They say you have to be born with the blues to play the blues. That was the case when Jon Neuberger was diagnosed with the mild form of autism, Asperger Syndrome, at a very early age. But that didn’t stop Jon from picking up the guitar for the first time during his early teen years. While in high school, Jon was given the name “Jonny T-Bird” by one of his high school teachers out of the blue and the name stuck. Jonny T-Bird formed “Jonny T-Bird & the MPs” while studying music at Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) in early 2009. With several self-released albums, a regional following, hundreds of miles on the road, and a WAMI nomination, Jonny and his MPs earned their reputation as an entertaining and electrifying blues band not only in their home state, but in the Midwest. If you’re unfamiliar with the band, their third and latest self-released album Hot Stuff (Live at the Red Dot) would be a great introduction for your ears. And in case you didn’t catch the title, this album was recorded live during their performance at Red Dot in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, on May 25th, 2017.
The band consists of Jon “Jonny T-Bird” Neuberger (the only original band member) on guitar and vocals. He is also heard taking a harmonica solo on their original song “Stupid Cupid.” “Cadillac” Craig Carter on bass guitar and is also featured on lead vocals on Gene Barge’s “Me and My Baby”. Danny Moore on keyboards and Marcus “MG” Gibbons on drums. MG also co-produced this album along with Jonny T-Bird. Hot Stuff also features a few guest musicians. Keyboardist and front-man from “The Jimmys”, Jimmy Voegeli, and Sam Benedon, who can be heard during the background vocals on The Fabulous Thunderbirds’ “Why Get Up.”
This live album features six original songs written and co-written by Jonny T-Bird and five covers. Three of the originals, “It Is What It Is,” “Laura,” and “Ice Your Cake,” were originally featured on the band’s debut album Let’s Do This!, released in 2013. Hot Stuff kicks off with the Valentine’s Day inspired blues shuffle “Stupid Cupid”, followed by the funky “Me & My Baby.” Another thing to expect when hearing this album is how the band goes from one genre to another. Joe Zawinul’s “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” is the perfect example. This jazzy instrumental features Jonny’s soulful guitar riffs and Danny’s tasty Fender Rhodes rolls. The album finishes strong with plenty of “Hot Stuff,” with Jonny and the MPs chanting “Hot Stuff,” along with Jonny’s slide guitar and Danny’s boogie-woogie piano.
Jonny T-Bird and the MPs continues to gig and gain new fans far and wide. To anyone who has yet heard their music, don’t miss a chance if they’re ever at a gig or festival near you. This album, along with their other self-released albums, can be purchased at any of their shows or online. Give them a like if you’re on Facebook.
Follow the band’s news and upcoming schedule on their Website