Blues Music Magazine

--Here we have something completely
different – in a novel, push-theenvelope
sort of way that’s become a
trademark of Western Massachusettsbased
“Wildcat” Bill O’Halloran and his
fun-loving band of minstrels. Humor is
always part of the equation and the CD
cover alone, with drawings of Muddy,
John Lee Hooker, Johnny Winter, and
a few other classic bluesmen snickering
away at ole Wildcat and his guitar, brings
a smile.cover alone, with drawings of Muddy,
John Lee Hooker, Johnny Winter, and
a few other classic bluesmen snickering
away at ole Wildcat and his guitar, brings
a smile.
The CD consists of 11 nonblues
covers. Unlike his previous CDs,
there are no originals. But these familiar
songs become bluesy in Wildcat’s wild
hands – more or less. We get an obscure
Beatles song, “Dr. Robert”; along with
a sprinkling of Springsteen, Santana,
Sting, and, yes, even an old Jackson
Five song – all sounding different. An
exception is Santana’s “Soul Sacrifice,”
an instrumental which sounds like Carlos’
version and is one of the best songs on
the disc. “Dr. Robert” is turned into a
Delta sound with no trace of Lennon and
McCartney, mainly because of Wildcati's bluesy vocals.   Another favorite is “Don’t Let The Devil Ride,” a Gospel number by the Rev. Oris Mays which features some great harp by Johnny Marino and the always fantastic slide guitar from the ‘Cat. One does hear a slight Boston accent in the refrain “Drive Your Cah” but that just adds to the novelty of this album. Sting’s “Russians” is retooled by O’Halloran into a peppy, up tempo number which includes modern references to ISIS and the Trumpster. His guitar at times evokes Slim Harpo’s staccatos in “Baby, Scratch My Back.” The Marvin Gaye-Tammi Terrell hit, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” brings in some jump blues and nice backup vocals by Wildcat’s daughter, Sarah O’Halloran, along with smooth, fluid sax by Emily Duff, who sparkled on the band’s last CD. Duff scores again on “Mercedes,” based on the 1980s dance hit “Mercedes Boy” by Pebbles which here is smoother, more R&B than disco. The record ends with “Dark Whiskey” which was recorded as a country-bluegrass song by the Steeldrivers, but, like the rest of the songs, is reincarnated into blues by the Wild Man. The concept of up-cycling songs from other genres into blues is interesting. It would certainly be welcome at a party of mixed music tastes – or just for listening pleasure. Either way, Wildcat is always good for superb guitar playing and attention-grabbing creativity.

online

The Wildcat O’Halloran Band offer interesting blues arrangements of familiar songs on That Boy Don’t Play No Blues

Wildcat O’Halloran has come up with an interesting blues album. His That Boy Don’t Play No Blues disc features blues renditions of classic rock, oldies, and R&B numbers. O’Halloran defies expectations in that he has come up with authentic blues renditions of these all so familiar numbers. This isn’t “blues rock” and these players are not dabblers. This is real blues.

The Wildcat O’Halloran Band open this disc with their gritty, guttural version of The Beatles’ “Dr. Robert.” Here, O’Halloran applies his whiskey soaked voice to these timeless lyrics. Vocally, it sounds like someone who’s been singing blues for a long time, leaving no trace of Beatles sweetness. O’Halloran’s crackling lead guitar line is drenched in the Mississippi Delta, all down and dirty, nitty gritty.

“I Wanna Be Where You Are,” written by Arthur Ross and Leon Ware for a very young Michael Jackson in 1972, becomes, in O’Halloran’s hands, a slow, grooving blues number. O’Halloran’s cool, smooth lead vocal and Amy O’Halloran’s backing vocal mesh finely and flow over an easefully paced flinty lead guitar phrase. While there is none of Michael Jackson’s sweet vocalizing or pop sensibility, O’Halloran does find the right feel of this number and turns into something that can hit his listener just right.

O’Halloran goes into Oris Hay’s old soulful number “Don’t Let The Devil Ride” with Johnny Marino leading the way on blues harmonica. Marino’s harp line is loaded with feeling while O’Halloran’s down and dirty guitar phrasing supports the main melody with an extra flank of assertive gristle. O’Halloran’s vocal timbre is more smoothed out here, letting his guitar and Marino’s harp have more breathing space. Their tradeoffs give this rendition a whole new sense of tension.

“In A Million Years,” by Brian Johnson and Manilal Shishora, gets turned into a down tempo acoustic blues tune on this explorative disc. O’Halloran feels this song deeply and puts it across in a way that makes the listener feel it too. His plaintive vocal has a lot of room to breathe in this stripped down version. His tender vocal application carries this message beautifully from beginning to end.

Carlos Santana’s instrumental dandy “Soul Sacrifice” sounds like something a bunch of blues musicians could be jamming on at a weekly blues jam. The percussion loses the original’s Latin rhythms but thickens the peppy groove emanating from the drums and low end. This makes O’Halloran’s take a driving piece of work that keeps the listener very focused on what he’s doing with his guitar phrasing as he pushes it over everything else going on here.

Initially recorded by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” gets turned into an old fashioned, 1940s style blues song by O’Halloran and co-lead vocalist Sarah Halloran. This version has a yesteryear jump jive style that comes to life and rides along Emily Duff’s sweet, flowing saxophone line before O’Halloran’s restless guitar line takes over. Bass player Dave Kenderian and drummer Joe Fitzpatrick move it all along with an understated finesse.

In a strange twist of history, O’Halloran has rearranged Sting’s cold war plea in “Russians.” O’Halloran not only succeeds in recreating Sting’s moody, plaintive ballad into a bopping, grooving blues song complete with jittery guitar line, he keeps the song current by saying he hopes not just the Russians but the North Koreans loves their children too.

“Atlantic City,” a show tune originally composed by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flahery, gets the O’Halloran treatment here. Instead of a song and dance motion, this rendition consists of scratchy guitar chords and a simple blues rhythm section. O’Halloran keeps this one gritty and full, like it’s bursting with the thrill of activity in the Atlantic City he sings of.

One surefire radio hit on this album is “Mercedes.” Based on 1980s dance music artist Pebbles’ “Mercedes Boy,” O’Halloran’s rhythm section conjures an admirable Chicago blues feel, turning the processed groove of the original into a real blues thumper. Saxophonist Emily Duff rides the melody line well as O’Halloran thickens the rhythm with a solid progression and he sparks up the main melodic line with his assertive guitar grinds. He and Sarah Halloran mix it up vocally with sexy trade offs in the suggestive lyrical expressions.

“Dance To The Music,” originally an R&B romp by Sly And The Family Stone, is transformed into another dye in the wool O’Halloran blues piece. The shuffle groove of the rhythm section and the boogie of the higher register instruments, harmony vocals, and the general vibe of this go over well. It’s uncanny how well O’Halloran conjures the essence of the original number while maintaining a blues consistency with his rhythm section and sax player sticking to an old fashioned pattern. Above that groove rides a feisty harmonica and a sweetly harmonized chorus.

O’Halloran and his band close out this interesting blues album with “Dark Whiskey,” a modern country song by Gary Allan played here as a blues guitar drenched number. O’Halloran’s vocal is one of those whiskey soaked timbres that always made blues sound so real. His guitar work and his band’s tasteful groove make this song sound like it was recorded by 1950s Chicago blues musicians.

O’Halloran and his Wildcat O’Halloran Band have come up with a fun and interesting album. One can simply enjoy this as a party album playing in the backdrop of a huge event or one can listen carefully to study how these fine songs from multiple genres have been arranged as solid works of blues. Good stuff.

