Mindi Abair and the Boneshakers Interview – Part 1

Mindi Abair and the Boneshakers Interview – Part 1

Dennis: Hello Mindi, how are you today? Happy early Birthday! We’re nearly the same age, except mine is in July though.

Mindi: Hey Dennis… yes, my birthday is the 23rd of May… it’s right here! I love it… time to eat some cake and drink adult beverages and play some music! Happy early birthday to you.

Dennis: Thank you very much! I appreciate it!

Mindi: Thanks for featuring me and the band… we appreciate the love so much.

Dennis: Anytime Mindi, and I am so honored and appreciative for you taking the time out of your schedule today to chat with me, I cannot thank you enough! So, you recently played in Denmark as part of the Dave Koz & Friends at Sea tour, how did that go?

Mindi: We’ve been out on the road a lot supporting our new CD “The EastWest Sessions” and we’re having a blast. The cruise we just did was especially fun for a few reasons, (1) we get to be in the same room for 2 weeks… that’s crazy, and (2) we get to play with a lot of our friends. It’s great to see people you don’t get to see all the time and make music. The cruise passengers have fun, but I think we have more fun playing with each other and hanging out. We don’t get to do that every day!

Dennis: That does sound like a lot of fun and now you’re off for, at least a few days before hitting Memphis, what do you find yourself doing the most in between live performance dates?

Mindi: We only have 2 days off before we hit Memphis, so I’m going to sleep like a champ, lounge on the couch, eat some ice cream, catch up with friends I haven’t spoken to in a while because we’ve been out of the country, snuggle and play with my cute little Scottish Fold kitten, re-pack, and hit the road expecting some crazy great BBQ and vibe in Memphis and beyond!

Dennis: That is almost like a tease though, only two days? I think I’d be sleeping for those two days solid, if I were on your schedule; I don’t know how you do it. In addition to your great musical talent, you’ve also diversified yourself by having written a book, designed your own signature Alto Sax Mouthpiece with Theo Wanne and created the Pretty Good for a Girl website and that doesn’t even come close to scratching the surface from every aspect of what you’ve been involved with over the years… where do I even begin…? Well, at five years old, you started learning music on piano, but three years later, you were introduced to the saxophone through school and moved over to the saxophone, what was it about the saxophone that captivated you to build on it to become a most successful career with it?

Mindi: I love the saxophone. I grew up on the road with my father’s band watching him play sax. He was that guy that walked the bar and shimmied and knocked his knees together when he played. He rocked! I started saxophone when I was 8, in 4th grade band class. I loved it from the start. It was something that became my best friend. I took every band class played along to records and just immersed in music. It’s so close to a human voice. You can whisper or scream. I wanted to sing like Tina Turner… I couldn’t. But with the saxophone I could! It became a part of me and an extension of my own voice.

Dennis: Yeah, I can totally see that and unlike actually singing, you don’t strain your voice either. What other instruments had you learned and/or experimented with?

Mindi: I started taking piano lessons when I was 5. I still play today. I write a lot on piano. I have a 6’ grand that fills the whole room when you play it. I’m a pretty bad piano player, but I love it. You don’t want me to front the band with a keyboard, but I can get a song across and write and get my thoughts out on it. I also play flute. I’ve played it on a few background parts for my records over the years. I have a degree in woodwinds from Berklee College of Music. I had to play all the woodwinds… flute, saxophone and clarinet … to get my degree. I didn’t enjoy playing clarinet. I sold my clarinet immediately after I graduated from college because I knew if I got called for a gig on clarinet I’d take it because I needed the money. I didn’t want to be a clarinet player. I knew if I sold it I’d have to say no to that gig!

Dennis: (laughs) That is hilarious! At least you know you have limits in music where you just won’t go back to, right? Having studied at Berklee, what were some of the biggest takeaways that you could sum up from your time there and how would you say you applied those lessons to your career through today?

