Great New Interviews! Brad tells what it was like behind the scenes with the blues masterss!
NEW UPDATED INTERVIEW IN BLUES GREECE
Click HERE to read! "Guitarist Brad Vickers talks to BLUES GREECE's Michalis Limnios about Bo Diddley, Pinetop Perkins, Sleepy LaBeef, and the first published blues song." Brad has just updated his interview to talk about his time with Jimmy Rogers, Hubert Sumlin, Odetta, and the new CD, "That's What They Say".
COVER STORY! NEW INTERVIEW WITH BRAD IN BLUES BLAST
Click HERE to read: Brad talks with BLUES BLAST's Henry Carrigan about the beginnings of his career, his songwriting process, and lots more!
INTERVIEW IN RUDOLF'S MUSIC, NETHERLANDS
Click HERE to read! Brad talks to Rudolf about (among other things) the music that he loves, and some other genres, well, not so much. (Please search or scroll to see Brad's interview on Rudolf's site.)
REVIEWS: Nice Words About "Twice As Nice"
“Guitarist emeritus...,Brad Vickers and his Vestapolitans just released a good album mixing traditional blues, jump blues and rock’n’roll...with beautiful compositions where the slide is distilled sparingly and with good taste; the horns are superbly applied, and you can feel the craft of the protagonists. It is devilishly well-played and deserves to be heard.”
—Marc Loison, BLUES ALIVE 76, France
BADASS LINEUP, LUSTY SOUL, RIVETING GUITAR!
Native New Yorker Vickers has augmented his usual bad-ass bass/drums/sax lineup for the first time with fiddle, harmonica, keyboards and banjolele. Vickers sings with lusty soul and plays a riveting guitar, including bottleneck, switching to bass when composer/bassist Margey Peters steps out front on her closing—and poignant—“Brooklyn Evenings.” With 11 slices of jump-blues, shuffles, updated folk and roots-rock. a portrait emerges of a band in perfect sync. Humor is part of their presentation too, like in Brad’s “Mississippi Swamp,” about the time he encountered a talking bullfrog.
—Mike Goldblatt, GOLDMINE
AN ABSOLUTE MUST!
"Smooth songs, interspersed with calm ballads, ragtime with jazz, down-home blues with soul. Songs that deserve special mention are the "Twice Is Nice" sung by Margey Peters with a nice bottleneck guitar by Vickers and the clarinet played by Jim Davis, the blues shuffle "Everything I Need" and the modest "Red Dust", an ode to the Native Americans. In short, "Twice As Nice" has become a very beautiful album with authentic blues. An absolute must!"
—Eric Campfens, BARN OWL BLUES, Netherlands
LET THE PARTY BEGIN!
"Twice As Nice" reminds us how much Brad Vickers & His Vestapolitans are artists who love American music in all its forms, and who never miss the slightest opportunity to showcase it with strength and respect...Refreshing on the most energetic titles, arresting on the slowest blues, the album turns out to be a veritable whirlpool in which one will much appreciate the slide [guitar] parts, which are always very well-dosed by the flights of horns, which never miss an opportunity to fly. Let the party begin!"
—Fred Delforge ZICAZINE, France
A REAL PLAYER THAT ISN'T PLAYING AROUND
"When cats like this jam them together, all you can do is let the good times roll. A real player that isn't playing around, this is just a solidly right-on set that delivers throughout. Hot stuff."
—Chris Spector, MIDWEST RECORD ENTERTAINMENT
NOTHING BUT WONDERFUL LISTENING BLUES
"Rarely have I heard anything that is so "laidback", and so natural sounding that it makes Brad Vickers & His Vestapolitans a pleasure to listen to. Brad was inspired by almost all the blues greats, although Jimmy Reed is one of his major examples. What is the best way to listen to Brad Vickers? Just come together with some friends and do nothing on the Sunny Side of the Street, and listen...Blues, nothing but wonderful listening blues"
—Freddy Celis, ROOTSVILLE, Belgium
GREAT SONGWRITING...FULL OF DEEP CUTS
Brad Vickers' new record, with Margey Peters and lots of wonderful guests is called "Twice as Nice" but honestly... it's like "11 times as nice" because all 11 tracks are fantastic, soooo tasteful in everyway. Beautifully produced with the perfect mix of instrumentation. I just LOVE this record and it's been a constant to listen to since I received it. Vickers and his Vestapolitans have a really cool sound and vibe and great song writing - alongside standards like "Stealin' Stealin'" ... My favorite of the originals is "Love can Win"... it's really a record full of deep cuts.
