Blue Jay Slim & The Tone Blasters is a blues trio consisting of Blue Jay Slim on Lead Guitar, Slide Guitar and Vocals, Kenny Githens on Fender Bass & Backing Vocals and Russ Joell on Drums. Formed in the summer of 2012, members Blue Jay Slim and Kenny Githens started the Tone Blasters as a side project from their previous band, which they played in together for 5 years. Adding Russ Joell on drums they play a blend of traditional blues, contemporary blues rock and their own style of original blues. Influenced by a variety of artists both past and present, Blue Jay Slim and The Tone Blasters are a band you shouldn't miss.
In the 6 years that they've been together they have had the pleasure of opening up for country rock legends The Outlaws and Shemekia Copeland at the Levoy Theater in Millville, NJ and Savoy Brown, Marcia Ball, Tab Benoit and Charlie Musselwhite at The Sellersville Theater in Sellersville PA. and The Nighthawks at the Bucks County Blues Society's annual Christmas Party. In addition to playing at many of the bars and clubs in the Mid-Atlantic region, they've played many of the festivals in the area including The Point Pleasant Jazz & Blues Festival, The Lehigh River Blues Jam, The Olde Kings Jazz Festival in Swedesboro, NJ, The Hank Story Fall Fling for The Bucks County Blues Society, The Olde Kings Blues Knite is Swedesboro, NJ, The Summertime Blues Festival in Have de Grace, MD, The Anglesea Blues Festival in Wildwood, NJ, The Paoli Blues Festival in Paoli, PA.
In November of 2013 the band was inducted from Delaware into the "Blues Hall Of Fame". In addition to playing in the Mid-Atlantic region, The Tone Blasters played some gigs in Ajijic Mexico in 2014 including the Mexican National Chili Cookoff. Blue Jay Slim and Kenny Githens joined Georgie Bonds on the 1st Annual "Blues Cruisin' Lunch" aboard the Spirit Of Philadelphia down the Delaware River.
Their latest CD is called "Leaving The Cold Behind" and features special guests Georgie Bonds and Mikey Jr. As an added surprise the new CD was selected by The Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Foundation as their representative for The Blues Foundation's "Best Self Produced CD" Competition for 2015. Blue Jay Slim & The Tone Blasters will be representing The 2nd Story Blues Alliance at the 2015 International Blues Challenge in Memphis from January 20th to 24th.
Originally from Philly, Blue Jay Slim has played in many local bands in the Philly and New York club scene before moving to Los Angeles to perform and work as a studio musician. While in Los Angelas he recorded the sound track for Cheech & Chong's "The Next Movie".
He has recorded as: "Blue Jay Slim", "J Byrd Slim", "Les DeWitt", and "Jay Pinkus". He has performed or recorded with such artists as TheOutlaws, Dave Mason, Walter Trout, Shemekia Copeland, Savoy Brown, Charlie Musselwhite, Tab Benoit, The Nighthawks, Marcia Ball, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Richard Underhill, Lonnie Shields, Mikey Jr., Roger Girke, Billy Branch, Trudy Lynn, Georgie Bonds, Andrew "Jr. Boy" Jones, Stargard, Hall & Oates, The Dixie Dregs, The Soul Brother Six, Billy Harner, The J-Boys, Robert Knight, Rick Matthews, The Tymes, The Delphonics, Biscuit Miller, Michael Hill, Geno Washington and Fantastic Johnny C. He was the guitarist, songwriter, and vocalist for the Scoville Blues band. His original song "Hard Times", from his solo album entitled "They Call Me The Boogie Man", was selected as a finalist in 2011 for the International Songwriters Competition. Slim usually plays in Mexico for a few months each winter with several different bands.
Born and raised in South Jersey Kenny's passion for the Blues started at an early age. After seeing Muddy Waters twice in the 70's he was hooked for life and counts Buddy Guy, The Allman Brothers, Albert Collins, B.B. King, and Hot Tuna as major influences. With Bass Guitar as his instrument of choice Kenny started playing in bands in the late 70's. Along the way he has shared the stage with some of the area's best blues musicians, including Georgie Bonds, Mikey Jr., Lonnie Shields, Eddie Taylor Jr., Bev Conklin, Brian McLean, Skyla Burrell, Stacy Brooks, Andrew "Jr Boy" Jones, Victor Wainwright, Lil' Ed, The Porkroll Project, Roger Girke, and Gary Cogdell. After playing with The Scoville Blues Band for six years he helped form Blue Jay Slim & The Tone Blasters with fellow Scoville band mate Blue Jay Slim. He's also opened up for some great acts including The Outlaws, Dave Mason, Little Feat, Savoy Brown, Marcia Ball, Walter Trout, Boz Scaggs, Chris Cain, Charlie Musselwhite, The Nighthawks and Cedric Burnside. When not playing with The Tone Blasters, Kenny can be found playing with Philadelphia's own Georgie "The Blacksmith" Bonds and recently on Georgie's CD "Steppin Into Time". Kenny recently recorded a solo album with The Cosmic Blues Ensemble
which consisted of members of The Tone Blasters, Georgie Bonds, Billy Pierce, Mikey Jr. and others.
Growing up in Philadelphia Russ got into music and began playing drums at an early age. One of his earliest gigs was playing a show with Patti LaBelle in the 60's. During the 70's he started playing with R&B group Brenda and The Tabulations and toured the Midwest and Toronto Canada. Over the years Russ has played Jazz, R&B, Blues and Gospel and has played with bands such as Beau Jazz, The Latin Jazz Unit, Georgie "The Blacksmith" Bonds, harmonica player Jim McCarthy, Frankie the Soulman Alston and the Ray Of Light Blues Band. He's also done gigs with Kenny Neal, The Flamingos, Lonnie Shields, Sonny Rhodes and has opened up for Charlie Musselwhite. Having played with Georgie Bonds for many years he's toured Europe and the Caribbean and played on both of his CDs "Sometimes I Wonder" and "Stepping Into Time". Russ is the newest member of Blue Jay Slim & The Tone Blasters.