Living Blues Magazine Feb 2016

"...the seething What Part of Broken Up could be its answer song.B. B. King’s Sweet Little Angel gets a lengthy, leisurely workout, punctuated by crackling fretwork. The title track is a funny, funky roadhouse jam; 
**Ottomatic Slim blows some scalding harp licks here on Take or Leave and on Muddy Waters’ Cross Eyed Cat.
The band brings out the blues in the Jimi Hendrix rocker Can U See Me and the Animals’ version of Misunderstood... 97% amusingly calls out blues musicians who don’t “give it all [they] got”: “You’re why 97% of Americans think the blues suck,” O’Halloran sings, then at the end he hopes that same percentage “don’t think this here song sucks.” He takes a solo turn on Nobody’s Perfect, and his gentle picking and vocals close the album on a quietly optimistic note.
With plenty of good-time grooves to spare, the Wildcat O’Halloran Band’s Midnight Service Call is worth ringing up." 
--Review by Melanie Young, Living Blues Magazine

Blues Matters Magazine (UK)

 "MIDNIGHT SERVICE CALL
Another blues album combining searing guitar work with the lyrics that you would expect about women, love lost, hardship and being misunderstood.
The blues-harp (Ottomatic Slim) is sharp as any alley cat of Cross Eyed Cat and the beat hits a groove that has a menace that reflects the lyrics “leave my girlfriend alone”; entertaining blues that certainly entertains with a vibe that personifies Chicago inspired blues...

Blues Matters...UK

CD REVIEWs:

THE WILDCAT O’HALLORAN BAND

MIDNIGHT SERVICE CALL

Independent

Another blues album combining searing guitar work with the lyrics that you would expect about women, love lost, hardship and being misunderstood. The Wildcat O’Halloran Band have as they say “In a world where only 3% Of Americans actively listen to Blues The Wildcat O’Halloran Band will always answer the call!” They certainly do that with Midnight Service Call and the dozen originals that are in turn funny and poignant. Opening with a driving Rock n Roll inspired track with Emily Duff’s saxophone making its first welcomed appearance this is the perfect way to get the listener engaged with the music. The title track has the added interest of a Katie Wright playing the damsel in distress; making the narrative come alive and again the musicians blend to form the perfect backdrop for the vocals. The blues-harp is sharp as any alley cat of Cross Eyed Cat and the beat hits a groove that has a menace that reflects the lyrics “leave my girlfriend alone”; entertaining blues that certainly entertains with a vibe that personifies Chicago inspired blues. Ending with Nobody’s Perfect another change of tone with an acoustic guitar and a laid back number closing the album with a complete contrast and showing the depth of talent with The Wildcat O’Halloran Band who just want to deliver their style of the blues to you.

Greenfield Recorder

Wildcat O’Halloran auditions for ‘America’s Got Talent’

Local bluesman Wildcat O’Halloran is never one to sit still. This past Saturday, he went to New York City to audition for season 10 of the NBC hit show “America’s Got Talent.”

“During summer, I was on the Big Apple Indie Music Series, which means I get emails from Jon Landers, their director,” said O’Halloran. “He was bragging about how he had been charged with issuing ‘Front of the Line’ passes to the audition, so I told him ‘sure, send me one’ and, to my surprise, they did.”

O’Halloran, who was not allowed to bring his band along for the audition, played the song “Wooly Bully” for the show’s producers. He said it went well but they will not announce the final contestants until January. But don’t worry; he won’t be sitting by the phone waiting for the results as he has far too many gigs coming up. The Wildcat O’Halloran Band will play the Shutesbury Athletic Club on Saturday, Nov. 22 , at 8 p.m. And of course there’s his weekly blues jam held every Sunday at 4 p.m. at Spare Time Northampton and City Sports Grille, 535 Pleasant St., Northampton. O’Halloran is also gearing up for a big Thanksgiving Eve (Nov. 26) show at Spare Time Northampton, which will be a fundraiser for the Western Massachusetts Food Bank. This show will feature some of the area’s leading blues players including Janet Ryan and Ray Chaput, Wally Greaney, Johnny Marino, Ottomatic Slim and Eva Cappelli, as well as some surprise guests. There will also be raffles, door prizes and refreshments, so mark that date on your calendars now. The fun begins at 7 p.m and admission is a suggested donation to the Western Massachusetts Food Bank.

If Wildcat does make it to “America’s Got Talent,” he won’t be the first western Massachusetts musician to strut their stuff on a major network talent show. Shutesbury native Naia Kete was a finalist on the second season of “The Voice” and we can’t forget Amherst resident Michelle Chamuel, who was runner up on fourth season of the same show

Big City Blues Magazine

The Wildcat O'Halloran Band

Party Up in Heaven

 

First of all,you have to be intrigued by any band sporting members with monikers like Wildcat, Jopey, Loverboy, and Dr. Luscious. Then there are the song titles: “Hate Me For A Reason”, “Drownin (Flu Bug)” and “Probably Dead” Oh, did I mention the music?

Ensconced in western Massachusetts, this rough-edged bar band supersedes its genre niche with instrumental expertise and some of the most entertaining songs that I've heard in years; many of these tunes combine the droll wit typified by such blues songwriters as James Harman and Rick Estrin with an underlying emotional poignance.

Take, for instance, “Crossin' Off”. The second cut on the CD, it follows the utempo opener “Rollercoaster”, with it's frustrated lover's lament, “ I don't need an angel...just not a rollercoaster”. Crossin Off is the ensuing slow blues, with an atmosheric organ backdrop reminiscent of Barry Beckett's distinguished laying on Boz Scagg's eponymous soulful album from four decades back. Wildcat sings the blues: “I'm crossin you off the list of people who understand me; problem is: yours was the only name on that list.”

Here's a good question Wildcat poses for all of us: “If they party up in heaven, where the hell are they gonna find a band?” (If it's heaven, there will be music!) Contemplating places to live, he suggests that “life in New England is mostly OK...until the flu bug comes your way.” Here's an area where I agree stongly with Wildcat: when I die “I want six harmonica players on top of my hearse as we drive along”

The usual blues topics-fickle lovers, frustrated love, the beauty of a lover- are augmented by eclectic motifs: the travails of musicians in the cutthroat music business, death, dying, influenza, life in New York City, and “Hate Me For A Reason”, which can be interpreted politically as well as regarding an amatory relationship.

Wildcat Halloran penned nine of the eleven songs and rovides the lead vocals an (presumably) the lead guitar stylings (Liner notes are minimal and there is another guitarist) Estimable support is evident, especially from Jopey Fitzpatrick on drums, Wally Greaney on harp, and Emily Duff on saxophone.

This is a record you can dance to, think about, and chuckle over. Really good stuff—Steve Daniels

Live Music News and Reviews

On Wed, Aug 13, 2014 at 12:43 PM, karen traub <happydancermom@gmail.com wrote:

I’m an all or nothing type of woman so it’s no surprise that when I fell for Wildcat O’halloran, I fell hard. Like a lot of local folks, I was a fan of the Cat back in the days of Northampton’s Sheehans’ but lost track of him after he sold the Dove’s Nest restaurant.  It was my luck to rediscover Wildcat just before a big birthday for me when I was feeling a little down.  I found myself cheered up when he played “Wine Spodee Oddee” and downright uplifted by his “Wooly Bully”.  I have been following the band for several years now and have seen them at all kinds of venues including Theodores, the Shutesbury Athletic Club and the Sunderland Public Library. Wildcat’s recent bluesfest at the Deja Brew in Wendell featured a parade of stars including Wally Greeney, Emily Duff, Dave Boatwright and Wildcat’s sweet-singing daughter Sarah AKA the “Wildkitten”. The event was a benefit for Friends of Wendell and while there were plenty of splendid Wendellites, people came from the hills and as far away as Connecticut for this outdoor event which was lucky to fall on a beautiful summer’s eve. Musically the crowd was satisfied and as always happens at Wildcat shows, the dance floor was rocking from start to finish. Luckily the crowd thinned when the music moved inside out of respect for the neighbors; dancing in the Deja Brew is a little like dancing on a bus. Dave Boatwright, founding member of the Equalites knows his way around the blues and started things off with some sweet sounds neatly backed by Wildcat’s rhythm section of Dave Kendarian and the one and only Billy “the Clock” Klock. Wendell local Perry “Danger Boy” Howarth smoked it with his back porch sound and up-and-comer Buddy McEarns was an instant crowd pleaser. I am pretty critical and don’t think a band should play a cover unless they can do it justice. When Wildcat plays Hendrix I can imagine the old dead blues guys standing around in heaven or wherever they are saying “holy shit, that boy can play”. When Wildcat plays a song like “Cross to Bear”, he stays true to the original but there’s no mistaking his one of a kind style.  Speaking of originals, Wildcat’s latest record “Party up in Heaven” is his best yet. Clever, biting and insightful lyrics combine with virtuositous musicality to offer an over the counter depression cure to rival Prozac.. With catchy songs like “Everything that I Do” and love ballads like “Crossin’ Off”  Wildcat shows he can be fierce and tender. His songs like “Roller Coaster” speak to our human condition while ”Party up in Heaven”, the title track pretty much describes the Wildcat experience.

