Racky Thomas got his introduction to the blues while attending Berklee College of Music in Boston, Ma. when he saw Stevie Ray Vaughan perform at Northeastern’s Matthews Arena circa 1987. At that time, Thomas was a guitar major without any clear direction or focus. Vaughan’s performance that evening changed that; cementing what was to become an ongoing study of the music, and desire to carry on its great tradition.
Thomas formed a psuedo-blues band with some friends intent on finding work. The band enjoyed landing a few spot gigs at some local venues; and hosting a memorable ‘house party’ that was ultimately broken up by the local constabulary. Discouraged after auditioning for a local club owner who flatly stated “You’se ain’t blues”, the band fizzled.
Upon graduating from Berklee in 1991 Thomas found himself disillusioned; without a band or any prospects. While driving a cab, Mai Cramer’s ‘Blues After Hours’ every Friday and Saturday night on Boston’s public radio station WGBH was Thomas’ oasis for the blues. Thomas caught on with a band calling themselves the ‘Mean Red Spiders’ and played around Boston at venues like the Rathskellar in Kenmore Square and Midway Cafe’ in Jamaica Plain.
Frustrated with keeping a band together, Thomas began exploring the realm of acoustic blues. Taj Mahal, Mississippi John Hurt, Johnny Shines, Robert Johnson and Paul Rishell became huge influences. Around ’95 Thomas teamed up with bassist Todd Carson and guitarist Nick Adams and the nucleus of The Racky Thomas Band was formed. Adams’ T-Bone Walker and West-Coast style brought a whole new element to Thomas’ sphere of influences.
Thomas spent ’96 and the beginning of ’97 in Denmark; honing his solo acoustic repertoire, and performing around Copenhagen, before returning to Boston to take another crack at the american blues scene. Upon returning to Boston the RTB was invited to paricipate in the Boston Battle of the Blues Bands. Truly the ‘dark horse winners’ in ’97 the band traveled to Memphis, TN where despite a strong showing failed to place in the finals.
Having discovered Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson, amd Big Walter Horton among others, Racky has made harmonica and vocals his main emphasis, while still performing the occasional solo gigs as they arise. Racky plans to release a solo cd in the coming year and start work on a band cd for release in 2012.
Stay tuned and thanks for your continued support!
About The Racky Thomas Band
The Racky Thomas Band has been a torchbearer for the blues since its formation in 1995, when Racky Thomas collaborated with bassist Todd Carson, guitarist Nick Adams, and drummer Ted Larkin to make a demo cd, and do some gigs around the Boston area. Thomas spent ’96 and early ’97 abroad before returning to Boston, with the intent of putting the band back together and taking another stab at cracking the blues scene.
After an invitation to enter Boston’s 1997 Battle of The Blues Bands, and the addition of pianist Ron Poster, the band went on to win, and traveled to Memphis to compete on a national level. Failing to make the finals in Memphis, the band traveled home; humbled, yet with a stronger resolve.
Following the departures of Larkin and Poster; the band– in various formations –has forged ahead; releasing four critically acclaimed, independently produced cd’s, including their most recent effort, ‘Hard Travelin’, and making numerous club and festival appearances; opening for such luminaries as Luther ‘Guitar’ Jr. Johnson, Ronnie Earl, and Sue Tedeschi; highlighted by a trip to France in 2010, to perform at the Terri Thouars festival. Moving forward, Thomas plans to release a solo acoustic CD featuring his Delta and country blues influences, as well as make another trip to the studio (or club!) for a live recording. Stay tuned…