Soledad Brothers Biography

This bluesy garage rock unit was formed by guitarist/vocalist and qualified doctor Johnny Walker (Johnny Wirick, USA) and drummer Ben Swank (b. Ben Smith, USA). Coming from Maumee, Ohio, USA, the pair first met as members of a previous band, Henry And June, which split-up in 1996. Walker carried on with drummer Doug Walker in the blues outfit Johnny Walker, but reunited with Swank when his former bandmate stood in for the errant Walker at a show. The duo elected to carry on playing together using the name the Soledad Brothers (named for a trio of convicts who attempted to escape from California’s Soledad Prison in the early 1970s).

After a pair of singles (one of which was produced by the White Stripes’ Jack White), the duo issued their debut album for the Estrus label in 2000. The follow-up, Steal Your Soul And Dare Your Spirit To Move, was issued two years later. The album saw additional instruments such as electric piano and saxophone added to the sonic mix (courtesy of a friend of Walker’s, Oliver Henry), evoking the sound of the Rolling Stones circa Exile On Main Street. Walker and Swank paid tribute to another influence on ‘Michigan Line (Hats Off To R.L.)’, which reworked R.L. Burnside’s song of the same name. Henry was subsequently added to the line-up as a full-time member, making his studio debut on 2003’s Voice Of Treason.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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