—Ilana Katz Katz, WOMEN IN BLUES
IN SHORT, A GREAT ALBUM!
"Twice As Nice" is a fully relaxed and authentic blues album with small side trips into rag and jazz. No guitar shredding here, just musicians who play the at the service of the songs and perform them in a very tasteful way. In short a great album!"
—Martin Van de Velde, BLUES MAGAZINE, Netherlands
A GOOD NIGHT DOWN AT THE JUKE JOINT!
I've always enjoyed the music of Brad Vickers and his Vestapolitans, and this sixth album is no exception.
Is he rewriting the rule book of the blues and demolishing boundaries? Thankfully, no. What he does is stick to the roots of the blues across a set of originals and covers which could have sat happily anytime between the 1940s and the present day...It all sits together in the manner of a good night down at the juke joint.I'm particularly fond of the songs where the unfortunately named V D King whips out his baritone sax, do "Love Can Win", "Close Together", and "Everything I Need" score highly. Best of all is their take on the Tampa Red tune, "Look A There, Look A There", which is just a joy!
ALWAYS TASTY AND TO THE POINT!
Brad Vickers’ clean guitar tone contains no frills, and his playing is never flashy, but always tasty and to the point. There’s a down-home charm to the album as a whole. It feels like a gathering of friends in a comfy living room, playing songs with each other, no stress. “Twice As Nice” is unpretentious and makes for a thoroughly enjoyable listen."
—Bob Monteleone, BIG CITY BLUES Magazine
THIS ALBUM SHOULD RAISE THEIR PROFILE—IT'S THAT GOOD!
It’s a fun time catching up with the preservation society known as Brad Vickers and The Vestapolitans. This album should raise their profile; it’s that good.”
—Richard Ludmerer, MAKING A SCENE
FANS WILL CLAMOR FOR THIS ONE!
Vestapolitan fans will clamor for this one. If you are not familiar with Vickers and his band and their style, this will give you a full taste of the sort of things they do. Featuring a great group of regular and visiting musicians, you’ll get a good sampling of their stuff and how they mix music and a little humor to practice their craft."
—Steve Jones, BLUES BLAST
TIMELESS GROOVES, A DELICIOUS MIX!
Brad Vickers And His Vestapolitans deliver some excellent, timeless grooves designed to get folks moving and smiling. The music – both originals and covers – is a delicious mix of blues, ragtime, jazz, folk and rock and roll, featuring both male and female lead vocals.
– Michael Doherty, MICHAEL’S MUSIC BLOG
YOU CAN'T HELP BUT JUMP AROUND AND HAVE A GOOD TIME!
On this release Brad Vickers and His Vestapolitans celebrate the music they love and the styles that have influenced them - blues, folk, jump and "great American roots 'n' roll". Of the eleven tracks, seven are originals and they cover classics like Big Maceo's "Worried Life Blues", Jimmy Reed's "Close Together", Will Shade's jug band classic "Stealin' Stealin'" and Tampa Red's "Look A There, Look A There". Their sound harks back to the vintage 50's style of roots music and you can't help but jump around and have a good time with this one.
