Band photography by Chris Monaghan • 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.
Patrick Seals Drums
Chicago-area drummer Patrick Seals discovered his love of drums at an early age while still in middle school. By high school Patrick was playing in many local bands of varying styles. At 18 he was accepted into the prestigious Columbia College music program and received his degree in Jazz upon graduation. Shortly after leaving Columbia, Patrick found himself a place in the thriving Chicago blues community, playing regular gigs with local bands, and even securing a short stint with international blues recording & touring artist, Byther Smith. Based on his versatile skills, Patrick was recruited in 2010 to fill the drum chair in Nick Moss’ new band.
So far, in his short tenure in the band, Seals has gained the respect of many of his drumming colleagues in the blues community. Most notably, Tony Braunagle (Robert Cray Band, Phantom Blues Band), who asked Patrick to participate in his drum clinic on the 2012 Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise.
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.
MEET THE BAND
“Pure blues at its most urgently expressive. A rollicking tour de force.”
— Living Blues
On High Cost of Low Living (Alligator 4981)
Nick Moss is a major force in contemporary blues. Dennis Gruenling plays soaring harp…Infectious, finger-snappin’ R&B. ”
— Blues Music Magazine
On High Cost of Low Living (Alligator 4981)
“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
Blues guitar virtuoso Nick Moss and harmonica wizard Dennis Gruenling have been on a winning streak since they first joined forces in 2016. With relentless nonstop touring and the release of their Alligator Records debut, The High Cost Of Low Living, in 2018, The Nick Moss Band Featuring Dennis Gruenling has been playing for wildly enthusiastic fans and winning over critics and radio programmers worldwide. Debuting at #3 on the Billboard Blues Chart, the album topped many 2018 “Best Of” lists. UK tastemaker magazine Mojo said, “Guitarist and singer Nick Moss shows the world his fearsome guitar chops and his complete familiarity with the great tradition of Chicago blues music. Partnered with harmonica-player Dennis Gruenling, Moss creates a two-headed monster that takes the band thundering through crisp originals.”
Their self-made lucky streak continued into early 2019, when down-and-dirty guitarist Moss – a 30-year veteran of Chicago’s take-no-prisoners rough and tumble West and South Side blues clubs – won the Blues Music Award (BMA) for Traditional Blues Male Artist Of The Year. Gruenling, one on the hottest players on the scene today, took the BMA for Best Instrumentalist – Harmonica. And now, with the odds heavily in their favor, they unleash their dynamic new album, Lucky Guy!.
Lucky Guy! – produced by Kid Andersen (guitarist for Rick Estrin & The Nightcats) and Moss and recorded at Andersen’s Greaseland Studio in San Jose, California – is a foot-stomping showcase featuring the classic Chicago blues sound the band is known for. But, as Moss himself notes, there are also “a few other flavors,” including Louisiana swamp pop, West Coast blues, New Orleans funk, and even some proto-rock and roll. All but one of the 14 songs are originals, with 11 by Moss and two by Gruenling. The band delivers each one with uncompromising skill and authority. Start to finish, Lucky Guy! is a joyous, sonic blast of pure blues power.
Lucky Guy! moves effortlessly from the rollicking title track to the potent shout-out to Chicago, "312 Blood," to the truth-telling slow blues, "Sanctified Holy And Hateful" (featuring some of Moss’ most expressive vocals and extraordinary, every-note-matters guitar work). The band – pianist Taylor Streiff, bassist Rodrigo Mantovani, drummer Patrick Seals – are joined by Kid Andersen on five songs (playing rhythm guitar as well as taking a stellar mandolin solo). Blistering guitarist Monster Mike Welch joins Moss on "The Comet," an emotional tribute to the late bluesman, Mike Ledbetter, a close friend of both Moss and Welch.
Guitar hero Nick Moss paid his dues gigging in the city’s blues clubs under the tutelage of some of the city’s greatest blues luminaries. His fiery fretwork, gruff, soul-charged vocals and memorable original songs place him in a league of his own. New Jersey’s Dennis Gruenling is considered among today’s best blues harmonica players. His high-energy, full-throttle playing has earned him comparisons to the late James Cotton. Living Blues says,“Nick Moss's muscular, electric energy combines jaw-dropping guitar, gruff, soulful vocals and impassioned songwriting. Gruenling is a contemporary harmonica master...impressive, genuine and fresh-sounding.”
Although Moss and Gruenling had known each other for 20 years and had jammed together often, it wasn’t until 2016 that they decided to team up full time. Moss’ expressive and expansive blues guitar playing flawlessly meshes with Gruenling’s monster harmonica chops. On stage, the two communicate seemingly telepathically, as Moss lays down the deepest blues licks and Gruenling’s harmonica wails and howls in perfect response, with Moss’ top-notch band completing the ensemble with their energy and expertise.
Growing up in Chicago and standing tall at 6’2”, Moss dreamed of playing both music and sports. His mother was a huge blues fan, even taking a young Nick to see Muddy Waters live in concert. Kidney surgery sidelined his athletic hopes. To lift his spirits, Nick’s brother snuck the 18-year-old Nick out of the hospital soon after his surgery and took him across the street to see Alligator artists Little Charlie & The Nightcats perform. It was there and then that Nick dove headfirst into the blues, deciding that a career as bluesman was for him.
Originally a bass player, Moss got his first professional break touring and playing with legendary West Side Chicago guitarist Jimmy “Fast Fingers” Dawkins. He next toured with Willie “Big Eyes” Smith (longtime Muddy Waters’ drummer), leader of the Legendary Blues Band. Finding himself in need of a guitarist, Smith insisted Moss switch instruments. Combining his natural talent with non-stop woodshedding and playing every jam session, Moss quickly became one of the city’s most highly sought-after players. Bluesman Jimmy Rogers (famous for his pioneering guitar work with Muddy Waters and for his solo hit Walking By Myself) hired Moss to join his touring band and became his mentor. Moss’ other influences include B.B. King, Freddie King, Earl Hooker, Magic Slim and other groundbreaking players.
Moss formed his own band in 1997 and released the first of his 13 albums a year later on his own independent Blue Bella label. Since then he’s earned legions of fans around the world, playing over 100 shows a year. Moss has shared stages with Buddy Guy, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Gary Clark, Jr., David Hidalgo and many others, and is an in-demand guest, always welcome to sit in with his musician friends around the world.
As a teen, Gruenling heard the Alligator recording Harp Attack!(a summit meeting of James Cotton, Junior Wells, Carey Bell and Billy Branch) and decided that blues harmonica was his life’s calling. In addition to Cotton, Gruenling was inspired by blues harp masters Little Walter and George “Harmonica” Smith as well as by saxophonists, including Lester Young and Red Prysock. A self-taught player and a natural entertainer with nine albums to his credit, Gruenling’s giant, fat-toned harp work, raw-boned singing and untamed energy are a perfect foil for Moss’ hair-raising guitar playing and straight-from-the-shoulder blues vocals.
With Lucky Guy! and upcoming North American and European tours in the works, The Nick Moss Band Featuring Dennis Gruenling will prove it’s not luck but talent that earns them standing ovations night after night as they barnstorm clubs, concert halls, roadhouses and festival stages. “When the band and I get on stage,” says Moss, “the music takes over. We can’t hold back and the energy just comes pouring out. We get carried away and the audience gets carried away with us.” And once that happens, everyone is in luck.