MIKE WHEELER Blues Band with Laretha Weathersby @ BLUE CHICAGO
|MIKE WHEELER BLUES BAND W/ LARETHA WEATHERSBY|
Two calibers of singers exist in today’s music industry. There are vocalists and then there are entertainers. Laretha Weathersby is both. Her dynamic, effervescent stage presence is unparalleled and her sultry, wispy vibrato makes her a Blues natural.
Voted 2009-2010’s “Chicago Blues Diva of the Year,” she belts out traditional Blues classics with passion and poise and delivers riveting renditions of timeless R&B, Soul and Top 40 tunes, all while captivating crowds with her jovial disposition and dynamic dancing. Known for her rousing stage presence, crowd members rarely blink when Laretha hits the stage, fearing they will miss one of her signature dance moves or the chance to chant along with the charismatic chanteuse.
Reigning from the Southside of Chicago, Laretha’s mother, a former Gospel soloist, detected her daughter’s singing abilities and enrolled the toddler in piano classes and encouraged her as a teenager to be an active member of the choir at the family’s place of worship. But it was not until the 1990s that Laretha began to cultivate a personal relationship with Blues music.
Emerging as one of the premiere female Blues vocalists in the City of Chicago in the late 1990s, Laretha has performed at such legendary Blues hotspots as The Kingston Mines, BLUES on Halsted and since 2010 is a spectacular presence here at BLUE CHICAGO.
Her debut album – Dance the Blues Away – is an eclectic mix of traditional Blues infused with remnants of contemporary R&B and Soul. The album reveals Laretha’s reverence for conventional Blues music while flaunting her fluent transition into contemporary R & B and Soul.
According to Ms. Weathersby, “the power of Blues music lies in its ability to relate to each and every member of the human race. People of all different backgrounds can connect with the universal concepts of love, triumph and tribulation, which are the very elements upon which Blues music is based. I consider it an honor and joy to incorporate that human element into my live performances and it is with passion and humility that I accept the honor and challenge of preserving Blues music for future generations.”
Mike Wheeler has a vast knowledge of music and a voice that’s reminiscent of the late Sam Cooke. He can sing and play everything so well that you may forget what the original record even sounds like. From Jazz to Rock, from popular music to Top 40, he slides in and out of musical genres with sophistication, ease and indulgence. Mike Wheeler is a brilliant staple in the Chicago blues community, playing and writing songs for a variety of Chicago artists including, Nellie Tiger Travis, Peaches Staten, Sam Cockrell, Demetria Taylor, Big Ray & Cadillac Dave. Mike was a well known member of Big James &The Chicago Playboys, a notable band in Chicago and recorded five albums with the group. He has travelled the world as an ambassador for Chicago blues music. He’s been to Monaco, France, Switzerland, Spain and Belgium, just to name a few. He’s also shared the stage with the most elite musicians the world has known, including Willie Kent, Koko Taylor, Buddy Guy, B.B. King, George Benson, Jimmy Johnson and Shemekia Copeland. Mike was inducted in the Chicago Blues Hall of Fame in 2014.
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