—Marty, THE BLUES MUSIC BLOG, Australia
“I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, "Twice As Nice", from Brad Vickers and his Vestapolitans and it's freewheeling blues. Opening with Big Maceo's "Worried Life Blues", Vickers on guitar and lead vocal leads the Vestapolitans in a traditional shuffle. With Bill Rankin on drums, Margey Peters on bass, Jim Davis on tenor sax, Dave Keyes on piano, V.D. King on bari sax, and Dean Shot on guitar, a solid opener. On Jimmy Reed's "Close Together", Margey Peters joins on backing vocal and bass. Her touch gives the track an additional dimension. And a raspy sax solo from Davis adds a nice spice. "Coast to Coast" is a cool rocker with hot solos by Vickers, Keyes, and Davis. Very cool. Vickers turns over the mic to Peters for "Twice As Nice", deferring his work to bottleneck guitar and with wailing nice clarinet by Davis. Memphis Jug Band's "Stealin' Stealin'" is my favorite track on the release with Mikey Junior on vocal and harmonica with Peters (who also plays bass) and Vickers on guitar, Rankin on drums, Davis on sax, and King on bari sax. Mikey Junior, Davis and Vickers take real nice solos on "Look A There Look A There", a super swing rocker with great tempo. Very nice. Wrapping the release is another Peters original, "Brooklyn Evenings". With its rimshot timing and featuring Charlie Burnham on violin, it has an old style blues feel and with Vickers shifting over to bass, Dave Gross' guitar work adds a nice sparkle to the closer.”
—BMAN’s BLUES REPORT
MIXES ALL SORTS OF ROOTS INFLUENCES IN HIS OWN MAGIC CAULDRON
“For those unfamiliar with Brad Vickers and his Vestapolitans “Twice As Nice” will provide a solid, true example of the band, as well as a full array of their style and the nuances that they more or less habitually put forth. A champion of an old, almost ancient sound, Brad Vickers puts all sorts of roots influences in his own magic cauldron, adding a vocal and instrumental style that is fully aligned with the music. Once the ingredients are blended, the rabbit extracted from the hat is of mixed lineage and brings obvious traces, in its genetic make-up, of ragtime, hill country blues, jug band blues, jump, and roots 'n' roll.
And the repertoire, which swings amiably between unreleased songs and remakes, includes, among the highlights, a slowed-down and down home version of Big Maceo's “Worried Life Blues”, two amazing re-releases taken from Jimmy Reed (“Close Together” and “Everything I Need” [This one actually an homage, in Reed’s style written by Margey Peters] the latter disguised as Chicago shuffle), as well as some tributes to a distant past with the re-enactments of a couple of titles by Will Shade and Tampa Red to which the voice—with its viscous and sleepy nasal reflections, of Margey Peters, who shares the vocal tasks with Vickers—gives the typical flavor of a classic blues.
Standing out from the pack a little, the lament for the [American] Indian “Red Dust” arises; while the concluding “Brooklyn Evenings” (....in the summertime...) are brightly lit by Dave Gross's pleasantly stinging guitar. “
—Giovanni Rubino, MACALLE BLUES, Italy
“The siixth album form the New York outfit—and guests—fits right in with its predecessors. Like them, this consists of blues all the way, from the vintage, but slightly updated sound of The Memphis Jug Band’s “Stealin’ Stealin’ ”, with baritone sax replacing the jug, and the vaudeville blues of the title track, an original by bassist and singer Margey Peters, though I wouldn’t have guessed, to the Chuck Berry-styled “Coast To Coast”—that’s about as modern as these guys ever get. Tampa Red is another big influence, particularly on leader Brad, as is Jimmy Reed, and both provide one (lesser-known) song each here. “Red Dust” is the experimental number on this release, inspired by Native American music, but with blues instrumentation—it works, too. Another winner from these guys.
—Norman Darwen, BLUES & RHYTHM, UK
IMAGINATIVE AND CREATIVE!
“Brad Vickers continues to add to his legacy as one of the premier blues musicians working today. ...The songs of Peters and Vickers compliment each other. Vickers’ “Mississippi Swamp” retains a sense a humor amid Vickers’ bottleneck guitar and guest Mickey Junior’s harmonica. Margey’s “Coast To Coast” is a rollicking tune about traveling down the road. Vickers “Red Dust” has a little bite to it as he explores the plight of Native Americans. Margey Peters “Brooklyn Evenings” is a poignant look into a past that can never be re-created. The best of the cover songs is an exploration of Jimmy Reed’s “Close Together” that brings a lot of energy to the original.
