Inside Straight Blues Band
Inside Straight Blues Band, a popular band with Twin Cities and regional club audiences, plays Blues, and Blues-Rock in the Chicago, Texas, Memphis, Kansas City, St. Louis and New Orleans traditions. Tempered with solid Jazz, Funk, R&B, old Rock & Roll, and some Country influences, the result is a sound unique to Inside Straight Blues Band that is truly a collection of its member's experiences.
Inside Straight Blues Band’s Five, Six, & Seven Piece Ensembles Offer Choices for any Venue
Inside Straight Blues Band has shared the Stages and Opened for many Blues & Rock Legends
Inside Straight has shared stages with artists such as Jimmy Rogers, Tab Benoit, James Cotton, Mojo Buford, Long John Hunter, Big Walter Smith, Roomful of Blues, Rod Piazza, Son Seals, Delbert McClinton, John Mayall, Magic Slim, Ronnie Earl, Phillip Walker, W.C. Clark, and Rare Earth, to name but a few.
Inside Straight Blues Band has played throughout the Upper Midwest Blues Festival Circuit
The core of the Inside Straight Blues Band is the quintet of Kurt Koehler on Guitar and Vocals, Bill Swanson on Keys and Vocals, Mark Zmuda on Bass, Rose Duffy on Sax and Vocals, and Donna Dahl on Drums and Vocals.
In addition to the core band, Inside Straight also offers six and seven piece ensembles with added horns, including renowned Saxophone players Brian “Zoot” Simonds (Mick Sterling & The Stud Brothers; High & Mighty); Layne Bender (The Good, the Bad, & the Funky); Steve Clarke (Working Stiffs), LeAnn Lindgren (Latin Sounds Orchestra; Salsa; Salsabrosa), Trumpet player Scott Snyder (Mick Sterling & The Stud Brothers; The Big Wu; Willie Murphy); and Rand Evensen on Trombone (Big Walter Smith & the Groove Merchants; Power of Ten; High & Mighty).
The band's founder and leader, Kurt Koehler on Guitar and Vocals has been playing Blues for over 50 years beginning in Chicago (Koehler, Koenig & Gockman; Windy City Blues Review). While growing up listening to the Blues greats of the 50’s and 60’s on local radio, early influences came from smooth jazzy uptown styles, to the gritty sounds of the Southside, and eventually the melding of it all in the horn driven grooves of the Westside of Chicago. Kurt established Inside Straight Blues Band in 1991. Kurt was also the owner, publisher, and editor of Twin Cities Blues News monthly, in publication from 1996 to 2006. Kurt was inducted into the Minnesota Blues Hall of Fame in 2009 for literature.
Bill Swanson on Keys and Vocals has over 55 years of experience as a professional musician playing with bands in the Twin Cities including The Phase and The Checkers bands. Bill has authored two songs in the band’s setlist which were published in the all original “Minnesota Blues All Stars” volumes recorded live at Wilebski's Blues Saloon in St. Paul, MN; "Can't Never Get Away From The Blues" (Volume 1) and "At The Juke Joint" (Volume 2). “Brother” Bill is a frequent guest playing at the Twin Cities and Regional area’s several annual Vet’s Fests with the Pat McLaughlin Band.
Mark Zmuda on Bass has been playing since the mid-1960s with a strong background in blues, funk, and the early rock & roll bands in the Twin Cities including B-Bop & the Hubcaps and the Dale Powers Band. Mark’s funky style bass has among its influences, Rocco Prestia and Marcus Miller.
Donna Dahl on Drums and Vocals has been playing since childhood, receiving the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award at age 17. She has worked with artists locally and regionally, including Cooker John, The Mark Cameron Band, the Legendary Ladies of Country, and NY artist Tas Cru. As a member of Brother Sun Sister Moon (winners of a Road to Memphis Challenge in Minnesota), Donna has performed on many stages and festivals, including the National Women in Blues Showcase, and the International Blues Challenge.
Rose Duffy on Saxophone, Flute, and Vocals played in Armadillo Jump for eight years, including when the band won first place in “Famous Dave’s Battle of the Blues Bands” and later opened for Tommy Castro at the Minneapolis Uptown club. Rose also played classic rock-and-roll with “Big Bob and the High Rollers.” Throughout the years, Rose has sat in with Buddy Guy, Koko Taylor, Matt Guitar Murphy, Luther Allison, James Cotton, Willie Dixon, Pinetop Perkins and The Legendary Blues Band. After two shows with Etta James, Rose was invited back the following year for two shows by Etta herself. And, Rose won a national talent contest and performed on The Rosie O’Donnell Show.