"Just when you think gals are becoming an endangered species, a well pedigreed jazz singer goes looking for some new challenges and finds a tasty set of retro-nouveau vibes. Chops are chops and they are they are here by the truck load. " - Midwest Record
SUSIE BLUE & THE LONESOME FELLAS
"Vocalist Solitaire Miles sings with warm highs and holds her lows neatly. There's a jazziness about Miles's phrasing, but she holds fast to a sound reminiscent of roadside bars where just three people are left near closing at the pinball machine.”
- Wall Street Journal
BEHIND THE MUSIC
"Susie Blue and the Lonesome Fellas includes some of the best Jazz and Roots players and Miles adds a lively vocal style that brings to mind a winning blend of Patsy Cline and Billie Holiday. " - DownBeat Magazine
"Miles' voice is wonderful, what an instrument." - Michael Feldman, NPR
Susie Blue and the Lonesome Fellas takes you back to the days of Kay Starr, with the husky voice of Solitaire Miles along with Chicago's best jazz and blues musicians. They get the crowd on the floor with syncopated honky tonking. Miles is a joy and you feel like you’re listening to tunes at the juke box on the counter alongside your hash browns. This band takes you to a place you want to be." - George W Harris, Jazz Weekly
"Miles has a similar voice to Kay Starr and uses it to great affect. The band is perfect with plenty of guitar, harmonica and added sax with nothing forced, just plain and simple. She does a heartfelt version of "I'm a Fool to Care" which is almost worth buying the whole album for that one song alone.."- Rick Meek, Blue Suede News Magazine
"In her home base of Chicago Solitaire Miles boasts an avid following as a singer equally at home with jazz and blues. Given that combination of styles, it’s no surprise—but an unexpected delight—to hear what she can do... billed as The Lonesome Fellas, she deploys her warm, sultry voice on choice material, strictly top drawer fare, from some of the most important songwriters in history..." David McGee, Deep Roots Magazine
Susie Blue and the Lonesome Fellas is an Award Winning band in Chicago made up of Blues, Roots, Rockabilly and Jazz players featuring Grammy winning Harmonica Maestro Howard Levy, Chicago Sax King Eric Schneider, guitarist Neal Alger, Hammond player Don Stille, Trombonist Jack Gallagher, Chris Bernhardt on bass, Tom Hope on piano and Phil Gratteau on drums. Also featuring great side vocals by Jen Zias and Dominic Halpin
BIO - Solitaire Miles has always loved singing Swing tunes. Her grandmother, a singer with a Big Band in the late 1930s, exposed her to the music as a child. Several members of her family were musicians and she grew up hearing Blues and Jazz at Sunday afternoon family concerts. She performed as a teenager in the late 1980's with well known Jazz saxophonist Bruce Johnstone in the NW Pennsylvania area where she is originally from. Solitaire originally planned to be an opera singer, but while attending DePaul University in Chicago, she met the legendary Swing violinist Johnny Frigo who encouraged her to sing Jazz. After college in the early 1990's she began working in Chicago with Sax Maestro Von Freeman, and pianist Willie Pickens, who also played on her self-titled release in 2006. "I was lucky to have their guidance because they were playing with the greats in their day.”
During the late 90's while living in New York City, she performed with the great trumpeter Doc Cheatham, learning lots more Swing tunes. From these venerable bandleaders, she learned more about phrasing. Since then, she has since been an important part of the Chicago music scene performing with pianist Willie Pickens and leading her own groups.
Susie Blue and the Lonesome Fellas may be regarded as a surprise by some of Solitaire Miles’ swing fans, but it is a logical step in her evolution. While Solitaire can name a long list of influences like Kay Starr or Mary Ford, she does not sound exactly like any of the singers who preceded her, nor do her sidemen sacrifice their own individuality while doing justice to the material. Instead, they all fully understand the music and are able to add their own voices to the songs while being themselves. For the future, Solitaire Miles plans to continue singing Roots and Rockabilly as well as Jazz. “I love them all, and I am looking forward to performing in Chicago and many different regions of the US.” Wherever they appear Susie Blue and the Lonesome Fellas can be relied upon to provide lively music and a fun time. This delightful group features Solitaire Miles at her very best, taking her place as one of the top Jazz and Blues singers around today. - Scott Yanow, author of 11 books including Swing, The Jazz Singers and Jazz on Record 1917-76
Listen and Download tracks at our Bandcamp Page
Susie Blue & the Lonesome Fellas releases their new album "Blue Train" this Fall/Winter 2021
Chicago’s Susie Blue & the Lonesome Fellas release a preview of their new album which is due out this Fall/Winter 2021 with the tune “Big Sweet Baby of Mine”. Originally recorded by Ruth Brown in 1957, the song becomes a sultry Chicago Roots and Rockabilly hit in the hands of Grammy winning Harmonica Maestro Howard Levy and Chicago Sax King Eric Schneider. Both are notorious veterans of the Chicago Blues and Jazz scene and have been working together for decades on Chicago stages, but this is the first time that they have ever recorded a song together in the studio.
“I was so excited to get both harmonica and sax in the same tune” Miles said, “these guys have played in Chicago together for years but they never went into the recording studio. I am so excited and honored to have them trading fours and blowing solos, they had a lot of fun together and the tune has been a favorite with everyone who has listened to previews of the new album.”
Speaking of the new album, “Blue Train” will be out in the Fall of 2021, and it’s not a Western Swing collection but an assemblage of 16 Retro 1950’s R&B and Rockabilly songs, highlighting the best of Chicago Blues, Roots and Jazz. The Wall St Journal describes Miles’ vocal style best - “Vocalist Solitaire Miles sings with warm highs and holds her lows neatly. There’s a jazziness about Miles’s phrasing, but she holds fast to a sound reminiscent of roadside bars where just three people are left near closing at the pinball machine.” – Wall Street Journal
Other distinctive selections featured are some long-lost 50’s A sides like “Palm of Your Hand” by Dolly Lyon, “Chills and Fever” by Tom Jones, “Oh How I Miss You Tonight” by Kay Starr, “One Way Ticket to the Blues” by Neil Sedaka, “How Could I Help But Love You” by Aaron Neville and an evocative and wistful duet with UK singer Dominic Halpin on “Forever Yours” which was penned by Carl Perkins.
“I wanted to bring out some of the best music from the late 50’s and early 60’s,” Miles explains, “featuring tunes that blended Soul, Rhythm and Blues, Jazz and Rockabilly. I hope this collection will remind listeners of the early roots of Rock-n-Roll music when it was first congealed with Blues, Soul, Jazz and Roots. This is definitely a period-inspired piece and I hope that it reflects the best of that era, when so many things were happening in American music and in American history.”
The band is off to a good start with “Big Sweet Baby of Mine” which has a soulful and bluesy sound. Miles’ vocals have matured over her 25 yr career and her style is more permeable and mature, incorporating everything she has learned about Jazz, Swing, Blues and Retro Country into this audacious new collection. Howard Levy plays like a great Blues man, but his virtuosity of the harmonica is so mind blowing, bending notes and creating riffs that you’ll want to go back and listen over and over again because you’ve never heard anyone get so many notes and changes out of a harmonica ever before. He’s at his best gamboling with long time friend Eric Schneider who swings the tune, their solos and trades are worth the download alone.
The new CD “Blue Train” will be out this Fall 2021 on Seraphic Records – Jean M Reid, Chicago Music Guide