Guitarist/songwriter BRAD VICKERS learned on the job playing, recording, and touring with America's blues and roots masters: Pinetop Perkins, Jimmy Rogers, Hubert Sumlin, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Odetta, Sleepy LaBeef, and Rosco Gordon—to name only a few.
As bass player for Little Mike & The Tornadoes, he cut his teeth backing up these elder statesmen, many of whom called on him to work and record with them over the years. Brad had the good fortune to play on Pinetop Perkins’ Grammy-nominated discs, “Born in the Delta” (Telarc), and “Ladies’ Man” (MC Records).
Now his group, The VESTAPOLITANS, offer a good-time mix of originals and covers spanning blues, ragtime, hill country breakdowns, rock 'n' roll, and more great American roots music. A new release, "That's What They Say" joins their previous CDs, “Great Day In The Morning" (2013), “Le Blues Hot” (2008), “Stuck With The Blues” (2010), and "Traveling Fool" (2011) which have all met with terrific reviews, radio play on 250+ stations, Sirius/XM Bluesville “Pick2 Click”s, and wonderful audience response!
Brad comes from the Pine Barrens of Long Island’s rural East End. He is the scion of a musical family from another Pine Barrens, those of Chintoteague, Virginia,
where his grandfather played lap steel and drums.
THE BAND: Brad is joined on 'LE BLUES HOT' (2008) by a great group of musicians. The extraordinary Jim Davis, whose saxophone credits include Paul Oscher and Hubert Sumlin, also takes the clarinet through some dazzling turns. His horns dance among genres with eloquence and aplomb. The estimable Barry Harrison, alumnus of both Johnny and Shemekia Copeland’s bands, holds the house drum chair at the famous Terra Blues club where he backs the creme of NYC’s blues artists. Here he plays drums and percussion with great variety—and humor. Take note of his fills on “ ‘A’ Rag!” Rising star Dave Gross shows off his Gypsy-jazz-tinged guitar talent on “Sunny Side of the Street,” and “‘A’ Rag”—and he contributes some very solid upright bass parts! The versatile Margey Peters, long-time bassist with Big Frank & The Healers, plays electric bass, fiddle, and sings. Margey also co-wrote several of the tunes, as well one she wrote with collaborator Steve Tarshis. Brad Vickers & His Vestapolitans have some great music in store for you. Now grab a seat, sit back, and enjoy!
On 'STUCK WITH THE BLUES' (2010) and 'TRAVELING FOOL' (2011), the palette is expanded: Special guest, the great guitarist BOBBY RADCLIFF joins Brad on two tracks! The band is expanded to include versatile piano/guitar man Arne Englund, baritone sax man Matt Cowan joins Jim Davis' tenor and clarinet to make a rich, grooving horn section. Bill Rankin does a great job on drums, Dave Gross, producer of these CDs, handles upright bass, and V. D. King jumps in on percussion and additional guitar!
On 'GREAT DAY IN THE MORNING' Brad gathered some of his favorite musicians—who also happen to be some of the world’s nicest people—and went into producer Dave Gross’ Fat Rabbit studios to make his 4th CD.Master violinist Charles Burnham plays with us on five numbers, and his romping fiddle is a joy to hear. It’s been The Vestapolitans' consistent pleasure to play with crackerjack drummer Bill Rankin. Ace horn players Matt Cowan and Jim Davis are again on hand. The very creative Michael Bram plays mandolin on two of the songs, and the supremely versatile V.D. King lends just the right twang on banjolele. Margey’s on electric bass, while producer Dave Gross handles upright bass duties when she plays ‘second fiddle.’ Wonderful singers Christine Santelli and Gina Sicilia add a harmonious touch to two songs. And just when you thought it couldn’t get better, Jeremy Baum stopped by the studio to drop off his B3—and jumped on keys for a couple of numbers. All in all, it was a “Great Day In The Morning”!
On 'THAT'S WHAT THEY SAY' Brad plays guitar, bottleneck and sings, and calls on great and talented friends to add to the proceedings: Again, he has collaborated with Dave Gross, and again has called on good and talented friends to contribute to the proceedings. Master violinist Charles Burnham is on hand once more, as are the great horn players Jim Davis and Matt Cowan. The wonderful Bill Rankin takes the drum chair, and versatile Dave Gross jumps in to add color on a variety of instruments from banjo to percussion. A few guest background vocalists are on hand Mikey Junior sings on "Mama's Cookin' and Having A Ball, and on "In For A Penny" Margey is joined by vocalists Christine Santelli and Gina Sicilia.
