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Arkansas Bros. Band to play at KASU Bluesday Tuesday

July 28, 2010 -- Three Jonesboro blues-rock-and-roots artists who have played together and in separate bands for almost two decades will entertain the audience at KASU radio station’s next Bluesday Tuesday event Aug. 10 at the Newport Country Club.  The Arkansas Bros. Band is the new name for the trio of Jess Hoggard, Tim Hoggard and Matt Pierce who create the good humor and relaxed feel of a back yard family jam session with guitars, harmonica and vocals.

While drawing deeply from the blues well of Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and Jimmy Reed, the Brothers also serve up Mick Jagger, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams and even a bit of gospel – which isn’t a surprise after learning that Jess and Tim Hoggard are sons of a minister who played rock-and-roll in his earlier days. The trio also performs such original numbers as “Arkansas Boogie” and “The Linwood Motel.”  They have great respect for the music traditions of the Delta, citing Sonny Burgess, Albert King, Frank Frost and Willie Smith among the artists who have influenced them.

Jess Hoggard’s musical résumé includes playing rhythm and lead guitar with Mark Sallings in The Famous Unknowns, the first house band to play at B.B. King’s nightspot in Memphis.  Jess played with the Muddy Waters rhythm section and the Jelly Roll All Stars,  bands that included such musicians as “Fuzz” Jones, Sam Carr and Willie “Big Eye” Smith.

Jess’s younger brother Tim wanted to carve his own niche with the blues harmonica rather than guitar. He listened extensively to recordings of “Little Walter,” the first blues player to amplify the instrument electronically. Tim was also influenced by the work of legendary harmonica player Frank Frost, who was born in the Jackson County community of Auvergne.  Practice paid off as Tim has become one of the few blues harmonica players currently from northeast Arkansas.  Jess and Tim Hoggard have recorded in Clarksdale, Miss., and played at blues festivals in Chicago and Peoria, Ill.

At Jonesboro High School, where Matt Pierce was in a grade a couple of years behind Tim Hoggard, he became friends with both brothers. He calls them his mentors who have shaped   his life   as a musician and music storeowner. Matt is a guitarist for   the Bow-Legged Rooster Band which will play at the 2010 Hot Springs, Arkansas Blues Festival on Labor Day weekend. The Bow-Legged Rooster frequently plays at Odie’s House of Blues and Dinner Club in Hot Springs; Whitewater Tavern in Little Rock; and Z330 in Fayetteville. Pierce has played guitar on two CDs recorded with his brother-in-law Jimbo Mathus, a founding member of the Squirrel Nut Zippers and a well-known roots musician from Oxford, Miss.

The Arkansas Bros. Band will appeal to those who appreciate the earthy acoustic roots of the delta blues music that was such an influence on what became known as “classic rock.”  The trio brings those musical streams together, for example, in a medley combining The Rolling Stones “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” with Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side.”  The next song on the program could randomly be Jimmy Reed’s “Big Boss Man” or Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues.” And as Jess Hoggard says, with emphasis, “All our stage moves come from professional wrestling – we owe a great debt to Jerry Lawler.”

Bluesday Tuesday concerts are presented the second Tuesday of each month at the Newport Country Club by the public radio service of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, KASU 91.9 FM; Arkansas State University-Newport; and C and C Distributors. There is no membership fee or admission charge; however, KASU passes the hat for the band. Music starts at 7 p.m., Aug. 10.

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