Living Blues Magazine

 

Massachusetts-based Wildcat O'halloran specializes in Blues with personality on Party Up In Heaven, his first release since 2011's Drinkin With The Harp Girls. Whereas many songwriters would choose the more cryptic, double entendre route, O'Halloran says exactly what's on his mind. What sets him apart from countless 12-bar rehashesbis his attention to the lyrical content of his music; he's more a song-oriented artist with a slant toward the playfully snide.

The Bo Diddley beat of Rollercoaster kicks off the album in a jocular spirit, with O'Halloran complaining “One day we're makin' wedding plans, and the next day she's callingme a dirty old man” The revved-up party drive of Lil Ed immediately comes to mind here. The title track asks : “If they party up in heaven, where in hell they gonna find a band?” amid a lively round of rock and roll chaos, with the facetious good-natured lechery of St. Peter told from a third person perspective.

Gypsy Deadend Track takes to the back porch with an acoustic blues ramble, O'Halloran musing how folks like James Brown might be begging his baby “Please, Please, Please” while Howlin' Wolf might suggest she needs a “backdoor man”. The track's borderline spoken-word storytelling is a hoot yet retains an earnest sense of Delta Blues decorum. Everything I Do is a light funk shuffle that features guest vocals by “guest angel” Rae Griffiths, in a sort of “he said/ she said' dialogue; Griffiths hilariously prods “You're 50 years old, and can't even hang up a towel” before O'Halloran's slippery yet soulful slide kicks in.

On these good-time blues, played with a sharp wit and an even sharper tongue, Wildcat O'Halloran takes the genre into dangerously disrespectful territory, simultaneously knocking it down a peg and raising it back up to new creative heights

The Noise-Boston

WILDCAT O’HALLORAN

Party Up In Heaven  

11 tracks

Wildcat is from Western Mass., but from the sound of his new release, he is certainly turbulent everywhere he goes.

First off, he reminds me a bit of Elvin Bishop in the way that he is an excellent guitarist and he is also a showman; his tunes all have a lesson and he enjoys giving it to the audience.  In this sense, he is also more rhythm and blues then just blues, and the nine original songs and two covers here prove to me that these cats must be one helluva bar band. I love the rocking title cut with the cool harp. I like the funky guitar on the final track, “N.Y., I’m Home,” written by NYC songstress and the voice of Mass. company Dunkin’ Donuts (!!!) Cassandra Kubinski. “Probably Dead” is also a favorite of mine, with its funny and casual lyrics, and a great uptempo R&B barroom feel to it.  “Gypsy Deadend Track” has a slower tempo but also has great guitar and a hot harp. After hearing this new release, I just want to see Wildcat O’Halloran and his band live. This is not your father’s blues, for sure. Good stuff!    (A.J. Wachtel)

Greenfield Recorder

Sounds Local

 

By Sheryl Hunter

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 
(Published in print: Thursday, May 16, 2013)

“Hate me for a reason
Not just for who I am
Hate me for a reason

Not because it fits your plan
Don’t point your finger at me
Don’t tell me I’m to blame
Take some time — try to 
understand.”

— Trevor Sewell

 

Hate Me for a Reason” is a new song that the Sunderland-based Wildcat O’Halloran Band is currently working on with musician Trevor Sewell, an award-winning songwriter who is also from Sunderland. Sunderland, England, that is.

How bluesman William “Wildcat” O’Halloran of Sunderland, Mass., connected with bluesman Trevor Sewell of Sunderland, England, is really a tale of modern technology.

Both musicians were slated to appear on Les Young’s Internet radio show, “Wall to Wall Blues,” and as they awaited their appearance, they struck up a friendly conversation via instant messaging.

“It’s tough when you become friends and you haven’t heard their music and you just hope it’s not horrible,” recalled the O’Halloran about his introduction to Sewell. “But then I heard the song and it’s really good and I knew I wanted my band to learn it.”

“Hate Me for a Reason,” which is a song about intolerance, was nominated for best song at the 2012 British Blues Awards.

The Wildcat O’Halloran Band recently recorded the song and has now sent it to Sewell and he will add his parts to it. In the meantime, the Sunderland connection between the two musicians has gained some notice, particularly on the other side of the Atlantic.

“Trevor and I were interviewed on Sky TV in the UK. They just can’t get over that there is another Sunderland, their town is a kind of grimy factory town and they can’t believe our Sunderland is this pastoral place.”

O’Halloran is anxious to hear how Sewell responds to his version of the song.

“I changed it slightly, to be a little more rocking, so we’ll see what Trevor does,” he said. “He has that stinging Stratocaster guitar sound, kind of like Robert Cray, while I play more distorted, more like Albert King.”

Hopefully, Sewell, who has toured on the West Coast, will be able to make it to New England at some point so the two musicians can actually meet and play together. Once the song is completed, the details on when and how to release it will be determined.

The Wildcat O’Halloran Band closes out the 2013 winter season of the Wendell Full Moon Coffeehouse with a show on Saturday, May 18, at 7:30. The night will open with an open mic. Partial proceeds from this show will benefit the Young Entrepreneurs Society.

For this show, The O’Halloran Band will consist of Joe Fitzpatrick on drums, Matt “Loverboy” McManamon on bass, Wally “Sweet Daddy” Greaney on harp, Emily Duff of the Raft on saxophone and his daughter Sarah “Wildkitten” O’Halloran singing backing vocals.

Considering the band’s longevity, it’s hard to believe that this show marks the first time that it has performed at the long-running Full Moon Coffeehouse.

“We’ve talked about it for years and now we are finally doing it,” O’Halloran said.

When it comes to the blues, O’Halloran has been delighting area audiences for over 25 years; he’s even been called the Pioneer Valley’s answer to Stevie Ray Vaughn. O’Halloran and his band have opened for artists like Gregg Allman, Bo Diddley, John Mayall, Albert Collins, James Cotton and a host of other blues legends.

In the mid-2000s, he stepped back from music to concentrate on running his restaurant, The Dove’s Nest in Sunderland. At a 2010 benefit concert held at the Harp in Sunderland, he met up with young guitar prodigy, Nate “Lightning Boy” Dana, who inspired him to form a new band and before he knew it, O’Halloran was off and at it again. This second wave of his career has really seen O’Halloran injecting plenty of energy and fun into his guitar-driven brand of the blues.

The Wildcat O’Halloran Band frequently performs at area venues like The Harp, Deja Brew, the Shutesberry Athletic Club, The Iron Horse Music Hall and many others. The band has released three CDs since 2010 with the most recent being last year’s “Cougar Bait Blues.”

The disc is full of blistering guitar work, O’Halloran’s gravely, expressive vocals and lyrics that are outright funny. With songs like “I Worship the Ground She Walks All Over Me On” and “Xmas Divorce,” alongside some choice covers, “Cougar Bait Blues” is the perfect soundtrack for a good time.

O’Halloran admitted that he has taken some flak from purists who don’t support his less-than-traditional approach to the blues.

“I was listening to a James Cotton interview where he said we have watered down the blues to make them mainstream. I understand that concern, but I’m afraid the cure can be worse than the disease. When we start excluding new elements and drawing these lines that we aren’t supposed to color out of, that’s self-defeating. I guess I’d rather be fun at a party.”