CRITICAL PRAISE FOR BRAD VICKERS & HIS VESTAPOLITANS' CDs:
GREAT RESPONSE TO "GREAT DAY IN THE MORNING":
"Thanks for providing us with such good traditional blues in a contemporary setting."
“ 'Great Day In The Morning' is an album that lifts your spirits with every note, yet it never sounds trivial or embarrassing. Acoustic blues at its finest."
—Nathan Norgel, WASSER-PRAWDA, Germany
"Brad Vickers quietly plies his trade to plenty of acclaim from those lucky enough to hear him–but maybe this will bring him a wider audience. Brad’s music is unassuming yet always listenable, respectful, and fun–and as such, it deserves to be heard more widely than it is!"
—Norman Darwen, BLUES IN THE SOUTH
"Margey Peters and Brad Vickers are not only impressive musicians, but they can also write great songs. A very special album."
“ 'Great Day In The Morning' is a vibrant album. And if the spring is of short duration, I recommend you just put this CD into the player, and the sun returns immediately
—Gerrit Schinkel, BLUESMAGAZINE, Netherlands
"Brad fits the spirit of the Memphis jug bands into the modern world. Using open tuning, he lights up this magical product in my lap. The more I listen, the more I’m convinced. A nice easily accessible album, which draws on a variety of roots influences with a rare intelligence!"
—Joel Bizon, BCR MAGAZINE, France
"So enjoyable and easily accessible. You won't believe how quickly this…grows on you. Simply fun stuff that any muso that likes to run off the beaten track will love." —MIDWEST RECORD ENTERTAINMENT
"Gets you moving and gives you something to hum to yourself all day long. A great listen, and one I highly recommend."
"Stellar bottleneck slide. It’s easy to enjoy this set of old-time blues from Brad Vickers & His Vestapolitans, and we give this one two big thumbs up!!"
—Sheryl and Don Crow.
"Vickers sounds like he's having a grand old time. His genial spirit filtering through his hickory-smoked vocals, slide guitar, and original tunes that hark back to the blues artists he reveres. 'Little Gem' is the title of one tune, and an apt description of the whole album."
—Bob Weinberg, JAZZ BLUES FLORIDA
"Pure riches! 'Great Day in the Morning' enters the list of Best Blues CDs of the 2013!"
—Mladen Loncar, SOUNDGUARDIAN.com
"Nothing less than exquisitely entertaining! A great collection of tunes covering the blues, ragtime, hill country breakdowns, roots, and Rock ‘n’ Roll. And not only do they cover these genres, but they cover them with absolute authenticity. That comes across in all of the music that this amazing ensemble creates, and no more so than with their latest release, 'Great Day In The Morning'. Highly recommended and thoroughly enjoyed." —John Vermilyea, BLUES UNDERGROUND NETWORK
"Fabulous roots music. CD of the Week!"
—Roberto Rossi, PNR fm, Italy
"Why the Vestapolitans, such an entertaining group with so much rhythm and feeling, were never on the big festival stages, is one of those incomprehensible things that can only be compensated for by an adventurous organizer or a pioneering leader who dares to take the risk." —Marcie Geukens, ROOTSTIME, Belgium
"Full of quirks, humor and a whole lot of spirit, this band is absolute joyful noise."
—PLANET E BLUES
"Delicious. Another fine album from Brad Vickers & His Vestapolitans. Very varied, adventurous, and swinging. Just try to sit still; you cannot do so."
—Eric Campfens, BARN OWL BLUES, Netherlands
"Vickers knows better than anyone how to build a track. And his bottleneck slide guitar gives a full range of feeling. With this intelligent, unusual sound Brad Vickers brings a little sunshine into this rather cold springtime. A surprising blast of a release!"
—Philip Verhaege, KEYS AND CHORDS, Belgium
"I first encountered Mr. Vickers and his Vestapolitans on his 2011 release “Traveling Fool”. I said, 'The original material is highly enjoyable, as Mr. Vickers moves around from rockin’ blues to jump blues to ragtime, hitting all points in between.' This time around, it’s all change as he embarks on a hip hop concept album about his relationship with the Feds. Or, could be it’s more of the same. Yup, it’s the latter and very nice it is too! Unusually, for a blues man, he’s a believer in positivity, which would normally grate with me, but somehow it’s OK here. It’s very old school, and it’s all the better for it."
