The Thirsty Perch Blues Band churns out the blues in its own, inimitable way.
As a result, the award-winning Grand Rapids fivesome has shared stages with the likes of Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Ana Popovic and Joanne Shaw Taylor, sparked a regional buzz with three albums released since 2009, and even earned attention overseas, climbing to No. 5 on a blues chart in the Czech Republic of all places.
It’s just part of the band’s mission to unleash original, contemporary, rockin’ blues.
“We’re really hard to pigeonhole. We don’t want to be like anybody else,” insists chief songwriter, guitarist and singer Chris Collins, who formed Thirsty Perch Blues Band in 2008 with longtime musical collaborator and harmonica whiz Chuck Luscombe. “We have a proprietary sound. It’s really about original music and getting it out there for people to hear.”
Getting its music out to eager audiences has been the band’s principal mission since releasing 2009’s “Meet the Thirsty Perch Blues Band” album, a debut that quickly made a splash by winning a Jammie Award for the region’s best blues album of the year.
Since then, the band has released a live album and 2013’s “City Lights EP,” which features the addition of lead guitarist Andrew Ogrodzinski, a versatile, in-demand player who’s performed regularly with legendary bluesman Donald Kinsey.
“He just took us to a new level and made us a little more certified in the blues
” Collins says of Ogrodzinski. “He’s a very good arranger.”
Recorded and produced at Mackinaw Harvest Music studios in Grand Rapids, the “City Lights EP” represents the Thirsty Perch Blues Band – Collins, Ogrodzinski, Luscombe, drummer George Ferguson and bassist Chris Carr – at its scintillating best: blistering guitar licks, ultra-soulful harmonica strains and songwriting that’s straightforward, heartfelt and rooted in the Midwest.
Indeed, Collins penned the centerpiece title track on napkins in a 23rd floor hotel room in the wee hours of the morning following an anniversary celebration, inspired by the stunning late-night view of downtown Grand Rapids.
That inspiring music has propelled the Thirsty Perch boys to new musical heights, with CD sales spanning the globe and well-received performances of its ferocious blues-rock on big stages in front of thousands. And it’s left them angling for more: expanding their touring well beyond Michigan and working on another full-length studio CD set for release later this year.
It’s a far cry from the musical partnership between Collins and Luscombe that began so many years ago with long nights of cranking out classic rock covers. With an intense desire to find an outlet for his original songs and influenced, in part, by revered bluesman Tommy Castro’s musicianship and stage presence, Collins has spawned an eclectic, muscular blues band with a vibe entirely of its own.
As result, the Thirsty Perch phenomenon has snowballed !