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played with most of the young, up coming guitarists,
but Ross just might be one of the best ever."
William Perry lit up and literally burned down the main stage. With his
powerful, passionate guitar work and steadily improving vocals, Ross had
the crowd standing and cheering for more in the middle of his set."
William Perry never fails to impress. The kid is a full package. Great
vocalist, chilling and talented guitarist and an artist that understands
and respects the blues."
only 19, but he sure plays like a seasoned veteran."
kid won't be the next blues prodigy, he already is. He has some amazing
lyrics that tell a great story."
"Perry proved that he is a 'true voodoo chile'. The band epitomized
the blues with fervor, intensity and pure talent."
not-yet-20 virtuoso. His new CD is a fine collection
of licks with excellent vocals."
yet of drinking age, Perry has great road-dog instinct. Anybody who
leads a release with a blasting cover of surf hymn "Pipeline"
knows how to stoke a crowd. Perry's sweat-soaked leads have punk-rock
energy and classic Texas electric blues intensity."
William Perry has done his homework."
Minnesota handle yet another teenage blues-rock
star? Yes, indeed!"
By Kevin Sheedy
Many an aspiring bluesboy stoked his passion by wearing out albums of the masters and sneaking into bars to hear the locals.
Count Ross William Perry among them. But the young guitarist from Minnesota did his peers one better: He raided the library.
After discovering the wonders of blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan, Perry made a shopping list of albums by musicians that Vaughan liked. "Then I went to the library and found a ton of books on the blues, and tried to track it that way," a very youthful-sounding Perry says.
"In school we had study halls. I was never doing homework, I was reading books on music and the blues."
Perry, who will play at the Roadhouse on Saturday with his three-piece band, was primed at an early age to love music. His father owned a bar with live music, but more importantly jam sessions were held at the Perry house starting when Ross was about 3 years old.
A few years later he was given his first guitar.
"I'd go out there in the living room and irritate them, strum my open-strung guitars as loud as I could and not make any music," Perry says with a chuckle.
"For the first couple of years Dad taught me chords, taught me some surf songs. Then when I was about 7, 8, 9, I wanted him to teach me a song. He said, 'You know what I think, it's time for you to learn on your own.' "
Cutting the leash was tough on the young pup. "It really upset me. I didn't realize what he was doing back then, but I eventually figured how to play by ear."
His dad had records from the Rolling Stones, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Booker T. and the MGs. Perry and his buddies were naturally drawn to that music, "but we didn't really know why."
"Then I stumbled upon Stevie Ray Vaughan. I started reading some interviews that he did and found out that the style of music that we really liked and didn't know what to call was called blues music."
Perry, 24, formed his first band when he graduated from high school and has performed mainly in Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin. The gig at the Roadhouse is part of an effort to expand the band's touring base.
Perry has released two albums, 2000's "Live: Blues in Greenville," with a mix of originals and covers such as "Pipeline" and "Superstition," and 2003's "The Move," with all original songs.
"I enjoy writing. It's interesting to give your own perspective,"Perry says, all of a sudden sounding older. "Playing other people's songs is great, but art is about expressing yourself and sometimes you feel like you can do that better playing your own material."
Perry says he struggles with his desire to remain true to the blues yet at the same time expand his horizons.
"I don't want people to think that I forgot my roots. I'm torn between two things because I don't want to keep doing what Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters have done, I want to come up with my own thing. I don't want it to be a final destination."
Kevin Sheedy is torn between the blues, classic cars and OU football. He can be reached at 268-6626 or at
Blues On Stage Profile
Twin Cities' guitar sensation Ross William Perry has been making waves on the blues scene throughout the Midwest for the past 6 years.
Ross’ musical education began at the age of 4 when he got his first guitar. He spent many nights tucked away in the kitchen of his dad's bar listening to the live music in the other room and playing along with the bands. One night when he was 7, one of the bands heard him playing and insisted he join them.
"I reluctantly got up on stage," recalled Ross, "and played 'Pipeline' and 'Walk Don't Run' with them. I'll never forget it, my knees were shaking so much I had to sit down to play."
When Ross got off stage his dad asked him if he was nervous, and he said "yeah." Then he asked Ross if he wanted to do it again, and he replied, "YEAH!" Ross was smitten. At that point he knew that this is what he wanted to do.
Listening to blues music before he even knew what to call it, he knew there was something special about the blues. An early fascination with the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, and the Yardbirds led him to discover the roots of their music. He began listening to Albert King, Freddie King, Albert Collins, T. Bone Walker and Hound Dog Taylor and absorbed their music like a sponge.