Mindi: My first year of college was at University of North Florida. I was given a full scholarship to populate the first year of their jazz department. Amazing. I needed that…I had no money to pay for college. It was an incredible school with amazing teachers. It was based in traditional jazz and all the curriculum was traditional jazz. That wasn’t my love. I was told that my love of pop and rock and soul and r&b music was “selling out”, but I thought playing traditional jazz for me was selling out. So I transferred to Berklee. It was everything I hoped for. There were a million bands to play in…all different styles.. from rock to pop to jazz to funk and beyond. I spread out and had fun. I had an incredible saxophone teacher Joe Viola. He was like the Yoda of the saxophone. He’d tell me every week to start my own band.

Dennis: Mmm, start your own band, you must, Mmm? (laughs) I can picture it now.

Mindi: (laughs)

Dennis: But is is great to have not only that great education, but encouragement too.

Mindi: He told me not to try to be anyone else, but to follow who I was and start to define my own sound with a band. I took his advice and started my own band in college. He let me do a concert for my senior recital instead of doing the usual etudes and solo transcriptions of other players. What a gift to have someone in my life that early on that gave me that great advice.

Dennis: Indeed, sometimes all it takes in a nudge in the right direction to make things happen. From five years old though through Berklee, what was your family, school and early musical development like as you discovered, and developed your personal and musical identity?

Mindi: I had a lot of music surrounding me as a kid. From the time I was born til the time I was about 4 or 5 years old we toured with my Dad’s band The Entertainers. I watched my Dad on stage every night with the band. They were so fun. We moved to Florida when the band broke up and my father started putting together rock bands that toured. My grandmother was an opera singer…a coloratura soprano.. which is the highest female voice. She was amazing and would sit at the piano with me and sing and play. I’d sit in the practice rooms of my Dad’s band and just soak in what they were playing. It was exciting. And my father had a studio in the 3rd bedroom of our house. I’d come home from school and there’d be a drum set in the living room with cords going into the “studio.” There would be someone singing into my closet. Looking back it was a crazy way to grow up, but it was fun and it just made music my “normal.” I watched a lot of MTV. I wanted to be Heart and Tina Turner. I loved Clarence Clemons with Springsteen. I loved the power of Aerosmith. It was a great time for music and I just soaked it all in. I think that’s why now my band and style has many facets. A lot of it is blues and rock based, but there are elements of jazz and soul that shine through as well.

Dennis: Had you ever had any issues balancing your musical interests versus school and chores at home?

Mindi: I think balance is tough for any touring musician. I’ve spent my life on the road, so I’ve strived for balance with family and home life and playing music for a long time! No one I know is great at it. All you can do is try. I try to be present where I am at any given point. I try to pay attention, stay in the moment and soak it in. I want that from the people around me, so I try to be that as well. And I stay cognizant of the people around me and what they need. I know when I’m on the road that I have a family at home that misses me and is going through their lives day by day without me there. I stay connected as much as humanly possible.

Dennis: Were you a good student? How would you rate the schools you’ve attended?

Mindi: I was a very good student. I was Salutatorian of my high school class and I graduated Magna Cum Laude from Berklee College of Music. I applied myself. I was a total dork that stayed in my practice room and studied and tried. I wasn’t the party girl. So boring, eh?!

Dennis: Not at all. It really depends on your priorities, of course. You wanted the best out of life and you made it happen, all day, every day. High School and College days (I think) are especially hard to stay focused on school, but you managed to keep your focus sharp on both your school work and music. You have a lot to be proud for and most thankfully, an amazing career to show for it all too.

Mindi: Thank you! But I was playing in clubs 6 or 7 nights a week during college.. it was a lot! No one else from my family had finished college. I thought it was important I did. And I wanted to learn. Whatever I do I apply myself 100%. It’s not worth doing anything halfway. It’s a waste of time, so I make choices and spend my time and resources wisely.

Dennis: What were some of your first performances like (types of venues and responses)?