—Stuart Hamilton, UK ROCKER
" 'Great Day In The Morning' is fun - a collection with heart and soul. A likeably laid-back exuberance!" —John Taylor, BLINDED BY SOUND
"Brad Vickers and his versatile Vestapolitans tap expertly and wonderfully into the tradition again, on their fourth release, 'Great Day in the Morning.' "
—Rainey Wetnight, BLUES BLAST
"It's self-described 'Great American Roots 'n' Roll' —and talk about your truth in advertising—that's exactly what this is: blues, rock, soul, Americana, all smoother than the aftermath of a 50 foot slug. Vickers is backed by a knock-out band of pros that might just be the definitive bar band or even a top tier blues society presentation. Vickers learned his trade playing with the likes of Bo Diddley, Pinetop Perkins, Sleepy LaBeef, Chuck Berry, and evidently, took good notes."
—Bill Locey, ROCKIN' ROLL CALL
“ 'Great Day In The Morning' is another fine addition to the Vestapolitan catalog…Vickers gets plenty of opportunity to show off his bottleneck guitar skills…It’s sure to put a smile on your face and a hop in your step."
—Graham Clarke FRI BLUES FIX, BLUES BYTES
"A nice change up from the steady diet of electric guitar-driven blues that dominates most blues playlists!"
—Mark Smith, WEST MICHIGAN BLUES SOCIETY
"Ever since we discovered Brad Vickers And His Vestapolitans, we have eagerly waited for each one of his new releases. So we were delighted when 'Great Day In The Morning' arrived. It’s much more of an Americana-Roots style, and very cool as only Vickers and Company can be."
—Henry Cook, TIME FOR THE BLUES
“ 'Great Day In The Morning' is a vibrant album. And if the spring is of short duration, I recommend you just put this CD into the player, and the sun returns immediately."
—Gerrit Schinkel, BLUESMAGAZINE, Netherlands
"There are several links back to the earliest days of recorded blues on this immensely entertaining album, the fourth from this New York-based outfit. On all 15 tracks there are sounds that should appeal to all the real blues lovers. Definitely recommended."
—Victor Ian Leyland, BLUES MATTERS, UK
"On this new album, Brad and two original Vestapolitans, Margey Peters, and Bill Rankin, play with the support of a whole gaggle of musicians who are really fun to hear and will fill lovers of blues music with joy…The best album of Brad’s to date."
—Bernard Boyat, CRI DE COYOTE, France
"Of all of the albums that I know by Brad, this is the best. The best success is, without doubt, 'Dallas Blues', a kind of folk blues without the Jimmie Rodgers yodel. The result is superb."
—Bernard Boyat, Chroniques Boyat, SUR LA ROUTE, France
"A refreshing experience! This great music creeps under your skin, and bears repeated listening."
—Timo Kuappinen, BLUESNEWS, Finland
"The perfect recipe, 'Great Day In The Morning' is a 'diamond in the rough.' It is American roots music like you have never heard it, loaded with Americana, blues, ragtime, and hill country break-downs. It is a great way to start your day!"
—Rick Davis, CROSSROADS BLUES SOCIETY of Southern Illinois
"The extremely well-written songs form their own style, processing and rather more evoking, blues music of the '30s than the sound of the modern world."
—Attila Horvath, BLUES VAN, Hungary
"In previous situations Brad has deservedly traced both the rich blues and rock 'n' roll traditions. But here he goes a step further. Never before has he sampled as many slices, and never before has he mined so many different genres as he does here. We hear smoking examples of the appropriate instruments—for example, master violinist Charles Burnham, with or without Margey Peters on second fiddle—plays on five notable songs. 'Great Day in the Morning' is undoubtedly most Brad’s most eccentric disc to date, but a very nice one!"
—Lambert Smits, BACK TO THE ROOTS, Belgium
" 'Great Day In The Morning' is fresh and definitely worth a listen. It's another strong output from Vickers and His band."
—Barbara Pavone, SKUNK Magazine
"American roots music that convinces!"
—Fra (Franz Richter), CONCERTO, Austria
"Sounds great! An album that sounds really good, and it is not surprising knowing Vickers’ past. The excellent band features the ubiquitous violin of Charles Burnham."
—Fabrizio Poggi, Blues Borders, FOLK BULLETIN, Italy
"Brad Vickers & His Vestapolitans immediately catches the audience with the original way they play music. They always give us a snappy interesting proposal, firmly based into pre-war blues legacy, but they turn it over to perform it in their own way, including very interesting and surprising arrangements. A creative album full of lyricism and interesting detail, that I am sure fans will properly value and enjoy with warm enthusiasm."
—Vicente Zumel, LA HORA DEL BLUES, Spain
"Brad Vickers and his team have been getting glowing reviews wherever their disc has been reviewed, and one has the choice only to stammer out words of tribute. It is a liberating, relaxed music that streams out of the speakers. Brad's own 'The Way It's Got To Be' is probably in my opinion, the best song, and here we find again, the saxes and the punishing groove. It is good and relaxed music that takes us back to the 50s."
