart and soul into a per­for­mance.  This one is pow­er­ful and pas­sion­ate, strong as an old loco­mo­tive with a full head of steam and no desire to slow down.  This one gets my high­est rec­om­men­da­tion.  It belongs in the library of every blues lover…without ques­tion.  – Bill Wilson”

http://chickenwilson2.blogspot.com/p/sept.html

You can pre­order the CD now at Amazon.com –it will be released on Sep­tem­ber 18th.


Baby Jackson O’Leary is here!

Jackson O'Leary
Jackson O'Leary

Jack­son O’Leary

Chris O’Leary and Charissa Shields are delighted to announce the birth of their son Jack­son Ronald Thomas O’Leary, on Mon­day, July 27th at 3:45 pm. Jack­son weighed in at 8 lbs 4oz and already has his father wrapped around his lit­tle fin­ger: “The sec­ond my baby boy opened his big blue eyes I was done, toast, com­pletely in love!” Join us in con­grat­u­lat­ing the proud parents!


Vote for The Chris O’Leary Band

We were nom­i­nated for a 2015 Blues Blast Award in the Best Live Record­ing cat­e­gory and would really appre­ci­ate your sup­port! Vote here: http://www.bluesblastmagazine.com/bbmas/vote/


We’ve been nominated for a Blues Blast Award!

Live at Blues Now!

We are very proud to announce that our lat­est release Live at Blues Now! is nom­i­nated for a 2015 Blues Blast Award, for best live blues record­ing! Vot­ing begins on July 15th and is open to the pub­lic. Visit Blues Blast Mag­a­zine to read all about it. Thank you for your support!


On the road again: PA, OH, Western NY

Live at Blues Now!

We’re head­ing out this Tues­day for a series of shows across west­ern NY and down into PA and OH: Trea­sure Lake Ski Lodge (6/9 Dubois, PA), Sports­mens Tav­ern (6/10 Buf­falo, NY), That Other Place (6/11 Corn­ing, NY), Moondog’s (6/12 Pitts­burgh, PA), and the Court Street Grille (6/13 Pomeroy, OH). Com­plete details are on our web­site at thechrisolearyband.net/calendar. Come on out and see us if you’re in the area, we’ve got lots of new music for you!


Heading south to Florida!

We’re start­ing our run to Florida, and our first stop tonight will be at Jonathan’s Land­ing in Mag­no­lia, Delaware. We’ve got gigs lined up in North Car­olina, Ten­nessee, and Wash­ing­ton DC, in addi­tion to a wide range of Florida loca­tions for the next cou­ple of weeks. Come on out and see us if we’re in your neigh­bor­hood! It’s gonna be a whole mess o’ fun. See our full cal­en­dar list­ing on our web­site for dates and details.


Band website and calendar are back online!

Thanks to the wiz­ardry of our awe­some web­site designer and tech guru, Susan Brkich, the band’s web­site, includ­ing the cur­rent cal­en­dar, is back up and run­ning at a new (tem­po­rary) loca­tion: thechrisolearyband.net. If you need some­one to design and build your web­site, Susan is the best!!


“This terrific ensemble will make Mardi Gras last all year long!”

That’s how Rainey Wet­night sums up our live album, Live at Blues Now, in her review in the lat­est issue of Blues­Blast Mag­a­zine. Here’s the full review:

Feb­ru­ary is the time for the Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day, Pres­i­dents’ Day, and Fat Tues­day. Mardi Gras is fast approach­ing, and a great way to cel­e­brate it is by groov­ing to feisty New Orleans blues by New York’s Chris O’Leary Band. Accord­ing to their pro­mo­tional info sheet, “In March 2014, the Chris O’Leary Band trav­eled to Basel, Switzer­land to per­form at the pres­ti­gious BLUES NOW! con­cert series. Join­ing the band as a spe­cial guest was renowned blues gui­tarist Alex Schultz. Schultz’s sto­ried musi­cal career includes long asso­ci­a­tions with blues har­mon­ica play­ers William Clarke, Rod Piazza and Lester But­ler….” With that said, Chris O’Leary is des­tined to join the ranks of these hal­lowed harp mas­ters. In his band’s con­cert set of twelve songs – eleven orig­i­nals and one cover – they set Switzerland’s blues-cravers on fire!

Along­side O’Leary on vocals and har­mon­ica are Chris Vitarello on gui­tar, Andy Stahl on tenor sax­o­phone, Chris DiFrancesco on bari­tone sax, Matt Ray­mond on upright and elec­tric bass, and Jay Devlin on drums. As men­tioned ear­lier, gui­tarist Alex Schultz lends his elec­tric exper­tise. Together they play high-voltage ensem­ble blues that takes no pris­on­ers, pow­er­fully com­bin­ing the influ­ences of the Windy City, Mem­phis, and the “Big Easy”. Of their orig­i­nal num­bers, these three are proof that world­wide blues fans will love them just as much as the Swiss did.

