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At Cold Wind Records

For Booking Information Contact:
Wenger Entertainment
2941 N. Victoria
St. Paul, MN 55113
(651) 484-2095

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Inside Straight Blues Band

Music & Press

Inside Straight Blues Band with the Bighorns, August 19, 2019

Performance at Towne Green, Maple Grove

Inside Straight Blues Band – Youtube Videos and Audio

Top Tracks: Inside Straight Blues Band

You Don’t Know What Love Is

I Got News for You (Fargo Blues Fest)

Inside Straight Blues Band has appeared on iTunes European Blues Charts twice since May 2011; “Born in Chicago” at position #95 on May 15, 2011 on the Denmark Blues Chart, and “You Don’t Know What Love Is” at position #13 on February 1, 2012 on the France Blues Chart.

To purchase Inside Straight Blues Band music on iTunes, go to: iTunes

Inside Straight Blues Band played last Saturday night at Wilebski's Blues Saloon in St. Paul. Unbeknown to us at the time, Gerry Francis was in the audience recorded the whole show and posted the attached video of an instrumental jam we do on Youtube. The link is below. Please take a look and a listen when you've got 9 minutes and 18 seconds to spare. It sounds best with headphones of course.

Inside Straight Blues Band's new CD, "Straight Up -- Down & Dirty; Live on the Mississippi River" (Cold Wind Records).

Dick Houff of Parish Music writes:
"Every town has its unsung warriors playing their asses off 5-7 days a week. Some bands fall by the wayside while other groups sign national contracts with both major and small labels. I’ve talked with musicians that have gone the other route; without ever recording-and yet they have a large following. One of the more successful acts in “Twin Town” and the surrounding area, is the Inside Straight Blues Band. Locally, they’ve been paying their dues for over ten years without an inkling of letting up. The reason behind the bands success is their thorough professionalism, and unique sound. These guys share the spotlight in a live setting-they can take a blues standard and revamp it into something totally new-now that’s magic! I’d place the Inside Straight Blues Band against any of the top players in the business. This band deserves recognition from the big league recording companies-I’ve caught their act many times, and have never been disappointed!"

Reviewer Gordon Baxter (UK) writes of Inside Straight Blues Band's new CD, "Straight Up -- Down & Dirty; Live on the Mississippi River" (Cold Wind Records).
"The individual members of Inside Straight Blues Band have a long blues history. Led by Twin Cities Blues News editor, Kurt Koehler, the band concentrate on playing music that they enjoy, and that keeps the punters happy too. You can now enjoy it at home too, with the release of "Straight Up.. Down and Dirty," recorded live at Willie's Hidden Harbor Marina. The opener, "Never Make My Move Too Soon," helps to explain the popularity of Inside Straight in the Twin Cities area. There is nothing excessively flashy, just a neat combination of good guitar licks, gritty vocals (both from Koehler), pumping keyboards (Bill Swanson), and some very polished sax (Paul Strickland), all anchored by the engine room of bass and drums (Mark Zmuda and Curly Martin). For most of the material--all of which is covers--guitar, keyboards and sax all get a chance in the spotlight, but it is never formulaic, and they never outstay their welcome. The choice of material is somewhat dictated by the band line-up, but it still allows a pretty wide range encompassing Louisiana, Memphis soul/funk, Chicago and Texas to name but four. Swanson takes vocals on four of the cuts, including a fine rendition of "Put The Shoe On The Other Foot," one of several not-so-well known covers. There are a couple of the old chestnuts here too, though, in the shape of "The Thrill Is Gone" and "Let The Good Times Roll. Although the album is dominated by up-tempo danceable songs, Inside Straight are equally comfortable with slower material. In addition to "The Thrill Is Gone," they also serve up a fine reading of Fenton Robinson's "You Don't Know What Love Is," which features some nicely understated solos from Koehler, Swanson, and Strickland. The band then up the tempo once more as they take things home with rousing renditions of "Stagger Lee," "Born In Chicago," and rounding off with "I'm Tore Down." "Straight Up... Down and Dirty" offers an hour of no-nonsense, good time blues. Inside Straight are one of those bands whose main purpose it to entertain. You are left with an overriding sense that they are doing it as much for their own enjoyment as for the crowd. We should all be thankful that bands like Inside Straight exist, because they help to keep the spirit of the blues alive when times get tough." Check out “Straight Up  --  Down & Dirty” at; Electric Fetus; Cheapo Records.

Inside Straight Blues Band has opened for many great musicians and bands over the years including the following:

National and International Acts
Jimmy Rogers, James Cotton, John Mayall, Mojo Buford, Long John Hunter, Phillip Walker, Roomful of Blues, W.C. Clark, Ronnie Earl, Kenny Neal, Lonnie Brooks, Delbert McClinton, James Solberg, Rare Earth, Son Seals, Tab Benoit, Magic Slim & the Teardrops, Rod Piazza & the Mighty Flyers, Little Charlie & the Nightcats, The Jimmy’s, Jim Belushi and the Sacred Heart Band…

Minnesota Local and Regional Acts
Big John Dickerson, The Hoopsnakes, Big Walter Smith, Lamont Cranston, Big George Jackson.

Inside Straight Blues Band has appeared at the following Regional Blues and Music Festivals:
Lowertown Blues Fest, Twin Cities Jazz Fest, and Lower town Funk Fest (The Hat Trick Lounge) 2016-2019; Madelia Blues Fest (2018); Fargo Blues Fest (2009, 2016); (Bayfront Blues Festival, Duluth, MN (Canal Park Inn -’97, ‘98,’99, 2000, ‘01,’02; The Tap Room- ‘02) ~ Minnesota Blues Festival, New Ulm, MN (Main Stage) ~ Chippewa Valley Blues Festival, Eau Claire, WI (Main Stage) ~ Pine River Blues Festival, Pine River, MN (Main Stage) ~ Cedarfest, Minneapolis, MN (Riverside Main Stage - 2000, 5 Corners Saloon- ‘97,’98, ‘99) ~ Ribs & Blues Festival, St. Paul, MN (Main Stage- ‘96,’97,’98) ~ Selby Days, St. Paul, MN (Main Stage) ~ Lowertown Fest, St. Paul, MN (Mears Park Main Stage) ~ St. Paul Winter Carnival, MN (Gabe’s By The Park - 2001) ~ Capital New Year Celebration, St. Paul, MN (RiverCentre Main Stage - 2000) ~ St. Patrick’s Day Celebration, St. Paul, MN (Shannon Kelly’s -- ‘93, ‘94, ‘95, ’96); Gabe’s By The Park Tent Party -- 2002) ~ St. Paul’s Lowertown New Year’s Party (Main Stage at Galtier Plaza -- 1997) ~

Inside Straight Blues Band has been featured in the annual Whiskey Junction Blues Allstar Series in Minneapolis:

Kurt Koehler & Inside Straight Blues Band - Singin’ the Blues -1995
Kurt Koehler & Inside Straight Blues Band - Blues Guitar Allstars - 2000
Bill Swanson & Inside Straight Blues Band - Singin’ the Blues  --  2001
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