It will be fun when The Wildcat O’Halloran Band takes the stage at the Wendell Full Moon Coffeehouse as he promises “the ultimate show I can provide.”

The Wendell Full Moon Coffeehouse is located in Old Town Hall in the center of Wendell. Admission is by sliding scale $6 to $15. Shows are all ages and general admission. For more information visit www.wendellfullmoon.orgor call 978-544-5557.

You can also catch Wildcat O’Halloran every Sunday from 4 to 8 p.m. when he hosts a blues jam at City Sports Grille, 525 Pleasant St. (inside of Spare Time Family Fun Center), Northampton. This event is free.

www.wildcatohalloran.com

BMan's Blue Blog

Friday, February 7, 2014

Wildcat O'Halloran - Party Up In Heaven - New Release review

I just received the newest release, Party Up In Heaven, from Wildcat O'Halloran and it's a full blown party. Opening with Rollercoaster, an uptempo rocker, stinging guitar riffs from O'Halloran and Devin Griffiths and smooth sax work from Emily Duffy ride nice on the roller coaster of drums and bass of Jopey Fitzpatrick and Loverboy McManamon. Crossin Off is up next in pure ballad format with Paul Provost on keys. This is the kind of track that you would often see Gary Moore pack full of guitar riffs and Wildcat is hot on his tail. Very clean! A rock'n'roll style track, title track, Party Up In Heaven, is up next sounding like a Little Richard track with vintage guitar riffs. Cait Squires and Emmalyn Hicks add background vocals and rolling keys by Provost. Gypsy Deadend Track is a slower acoustic style blues featuring primarily vocals of O'Halloran and harp work from Wally Greaney. Drownin (Flu Bug) has a sixties boogaloo/blues style. Nick Borges is featured on trumpet on this track for a tight solo. O'Halloran steps up with a few more real nice solos on guitar. Everything I Do has a cool R&B feel and a nice slide solo. Hate Me For A Reason has a bit of a English blues/rock flavor with sassy sax work by Duff. Nice guitar and sax riff exchanges in this track set it aside. Livin By My Wits has a Latin rhythm with strong tom tom work from Fitzpatrick. One of the most entertaining guitar solos of the release is found here with a free flowing guitar lead taking the melody. Duff also steps up for her own whack at the pinata and really does a nice job! Probably Dead is a quiet acoustic blues with harp by Wally Greaney. A light Dan Hicks kinda of tune. Nice! Fell From Heaven has a 60's "rock" rhythm by Fitzpatrick and with warm sax feeling and cool guitar riffs and Greany on harp. N.Y. I'm Home has a cocky Lynyrd Skynyrd feel with spanky guitar riffs and a catchy Huey Lewis kind of melody. This is a fun release and one that is quite entertaining.

MassLive...online version of Springfield Republican

 Wildcat O’Halloran Band “Still Playing that Damn Guitar” – This disc gets the nod for best “live” CD, with ambient club noise augmenting covers like “One Way Out,” “Born In Chicago,” and “Wooly Bully,” along with original fare like “If God Can Make That, No Wonder He’s In Charge.” The CD features a guest appearance from former Roomful of Blues drummer Ephraim Lowell. For more information visit wildcatohalloran.com

Blues Matters, UK

WILDCAT O'HALLORAN BAND

Cougar Bait Blues

Dove's Nest

New York City born though for many years Massachusetts based, Wildcat doesn't take himself too seriously but lays down fine, fun-filled blues that hit the spot. He picks his musicians to match the track - there is some fine horn work here occasionally. Overall, his sound is loud and tough - he's definitely an alumnus of the growling school of blues vocalists - and his guitar playing impressive enough for him to turn in an excellent rendition of Magic Sam's 'All Your Fault'. Although he also covers Sam & Dave's 'Hold On, I'm Coming' as a nicely rocking roadhouse blues, James Hunter's 'Better Luck Next Time' (an inspired choice) and Robert Johnson's 'Come On In My Kitchen' as an acoustic duet, he comes across even better on his own original numbers - try the title track, 'If You Won't Do What I Want' (love the banter on this!), the blues-rock riffing 'Redneck Woman' or in fact, just pick any track at random. There are few bands who make you smile (or even laugh), get your feet moving and still leave you feeling like you've had a damn good blues experience - Wildcat and his crew most definitely do.

Norman Darwen

mixalis site, Greece

New Yorker Wildcat O'Halloran talks about Bo Diddley, Albert Collins, New England's scene and his band

"Blues helps us deal with the ups and downs of life...well, ain't that kind of like what a religion does?"

Wildcat O' Halloran: NY Bluezism

Hottest guitar-driven high-energy blues band ever to come out of Western Mass. UMASS area faves for over 25 years, with new lineup. Following up with new CD, "Cougar Bait Blues" on heels of successful (8th) album "The Blues Ain't Dead...Just reloading". Have opened for just about every major touring Blues legend to perform in NY area, including: Gregg Allman, Bo Diddley, John Mayall, Canned Heat, The Stray Cats, John Lee Hooker, Albert Collins, James Cotton, Charlie Musslewhite, Jay Geils and Magic Dick, Roomful of Blues, and many more.

 

 

The Valley Advocate called the New York City-born William "Wildcat" Halloran: "The Valley's answer to Stevie Ray Vaughn", The Hamp Gazette said he "inevitably fills the dance floor", but the best compliment came from the late (Grammy winning drummer) Ken Johnson, who opined, "He must've gone to a different music school than the other white boys!". The new band features twin guitars, many guest performers, especially the Harp Girl Singers, featuring the dynamic Caitlin Squires for an occasional Janis/Aretha change of pace, and includes Allman/Clapton/SRV/Hendrix covers along with the dirtiest blues ever to hit New England. Wildcat won Honorable Mention in the Billboard Int'l Songwriting Contest (as well as runner-up "Best Song in the World") and was called " As good a blues lyricist as I've heard...and I'm a Blues Fan!" by the president of L.A. Songwriter's Showcase, John Braheny, and "Innovative without being disrespectful: traditional without being moldy" by Living Blues Magazine. The cats rock the house everywhere they go!!

 

Interview by Michael Limnios

 

What do you learn about yourself from the blues and what does the blues mean to you?

That Mind, Body and Spirit can work together.  Blues are not about sadness, but rather about a realistic approach to life

 

In what age did you play your first gig and how was it like? 

First gig was at Cathedral High School, Springfield, MA. 1968 ... that's a while ago, but played Cream songs (some of which were blues), no bass player...some girls impressed, some wanted Young Rascals tunes

 

 

What experiences in your life make you a GOOD BLUESMAN and SONGWRITER?

I've been a hard-working rascal, owned a restaurant, did a lot of hard physical labor, and rode the showbiz roller coaster as well. Seen a lot of harsh realities, but also got to play with a lot of blues legends and absorb their experiences

 

How do you get inspiration for your songs and is it easier to write and play the blues as you get older? 

Much easier now...I like to start with a title that suggests a story...like "I second that emotion" or my "Too Big To Cry, So I Might As Well Laugh"

 

How do you describe Wildcat O' Halloran sound and progress and what characterize your music philosophy? 

If we want blues to be as exciting and sexy for young people who were raised on Eddie Van Halen and rap as it was when we first heard it, we're gonna have to ramp up the energy...."put a little energy behind the truth". Our sound is brash, over-the-top at times, and high-energy all the time, even in the slow numbers...if we do an acoustic ballad like "Come In My Kitchen", the audience is shocked...but then we come back even harder on the next tune!

 

Tell me about the beginning of band. How did you get together and where did it start? 

This incarnation of the band started when the staff of the Harp, which included my wife, lured me out of retirement for a benefit show, where I met the young Nathan "Lightning Boy" Dana...I don't usually like young guitar players, but Nate and I hit it off and were soon playing gigs together

 

 

What was the best moment of your career, and the worst? 

