MEET THE BAND
“Nick Moss is at the forefront of contemporary Chicago blues. His muscular, electric energy combines jaw-dropping guitar, gruff, soulful vocals and impassioned songwriting.”
— Living Blues
“Dennis Gruenling is a leading light among a new generation of harp players…a true innovator.”
— Blues Revue
With Get Your Back Into It!, Chicago native, guitarist and vocalist Nick Moss and New Jersey native, harmonica player and vocalist Dennis Gruenling – together with Rodrigo Mantovani on bass, Taylor Streiff on keyboards and Pierce Downer on drums – deliver a deeply rooted, timeless blue collar blues album. According to Moss, “We are a rare breed as far as how authentic we like to keep the music." That's not a surprise to longtime fans, as Moss proudly represents the city of Chicago as one of the few bluesmen working today to have learned his craft firsthand directly from many of the genre’s original creators.
Get Your Back Into It! was produced by Moss and Mantovani and contains fourteen original songs -- twelve by Moss and two by Gruenling. Guests include saxophonist “Sax” Gordon Beadle and organist “Brother” John Kattke. The album is inspired by the electrifying blues sounds of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, and is performed with taste, restraint, sly humor and pure joy. In addition to the expertly crafted lyrics, the album features three wild instrumentals that simply dare you to stay seated. “We're not reinventing the wheel," says Moss of the songs and performances on the new album, "but we like to push ourselves out of our comfort zone, and I feel like we accomplished that.”
Moss first made a name for himself playing bass for bluesman Jimmy “Fast Fingers” Dawkins. Dawkins encouraged Nick to unleash his fire and passion. From there, Moss was chosen by Willie “Big Eyes” Smith to join his Legendary Blues Band, but Smith insisted Moss switch to guitar. Blues icon Jimmy Rogers (whose best known songs included "Walking By Myself" and "Ludella") hired Moss as his touring guitarist, mentoring him on the blues lifestyle along the way. Today, Moss’ blistering fretwork, impassioned, soul-charged vocals and memorable original songs place him in a league of his own.
Dennis Gruenling, Moss’ friend of over 20 years, is considered among today’s most innovative and creative blues harmonica players. His high-energy, full-throttle reed work has earned him comparisons to many of the greats, including the late James Cotton. A self-taught player and a natural entertainer with seven solo albums and numerous guest appearances to his credit, Gruenling’s giant, fat-toned harp work, raw-boned singing and untamed energy are a perfect foil for Moss’ inspired guitar playing and straight-from-the-shoulder blues vocals. Vintage Guitar says, “Gruenling’s harp, along with the Midwestern intensity of Moss’ blues guitar, is pure ecstasy.”
The Nick Moss Band Featuring Dennis Gruenling's first two Alligator albums, 2018's The High Cost Of Low Living and 2019’s Lucky Guy!, hit blues fans, press and radio by storm. Moss, Gruenling and the band received a total of five Blues Music Awards, with wins in 2020 for Band Of The Year, Song Of The Year (“Lucky ) and Traditional Blues Album Of The Year (Lucky Guy!), and in 2019 for Traditional Blues Male Artist (Moss) and Instrumentalist—Harmonica (Gruenling). Blues Music Magazine says, “Nick Moss is a major force in contemporary blues. Dennis Gruenling plays soaring harp...infectious and finger-snappin’.”
Lucky Guy! finished in the Top 10 on the Living Blues Radio Chart’s Top 50 Albums of 2019. Internationally, the album peaked on blues charts at #1 in Australia, #3 in France and #7 in the UK. Songs from Lucky Guy! were also prominently featured on BBC2 in Britain and CBC in Canada. The title track became one of the most played songs on SiriusXM’s Bluesville.
Now, with Get Your Back Into It! and upcoming North American and European tours in the works, The Nick Moss Band Featuring Dennis Gruenling will bring their brash, exciting blues to old fans and new. Performing at clubs, concert halls and on festival stages across the country and around the world, the band ignites an irresistible, musical firestorm onstage. “When we get together, the music takes over,” says Moss. “We can’t hold back, and the energy just comes pouring out. We get carried away and the audience gets carried away with us.”
Band photography courtesy of Alligator Records
Nick Moss Vocals / Guitar
Nick Moss has been recognized as one the great guitarists of his generation, garnering accolades from Buddy Guy and praise from Jambase, Relix, and Gratefulweb.com among many others. His recording career spans decades and his albums are staples at blues radio outlets worldwide, and are now in rotation at stations with jam and rock formats.
Nick Moss Band has a legion of fans that flock to his shows, knowing that each night will be a grand musical experiment. There will be sonic textures to discover and new sounds to stir the soul.