Since graduating from High School in 1998 and forming his own band, Ross has been hitting the clubs and touring the Midwest almost non-stop, developing an enthusiastic following along the way.
After joining Debbie Davies on stage one night, she had this to say about Ross – "I’ve played with most of the young, up and coming guitarists, but Ross just might be one of the best ever."
Kidblooze Rocks The
William Perry Band is always rockin’ and turning any venue into an inferno
of smokin’ blues. If you’ve never seen them, you’ve never experienced
thing you will notice about Ross is how this quiet, soft spoken, young man could
possibly feel the blues, or have experienced life to perform the way he does.
When he picks up his strat and cranks his modified ‘64 Super Reverb, you’ll
know where his talent lies. Last month the boys teamed up with Tommy Taylor on
drums – a national recording artist from the heart of
Ross plays several blues standards, some rather unexpected bluesy influenced covers, and several originals. His originals are not only exceptional in terms of his talent and ability, but they also show his strong songwriting skills as well. Ross’ style of play is not only modern and melodic, it also quite technical and skillful. He plays with a unique sense of timing and feel – something that many rock musicians seem to lack. While the band is popular with blues fans, they are not a top 40 or variety band. According to Ross, “we do play a number of private parties and the occasional wedding dance, but we really are a blues band.” If you enjoy music, you’ll be treated to some of the best live music around. If you love the blues, you’ll be back again and again to see the Ross William Perry Band and you’ll go away each time amazed with music these guys create.
the band can be found every weekend entertaining and mesmerizing crowds around
the state. They play at several
Bluesman Ross William Perry
Facing his 24th birthday next month, Ross William Perry has grown from young guitar slinger to seasoned road warrior.
The Minnesota guitarist fired up the beer tent stage at July’s Fox Valley Blues Festival, and he returns to the area Saturday to lead his trio at the Mill Creek Blues Cafe.
“We’ve been traveling quite a bit lately,” Perry said. “We’re just plugging away, trying to promote the new CD. We released our third CD (‘The Move’) in September.”
Perry has been a rising star in the Midwest blues scene since taking to the road in 1998, after graduating from high school.
One of those early gigs had Perry opening for former Albert Collins protege Debbie Davies, who said, “I’ve played with most of the young, up-and-coming guitarists, but Ross just might be one of the best ever.”
He’s heard a lot of that, but Perry remains grounded, keeping his focus on a lifetime of playing music.
“This is how we survive. I can’t imagine what it would be like if I couldn’t play music,” he said.
Perry’s work ethic and strong sense of what’s important to survive as a musician are reflected in the musical partnership of his trio.
“I’m still playing with the same guys,” he said. “We’ve been playing together for a long time now.”
Perry and drummer Scott Schultz have been together for five years.
“I was looking for a drummer and someone told me to call this music instruction school here in Minneapolis, called Music Tech,” Perry said. “One of the teachers recommended Scotty to me so I set up an audition and we clicked right away. It was good to able to hook up with him.”
Perry first met his bass player, Brad Pelkey, as a teenager going to jam sessions.
“I used to sneak into bars at 15, 16,” Perry said. “Brad played in the band that would host an open jam. We always had a good time when I came out to jam.”
Pelkey always had his own things going on, but Perry and Schultz often found themselves without a bass player, so they would call on Pelkey.
“We were clicking so well that I just asked if he wanted to come on full-time,” Perry said. “He’s been playing with me more than two years now.”
Working with musicians with the same goals and level of motivation is key, Perry said.
“You get a form of communication going on stage that everybody kind of senses what everybody else is going to do,” Perry said. “You don’t have to use hand gestures or signs. You just think what you’re going to do and the other guys pick up on it. It’s a great thing.”
As a youngster Perry steeped himself in blues, but he likes to mix it up on stage.
“We might do an original, then a Freddie King song, then a Kenny Burrell song,” he said. “We try not to get in a rut.”
Blues, jazz and rock are all part of his repertoire, and Perry and his band enjoy the challenge of winning over audiences with that mix.
“A lot of people put a stereotype on blues and shut it out,” he said. “I think a lot of people think blues music is moping around in your sorrows. But people can pick up on the vibe that we’re having a good time.
“A lot of people that might not usually dig what blues guys can do, or a three-piece rock band, usually open themselves up to it when you can kind of charge the atmosphere with enjoyment.”