Mindi: The first “gig” I had that I was paid for was playing at a Chinese Restaurant while I was in Boston at Berklee. I was hired by a singer/songwriter who wanted a counterpart on sax. I was paid $50 and I made a photocopy of the check and kept it! I still have it! I remember I had to play “Puff the Magic Dragon” on that first show, and I thought…wow, I should start my own band and get my own gigs so I don’t have to play “Puff the Magic Dragon” again. In college I played a club regularly in Roxbury, the rougher part of Boston. It was a funk/R&B club that we’d play 4 sets a night and get out at 2am and I’d walk home. I remember people telling me I was nuts for walking into Roxbury with 2 saxophones late at night. I just wanted to play. I did every gig I was offered!

Dennis: How challenging was it to establish yourself in the early days of your career?

Mindi: I packed up everything in my Honda Civic CRX and drove it across the country to move to LA after I graduated. I wanted to be in the middle of the music business and get a record deal and make my own records and tour. I realized quickly that it wasn’t easy to do that. LA had every great player known to man. They didn’t need me! I had to find where I fit in. I realized they weren’t going to hire me, so I scoured the papers for anyone hiring bands to play. I begged my keyboard player from college to move to LA. I told him that I’d get us work. He moved and we played coffee shops, hotel lobbies, the LA Marathon, jazz clubs, and anywhere they’d have us. I played on the street in Santa Monica for a few months to pay the rent. I didn’t want to get a day job …I wanted to do what I came to LA to do …play saxophone and sing and write songs and record them. I was turned down by every record label quite a few times…they didn’t know what to do with a girl sax player, or I had to choose between being a singer or a saxophonist. They didn’t know how to market me as both. Or they had too many saxophonists. I was offered jobs playing in other people’s bands and that became my job. I toured with Bobby Lyle (who hired me literally off the street!), Jonathan Butler, Teena Marie, Adam Sandler, The Backstreet Boys, Mandy Moore and Duran Duran. Those bands helped me find me and gave me a depth as a musician. I am the sum of all those experiences. And it shaped who I was as a solo artist.

Dennis: How many shows did you start off with and when did you start your first tour?

Mindi: When I made my first record for Verve Records, I was still making a living touring with other people and doing shows in LA with a lot of artists. I got a booking agent for my band to get us out there to the whole US. We took everything…radio shows…little clubs…anything they’d let us play. And we proved ourselves. I would make money playing shows in LA for parties and events and lose money with my band for the first year. But it came around…the people we played for the first year liked us and wanted us back and paid us the second time around better than the first time. So it was a grass roots venture that worked! We were going strong after the first year playing 40 or 50 shows a year.

Dennis: You did session work too, right?

Mindi: I’ve never been a session musician, per se. I’ve played on some cool records, but it’s always been something that people called me for wanting my sound. It was never my job to go in and be the perfect session player that could do anything. I’m not that person. But I just played on Smokey Robinson’s Christmas Record and I’ve been on a few of Keb’Mo’s records (as he’s been on a few of mine), and I played on the Bobby Rush/BlindDog Smokin’ record a few years ago. I sang and played on one of Adam Sandler’s first records. I’m the saxophone on “The Lonesome Kicker.” He had a really famous running back playing the sax on the video for the song, but it’s me playing it!

Dennis: How would you say your first albums performed for you and how had you managed your career in the early years?

Mindi: My first record came out and was a hit at jazz radio. We broke a record for the number of weeks we held the #1 spot on the charts for an original song. That really helped me build my career. We sold about 150K copies of that record… it was a great first experience. I had a lot of radio airplay early on that helped me build an audience, and that was priceless. It’s tough with jazz and blues radio being so sparse around the country. It’s hard to build a name and gain fans. I’m incredibly lucky to have had the radio power early on in my first few records that gave me a little name recognition to build a touring business. We were and always have been a “live” band. That’s our strength… our superpower. We love playing live. So we took the radio success and played everywhere we could. I think that was the key to building our fanbase.