We just won our local paper's Grand Band Slam, which, while not that important in the big scheme of things, is a computer- based voting thing usually dominated by Young people...so we must be reaching them! And Living Blues called me "one of the most entertaining songwriters nin contemporary blues"… although acting as Bo Diddley's band was a great honor, Bo spent most of the show yelling at our drummer, who quit shortly after.

 

Are there any memories from Albert Collins, which you’d like to share with us?

Well, when we played with Albert Collins, Johnny B. Gayden suggested we use his bass amp (which seemed fortunate since the little blond girl Lari Ann Albano, who was playing bass had forgotten hers)....his amp had an effect pedal sitting on top, and midway through our set it fell off...and unplugged.  We were playing Good Golly Miss Molly at the time, and I've heard a recording of the show, which sounds like we were doing the drums only part (From the early morning etc.) in the middle of the guitar solo.

Lari Ann had been taught that the bass player must never stop playing (apparently she didn't know that continuing to play while unplugged didn't really count....I mentioned that she was a pretty little blond girl, right?) Johnny B Gayden, meanwhile, makes his way through the crowd, and plugs her back in...right on the one of the first measure of a verse, thus making the audience think we did this on purpose!

Improvising in the face of life's problems (with perfect timing and no panic)...hey, that's what the blues are all about!...I remember too that the Collins band looked at me really skeptically on arrival....slowly I realized that my guitar was the same Fender telecaster modified with a Gibson Humbucker pickup that Albert used....they thought I was an Albert Collins imitator!

 

 

What is the “feeling” you miss most nowadays from the old days of Blues? 

Some of my contemporaries are just going through the motions with the tried and true old chestnuts (Help Me, Stormy Monday)….where's the excitement? Those were great songs, but...ya got anything new? Wake up, and the audience will respond!

 

How has the music business changed over the years since you first started in music?

Hasn't changed at all....clubs are still paying what they paid in 1968....just a little joke....actually, kids want to rip music for free, and you're competing with every record ever made (including "new" records by dead guys!)...but you can reach out over computer to people who like your type of music who would never have heard it in the old days (in Greece, maybe even)….and recording quality is so much better....and live shows....welll....they're the same as ever

 

What advice would you give to aspiring musicians thinking of pursuing a career in the craft? 

Open shows, put your best out there and figure out WHY the headliner does what they do (and probably CRUSHES YOU!)  Guitar players: the guitar has a volume knob...it is not glued to "all the way up". Play with people you like, there's gonna be too many ups and downs to work around jerks for very long....and minimize use of substances, they make the ups and downs of showbiz even more drastic (and a lot harder to figure out). And when you get that attention you've been striving for....make sure you have something worthwhile to Say!!

 

Why did you think that the Blues music and Blues lyrics (poetry) continues to generate such a devoted following? 

Blues will reach across cultural and any other kind of lines...I think the human heartbeat responds instinctively to it's pulse, and it contains thousands of years of collected wisdom (don't be fattening frogs for Snakes!... you've got a nice little car, but too many drivers at the wheel)...you don't have to be from the South, or a former sharecropper for those things to reach you....they reached out and grabbed me a long time ago...and I haven't shaken off those feelings yet!

 

Are there any memories from the road with the Blues and the band, which you’d like to share with us?

Played up in Canada in front of 5,000 screaming (mostly French-speaking) Quebec-ites...told the band "This is America's gift to the world"...then went out and sat in with local Quebec musicians (Who now thought we were some kind of demi-gods)….and I remember they had a Port-o-Potty labelled..."Artistes"

 

What is the best advice a bluesman ever gave you? 

John Lee Hooker told us "I Know Robert Johnson better blues singer than me....but he dead" ...can't be intimidated by greats of the past.....you...have to keep this music alive

 

Make an account for current realities of the case of the local blues scene and what characterize the local sound?

The local blues scene near us is somewhat troubled...we're near UMASS, which means we tend to have audiences that are young, pretty, but not lifelong blues fans (Worcester, Mass. by contrast has actual Blues Fanatics, who tend to be older)...we work pretty hard to interest the kids....some of our contemporaries just make Blues boring, in my opinion

 

What the difference and similarity between the BLUES, FUNK, SOUL and ROCK feeling?

If you're not blending some Funk, Soul and Rock into your blues today, you're making yourself a dinosaur...but blues is more personal, uses interlocking musical parts (as does funk), lots of bent vocal notes and melisma (like soul). Rock guys are usually not reacting to other players as much, and tend to exaggerate stuff (Guitar vibrato, for example)

 

What are some of the most memorable gigs and jams you've had? Which memory makes you smile?  

Seeing the twenty-something Harp Girls always makes me smile, especially when they're singing along to a song I wrote!  Playing to a packed house with Gregg Allman or Bo Diddley was terrific....doing sound for Muddy Waters and the Wolfgang.... having James Cotton swipe hot dogs from the club's steamer and give them to us  "I seen what they're paying you and I thought you could use a little help", he said.

 

From whom have you have learned the most secrets about the blues? 

The Harp Girls....no, not really... Kenny Johnson, longtime drummer for James Cotton and Kenny Neal, lived in our area for a while, and his constant drive to keep blues arrangements fresh was a revelation for me. And it didn't hurt that I was opening act (or sometimes backing band) for a long list of blues legends (including Greg Allman, Bo Diddley, John Mayall, The Stray Cats, John Lee Hooker, Canned Heat, J. Geils, Son Seals, Charlie Musselwhite, Matt Murphy, Roomfull of Blues, Coco Montoya etc.)

 

Some music styles can be fads but the blues is always with us. Why do think that is? Give one wish for the BLUES 

Blues helps us deal with the ups and downs of life....well, ain't that kind of like what a religion does? My one wish is that young people carry the music forward

 

How do you describe your contact to people when on stage? 

After all this time I still look at the guitar too much, but when guys are bring their new girlfriends to our shows ("cause their OLD girlfriend used to get so excited at our shows)...I think we're having the proper effect

 

What is your music DREAM? Happiness is……

Find a way to incorporate ALL my friends who are great players onto my next record

 

The Wildcat O'Halloran Band - Website

 

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BADGE

Valley Advocate, 10/3/12

The Wildcat O'Halloran Band

Cougar Bait Blues

(Dove's Nest)

Putting in Cougar Bait Blues is like transporting yourself directly to a New England summer barbecue. Its fun, unpolished sound is unpretentious and speaks to simple days and warm nights. Wildcat O'Halloran's vocals are gravelly and marked by a distinct Americana twang. " If You Don't Do What I Want" is a funky love song duet in which Emmalyn Hicks' silky, soulful voice balances out Wildcat's sandpaper gruffness. The album as a whole has an old-timey, trucker-blues feel, and "Come In My Kitchen" pays homage to the blues ballad with its clear acoustic sound. Wildcat and Emmalyn make a great duo, and dish out true blue American sounds without taking themselves too seriously. Cougar Bait Blues may not win you any music geek credit with your friends, but few would complain about its upbeat guitar riffs and perky drums at an outdoor party.

—Kathleen Broadhurst

B'man's

Doves Nest Records artist; Wildcat O'Halloran Band - Cougar Bait Blues - New Release Review


I have been listening to the new release, Cougar Bait Blues, by the Wildcat O'Halloran Band. This recording has a little bit of something for everyone. First the band is fully loaded with 13 musicians playing drums, horns, guitars and vocals. The recording opens with Too Big To Cry So I Might As Well Laugh, a country rock style track twisted with humor. Bottled Bravery and Canned Courage is a real cool horn track right out of New Orleans. If You Won't Do What I Want gets the funk line going with solid vocals and a slick guitar solo for a very entertaining track. Magic Sam's All Your Fault takes a traditional blues line and the horns take the backseat to a more traditional stripped down blues sound. There are particularly nice sax and guitar solos on this track as well. The title track, Cougar Bait Blues, finds a two guitar solo exchange which is pretty tasty. Sam and Dave's Hold On, I'm Coming gets a more traditional blues/rock run (as opposed to the R&B treatment as original) turning to a fairly nice vocal duet and featuring some smart harp work. Better Luck Next Time finds another trip to New Orleans but this time with more of the NO R&B sound. The track does nicely feature the musicians including guitar and horns. Come In My Kitchen is done acoustically with guitar and vocal duet. A very nice rendition of thie Robert Johnson track. Redneck Woman hits the blues rock sound head on making for a cool crowd pleaser and an opportunity to get that harp back out front again. Daisy Dukes is another blues rock track featuring again some pretty nice guitar work and solid backing from the band. The final track, I Worship The Ground She Walks All Over Me On, again shows O'Halloran's sense of humor and ability to blend great musicianship with crafty lyrics.

