Earl Thomas


Thu, Oct 14

He began his career in San Diego, made his European debut at the renowned Montreux Jazz Festival, and is now a legend on the international Blues scene. He is a four time San Diego Music Award winner and his irresistible mix of “Blues, Rock, Soul, Gospel, and Broadway” holds the top spot at blues festivals, concerts, theatres and nightclubs on two continents. Respected and admired by fans and peers alike, he is also an award winning songwriter scoring hits for Etta James, Solomon Burke, Janiva Magness, and most recently Sir Tom Jones, whose outstanding cover of “Git Me Some” has become a Youtube sensation!

Earl Thomas returns to San Diego with The Blues Ambassadors for a special live DVD recording session on the Anthology stage and to celebrate the forthcoming “Introducing The Blues Ambassadors” CD release. Reservations highly recommended.

  • Started out singing Tina Turner songs when he was 6.
  • Eventually recorded a live album with Ike Turner’s last band.
  • Although Thomas is known as a blues singer, his music also includes elements of rock, soul and funk.

Sound Observations From Earl Thomas

by David Moye

Earl Thomas is known for singing the blues, but for the first time in his two-decade career, he’s enjoying a rainbow of flavors.

“I’ve had several bands, but this one is MY band,” he said. “I have a band based on experience, not need.”

Thomas performs with this new band, the Blues Ambassadors, on October 14 as part of Anthology’s Late Night Brews ‘N’ Blues Festival, and while he’s used the band name in the past, only now has the true meaning been personified.

“It’s a truly multi-cultural band,” Thomas said. “We have whites, Indians, Asians, Italians, blacks, creoles. We’ve covered the whole world – at least the whole U.S.”

This is important to Thomas, who first came to international attention while living in San Diego 20 years ago.

“I grew up in a multi-cultural environment. My dad was in the Army. I’m not comfortable around just black people. I like to have a real rainbow coalition,” he said with a laugh.

The way that Thomas ran into his band is something of a blues fairy tale that started out like a tragedy.

“I had an old songwriting partner who, back in the early ‘90s needed my help, but I denied it,” Thomas confessed. “For 15 years, I’ve felt guilt. I could barely sleep some nights.

“I tried to contact him, but he wouldn’t take my calls. Finally, I called him at his home in San Jose and begged him, ‘Just give me 10 minutes.’ Then I drove from Sacramento to his house.”

As soon as Thomas he showed up and, in a move more representative of gospel than the blues, immediately burst into tears and begged for forgiveness.”

“Well, he forgave me,” Thomas said. “And when I was driving back, I drove past a club called the Poor House and heard some blues. I felt good – like I had the weight of 15 years lifted off me – and decided to check out the band.”

What Thomas blew him away.

“The first thing I see is a big fat Indian guy on bass,” he said. “I knew the guitar player and I got on stage and sang with them and we just clicked! I hadn’t felt that good since I played in the late 1980s with the Rhumboogies.”

The difference, he says, comes down to friendship.

“These are cool, balanced good people who love playing good old-fashioned American blues,” he said, adding that the racial mix is key to the sound.

“The way I see it is, 50 percent of the blues is African and 50 percent is the melting pot of America,” he said. “England had slaves, but it didn’t have the blues because you need the blacks, but also the mix of the other cultures.”

Thomas is so high on the Blues Ambassadors that he even brought them to his home town of Pikeville, Tennessee, to meet his family.

However, he is quick to add that, like always, he is still working with other musicians, such as the Kings of Rhythm, the former backing band of Ike Turner.

“We’re working on an album of the Ike and Tina songbook that will be released in England,” he said.

But right now, his focus is on the Blues Ambassadors and the October 14 show, which will be filmed for “Meet The Blues Ambassadors,” a concert DVD that is a companion to his newest CD, which has the same title.

“The concert won’t be completely the same as the album,” he said. “The CD has 13 songs, but we’re doing nine of them as well as covers, such as ‘Hot Legs’ by Rod Stewart, which we’re doing as down home blues, and we’re doing ‘Jet Airliner’ by Steve Miller.”

Thomas is looking forward to the show and, thanks to his new band, the future as well.

“I’ve gotten good playing with strangers, but as far as finding my tribe, my team, I finally have that,” he said.

“…a latterday Otis Redding from Tennessee.” -The London Times

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