Brad Vickers has created an imaginative and creative album of blues related tracks. Twice As Nice is an album of songs by a veteran bluesman doing what he does best. ***1/2” —David Bowling, CASHBOX
ONE OF THE STRONGEST FORMATIONS ON THE CURRENT BLUES SCENE
With great and genuine pleasure I have just received Brad Vickers & His Vestapolitans’ sixth album...The CD combines their own compositions with a few [cover]versions like “Worried Life Blues,” coming from Big Maceo Merriweather and "Close Together" by Jimmy Reed, all with very good semi-electric arrangements. During the years of their career the band has established itself as one of the strongest formations on the current blues scene...The result is a relaxed and very pleasant to hear album that will satisfy the palates of most fans of roots blues, filled with many colors and nuances to discover.
—Vicente Zumel, LA HORA del BLUES, Spain
THEY DELIVER ON ALL THAT THE MONIKER IMPLIES
The band is at its best when the group eases the tempo and allows for more of a light-hearted feel. The easy saunter of “Love Can Win”, with its optimistic and insistent refrain, translates as a much-needed mantra for these troubled times, while a slow strutting version of Jimmy Reed’s “Close Together” not only slows the pace, but reflects all the song suggests. It’s one more reason to believe that when it came time to choose the title for the album as a whole, Vickers and his colleagues fully intended to deliver on all the moniker would effectively imply.”
—Lee Zimmerman, LIVING BLUES
COOL AS THE OTHER SIDE OF THE PILLOW
"Brad Vickers has played with numerous legends...He’s found the time to put together a fantastic backing band, The Vestapolitans, and they have just released their sixth overall album, this one entitled “Twice As Nice,” for Man Hat Tone Music. It is a sweet collection of originals and covers that keeps alive Brad’s musical vision of spreading excellent blues and roots music to the masses. Brad Vickers And His Vestapolitans continue to mesh vintage blues sounds with rock, jump, and roots music to create their own groove that’s as cool as the other side of the pillow! Dig “Twice As Nice” for some real good-time blues!!! Until next time…"
—Don and Sheryl Crow, DON & SHERYL's BLUES BLOG
THIS IS OLD-TIME MUSIC AT ITS BEST
"The music of Brad Vickers & His Vestapoitans; whether blues, ragtime, or vintage rock 'n' roll, is steeped in traditions that go back to a time before the history of music being set to paper. It's a style that he refers to as "Roots 'n' Roll." The days when he would emulate the old masters is long past. This is not what he does; it's who and what he is...This is old-time music at its best."
—Bill Wilson, REFLECTIONS IN BLUE
A REAL PLAYER THAT ISN'T PLAYING AROUND
"With a CV as authentic as a Paul Butterfield or a Corky Siegel (and I'm comparing this guitar man to harmonica players because...?) this white boy with the blues wants you to party whether you call it roots 'n' roll, West Side Chicago, or whatever. Since we're so deep in the mash-up era, I don't think anyone knows the difference between Piedmont and Central Avenue anymore, so when cats like this jam them together, all you can do is let the good times roll. A real player that isn't playing around, this is just a solidly right-on set that delivers throughout. Hot stuff."
—Chris Spector, MIDWEST RECORD ENTERTAINMENT
I CAN'T THINK OF ANYONE...WHO HAS A GROOVE LIKE THESE CATS
"While the album cover won't ever win any awards, it caught my eye on a busy day, and when I slid it in the office CD player [I] crossed my fingers hoping the music would live up to the Hot Rod billing.I can't think of anyone in particular who has a groove like these cats...Yet again I've unearthed a big ole unit of a R&B Band that will undoubtedly never visit my part of the Universe; yet they sound like the best night I'll never have!"
—Alan Harrison, THE ROCKING MAGPIE
LOOKING GOOD! 4 1/2 STARS
Brad Vickers presents his new album "Twice As Nice". Brad opens with Big Maceo Merriweather’s "Worried Life Blues" and the track "Mississippi Swamp" with Mikey Junior on bluesharp. The soulful "Love Can Win" exemplifies the strongly divergent material, including Jimmy Reed's Chicago blues "Close Together", and [their] "Coast To Coast". Guest singer Margey Peters gives "Twice As Nice" a jazzy vocal form. "Red Dust" is perhaps the odd man out. Give us the swinging "Everything I Need", the enthusiastic jugband "Stealin" Stealin," and the rocking classic "Look A There Look A There". Margey Peters is back for the closing number "Brooklyn Evenings". Looking Good! 4 ½ Stars!