Dennis: Especially back in those days (sounds so long ago and I know it is not, but technologically, it kind of is), the internet was definitely not what it is today… how difficult/easy was it marketing yourself?

Mindi: Back in the early days of my band in LA, I’d go to Kinko’s and print up postcards and put stamps on them and mail them out to my mailing list. I gathered names every night at our club shows. It was a grind! That’s a lot of stamps and hand addressing and such. The internet has absolutely made marketing your band a whole different ballgame. I love it. You can reach 1000’s of people just by taking a video in your living room and posting it on youtube. I mean…you couldn’t do that even a few years ago. I love social media…I think it’s empowered a whole generation of music makers to take their careers and art into their own hands and rock it!

Dennis: What were some of the best methods of building your brand and gaining a name for yourself?

Mindi: You ask good questions!

Dennis: Thanks! I try anyway… (laughs), but seriously. First and foremost, you’re an amazing woman who has seen the challenges in life before you and met them head on and reaped every reward since then. You deserve no less than deeper questions and I can assure you, part two to this interview will dig even deeper, so get ready…

Mindi: I think knowing who you are is the best brand builder you can have. Successful people know their strengths and weaknesses and know what they’re trying to convey. As artists we need to know what we stand for and who our audience is. There are many ways to brand yourself once you know who you are and what your motivation is. What you wear tells people who you are at first glance. You know the difference between Lenny Kravitz and Buddy Guy. They’ve each got their “thing.” And the music you put out…it should reflect who you are …what you believe and feel. Facebook and instagram are great ways to get your message out there of who you are and what you represent. Use them!

Dennis: What great insights Mindi, thank you! When you look over your catalog of music, how would you objectively assess the highs and lows of your artistry and technical aspects of the music you created over the years?

Mindi: I’ve made a lot of records. They’re all a snapshot of who I am at the time. They’re a window into the soul of what I was listening to or what I was feeling or vibing with. My earlier records were poppier …I was fresh out of The Backstreet Boys band and immersed in super pop. My last few records have been more blues rock. I really was handed a gift with American Idol in 2011. I was their featured saxophonist for 2 seasons, and I got so much out of it. I had this gift of being an artist and playing the music I wrote with the people I hired every night. It can just become a bubble, though, with no outside influence. American Idol made me immerse in the music of other artists and really strive to help create a great sound for them. I loved it. It pushed me. And I left Idol to tour with Aerosmith. Aerosmith was sheer energy and power. Those guys give 1000% every night and I wanted to bring that back to my band. I toured a bit with Max Weinberg right after that and even got the chance to play with Bruce Springsteen for a night. I was immersed in the rock n roll and blues I had grown up with and I loved it. I realized that so much of my life I was torn between my own career and moonlighting with my rocker friends. I needed to fuse the worlds somehow. I asked for help. On my Wild Heart CD Gregg Allman and I wrote a song together and recorded it, Booker T Jones and I wrote and recorded, Keb’Mo’ came in, Trombone Shorty opened the record with me, and Max Weinberg played too. They helped me make a record that showed more of me…I loved it. At that point I revamped my band and joined forces with The Boneshakers. I needed more mojo; more grit. I got it! Our first record was a Live record recorded at our first ever show together…I still think we’re nuts for doing that, but it was great! And we just released our first studio record late last year “The EastWest Sessions.” It was produced by Kevin Shirley (Joe Bonamassa, The Black Crowes, Beth Hart, Aerosmith, Journey). We spent 5 days as a band and played every note of our record together. I loved it. I am so proud of the music we’re making. It feels right…it’s honest and I walk off stage every night loving every second of what we’re doing.

Dennis: In 2011, you authored a book, ‘How to Play Madison Square Garden: A How-to Guide to Stage Performance. Amazon customer reviews have all been highly favorable. Are all stages created equal? Can a performer take the same performance skills and apply them to any type of stage?