This is an interesting recording and one that anyone who likes a variety of blues styles as well as humour in their blues should check out.

Living Blues Magazine

 

LIVING BLUES MAGAZINE, AUG. 2012

 

 

It sure seems like the folks in the Wildcat O'Halloran Band are having a great time on Cougar Bait Blues, the latest release from Massachusetts-based guitarist William “Wildcat” O'Halloran. That's a good thing, because the first inclination when perusing the disc is to dismiss the collection as merely a goof. E hokey lyrics and song titles are sometimes groan-inducing. O'Halloran's vocals can be flat, though they often benefit from an outstanding group of backup singers called the Harp Singers. Wildcat's stage persona that infuses the songs with back and forth dialogues with the backup singers, doesn't necessarily translate from stage to disc.

However, at its core, this band and this album are about good times and Cougar Bait Blues ends up being irrestible because the grooves are so damn infectious and the guitar playing so strong. You might cringe when you sing along to Daisy Dukes, but you'll find yourself doing it nonetheless.

And once you latch on to the shtick and the humor, you find numerous highlights that creep up on you and engage your hips and your funny bone, if not your heart. The band harnesses a funky shuffle on If You Won't Do What I Want that benefits greatly from the Harp Singers and blistering guitar work from Wildcat. The harp-fueled opening number Too Big To Cry, So I Might As Well Laugh is, like most tracks, imbued with humor and a propulsive rhythm. Bottled Bravery And Canned Courage effectively apes a Professor Longhair riff that is boosted terrifically by the horn section and a stellar trumpet and sax solos.

Hold On I'm Comin', the highlight of the collection, features more harp-fuled thrust and is also aided by co-vocals. To boot, it features Wildcat's most explosive guitar solo. Redneck Woman (an original, not to be confused with the Gretchen Wilson country hit) is a bluesy romp. And for a complete change of pace, a gratifyingly played acoustic rendition of Come In My Kitchen provides a respite from all the guffawing and gyrating. In short, Cougar Bait Blues is a fun record that can make you dance and make you laugh, if you let it. -Tom Speed

Oct. 2011 Living Blues Magazine


Living Blues Loves Harp Girls!!  [- Hide]
Living Blues Magazine, Oct. 2011
Judging by the disc's cover photography--grinning band members with drinks in hand--you know the music inside's bound to be a great time.This is one album you can judge by its cover because the Massachusetts-based Wildcat O'Halloran Band is primed for a party.  Led by Wildcat himself on guitar and vocals, the band offers jocular lyrics and refined instrumental anarchy.  This is party music for Blues lovers, and the band does not relent for a second throughout the ten infectious tracks on Drinkin' With The Harp Girls.  
    The album features mostly well-arranged original material written by Wildcat O'Halloran, and the band is loose, with tracks like Love On The Telephone, on which Wildcat engages in tongue-in-cheek telephone conversations with would-be flings over the playful funk.  If God Can Make That,( No Wonder He's In Charge) continues the lyrical whimsy with lines like "when God made you, He must've bragged for days".  The Harp Girls add to the fun when Caitlin "Harp Sister #1" Squires contributes a smart-mouthed lead vocal on a cover of Hound Dog, the track given an almost pseudo Latin rhythm treatment, while Wildcat chimes in "You've got a hound dog, but what you need is a real Wildcat".
    Elsewhere, The Slumberland stomp is a standout, featuring a tandem guitar/harmonica lead riff and thundering bass pocket.  The instrumental track showcases Wildcat stinging solo guitar passages and the burning harp of Johnny "Magic" Marino.  Drama finds the band digging a deep blues well, evoking the best of a hole-in-the-wall Chicago club, while Wildcat's zany life observations run wild in the anti-fabrication anthem Put Some Energy Behind the Truth. 
    Wildcat O'Halloran emerges as one of the most entertaining songwriters in contemporary blues, with a merciless wit and wordplay to keep the listener on their toes.  The word "dull" not in their vocabulary, this band has a good time stamped on their foreheads--Mark Uricheck

Boston Blues Society page

Wildcat O'Halloran Band 
Drinkin’ With the Harp Girls

self-published

By Lady K
August 2011

The title alone is enough to make the average, curious blues lover want to listen to this CD and find out what’s what. AND – good news: the music is as much fun as the title. Wildcat O’Halloran is out of New England – the Boston area, to be precise, and has been “keeping the blues flame burning in the UMASS 5 College area” for twenty-plus years. Wildcat (vocals and guitar) collaborated with many folks (all with nicknames), to get this music done: Nate “Lightning Boy” Dana (guitar), Matt “Loverboy” McManamon (bass), Gilbert May (drums), Joe “Jopey” Fitzpatrick (drums on tracks 2 and 8), Johnny “Magic” Marino (harp on tracks 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8), and Matt “The Fixer” Ingellis (harp on tracks 1 and 4). Oh, and there actually ARE Harp Girls, contributing vocals: Caitlin “Harp Sister #1” Squires, Sara “Sister Wildkitten” O’Halloran, Emma Lynn “Sister One-take Wonder,” and evidently one Harp Boy (Mark Snow on track 10 vocals).

There are 10 tracks on Drinkin’ with the Harp Girls (did Lady K mention that she loves the disc title?): 8 are Wildcat originals, with 2 covers: “You Don’t Miss Your Water,” by William Bell; “Hound Dog,” by Leiber and Stoller. Yep, THAT “Hound Dog”; this time it’s mostly a duet featuring Wildcat and Harp Sister #1; but HS#1 has the lead-in, and seriously? The tune makes much more sense when sung by a woman (sorry, Elvis).

“Crunch Time” is quick-tempo rockin’ blues number, and is an eye-opener – we get to hear some of what those father-son chats are really all about! Papa tells son, when it comes to crunch time: “Never walk away from a party or a fight” and to “Hit on that girl – don’t hang out on the wall.”

“If God Can Make That (No Wonder He’s in Charge)” is a very bluesy rock number, with some terrific guitar going on. Boy singing to girl: “When God created you, he must have bragged for days!!!!” And “Love on the Telephone” – that’s right; phone sex for pay. Poor boy: only time he can chat with his lady is while she’s at work on the Fantasy Line. He figures he’s “gotta get a raise or win the lottery before she finds out how much more money she could make on the Internet!!” Too funny. “Slumberland Stomp” is an up-tempo instrumental – not going to send anyone to slumberland (there’s too much great guitar and harp going on – no sleeping allowed).

Seriously, Drinkin’ with the Harp Girls – great title, good rockin’ blues, crazy-fun lyrics.

Blues Matters (UK)

THE WILDCAT O’HALLORAN BAND

 

Drinkin’ With The Harp Girls

 

Independent

 

The CD cover pictures a group of people that look very much like a cross between TV’s Royle Family and an Irish family group, with Wildcat himself being a dead ringer for Ricky Tomlinson. All of which left me unprepared for the raw and exciting music, full of good loving, bad lovin’, good time/bad time Blues and groove. Solid bumping bass lines underscore some great guitar playing, with Wilcat and ‘Lightnin’ Boy’ Dana pushing each other to greater heights and with some gritty but clear vocals, this adds up to a great release. Wildcat O’Halloran hail from the Pioneer Valley in Massachusetts, USA, and would appear to be one of the local, hard working Blues club and bar circuit band. Whatever they are, the results are good times as they are a surprisingly tight unit, never losing that good time feel throughout. With eight original songs there are only two covers on the album, Lieber & Stoller’s ‘Hound Dog’, with Caitlin ‘Harp Sister #1’ Squires giving some down home solid vocals and William Bell’s ‘You Don’t Miss Your Water (Til’ Your Well Runs Dry), originally released by Stax Records in 1961, but here offered as a love song to Wildcat’s wife Amy. Of his own songs, ‘Crunch Time’, the opener is a solid up tempo rocker, ‘If God Can Make That (No Wonder He’s In Charge) is a humorous shuffle and ‘Love On The Telephone’ a commentary on the growth of telephone sex lines. My favourite is the eight minute slow Blues called ‘Drama’, great lyrics and guitar playing. Check them out on “You Tube”, they’re a good fun band.

