It is nearly impossible to sum up 21 years of Oreo Blue, countless recordings and 9 official releases in one paragraph. However, one word comes to mind: Perseverance. In 1991, Brian Crowne had a vision to form a relevant blues-rooted band and he had the work ethic to drive the band through a multitude of personnel changes and musical market fluctuations to reach that goal. When Brian retired in September of 2006, it left the core of the band, co-founder and bassist, Rod Williamson, guitarist, Gary Hutchison, and drummer, Stephen Boudreaux to re-invent the band and chase relevance into the future. At first, the band soldiered on as a trio recording one album under that format, but it was with the return of vocalist Chrissy Payton and the addition of keyboardist, Rick Endel that infused the band with new vigor. Oreo Blue geared itself up for a live recording on New Years Eve of 2012 focusing on recycling the large body of original music the band has produced over two decades. The result was thought to be a splash-down to a wonderful and productive career, but instead, it is proving to be an unexpected launching pad. The band has a new, bigger and more polished sound than ever and is intent on persevering as long as the fates and muses allow.
In addition to their Indie releases, Oreo Blue produced a full length CD/DVD video tribute to Jimi Hendrix that was endorsed by the Hendrix family. In 2006, the Oreo Blue Experience was named the #1 Hendrix tribute for the year by Voodoo Child Magazine. Having garnered individual awards in each member’s category by both the NAMA’s and OMA Awards, Oreo Blue has been named Blues Band of the Year five times, earned the OMA award for Overall Musicianship in 2004 and 2005, and was named to the NAMA Hall of Fame in 2006. Guitarist Gary Hutchison received the OMA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004 and the band as a whole received the NAMA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011.
Oreo Blue was honored to represent the Ozark Blues Society in the 2009 International Blues Challenge in Memphis narrowly missing a top ten finish. In 2013, Oreo Blue was chosen to return to the IBC to represent the Fort Smith Riverfront Blues Society with the new 5-piece lineup.
Oreo Blue is music that hits you in your ears, massages your heart, and then goes straight to your hips!
In a review of our Hendrix Tribute, reviewer Al Kaplan writes:
"...Rest assured that the guitar playing is tremendous. Gary Hutchison, one of those players who deserves guitar-god status in my opinion, has the knack for capturing Hendrix's style of playing while avoiding any attempt to copy him note-for-note. Hutchison also has one major skill in common with Stevie Ray Vaughan (whose version of Voodoo Chile serves as perhaps the best known of Hendrix tributes): the ability to construct a solo that flows in such a way that he never runs out of ideas on what note to play next. It also doesn't hurt that he really knows his way around a wah-wah pedal. If you enjoy this effect, be pleased that you will find it in abundance. I love this guitar effect and Hutchison's tone and talent in using it is indeed impressive. The rhythm section, consisting of Rod Williamson on bass and Stephen Boudreaux on drums, is tight...Chris Payton, former vocalist with Oreo Blue, puts in a guest appearance on Little Wing. Her soaring, soul-influenced vocals, made me want to listen to the earlier Oreo Blue releases. She has a majestic voice with both range and intensity.
The DVD that is part of the set is a particularly welcomed treat. The tracks are the same as those on the CD with one exception: the addition of Star Spangled Banner to end the concert. Being able to watch the performance allows you to see exactly how much the band enjoys playing. Witness the Hendrix-style dramatics that Hutchison displays on Hey Joe, including flips, playing with his teeth, controlled feedback, and smashing his guitar.
This set is one of the best purchases I have made in many months (and I make a lot, just ask my wife). The CD has remained in my car's player for over two weeks now. This is a new personal record for me. I cannot give a higher recommendation."