—Philip Verhaege, KEYS & CHORDS, Belgium
A HEAPING HELPING OF CHARM!
They say that music is one of the surest ways to time travel, and Brad Vickers & His Vestapolitans have it down. On "Twice As Nice", their 6th album, they take us back to the sixties for a heaping helping of what they call “blues, folk, jump and great American roots ‘n’ roll”, celebrating the music they love with obvious affection. "Twice As Nice" is a collection of lively exchanges by all of the musicians involved, replete with some great sax solos and fine playing by all. Vickers has a lived- in voice that gives these tracks a kind of wobbly charm that’s hard to find in music these days...Vickers learned his craft on the job playing, recording and touring with blues and roots masters Pinetop Perkins, Jimmy Rogers, Hubert Sumlin, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Odetta and Roscoe Gordon. Knowing that before you put this on gives you an idea of what to expect...The sound here is straightforward and uncomplicated, much like it would have been done back in the day when Brad was playing with the people listed. As Brad says in the press releases, “I hope you have half as much fun listening, as we had making Twice As Nice!” You know? I kinda did.
—John Kereiff, The Rock Doctor, GONZO MAGAZINE, Canada
THIS GUY CAN HIT THE STRINGS!
Brad Vickers sings with a pop styled voice and plays guitar like a juke joint junkie as he rocks the blues with a team of Bill Rankin/dr, Margey Peters/b, Jim Davis/ts, VD King/bs, Dave Keyes/or and Mickey Junior/harp-voc in a cut and paste fashion of songs. With Junior’s harp, there’s some two stepping on “Stealin’ Stealin’” and shuffling on “Look A There Look A There.” Vickers picks out a winner on the boogie’d “Coast To Coast”, and his take on Jimmy Reed’s classic “Close Together”, and gets some earth-shattering tones out of his strings. On bottleneck, Vickers creates a rural mood on “Red Dust”, with his high tone voicings creating a sweet and sour contrast to the foreboding environs, whereas the title track bounces with some exquisite riffs. This guy can hit the strings!
—George W. Harris, JAZZ WEEKLY
THE STORY OF A LIFE THAT IS, ABOVE ALL, BLUES
“We could betray that we had not duly informed ourselves, and, think that the name of Brad Vickers was that of a new guitarist on the scene, if not a debut for the Vestapolitans. Nothing could be more wrong, because this record is actually the continuation of an autonomous work by one of those characters who are too often shadowed by the fame of the fathers with whom they had the honor of treading the stages, born with music, and part of it with all the naturalness of a native tongue. The result is another appreciable sound, witness to an experience more than that of the present, with a spontaneous blues...what remains on the line is most sincere, and this, the immutable trademark of the sounds of the origins, squarely within the confines of the style.”
—Matteo Fratti, IL BLUES, ItalyBROADMINDED PREWAR BLUES AND JAZZ!
This cohort of New Yorkers continue in the vein established over their first five releases: a full band, playing predominantly acoustically; a broadminded attitude toward styles, with a prewar blues and jazz feel often informing the music due only in part to the presence of staple jug and string infuences.
—Kevin Hardy, MAINSTREET BLUES, KCOR
REVIEWS: What They're Saying About "That's What They Say"
– Frank-John Hadley, DOWNBEAT
"I include Brad Vickers & His Vestapolitans next to Duke Robillard, The Ragpickers String Band, and others in the front line. I enter this as evidence: I can safely and wholeheartedly recommend "That's What They Say"."
– Nathan Norgel, WASSER PRAWDA
"There is so much to recommend this brilliant collection..."
– Mark E. Gallo, BIG CITY RHYTHM & BLUES
"This album is a marvel of roots music, rarely performed with such quality, and, if there is any justice, should be crowned as best traditional album ever made for a long time"
- Erick Tonton, BLUES & CO.