 

The (Wild)cat Comes Back  [- Hide]
Valley Advocate Dec. 10, 2009
Wildcat O'Halloran is back in business, and while he is operating under the same name that first captured Valley hearts and souls some 25 years ago, his eponymous band has reinvented itself with a mixture of old and new blood...
...The themes on the band's latest release are as venerable as some of its members:  good lovin', bad lovin' and just general blues.  The bumping bass line, red-hot guitar licks and gritty vocals make for a slate of dependably groovy tracks...

They MayNot Be Famous, but they  sure are Great  [- Hide]
Hampshire Gazette
    My introduction to the Wildcat O'Halloran Band came 12 years ago, when I was a judge at the Seagram's Superstar contest.  Two things struck me right away.
    One was that the other bands all appeared in some kind of costume.  Some were really suited u, wearing matching flashy jackets.  The Wildcat band were pretty much in street clothes.
    The other thing I noticed was what all the other judges noticed too:  Without trying hard and without looking too self-conscious, the Wildcat O'Halloran Band was tight, professional and at the same time richly expressive and artistic.All the other bands were playing some kind of pop-rock,while the w.O'H.B. was (still is) mainly a blues group.  The judges awarded it second place.

 

Progressive Not moldy!  [- Hide]
Living Blues Magazine
    Wildcat O'Halloran fronts a four piece band of "veteran players" on a good-timing albumthat manages to be progressive without being disrespectfu, and traditional without being moldy.  Highlights are a cover of V-8 Ford, and an innovative arrangement of That's Alright

L.A. Songwiters Showcase  [- Hide]
John Braheny
    You're as good a lyricist as I've heard in the blues genre, and I'm a blues fan.

 

 

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Wildcat O'Halloran interview @Aj&dbs

Posted on November 25, 2011 at 1:05 AM

Wildcat O'Halloran, Sunderland, Ma

How did the project come into existence? = I met the young Lightning Boy at a benefit at the Harp, grabbed my longtime drummer out of retirement, added Loverboy McManamon on bass, and were off to the races!!

Who are the members of the band if any and please tell us about it?

Wildcat O'Halloran: Guitar and vocals

Nate "lightning Boy" Dana: Guitar and vocals

Matt "Loverboy" McManamon: Bass and vocals

Gil May: drums

sometimes assisted by the lovely and talented Harp Girls, usually Cait "Harp Sista #1" Squires and Emmalyn "Sista one-take-wonder" Hicks

The New York City-born Wildcat has been called "the Pioneer valley's answer to Stevie Ray Vaughn" by local media for years, but now has "Lightning Boy" to push the guitar attack even further. We were second in the New England editions of both Stroh's and Seagrams talent searches, honorable mention in Billboard International Songwriting Contest, and have pushed many many headliners into great shows (or cut them). John Braheny of the L.A. Songwriter's Showcase called Wildcat "as good a blues lyricist as I've heard", Living Blues Magazine called us "progressive without being disrespectful; traditional without being moldy'. And we've just added a 2011 "Top Runner-Up (to go with our 2010 "Runner-Up") in Charlie Daniels drummer Gary Allen's "Best Song in the World" contest to our mantle. But the best quote came from the late Kenny Johnson, Grammy-winning drummer who performed with Cotton, Steve Miller and Kenny Neal. While living in the Valley he appeared with the Cat numerous times and told audiences, "He must have gone to a different music school than the other white boys!". Blues Matters (UK) raved about new CD ("great guitar playing, gritty yet clear singing over bumping bass lines...a great release!) Just added similar review from Boston Blues Society (we're in semi-finals of their Blues Challenge!) Harp Girls now on 155+stations, here to France (or now Australia!) See new videos on our Facebook wall or www.wildcatohalloran.com

How would you describe your sound/genre? = Not your Father's Blues Band...though Mom may have hung out a few times!

What formal training or previous experience do any of the members have? = Cat has played most New England clubs in last 25+ years, was in backup band for Bo Diddley, took a few theory classes at UMASS and PC ("not enough to hurt my playing!)

Are you working w/ a producer on your upcoming album? = A couple interested, not yet finalized

Who would you say has been the biggest influence on the bands sound or that you have used as inspiration for your music? = Even though touring blues legends (Muddy Waters, James Cotton, Buddy Guy) have formed Wildcat's music over the years, when we want to ramp up the energy to reah young people, we're more likely to lean towards trhe Allman Bros.

What advice would you give to others starting out? = It's going to be a long haul...hang with musicians you LIKE!!

Where can people go to learn more about you and hear your music? = www.wildcatohalloran.com or www.sonicbids.com/TheWildcatOHalloranBand

If you could play anywhere in the world or with anyone you wanted where and who would it be with? = Would love to do one of those New York shows with the Allmans (Beacon Theater)

What has been your greatest experience so far either individually or as a whole? = We just this week rocked the Iron Horse in Northampto with Blues Guitar legend Coco Montoya...and even though we've done bigger shows (Greg allman Stray cats, John Lee Hooker, many more), it seems like this version of the band just keeps getting better and better...so I'd say the last show!

Do you have any upcoming events or news you would like to tell our readers about? = There will be a new CD this spring... but meanwhile our current CD, Drinkin" With The Harp Girls is on 200+ blues shows, and Living Blues Magazine just wrote: "Wildcat O'Halloran emerges as one of the most entertaining songwriters on the current Blues scene"...pretty nice compliment for a Massachusetts Boy!!!

Where do you see yourselves or hope to be in about 5 years? = We'd like to be doing Blues Festivals and bring Blues (our way) back to college-age folks like we do here in Amherst (UMASS-land)

 

Sky TV UK

Here's a video piece about my collaboration with award-winning British Bluesman Trevor Sewell:

 

 


http://tyneandwear.sky.com/news/article/63853/tale-of-two-sunderlands-wearside-meets-stateside-in-blues-collaboration

 

Greenfield Recorder

Sounds Local

 

By Sheryl Hunter

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 
(Published in print: Thursday, May 16, 2013)

“Hate me for a reason
Not just for who I am
Hate me for a reason

Not because it fits your plan
Don’t point your finger at me
Don’t tell me I’m to blame
Take some time — try to 
understand.”

— Trevor Sewell

 

Hate Me for a Reason” is a new song that the Sunderland-based Wildcat O’Halloran Band is currently working on with musician Trevor Sewell, an award-winning songwriter who is also from Sunderland. Sunderland, England, that is.

How bluesman William “Wildcat” O’Halloran of Sunderland, Mass., connected with bluesman Trevor Sewell of Sunderland, England, is really a tale of modern technology.

Both musicians were slated to appear on Les Young’s Internet radio show, “Wall to Wall Blues,” and as they awaited their appearance, they struck up a friendly conversation via instant messaging.

“It’s tough when you become friends and you haven’t heard their music and you just hope it’s not horrible,” recalled the O’Halloran about his introduction to Sewell. “But then I heard the song and it’s really good and I knew I wanted my band to learn it.”

“Hate Me for a Reason,” which is a song about intolerance, was nominated for best song at the 2012 British Blues Awards.

The Wildcat O’Halloran Band recently recorded the song and has now sent it to Sewell and he will add his parts to it. In the meantime, the Sunderland connection between the two musicians has gained some notice, particularly on the other side of the Atlantic.

