VJ & the New Sound Boogie Band
Valerie Johnson, an earthy lady with unearthly silk and steel vocal cords, who, with brilliant, innovative support from Al B. Blue, makes music that walks right into your heart and shakes hands with your soul.
Born in the Bay Area, Valerie spent eight years polishing her voice as she toured Europe with the Bitburg Gospel Messengers and sang gospel and blues in the Far East. She also sang lead for the band that was made famous with Janis Joplin - Big Brother and the Holding Company.
Often compared to Etta James and Janis Joplin, Valerie is a genuinely original talent with a direct line into the spirit of the blues. She has also sang with the Award winning Blues/Gospel groups the Holmes Brothers and Boogie Woogie Piano Queen Deanna Bogart.
Al B. Blue dishes up hypnotic, funky, driving rhythms on his guitar. Watch out when he pulls out that dobro with his slide. The wonderous sounds will stop you in your tracks. Al B. Blue also a classically trained pianist, and formed a street corner doo-wop group in Camden, N.J.. He and his buds where crooning on the corner for girls. After coming out to California, he picked up the guitar, paid his dues and then started playing major clubs in Los Angeles. Shortly after, he joined BIG BLACK & THE CONGREGATION, an Afro-funk band, then toured the West Coast with CURTIS MAYFIELD. Later, he was offered a position playing with a blues band touring the “Chitlin’ Circuit”. That’s where his blues began and let me tell you - It will never end!!! Yea!!!
Gus Thomasson , is known as "Dr. Bottom" since he holds that bottom end so fine. He is our show-off bass player. He was an original member of the POZO RIVER BOTTOM BAND and has played with me for the last 10 years off and on. Dr. Bottom feels the band revolves around him and the rest of us are just support, well Maybe! He's lots of fun and always a pleasure to have "Dr. Bottom” in the band!.
Raeanna Thomasson aka "Blues Bongo Mama Raeanna". When she gets that beat going, you start a showin' it. Blues Bongo Mama Reaanna. School Superintendent Raeanna came to drumming rather late in life. Discovered by none other than Valerie Johnson who told her never to show up to any place she was playing without her drums Raeanna has blossomed under her tutelage. Perhaps because of her Indian roots Raeanna is one of the rare drummers who actually can keep time. She adds such tasteful rhythm it is actually the root of the new sound boogie band spirit. Besides she’s a wonderful person and fun to play with.
Special Guest Artist Bob Brenman began playing the clarinet when he was 8, and the sax a few years later. He led a dance band in high school, a jazz combo in college, and while living in Eureka, California, played Dixieland Jazz and "oldies" rock and roll for more than 25 years. Since moving to San Luis Obispo 10 years ago, Bob has played jazz with THE NIGHTHAWKS, and swing with THE VIPER SIX, as well as occasional blues with Valerie Johnson. In order to sustain himself, he is also a physician....on the side. Oh Yeah! - We have too much fun!!!!!