Track 01: “Give It” – The band’s opener is a gritty blues-rock bal­lad fea­tur­ing a shady nar­ra­tor: “Well, you ain’t got no money. I can’t hold down no job. If you would be my honey, well, I’d beg, steal and rob. Give it to me, baby!” The gui­tar solo in the mid­dle is a five-alarm inferno, as are Chris O’Leary’s vocals and harmonica.

Track 05: “Water’s Risin’” – BLUES NOW!’s crowd claps along to track five, a warn­ing of stormy weather when it comes to romance: “I hope you can swim, honey – our rela­tion­ship might sink.” The best part of this song is the infec­tious back­ground cho­rus of “Water’s risin’, tak­ing on water….” Once again, the mid-song fret­work is fabulous.

Track 08: “Blues is a Woman” – With a slow-burning, Ste­vie Ray Vaughan-style gui­tar intro, num­ber eight is blues as pure as Swiss moun­tain air. “Blues is a woman, and she don’t mean me no good. She never does like she ought to, no, that woman never does just like she should.” Every con­cert con­tains at least one selec­tion that’s per­fect for slow danc­ing, and this is IT.

The band’s pro­mo­tional mate­r­ial reveals: “Chris O’Leary has put in his time on the front lines – as U.S. Marine Corps infantry squad leader, and seven years as singer, harp player, and front man for Levon Helm’s Barn Burners.”

With its con­sid­er­able instru­men­tal tal­ent, viva­cious energy, and award cre­den­tials, this ter­rific ensem­ble will make Mardi Gras last all year long!

Rainey Wet­night, Blues­Blast Mag­a­zine, Issue 9–7, Feb­ru­ary 12, 2015


Another great review: “Chris and the band give an over the top performance”

Kyle Deibler lav­ishes praise on our live CD, Live at Blues Now, in the October/November 2014 issue of Blues Bytes, with a delight­ful and detailed analy­sis of each track on the CD. If you don’t have the album yet, this review should con­vince you to get your copy now! Here’s the full story:

A for­mer Marine, Chris O’Leary, has cer­tainly paid his dues to his coun­try and to the Blues while fronting Levon Helm’s Barn Burn­ers for sev­eral years. Throw in the death of his good friend and drum­mer, Sean McCarthy, and you can tell that Chris has endured his share of tri­als and tribu­la­tions over the past cou­ple of years. In a disc ded­i­cated to Sean, Live at Blues Now, Chris and the band give an over the top per­for­mance for the good folks of Basel, Switzer­land. Sound man Dave Muscheidt did an out­stand­ing job of cap­tur­ing the band’s live per­for­mance, and hav­ing Alex Schultz as the guest gui­tarist is sim­ply the cherry on top. It’s time to give this gem another listen.

The band starts out with “Give It” and the back end with Matt Ray­mond on bass and Jay Devlin on drums set the tone for this tune. Chris’s harp is added to the mix and I hear a bit of bari­tone sax from Chris DeFrancesco, as Chris pleads his case for love with the object of his affec­tions. “You’ve been sad and only…so many times before…will you be my one and only…I’ll give you what you’re ask­ing for…give it…to me baby…give it.” Alex’s fret­work is incen­di­ary and we’re off and run­ning with it here. Throw in Andy Stahl’s tenor sax and the horns are front and cen­ter as we move onto “Trou­ble.” “I don’t know how I got here…Lord, knows where I’ve been…I’m talk­ing trouble…I’ve been liv­ing in…I’d bet­ter get it all together….for all this trou­ble I’ve been liv­ing in.” Chris doesn’t really expound on exactly what the trou­ble was but at least he’s will­ing to change his ways and begin to move forward.

Alex is back on the gui­tar and I’m wish­ing I was in Basel for this show. Next up is “Louisiana Woman,” and given that Chris says it’s a true story we’d all bet­ter be care­ful down on the Bayou. “Cre­ole Woman…all’s you had to say…don’t worry, Cher…laissez les bon temps roulez…I’ll still cross my heart…for it’s too late…knock on wood…I don’t want to tempt fate.” Chris’s mourn­ful harp tones echo the magic to be found in the air, and it sounds like Chris was a wise man to avoid the temp­ta­tions of the Louisiana women.