Mindi: I’ve spent my life on the road and watched everyone make every mistake known to man. I’ve made all those mistakes too! I figured I’d write them down because I’d never seen anyone talk about stage performance…I’d only seen books on how to navigate the music business or how to write a hit song. I feel like people think that stage presence or that “it” factor as a performer is something you’re born with, and not something you can learn. I reject that. I’ve seen some of the best musicians in the world not get a shot at a career because they don’t communicate with an audience in a meaningful way. On the other hand, I’ve seen some mediocre musicians become superstars because they’re amazing at communicating on stage to an audience. We can all learn ways to improve our stage presence and learn to be able to connect with an audience. We all spend time learning to play our instrument and/or honing our songwriting. We need to spend time to make sure we connect with people so they want to buy a ticket to one of our shows. Why would someone buy a ticket to my show instead of someone else’s? Hopefully I give a piece of myself to my audience and make a lasting impression on them. Springsteen always said he didn’t want to give people their money’s worth. He wanted to give them a priceless experience. He does every night. I love that!

Dennis: Will there be another book in your future?

Mindi: I’m not sure if there will be another book in my future…nothing planned as of yet…but never say never!!

Dennis: How successful has your website, ‘Pretty Good for a Girl’ been so far and where would you like to see it evolve to?

Mindi: I built http://www.prettygoodforagirl.net wanting to celebrate and lift up women. We feature women doing incredible things. I see women doing amazing things every day and it inspires me. Every once in a while someone says to me “That’s pretty good for a girl.” Awwwww. Really? So I realized I should make light of that, and when Randy Jacobs and I wrote the song and brought it to the band, it became this fight song and mantra. It was powerful! So, I’m here to spread a little woman power and have fun doing it. I’m not sure what the future holds, but I know I want to be a part of inspiring women and being inspired by women.

Dennis: I hate to bring it up, but, have you observed a lot of sexism in the music industry and is that part of what Pretty Good for a Girl works towards combating?

Mindi: It is hard to be a woman in a man’s world. I’ve had my share of sexism. When I was 17, I auditioned at University of Miami hoping to go to college there. The saxophone professor there told me “Girls don’t make it at this school. I’ll let you into the education program but not the jazz program.” Wow. But I took that as a quest to change his mind and others like him. I think that it’s a great quest to change the misconceptions about women artists and musicians. My mom was in the audience one night when I was playing in Jonathan Butler’s band. I didn’t come on stage immediately. I appeared halfway through the first song and finished out the song with him. When I walked onstage the woman sitting next to my mother stood up in the audience and said “What is that skinny little white bitch doing on stage?” My mother sunk into her chair. But by the end of the song that woman stood back up and said “You go you skinny little white bitch. You can play!” That’s a perfect example of what I want to do. Maybe people will expect something different of women after seeing me and other artists and musicians who are women that are making great music.

Dennis: Aside from connecting on Facebook and Instagram, what are some ways women can get involved and help?

Mindi: Definitely get connected @prettygoodforagirl on facebook and instagram. And send your daughters to shows. Inspire them. Expose them to strong female role models. Make sure we as women lift each other up, not tear each other down. Let’s help each other in this world. It’s all about that!

Dennis: Thank you, yes, I think we’re in the middle (or maybe even the beginning yet) of a revolution here and I (for one) welcome the changes that can be had. We know what life has been like, let’s see what life can be like with women having equal opportunities for all things without bias or any kind of stipulation what-so-ever. Shifting gears a bit now, what do you think about streaming music sites issuing checks to musicians for $0.03 cents for royalties?

Mindi: Technology has changed exponentially. Unfortunately laws for copyrights and getting paid as a songwriter and artist/musician have not. I think streaming is amazing and I am a total Spotify addict. I get it. We’re not going to go back in time and change back how people consume music. But we can make a fair rate of pay for 2018 to help musicians and songwriters survive and make a working living. That’s in jeopardy right now. As an example, my royalties have gone down by 90% easily from when I started, and I’m much more popular now than when I started. It’s the fact that the structure of how we get paid is not keeping up with technology and it’s devastating to music makers.