"A romp through a thoroughly enjoyable range of blues, Americana, roots, rock 'n’roll and ragtime, all with a great old-timey vibe. This is just the sort of album that makes you smile the whole way through." (On "Best Blues Albums of 2015 List)
-DOWN AT THE CROSSROADS
"I’ve been a fan of Mr. Vickers for a few years now, and am in the habit of saying “He moves around from rockin’ blues, to jump blues, to ragtime, hitting all points in-between”. And it’s a great sound, one which continues on this latest release...The performances are uniformly excellent, and this is the kind of record that anyone who likes genuine, rootsy music should cock an ear to. There are a host of guest performances, but with Mr. Vickers setting the controls, this is a pure delight."
- Stuart Hamilton, UK ROCKER
Brad Vickers plays good-time traditional blues with authenticity and panache...If your tastes are both eclectic and catholic, this set will delight you!"
–Nick Rainsford, BLUES IN BRITAIN
"If you’ve previously encountered the Brad Vickers & His Vestapolitans band with sheer joy, let’s now take it up a notch. One rarely hears music and songs so relaxed and free. The band plows the roots of the earth, criss-crossing the field completely. Old-timey, folk, blues, and rock ’n’ roll have unexpected encounters with each other while still having the whole palette sitting firmly in line."
- Mikke Nöjd, BLUES IN FINLAND
"It’s really a nice dictionary of American "old time music". The disc is number five for Brad Vickers, a good guitar player who came up in the court of Pinetop Perkins. The sound schemes of this new work unfold among old-time country, jug band music, early jazz, Appalachian music—not to mention the good old New Orleans rock and roll-style. We particularly liked the jazzy "Don’t You Love Your Daddy No Nore?", and "Fightin’ “, a poignant and meaningful gospel."
-Fabrizio Pozzi, FABRADIO
"Wow! This is blues and roots music like it has not been heard in decades..."This disc should garner awards for best traditional album of the year, at the very least..."This is one of those things that will rate high on my list of top picks for the year. Brad Vickers & His Vestapolitans are every bit the real deal. there is nothing contrived or unnatural about what they do at all...you won't find anything like this anywhere else in the blues world. These cats and kittens are the real deal!"
- Bill Wilson, REFLECTIONS IN BLUE
"Each song is better than the last.Regardless of whether it is a blues, ragtime, jazzy number or soul blues, it's obvious to the listener that the musicians sound really great. If you need and assessment of the album, it is a pure ten!"
- Mladen Loncar, SOUNDGUARDIAN
"The music jumps and swings just like an old-time string or jug band, with elements of Django and Grappelli interspersed throughout. The set starts with the only two covers out of the fifteen songs. First up is a poppin’ version of Tampa Red’s “my baby’s gone” song, “Seminole Blues.” Next up is a song Brad learned thru Huddie “Leadbelly” Ledbetter, “Don’t You Love Your Daddy No More.” On this version, Jim Davis’ clarinet and Dave Gross’ mandolin give it a ragtime feel. Speaking of ragtime, both Margey and Charles add fiddle to the “Twenty-First Century Rag,” where “your watch is a computer,” and “you can take a “robotic car” wherever you wanna go!
One of the most powerful cuts on the set is done a capella, save for Dave on percussion. It is “Fightin' , (in the name of the Lord)” a brooding tale of greed and the sordid direction this country seems to be heading, and features some deep gospel shoutin’ from Mikey Junior.
We had three favorites, too. Brad knows his love affair is coming to an end, due to the constant “ringside fights,” because “Everything About You Is Blue.” Margey takes the lead vocal on a jumpin’ little tune about every conceivable ethnic food delight one can imagine, “Mama’s Cookin.” Early in his career, Brad worked with Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry. You can hear that influence in one of the first songs Brad wrote. It’s done as a duet with Margey, but with those fluid guitar lines and punchy sax, all that’s lacking in “Another Lonesome Road” is Nadine in that coffee-colored Cadillac!"
- Don and Sheryl Crow, DON & SHERYL'S BLUES BLOG