—Jimmy Johansson, JEFFERSON MAGAZINE, Sweden
"Classic rock ‘n’ roll and blues, always with elements of swing and ragtime. One of my favorite songs is Peters’ "Together For Good”, with breathtaking gospel singing by [Margey] Peters, [Christine] Santelli, and [Gina] Sicilia, with Vickers' bottleneck guitar and Jeremy Baum accompanying them on piano and Hammond B3—A varied and highly recommended album."
...AND THEIR OTHER GREAT CDS:
“Their best so far. Each disc has improved upon its
predecessor, but this one will be hard to top.”
–Graham Clarke, BLUES BYTES
“You could put any track on the player and enjoy it.
–John Mitchell BLUES BLAST US
"This “rootsy” group settles themselves firmly
in the “Masters” category. Vickers is a natural.”
–Marcie Geukens, ROOTSTIME Belgium
“A set of “old school” blues and R&B that can’t fail to delight.”
–Mick Rainsford, BLUES IN BRITAIN UK
“A real success and a group to discover right away.”
–Bernard Boyat, BLUES MAGAZINE France
“Guardian of The Flame. An exciting recreation of those jug, ragtime,
and old timey bands that first educated me in the 1960s and ’70s.”
–Richard Ludmerer, BLUESWAX US
“Brad Vickers is an artist who quietly creeps under your skin.”
–Rune Endal, BLUES NEWS Norway
“Brad thanks those...from whom he has learned so well.
They would be damn proud of this release.”
–Chef Jimi Patricola, BLUES 411 US
“Vickers expertly conjures his heroes on originals...
and receives superb support from his band.”
–Bob Weinberg, JAZZ/BLUES FLORIDA US
“A true one-of-a-kind band, mixing and mastering
wildly divergent styles, always sounding credible,
and never mass-produced.”
–Roger & Margaret White, BIG CITY RHYTHM & BLUES US
“‘Traveling Fool’ is simply wonderful.
One can hardly withdraw oneself from the disc.”
–ROCKIN’ BLUES Germany
“A highly-entertaining set of vintage rockin’ blues
that’s guaranteed to liven up your next party!”
–Sheryl & Don Crow, NASHVILLE BLUES SOCIETY US
“Very fine songs...perfect for airplay...irresistible instrumentals!”
–Roberto Rossi, MYSTERY TRAIN, Italy
“Just what the people want, and never tire of. 4 Stars.”
-Bernard Boyat, SUR LA ROUTE DE MEMPHIS, France
“This is the kind of music that gladdens the heart.”
–Stuart Hamilton, ROCKIN’ THE BLUES
“A well-thought-out collection of amusing and witty tunes.
–BLUES VAN, Hungary
“If rootsy, Americana and early rock-influenced blues is your thing,
this...will make you swing.”
–Dave Rubin, GUITARINSTRUCTOR.COM
“Great music, that reminds me of the laid back
Chess Records of the 50s and early 60s.”
–Henrik Linden RED HOT ROCK, Sweden
“Masterly work from all band members.
This one should be a must-see-live band.”
–Steven ‘Nick’ Nickerson, WYCE MUSIC JOURNAL US
“…Straight up, well-executed rock’n’roll.
The rhythm section is solid and the saxophone work
gives the underbelly of the music plenty of life…
executed with taste and professionalism.”
-David Hintz, FOLKWORLD
“A steady and enjoyable cruise through authentically traditional blues,
rockabilly, honky-tonk and ragtime numbers.
`Don’t Take My Cadillac’ stands out as the best of [Vickers’] own songs...
Leroy Carr’s plaintive ballad `How Long Blues’ is well done too,
with some nice interplay between the guitar and Jim Davis’s clarinet.”
-Neil B. LEICESTER BANGS, UK
“Perfectly captures the spirit of early rock instrumentals, channeling
Duane Eddy, the Ventures and Booker T. and the MGs, and
they’re just as much fun as those old gems, with lots of burning guitar and sax breaks.”
—George Kopp ELMORE MAGAZINE Review Blog US
“The Vestapolitans, have the amazing ability to carry on the traditions and sounds
of an older style of music without their efforts ever sounding pre-planned or forced.
Playing this music just comes naturally to them.
Give a big shout out to producer Dave Gross and V.D. King for the job they did
mixing this album. Every instrument is represented so wonderfully,
and nothing is masked by someone else's playing—It's truly impressive work.