The crowd’s applaud­ing as the band kicks it up a notch for Chris’s next cut, “Walk the Walk.” “Can’t run…but you sure can hide…I got a plan to be your man….I’ll do every­thing I can…keep you warm when it’s cold outside…you can talk the talk…but can you walk the walk?” Chris is in love but this woman may not have the game she needs to back up her talk. Let’s hope that Chris is right with this one. We move on to “Water’s Risin’,” and this is a tune that Chris wrote with Levon Helm. “I hope you can swim…honey, our rela­tion­ship might sink.” They’re expe­ri­enc­ing some rough times together but hope­fully they’ll be ok. “Going down…water’s rising…taking on water…I hope you can swim, baby, our rela­tion­ship might sink”

Jay’s toms are set­ting the pace for our next cut, “I Wish You Would,” and I hear Chris’s bari­tone sax every now and then. Chris is singing into his harp mic and it gives his voice a unique twist for this tune. “Early in the morning…bout the break of day…I’m guess­ing my baby went away…please, baby baby…give me one more try…you know I love you…want to be your man…come back baby…I wish you would.” This girl’s gone and I’m think­ing Chris is not going to get this one back.

“Mr. Used to Be” gives a dif­fer­ent twist to the same old story. Chris is glad this one’s gone and what­ever she does, please don’t come back. “I do wish I could have known…I had to share you with the rest of the town…I do not miss you, baby…don’t you come home to me…I’m per­fectly happy…being your Mr. used to be.” Good rid­dance to bad rub­bish in this case, and Chris is more than happy to move on.

Our next cut, “Blues is a Woman,” has that late night, last call, club feel to it from way back in the day. Alex is lay­ing down some extremely mourn­ful tones on his gui­tar and the mood for this song is per­fectly clear. “Blues is a woman…and she don’t mean me no good…she never does like she ought to…low down woman…never does like she should.” I love the tones form Andy’s tenor sax in the back­ground and it’s clear that what­ever this woman did to Chris, she hurt him badly and it’s time he let her go.

Chris has the crowd singing along with him on the next tune, “King of the Jun­gle.” “King of the jungle…man, he’s the king of the jungle…he’s the bad­dest cat around.” You know he’s tough if the lions, tigers and griz­zlies all give him the right of way. This is a fun tune and a wel­come relief from the somber tone of “Blues is a Woman.” Jay’s snare is at the fore­front to give “Tchoupi­toulas” a New Orleans flare as Chris tells us about this small town in Louisiana. “This small town…ain’t no destination…people only pass­ing through…take a walk…down Tchoupitoulas…you never you know what you might find…let that muddy Mississippi…wash all your cares behind.” A quick place to pause and reflect but a def­i­nitely a des­ti­na­tion to leave behind.

Chris’s bari­tone sax is at the fore­front of the intro to our next cut, “Wait­ing for the Phone to Ring.” “Hey Rapunzel…I know your tower ain’t no fun…you know it bound to happen…I might as well be the one…I’ve proper ques­tion­able raising…but I’ve got proper table manners…in fact…instead of low­er­ing your standards….what’s say you lower your stance.” Chris is work­ing hard to charm this one but I’m not sure Rapun­zel is going to fall prey to his charms. But if she does, oh Lord,look out!

The saxes pro­vide the per­fect foil to Chris’s harp as the band heads into the final cut on our disc, “His­tory.” “Oh when I seen your apple…you know I made your orchard my home.” Chris has an answer for all of the hero­ines from the past and he’s more than happy to include them in his new ver­sion of “his­tory.” Alex just kills his fret­work on this last tune and there’s no doubt the good folk of Basel, Switzer­land wit­nessed an amaz­ing show at Blues Now.

This is Chris O’Leary’s third disc out on the Fidel­lis Records/Vizztone Label Group and it’s a good one. Dave Gross did an amaz­ing job of mas­ter­ing the live record­ing and the Chris O’Leary Band def­i­nitely tore the roof off of Blues Now that fate­ful night in March.

Chris is based in the Hud­son River Val­ley and the lessons he learned at the hands of the mas­ter, Levon Helm, are read­ily appar­ent. Alex Schultz’s fret­work is amaz­ing and I’ve enjoyed this disc tremen­dously. You can learn more about Chris O’Leary and his band on their web­site, www.thechrisolearyband.com, and grab a copy of this live disc for your­self. After that, pour your­self a cold one and turn it up loud!

[http://www.bluenight.com/BluesBytes/wn1114.html]


Recording our 4th CD

Chris O'Leary

We’re head­ing back into the stu­dio soon to record our 4th CD. Want a sneak peek of some of the new songs that will be on it? Come out to one of our upcom­ing gigs! Visit our cal­en­dar to find out where we’re play­ing: http://thechrisolearyband.net/calendar.

