Join Chicago’s Midday with K Wednesday at 5:30pm CST on WIIT 88.9FM streams live at radio.iit.edu for a LIVE interview and performance with Ryan T-bo Mumby.
Ryan Mumby (Vocals/Guitar)
Brian Baxter (Drums)
Steve Baxter (Bass)
Nick Bellezzo (Guitar/Vocals)
Born from the sweat and blood of determination and obsession, Ryan Mumby and the Hundred Year Rain blends a rich variety of blues styles with its own version of Chicago style grit.
Ryan Mumby has worked tirelessly to master his craft as a guitarist and songwriter for over fifteen years. At times, he’s nearly worn out the pause and playback buttons on his stereo—not just for the sake of being able to master the solos of his guitar idols, like Albert King and Stevie Ray Vaughan, but in order to gain a deeper understanding behind the notes. He strives to capture the heart and soul embedded in the music. Mumby’s ability to play with such feel landed him sit-in spots, at age seventeen, with the likes of Chicago blues musicians Nellie “Tiger” Travis and Andre Taylor. He’s gone on to share the stage with The Steepwater Band and Mr. Blotto.
By age twenty-one, Mumby had formed his own blues trio, which focused primarily on blues standards and related covers, and was playing gigs throughout the state of Illinois. His talent caught the eye of another Chicago-area bluesman, Michael Charles, who recruited Mumby to play in his band. In the five years that Mumby played in The Michael Charles Band, he got the chance to tour Australia, Canada, and the United States, in addition to performing at Chicago’s House of Blues and on JBTV. After a five-year stint with the band, Mumby decided to embark on his own creative vision, where the emphasis was on creating original music steeped in the blues.
In order to create this sound Ryan recruited the rhythm section of brothers Steve and Brian Baxter—on bass and drums, respectively—to lay down a tight groove on top of which Ryan’s soaring solos could take place. The Baxters have been jamming together ever since they picked up their instruments nearly 25 years ago. They have never shied from a genre, experimenting with an eclectic array of music. They joined Mumby, and as a power trio they honed their sound by playing the songs of their heroes, such as Muddy Waters and Peter Green. The band wasn’t satisfied there; they wanted to avoid becoming stagnant, so they began searching for ways to define themselves musically. What followed was an explosion of creativity. From the smokey blues club feel of “Poundin Ache” to the bluegrass/country influenced instrumental “Big Country” the Hundred Year Rain’s originals owe much to their influences without sounding derivative.
Not wanting to rest on their laurels, Ryan and the Baxters recruited guitarist Nick Bellezzo. Nick’s arrival added another dimension to the band’s sound. Whereas Ryan’s playing is firmly rooted in the blues, Nick’s playing is influenced from a number of sources including Jimi Hendrix and Pete Townshend. When Nick Bellezo isn’t satisfied with the tone of his instrument—or when he simply gets bored with it—he does what every guitarist would like to do: he builds a new one. He’s able to fine-tune his sound to compliment Mumby’s, creating interplay between the two guitars that makes for richly layered improvised single and dual solos, one of the band’s live staples.
Ryan Mumby and the Hundred Year Rain has been wowing crowds since December 2010 with an exciting and always growing live repertoire of originals and covers. The band thrives on challenging traditional boundaries, always having one foot in the blues, and the result of their tireless effort shows. They quickly are becoming a staple in the Chicagoland music scene, having performed at the Buddy Guy’s Legends, Double Door, Reggie’s Music Joint and Rock Club, The Elbo Room, Abbey Pub, Hard Rock Cafe (Chicago), and Brauerhouse, among others. If you are a fan of good blues and rock, Ryan Mumby and the Hundred Year Rain should be on your radar for bands to see in 2014.