|In order to fulfill his aspirations for this long-awaited sophomore album, southern California guitarist and singer/songwriter, Christopher “Bubba” Clerc, enlisted two of the best kept secrets in the music business, drummer producers, Tony Braunagel and Nick D’Virgilio to bring his dreams to fruition. To quote Braunagel “Drummers make good producers because drummers count everything off, make everything have a pace, make everything have an atmosphere, drive everything forward, and listen more than people think they do.”
Clerc has been leading his powerhouse band for over a decade along with veteran players Jason “JR” Lozano on drums and bass man Doug “Mug” Swanson. Half of the sessions for their debut album of ten original tracks and two choice covers took place on the West Coast at Ultra Tone Studios in Studio City California, where Braunagel has produced many award-winning records, bringing in the Phantom Blues Horns (Joe Sublett on sax) and ace keyboardist Mike Finnigan (R.I.P.). The second half was recorded at the Sweetwater Studios in Fort Wayne Indiana by Nick D’Virgilio; drummer for Tears for Fears for 15 years, Genesis, Peter Gabriel, Spock’s Beard and Big Big Train. D’Virgilio has been voted in the Top 10 progressive rock drummers of all time by readers’ polls in drum magazines. Both drummers played on several of the album’s tracks, meshing their unique voice with Bubba’s talents to build the Big Bad Blues sound that is a mixture of Texas Blues, SoCal Blues Rock, Southern Soul and New Orleans R&B.
A swinging ‘I Want To Make Love To You Baby’ opens the set with soaring horns, crooning vocals, and hot Hammond B3 jabs setting the tone for a blues party. The gritty rocker, ‘Helping Hand,’ is equal parts Deep Purple and Jimi Hendrix in its psychedelic organ and guitar assault. The title track, ‘Drifting,’ is a dramatic production number that highlights Bubba’s depth as a singer songwriter and a classic R&B arrangement from Richard “LaBamba” Rosenberg (Conan O’Brien, Springsteen, Southside Johnny), under the dynamic control of Braunagel. The hard driving blues rocker, ‘Do What’s Right,’ is peppered with SRV flavors and a timely plea for common sense. Bubba dishes the dirt on his ex during the Texas shuffle, ‘She’s Your Problem Now,’ and shows off his considerable guitar skills on the Paul Weller tune ‘Amongst Butterflies,’ as the rhythm section led by D’Virgilio takes the jazzy pop tune on a jam band thrill ride of twists and turns.
The four on the floor ‘Keep Moving On’ is an easy roots rock singalong. Piano man Rick Solem from Dave Alvin’s Guilty Men burns up the 88 keys, while Bubba vents his road rage on the blazing rocker ‘I Own The Road,’ then calls out his crew to party and ‘Lose These Blues.’ The depths of a man’s despair are revealed on the down tempo blues ‘I’ve Been Down,’ and the rowdy Southern Rock ramble, ‘If You Need Me,’ drips with greasy slide guitar. The acoustic driven ballad, ‘My Love,’ pays tribute to a lost loved one for a sparkling finale.
Rick J Bowen
Bubba and the Big Bad Blues is a SoCal based original Blues Rock band influenced by Freddie King, SRV, Allman Bros, The Meters & Gov’t Mule. Bubba’s powerful vocals, impressive guitar work and veteran rhythm section forge an electrifying hybrid of smokin’ Texas Blues, SoCal Blues Rock and New Orleans R&B funk. The band has played Doheny Blues Fest, Julian Blues Fest, Orange County Blues Fest, Taste of Newport, and Taste of Fullerton. Regularly booked at House of Blues in Hollywood, B.B. King’s, Blue Cafe, Harvelle’s & Cozy’s. Finalist in So Cal IBCs, Nominated alongside Walter Trout for “Best Blues Band” by OCMA awards. Opened for Wilson Pickett, Canned Heat, Pat Benatar, Mike Campbell & the Dirty Knobs, The Hollywood Vampires featuring Johnny Depp, Alice Cooper, Steven Tyler, Joe Perry & Marilyn Manson, Bare Naked Ladies, J. Geils & Magic Dick, Walter Trout, Jeff Healey, Joe Louis Walker, Lee Rocker, James Harman, Tinsley Ellis, Tommy Castro, Walter Wolfman Washington, Coco Montoya, Duke Robillard & Rod Piazza just to name a few.
Christopher “Bubba” Clerc – Guitar and Vocals
Bubba grew up in Fullerton, ancestral home of Fender guitars. His mother nicknamed him after Bubba Smith of the 1974 Oakland Raiders. With only his guitar, turntable, and blues records to commune with, the self-taught guitarist and natural soul singer was taken prisoner by the blues at an early age. Bubba has labored long and hard in the SoCal blues scene. Bubba has played with Wilson Pickett, Ike Turner, Colin Hay, Joe Houston, Big Jay McNeely, Roy “Guitar” Gaines, Joe Sample, James Gadson, Gerald Johnson, Terry “Big T” DeRouen and fronted the Cold Hard Facts for Chris Gaffney.
Jason “JR” Lozano – Drums
Jason was born into a musical family from East L.A. and has played the drums since the age of five. His father, a professional bass player bought his first used Ludwig kit so he could practice along with him. Growing up at rehearsals, shows and on tour he was surrounded by great musicians immersed in the blues and was baptized into them. J.R. has toured the world backing up legendary Blues artists such as Boz Skaggs, Los Lobos, Phil Alvin from The Blasters, Kim Wilson, James Harman, Kid Ramos, Smokin’ Joe Kubek, John Juke Logan, and the Reverend Horton Heat.
Doug “Mug” Swanson – Bass
Doug grew up in Venice Beach California, has played with some of the best in the Blues/Rock world. He was the house bass player at Babes & Ricky’s Inn (L.A.’s oldest blues club) 1997-2003. After relocating to Nashville in 2011, he quickly became an in-demand touring/session Bass player. Bassist for 1st Place winner 20TH IBC 2004, Performed at 25th and 27th W.C. Handy Blues Awards, 33rd Annual Blues Music Awards & 3rd Annual All Access Music Awards 2005. Doug has performed with Jackson Browne, Keb’ Mo,’ Paul Oscher, Ry Cooder, Tommy Cash (Johnny’s brother), Anson Funderburgh w/ Sam Myers, Kim Wilson, Dave Alvin, Kenny Neal, Denny Freeman, Jimmy Hall, Curtis Salgado, Junior Watson, Rick Holmstrom, Kirk Fletcher, Kid Ramos & Sugar Ray Rayford.
Sammy Avila – Hammond Organ
Sammy played Hammond Organ and keys for Walter Trout for 18 years. His tasteful tone and solos add a rich quality to the blend of music overall and pulls everything together to fit like a glove. Sammy still occasionally plays with Los Lobos and has played with John Mayall, Charlie Musselwhite, Bernard Allison, Joe Bonamassa, Chris Cain, Eric Gales, and more.