Chris O'Leary


This red hot combo has unleashed a sizzling live album: Live at Blues Now!

Blues Bis­cuits’ Jim Kanavy gives our new live CD, Live at Blues Now!, high marks in his review of the album, not­ing that “this is rock & roll blues at its best.” Here’s the full review:

“Chris O’Leary is the for­mer front man of Levon Helm’s Barn­burn­ers. The Chris O’Leary band was formed in 2007 around a tight group of road war­riors. Chris’ years spent with the Barn­burn­ers, back­ing up an eclec­tic mix of musi­cians at Levon Helm’s New Orleans club, and tour­ing the coun­try after­ward, turned him into a musi­cal medium. He chan­nels a mul­ti­tude of blues & soul styles author­i­ta­tively. It’s hard to believe he grew up closer to Albany, New York than New Albany, Mis­sis­sippi. The blues pours out of his fuzz-drenched, raspy harp and his band is right there with him at every twist and turn. After two suc­cess­ful and acclaimed stu­dio albums, this red hot combo has unleashed a siz­zling live album.

Live At Blues Now! has tunes from both stu­dio albums and a groov­ing, bounc­ing ver­sion of Billy Boy Arnold’s “Wish You Would.” Chris sings some of it through the harp mic and his vocals take on a Howlin’ Wolf snarl. I was really excited to have a live ver­sion of “Tchoupi­toulas” (that’s “Chop-ih-too-liss” to you and me). If “Tchoupi­toulas” doesn’t get you mov­ing you may be dead. Have some­one take your pulse imme­di­ately. Admin­is­ter mouth to mouth as desired. It should have you singing and danc­ing like you’re down at Tipitina’s with the second-line hot on your heels. The whole album, from the opener “Give It” to the closer “His­tory” has incred­i­ble drum­ming. The beats are almost tribal, churn­ing and chop­ping, like waves of the sea surg­ing and reced­ing, thrust­ing the band for­ward, reel­ing rock­ing in rhyth­mic ecstasy.

“On “Trou­ble,” spe­cial guest gui­tarist Alex Schultz rides the rhyth­mic waves like a man who’s con­quered the Pipeline. Chris O’Leary’s harp cuts through like a thrust­ing oar and keeps the band on course. The shim­mer­ing gui­tars of “Louisiana Woman” and lone­some harp con­jure a hoodoo mist across the bayou and “Water’s Risin’” swings, rocks and reels. This is rock & roll blues at its best, com­bin­ing gospel vocals, Chuck Berry rhythms, and duel­ing gui­tars into a spicy gumbo of Amer­i­can music which pretty much encap­su­lates the Chris O’Leary Band. This band is the real deal. Bring the band into your liv­ing room, car, or bayou back porch with Live At Blues Now!”

[http://www.bluesbiscuits.com/2014/08/fresh-biscuits-friday-fast-five-cd-reviews-august-15–2014/]


Get the New CD: Live at Blues Now!

It’s here! Get our 3rd CD “Live at Blues Now!”, recorded in Basel Switzer­land ear­lier this year. It’s avail­able at all your favorite online music stores, iTunes, Google Play, Amazon.com, and more.


Third CD Release: Live at Blues Now!

Tomor­row we are releas­ing our 3rd CD on the Viz­ztone label.. Live at Blues Now! We recorded this ear­lier in the year in Basel Switzer­land with very spe­cial guest Alex Schultz. The room was beau­ti­ful, the crowd was great, and we had a blast!

Live at Blues Now!


Portland, We are Coming Back

We played the Port­land Water­front fes­ti­val on July 4th to over 25000 peo­ple! We are back in Port­land on 7/17 at Vie de Bohéme! Hope­fully every­one who was in atten­dance will come out and see us again! We’ve missed you all

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Gig in Seattle Tonight

We are in Seat­tle tonight at El Cora­zon doors open at 800. .. First time in Seat­tle , come on out and say hi.


What A Show!

The Chris O’Leary Band has arrived at the Safe­way Water­front Blues Fes­ti­val in Port­land Oregon..what a lineup! Los Lobos, Char­lie Mus­sel­white, Maceo Parker, Los Lonely Boys, many oth­ers and THE CHRIS O’LEARY BAND. I am sure, once they get some sleep, they are going to be walk­ing around with a huge grin on their faces. Have a blast and show them the cool­ness that is The Chris O’Leary Band.

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Florida Bound

The band is com­ing down to Florida this week
with var­i­ous gigs in the beau­ti­ful sunny state. Check the dates over on the right to see if we are com­ing to a town near you. If you are on the East coast, we will have a few stops on the way up. Hope to see you there.

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