Guitarist and frontman for The Whiskey Shambles, Nathan has been playing music his entire life. He’s also an author, playwright, actor, director, and professor (currently working on his PhD). His musical influences include: Bukka White, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Richie Havens, Robert Johnson, Junior Kimbrough, Blind Willie Johnson, Erik Satie, Claude Debussy, RL Burnside, Black Sabbath, Pantera, Howlin’ Wolf, and Skip James.
Some of his more notable gigs include playing at the Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale, MS (owned by Morgan Freeman) — with Michael Utley — as well as collaborating with Mr. Freeman and many great writers (including John Grisham) on a collection of blues-based mysteries called “Delta Blues.” Nathan is the founder of Starshaker, a Cincinnati-area favorite, psychedelic rock quartet that has produced two critically acclaimed albums. Nathan and Aaron also opened for the hardcore band Scissorfight during their tenure with the psychedelic sludge metal band, Absinthium.
Music is interwoven into my DNA. It’s not something I do, it’s what I am. Ultimately I just have an insatiable drive to create. The music, the play writing, the fiction, etc., all come from the same source, and it’s really the exact same process. I don’t distinguish one creative pursuit from another.
The Whiskey Shambles’ bassist, Brother James, grew up in Youngstown, Ohio, during the punk and metal scene of the ’80s and has been playing music for almost three decades. Thanks to his mother’s eclectic musical taste, he was raised on everything from old-school country, big band, bluegrass, and folk, to showtunes, baroque, and opera – as well as the classic rock, garage, and punk that he was drawn to on his own.
In addition to bass, he also plays tenor saxophone and blues harmonica. Over the years James has performed in various rock, metal, punk, jazz, and blues bands, including, Idle, Leo Clarke Band, Tempted Souls, RB Stone (from Nashville), Cincy Blues Syndicate, Brian Keith Wallen Band, RiverTowne Ramblers, The Goodle Boys, and the Cincinnati Entertainment Award-winning blues band, Voodoo Puppet. He has played many large events and festivals, including the Cincy Blues Fest’s Showcase Stage and headlined Cincinnati’s Winter Blues Fest. James has also opened for many national and touring acts, including Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Little Feat, and Delbert McClinton, to name a few.
The blues has had a huge influence on my life, not just my music. It’s been a spiritual journey to the heart of American music and the soul of this country — an understanding that cannot be replicated but through playing. And after almost a decade of this exploration, I’m excited to be back in a rock band: it’s a refreshing change in energy, tempered by a solemn connection with the roots of the genre.
LaTanya — whose collaboration with Nathan goes back to musical theatre in high school — lent her vocal talents to the recording of the first Whiskey Shambles studio album. After hearing her soaring soprano simultaneously complement and contrast Nathan’s deep growl, they asked her to join them for just one gig — her first performance with a rock band. Amazingly she didn’t run for the hills, and soon she was a key element in every show and full-time member of the band.
A classically trained performer, LaTanya has sung professionally with the Cincinnati Opera for multiple seasons since 2000, as well as the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Her influences include: Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Torme, The Rat Pack, Buena Vista Social Club, Tito Puente, and The Gypsy Kings.
I long to share my love of music while increasing my skill as an artist. No genre is out of bounds. Music is an international language and I am working to become fluent.
Though from other ends of town, Nathan and Aaron met in high school and have been playing music in various groups ever since. While he’s been a bass player for most of his musical career, with The Whiskey Shambles, Aaron drives the beat on drums. His early influences include Moody Blues, Metallica, Anthrax, Guns N’ Roses, moving on to The Verve, Spiritualized, and The Jesus and Mary Chain later, and most recently RL Burnside and Jr. Kimbrough.
Aaron is also the bass player for The Guild of Calamitous Intent, and has played with Supergroup, Mono No Aware, Malahida, The Euphio Question, as well as collaborating with Nathan in Voice in the Cage, Absinthium, and Gospel on Whetsel. Aaron also played drums at the Ground Zero Blues Club with Nathan, Michael Utley, and a Charlaine Harris (author of the The Sookie Stackhouse novels), among others in an all-star lineup.
There has always been a desire originating from somewhere just outside my field of vision that has driven me to play music, to take the stage, to write, create, and perform without compromise or regret.
More on Tim coming soon! Until then, check out our announcement about him joining The Shambles.