Dennis Gruenling Harmonica / Vocals
After receiving his first harmonica as a gift from a family friend while in his teens, Dennis Gruenling had heard his first blues record and his life was never the same! Working in local blues bands in and around Teaneck, NJ in the early ’90s, he quickly gained a reputation as a young rising star on the local blues scene.
Through the years, Gruenling has shared the stage with many top names in the blues & roots world, such as Pinetop Perkins, Snooky Pryor, Homesick James, Nappy Brown, John Mayall, Little Sammy Davis, A.C. Reed, Mick Taylor, and Jimmy Dawkins, as well as contemporary blues masters such as Rod Piazza & The Mighty Flyers, Rick Estrin/Little Charlie & The Nightcats, Kim Wilson, Rusty Zinn, Steve Guyger, Greg Piccolo, Mark Hummel, and now — Nick Moss!
Dennis has been published in Real Blues Magazine, in the American Harmonica Newsletter, and also hosts his own blues & roots radio show on WFDU (Teaneck, NJ/NYC metro) every Thursday afternoon entitled “Blues & the Beat”.
Rodrigo Mantovani Bass
Rodrigo Mantovani is recognized as one of top Blues bass players in his field.
Born and raised in Brazil, he has always had a deep love for American blues and roots music from a very young age. This has led him to being one of the most recognized and requested bass players around the world.
Rodrigo has been a member of some of the first ground breaking Blues bands in Brazil. Because of his deep knowledge, expertise and feel for the blues, he has also has been a first call bassist for many of the premier American Blues acts touring in Brazil, United States and many of the major festivals all over the world, gaining much wider recognition. Rodrigo's work can be heard on many recordings, as a member of various bands, and also playing on and producing his own projects worldwide.
For his work playing and producing a project in Brazil, his band had two albums released in U.S.A and one of them was nominated for the 37th Annual Blues Music Awards. This remains an historic event as they were, the only non-American artists to ever have been nominated for these awards.
Rodrigo first met Nick Moss in 2008 while they were both playing at the same festival in Spain. After this they developed a friendship and worked together on some projects ,including playing together with their mutual friend, the late great Lynwood Slim, with whom Rodrigo has played many shows worldwide and done some highly regarded recordings. Now living in the U.S and playing full time with Nick, Rodrigo starts a new chapter in his life.
Pierce Downer Drums
Pierce Downer grew up in the western suburbs of Chicago. He discovered his love for music at a young age, listening to his father's band, a popular Jump, Rhythm & Blues band in the Chicago music scene. Hearing the music as they practiced in their living room, He felt an instant connection to the “old school” Rhythm & Blues music that they were playing.
Pierce started on saxophone at an early age, but was drawn to the drums in middle school. One early highlight was when he got to meet Milt Trenier and play saxophone with 1950’s Sax legend Big Jay McNeely while still a young teen! Another seminal moment came at a young age while seeing Muddy Water’s son, Mud Morganﬁeld at a local venue. Early exposure to these world class artists,(with the encouragement of his own father) helped Pierce’s realization that his heart beat to that of traditional Blues!
After graduating high school, Pierce focused on pursuing music full time, and started his own band. Just a few short years from his high school graduation, he received the call to join the Nick Moss Band as their new drummer. Since joining forces with Nick, Pierce has had the opportunity to play with many seasoned Blues veterans such as Anson Funderburgh, Billy Flynn, Kirk Fletcher, Kid Ramos, Sax Gordon, Piano Willie O'Shawny, and Curtis Salgado. Pierce is greatly inﬂuenced by drumming greats, such as Fred Below, Gene Krupa, Earl Palmer, and Willie "Big Eyes" Smith.
Taylor Streiff Piano / Organ
Taylor Streiff was born and raised in St. Louis, MO. Taylor began studying piano at a young age, but after four years of uninspiring classical lessons, he quit piano in favor of sports. In high school, he rediscovered his love for music, and began taking lessons from STL jazz pianist Michael Silverman, who gave him a strong foundation in blues, jazz, and other popular music styles. Taylor is heavily influenced by Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Leavell, The Grateful Dead, Steve Winwood, Bruce Hornsby, and Keith Jarrett.
In 2008, Taylor moved to Chicago to study at Columbia College Chicago. Unsure of whether to pursue a degree in sports journalism or music, he decided on music after attending concerts featuring talented student ensembles, some of which included current NMB member Patrick Seals on drums. While at Columbia, Taylor was an in demand keyboard player for student ensembles. He also met and performed in multiple settings with current NMB bass player Nick Fane, and shared the stage with artists Ivan Neville, Kevin Eubanks, Charlie Sexton, Paula Cole, and Joan Osborne. Taylor graduated from Columbia in 2013, with a degree in Contemporary, Urban, and Popular Music.