Just before the pandemic hit globally, Australia’s hottest act on the blues and roots scene, scored a recording session at the legendary SUN Studio, home to Howlin’ Wolf, B.B.King, Bonnie Raitt, Elvis and more. During a visit to the museum, Tim Neal (keys) sat at Jerry Lee Lewis’ piano and pricked up the ears of the studio engineer who invited the band to record in the hallowed studio. A 5-hour late night session saw the band lay down 12 incredible tracks: blues and soul originals, rare covers and a few golden choices the band had never played before, inspired by the history of the studio that seeded so many pivotal careers. You can even hear in a quiet brooding moment of a spontaneous version of ‘It Hurts me Too’, a ghost walk in and close a door, behind which there was no one.The electricity was alive that night and all was etched to tape.
Proud to be launching the ‘SUN Sessions’ CD and Vinyl at MEMO Music Hall in St Kilda, Friday 26 November, supported by the brilliance of Sarah Carroll. Expect a night of the best in raw and sophisticated blues with the bonus release of a new Video Clip of their single, ‘You Got a Way on You’.
About the band:
From deep within the veins of Melbourne’s music scene, Checkerboard Lounge has become a cult-like underground institution. The brainchild of renowned singer and drummer Carl Pannuzzo, the band has evolved over thirty years; breathing fire, virtuosity and improvisation into classic soul and roots originals.
Mischievous and unyielding, Pannuzzo is joined on stage by master guitarist Shannon Bourne, Hammond virtuoso Tim Neal, and inimitable bassist Amos Sheehan. World-class musicianship, unbridled passion and an almost telepathic ability to create, Checkerboard are a powerhouse to be reckoned with. The spirit of the blues is palpable throughout their performances, all the while with an infectious and raucous sense of play.
From standing ovations at Wangaratta Jazz Festival to crammed inner Melbourne pubs, no two shows are the same. Vibrant and unforgettable, Checkerboard are a tour-de-force demanding honesty, integrity and truthful musicianship; the very essence of a live music experience.
Ever since their famed seven-year residency at the Great Britain Hotel in the early 90s, many budding young musicians have cut their blues teeth with the uncompromising fire of this band’s energy. Checkerboard has inspired the development of some of Australia’s finest musicians and bands (Powderfinger, Dirty Three, Clare Bowditch, Jet, Spoonful/Rocket Science, Kylie Auldist, to name but a few). Checkerboard’s point of difference has always been playing with a myriad of musicians and throwing them into the improvisational hot-seat.
Over the years, band members have included Australia’s best blues exponents, such as Rev. Mick Oâ€™Connor, Ian Collard, Jeff Lang, Broderick Smith, Steve Teacle, Richard Tankard, Andrew Ogburn, Garrett Costigan, Nigel MacLean and Dave Boyle (USA).
Thirty years on, with the band’s strongest ever line up, Checkerboard continues to leave musicians and audiences enthralled by their single-minded creativity.
“You got it boy, it’s in you!” ~ Jimmy Smith
“You could run a small city off these guys” ~ Fiona Boyes
“That’s some real happening blues!” ~ Bob Sedergreen