“Trevor and I were interviewed on Sky TV in the UK. They just can’t get over that there is another Sunderland, their town is a kind of grimy factory town and they can’t believe our Sunderland is this pastoral place.”

O’Halloran is anxious to hear how Sewell responds to his version of the song.

“I changed it slightly, to be a little more rocking, so we’ll see what Trevor does,” he said. “He has that stinging Stratocaster guitar sound, kind of like Robert Cray, while I play more distorted, more like Albert King.”

Hopefully, Sewell, who has toured on the West Coast, will be able to make it to New England at some point so the two musicians can actually meet and play together. Once the song is completed, the details on when and how to release it will be determined.

The Wildcat O’Halloran Band closes out the 2013 winter season of the Wendell Full Moon Coffeehouse with a show on Saturday, May 18, at 7:30. The night will open with an open mic. Partial proceeds from this show will benefit the Young Entrepreneurs Society.

For this show, The O’Halloran Band will consist of Joe Fitzpatrick on drums, Matt “Loverboy” McManamon on bass, Wally “Sweet Daddy” Greaney on harp, Emily Duff of the Raft on saxophone and his daughter Sarah “Wildkitten” O’Halloran singing backing vocals.

Considering the band’s longevity, it’s hard to believe that this show marks the first time that it has performed at the long-running Full Moon Coffeehouse.

“We’ve talked about it for years and now we are finally doing it,” O’Halloran said.

When it comes to the blues, O’Halloran has been delighting area audiences for over 25 years; he’s even been called the Pioneer Valley’s answer to Stevie Ray Vaughn. O’Halloran and his band have opened for artists like Gregg Allman, Bo Diddley, John Mayall, Albert Collins, James Cotton and a host of other blues legends.

In the mid-2000s, he stepped back from music to concentrate on running his restaurant, The Dove’s Nest in Sunderland. At a 2010 benefit concert held at the Harp in Sunderland, he met up with young guitar prodigy, Nate “Lightning Boy” Dana, who inspired him to form a new band and before he knew it, O’Halloran was off and at it again. This second wave of his career has really seen O’Halloran injecting plenty of energy and fun into his guitar-driven brand of the blues.

The Wildcat O’Halloran Band frequently performs at area venues like The Harp, Deja Brew, the Shutesberry Athletic Club, The Iron Horse Music Hall and many others. The band has released three CDs since 2010 with the most recent being last year’s “Cougar Bait Blues.”

The disc is full of blistering guitar work, O’Halloran’s gravely, expressive vocals and lyrics that are outright funny. With songs like “I Worship the Ground She Walks All Over Me On” and “Xmas Divorce,” alongside some choice covers, “Cougar Bait Blues” is the perfect soundtrack for a good time.

O’Halloran admitted that he has taken some flak from purists who don’t support his less-than-traditional approach to the blues.

“I was listening to a James Cotton interview where he said we have watered down the blues to make them mainstream. I understand that concern, but I’m afraid the cure can be worse than the disease. When we start excluding new elements and drawing these lines that we aren’t supposed to color out of, that’s self-defeating. I guess I’d rather be fun at a party.”

It will be fun when The Wildcat O’Halloran Band takes the stage at the Wendell Full Moon Coffeehouse as he promises “the ultimate show I can provide.”

The Wendell Full Moon Coffeehouse is located in Old Town Hall in the center of Wendell. Admission is by sliding scale $6 to $15. Shows are all ages and general admission. For more information visit www.wendellfullmoon.orgor call 978-544-5557.

You can also catch Wildcat O’Halloran every Sunday from 4 to 8 p.m. when he hosts a blues jam at City Sports Grille, 525 Pleasant St. (inside of Spare Time Family Fun Center), Northampton. This event is free.

www.wildcatohalloran.com

Valley Advocate

Still Playin That Damn Guitar

(Dove’s Nest)

A Pioneer Valley blues legend for more than 25 years, Wildcat O’Halloran still delights in the kind of performance that leaves his audience members hooting and hollering for more. Or, at least, such a longevity-driven passion for blues seems to be clearly on display in his newest release, recorded during a live show earlier this year. This latest recording proves definitively that the Wildcat’s smooth-moving guitar hands and gravel-scraping vocal cords are here to stay—getting better every year he continues to take the stage—and that his unadulterated love for the genre lives on in blistering riffs and urgently-shared verses, too. Bouncing between original songs and blues covers, Wildcat’s live set feels both balanced and breathless in all the right ways. Longtime fans all over the Valley (and new listeners alike) will be satisfied, no doubt, by this latest installation in a long career.

Valley Advocate

Still Playin That Damn Guitar

(Dove’s Nest)

A Pioneer Valley blues legend for more than 25 years, Wildcat O’Halloran still delights in the kind of performance that leaves his audience members hooting and hollering for more. Or, at least, such a longevity-driven passion for blues seems to be clearly on display in his newest release, recorded during a live show earlier this year. This latest recording proves definitively that the Wildcat’s smooth-moving guitar hands and gravel-scraping vocal cords are here to stay—getting better every year he continues to take the stage—and that his unadulterated love for the genre lives on in blistering riffs and urgently-shared verses, too. Bouncing between original songs and blues covers, Wildcat’s live set feels both balanced and breathless in all the right ways. Longtime fans all over the Valley (and new listeners alike) will be satisfied, no doubt, by this latest installation in a long career.

Valley Advocate

Still Playin That Damn Guitar

(Dove’s Nest)

A Pioneer Valley blues legend for more than 25 years, Wildcat O’Halloran still delights in the kind of performance that leaves his audience members hooting and hollering for more. Or, at least, such a longevity-driven passion for blues seems to be clearly on display in his newest release, recorded during a live show earlier this year. This latest recording proves definitively that the Wildcat’s smooth-moving guitar hands and gravel-scraping vocal cords are here to stay—getting better every year he continues to take the stage—and that his unadulterated love for the genre lives on in blistering riffs and urgently-shared verses, too. Bouncing between original songs and blues covers, Wildcat’s live set feels both balanced and breathless in all the right ways. Longtime fans all over the Valley (and new listeners alike) will be satisfied, no doubt, by this latest installation in a long career.

MassLive...online version of Springfield Republican

Wildcat O’Halloran Band “Still Playing that Damn Guitar” – This disc gets the nod for best “live” CD, with ambient club noise augmenting covers like “One Way Out,” “Born In Chicago,” and “Wooly Bully,” along with original fare like “If God Can Make That, No Wonder He’s In Charge.” The CD features a guest appearance from former Roomful of Blues drummer Ephraim Lowell. For more information visitwildcatohalloran.com

MassLive...online version of Springfield Republican

Wildcat O’Halloran Band “Still Playing that Damn Guitar” – This disc gets the nod for best “live” CD, with ambient club noise augmenting covers like “One Way Out,” “Born In Chicago,” and “Wooly Bully,” along with original fare like “If God Can Make That, No Wonder He’s In Charge.” The CD features a guest appearance from former Roomful of Blues drummer Ephraim Lowell. For more information visitwildcatohalloran.com

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Upcoming Shows

May 25, 2017
Munich Haus
Chicopee Ma
May 28, 2017
City Sports Grille
Northampton MA
Jun 4, 2017
City Sports Grille
Northampton MA
Jun 8, 2017
Munich Haus
Chicopee Ma
Jun 10, 2017
Granby Charter Days
Granby Massachusetts

Upcoming shows

May 25, 2017
Munich Haus
Chicopee Ma
May 28, 2017
City Sports Grille
Northampton MA
Jun 4, 2017
City Sports Grille
Northampton MA
Jun 8, 2017
Munich Haus
Chicopee Ma
Jun 10, 2017
Granby Charter Days
Granby Massachusetts

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Live at Full Moon Coffeehouse

Wendell Wildcat Bluesfest 2016

link to purchase new Wildcat CD Midnight Service C

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daughter Sarah!!

interview up on 11/25/11

http://www.aj-n-dbs.com/apps/blog/