Interview with Jimmy Voegeli: The Gumbo of The Jimmys: Live full concert video, Photos

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Interview with singer/organist Jimmy Voegeli of The Jimmys – a Blues/R&B band from Madison WI – new album “Gotta Have It” is already turning heads!

How has the Blues and Soul/R&B music influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

In the tumultuous world we live in now, Blues and R&B music is seemingly the only righteous and honest thing happening.

How do you describe your sound and songbook? what touched (emotionally) you from the sound of Hammond/Organ?

The first Hammond I saw, I bought…only knew I wanted one from hearing Reese Wynans first, THEN my world opened up to Jack McDuff, Jimmy Smith, Brian Auger, etc. etc. etc. Our sound is a gumbo of many strains of Blues and R&B from New Orleans Funk to straight up Chicago Blues and everything between.

Which meetings have been the most important experiences for you? What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?

Always love visiting with Billy Flynn, Marcia Ball and Tinsley Ellis, there are always honest with any question I ask. and recently had a wonderful visit or 2 with Rick Estrin. One line I always remember came from my former drummer who is from The Georgia Satellites, “Be nice and professional at all times, the same people you see on the way up, you will see on the way down.”

Are there any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

Still pinch myself from doing an album with Clyde Stubbelfield and Jabo Starks and the experience of having the Hammond set up between the 2 drum sets…scary, yet incredible! I certainly learned he most from recording this album and understanding the genius that is Tony Braunagel. I played on the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise this fall as a solo piano player. I called out to Keb’ Mo who was watching from afar, he reluctantly came up, we sang one of his songs, we ended having a blast and a bunch of laughs!

What do you miss most nowadays from the music of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

I never got to see Albert Collins, Muddy, Howlin’…none of them. I was not “introduced” to the blues yet. But those men…wow, they define so much of where it all comes from for me. Blues is changing in many ways, yet is wonderfully stubborn as well. It needs to evolve to survive, but respecting the roots is paramount. It will be a balance between new and old from now on, since most of the inventors and pioneers have inevitably passed.

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in music paths?

Bide your time, show respect, work hard, be humble, treat EVERYONE with dignity…the exact things taught to me by my family here at our 6th generation Dairy Farm that I work at every day.

What would you say characterizes Wisconsin blues scene in comparison to other local US scenes and circuits?

Our fine state has some incredible talent and hard-working men and women pushing this genre. I see nothing different here, from anywhere else. It’s a family and all are in it together.

What is the impact of Blues and Soul music on the racial, political, and socio-cultural implications?

A tough question. I see artists shy away from each of these issues as to not alienate people. I respect that. I see others grab the bull by the horn and use the Blues as a pulpit for change. I respect that as well…Some days I follow both paths, but I do know that speaking up makes a difference, and when done with honesty and intellect, people will listen.

Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really want to go for a whole day?

For many reasons, I would have loved to have been at Muscle Schoals during sessions especially with The Stones and Skynyrd, Traffic!..even just be a fly on the wall, but the smoke may have killed me.

Interview by Michael Limnios

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