I have to take time to mention...Don't Take My Cadillac...
it is without question my favorite tune on this record, and that's saying something,
because these songs are all phenomenal. "Don't Take My Cadillac" is the perfect storm
of songwriting, arranging and performance, crafting what would have become a
timeless smash hit had it been released in the height of the Chess era. This song is an instant classic!
Standout Tracks: All of them! Personal favorites include
"Don't Take My Cadillac," "Low Down Dirty Shame," "Without Moolah," and "In My Dream" “
-Johnny Full-time, FULL-TIME BLUES RADIO
“This is a very fine, good-timing, and extremely entertaining set.
As I said the last time I reviewed one of Brad’s albums – more please!”
-Norman Darwen, BLUES & RHYTHM, UK
“ I'm transported indeed to a romantic and uniquely American road trip.
There's no need for hurry---we done forgot where it was we were going anyhow!
But oh the sights along the way! And all of those hip joints we got to stop and hang-out at!
Folks back home are gonna love hearin' some of these tales!
That's the takeaway for me now playing the Vestapolitans
as sonic wallpaper in my shop right now...I'm “THERE!!” "
-Dale Thomas Rates in BLUES 411 US
“Just plain, enjoyable music! A vaired and enjoyable CD.
The use of the horn section reminds you
of the glory days of Chess in the fifties and sixties."
- Eric Campfens BARN OWL BLUES, Holland
"Everything is executed and arranged so that you have the impression
you're right in the middle of American music!
This can surely satisfy most connoisseurs of the the beautiful music of the
pre-war era, and multiple styles of roots music."
-Piotr Gwizdala TWOJ BLUES, Poland
“Keeps you excited not only for the song you are hearing,
but also excited with anticipation for the next track to come…
Traveling Fool” is simply a tour de force .
Highly Recommended for the sheer Fun and Enjoyment of it.
-John Vermilyea BLUES UNDERGROUND NETWORK
Fun, unaffected dance music you will enjoy listening to again and again.
it will immediately grab all listeners. GREAT.
-Vicente Zumel, LA HORA DEL BLUES Spain
The very first jump jive song out of the box ("Traveling Fool")
elicits that primal urge to toe-tap or more. Really tight group, and the sax just smokes.
This is one band that should be a must-see-live band. That's my two nickels worth!
-Steven "Nick" Nickelson: WYCE MUSIC JOURNAL Grand Rapids, MI
“This album called ‘Traveling Fool” is fabulous.!
Thanks for the music and your wonderful band, The Vestapolitans.
Keep playing those blues”. -Pat St John SIRIUS /XM radio
Love the production of this, old school. I like Brad and a bunch of the musician's on this disc,
Some good songs n good feel. Great cover art, which i think is important. Damn good!
-Todd Wolfe WLVR
Brad and His Vestapolitans keep honing their unique sound.
Great to finally have their new disc on the air!!!
-Mike Reisz “Blues All Over The Place” WDPS Dayton, Ohio
Your new disc arrived yesterday, and you guys just "Knocked My Socks Off”!!!
I think this is another super disc from you!
-Peggy Nagel KAFM Grand Junction, CO
I love the album and its songs – they are so joyful and happy.
With Bobby Radcliff again as a guest star “Traveling Fool” is a fully satisfying blues release
–played by a pro and produced by a pro. -Przmek Draheim RADIO SFERA Poland
“Rollicking blend of Blues and Jazz!”—Norman Darwen, BLUES & RHYTHM
“Gets better each time you listen.”—Richard Thomas, BLUES MATTERS
“One of the most uninhibited, original works of these years!”—Eduardo Fassio, IL BLUES
“Good-time feel!”—Tom Hyslop, BLUES REVUE, US
“Outstanding musicians!”—Vincent Zumel, L’HORA DEL BLUES
“Just what the doctor ordered”—Graham Clarke, BLUES BYTES
“A CD by a fabulous musician!”—Przmek Draheim, RADIO SFERA
“Fun, spirited tunes!”—Bill Nolan, WPKN/WPKM
“Highest praise, 5 Stars!”—Mladen Loncar, Soundguardian.com
“Seduces you from the first songs, scores a direct hit!”—Marcie Geukens, ROOTSTIME
“Intelligent, lofty, & very ‘30s jJazz-Ragtime!”—Andre Hobus, SOULBAG
“Fresh-astounding-amazing and unusual!”—Alain Mallaret, BIG BEAT
“Like nothing else you’ll find today!”—Roger & Margaret White, BIG CITY BLUES
“Unpretentious...credible!”—Belinda Foster, ILLINOIS BLUES BLAST
“One of my favorites of the year!”—Olivia Greene, WWOZ