Dennis: Yeah, I see musician friends posting images of their royalty checks on social media, it is beyond sad. There should be an organization that can pull together bands and musicians that ensures them of a solid pay and insurance; something anyway. It is funny how important music is when (in sports) they play a song to hype everyone up in the game, but yet, musicians (themselves) are paid so little. How has technology influenced the music industry from your observations? From your first album to today with streaming services, Youtube promo videos and social media sites. Has all of it been positive for the artists and fans alike?

Mindi: I think technology has allowed people to make music an even bigger part of their lives than it was before. That’s amazing. The power to record a video in your living room and get millions of views from it is amazing. I recorded “Imagine” in my friend’s living room a few years ago and it has @ 2.5 million hits right now. I mean…really? I couldn’t have imagined that power as a kid. The possibilities are amazing for artists everywhere. The world is your oyster…just make something great to grab people’s attention!

Dennis: How has the response been to your iPhone app? Do you have an Android app as well?

Mindi: People are loving my iPhone app. We’re working on an Android app now. I think it’s great to have all this info in one place that’s easily accessible. If you’re a fan, get the app. It’s cool…it’s free! https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mindiabair/id879087741?mt=8

Dennis: It took two years of development to create your own signature Alto Sax Mouthpiece with Theo Wanne, how much research went into it and compared with standard mouthpieces, how has yours managed to get that added range?

Mindi: I worked with Theo Wanne for 2 years to create my signature mouthpiece. This wasn’t a product I just played and liked and put my name on. We got together probably 10+ times over those years and spent time to hone what we thought would be the most incredible mouthpiece out there. I had a great mouthpiece I was playing at the time, but I wanted to better it… better my sound and the ease of getting my sound. Theo is a mad scientist and would sit and drill and shave and hand me back the mouthpiece and I’d play it and give notes and he’d shave and drill and carve some more and then I’d play and we’d discuss what we were missing…what was great…. what wasn’t. My horn and mouthpiece were stolen after a show a few years ago and I called Theo and said “Hey that mouthpiece that we’ve been working on so long together…the universe just told me we need to finish it right now!” We got together the next week and finished it. I played it for about a year and we put it out as the Mindi Abair Theo Wanne Signature Model about a year after we completed the design. It was an incredible project to be a part of. I think we made an incredible mouthpiece …it’s beautiful, it’s so resonant…it just fills a room…it’s even from top to bottom…and it makes playing and getting a full, great sound easy.

Dennis: I am so sorry that your horn and mouthpiece were stolen, I really wish people could just control themselves and leave other people’s property alone, but yes, at least you turned a negative into a positive and now many more people can benefit from your’s and Theo’s labors. So now, you’ll be playing through the states through June and then making your way to Chicago on July 5th, do you have anything special planned for that show for Independence Day?

Mindi: I can’t wait to come to Chicago. We love being in the city… I love the food… I love the vibe.. I love the music and the history of the music… I love the feel of it. My mother was born in Chicago. My Grandfather was a Chicago police officer. I have nothing solid planned for our July 5th show for Independence Day, but we just go with our feelings… I know we’ll be in that zone and we’ll go with whatever we’re feeling. You never know!

Dennis: Well, I am very much looking forward to your return to Chicago, it will be amazing! You’ll continue on through the states up until the end of October where you’ll jump across the border to Mexico for a nice Jazz festival. What else do you have lined up for 2018?

Mindi: We’re all about staying on the road this year. In between tour dates we’re going to record a Christmas CD. We’ve been working on arrangements of a few well known Christmas songs that we’ll ‘Boneshakerize’ and also we’ve written a few originals. It’s a little odd to think about Christmas during the warm summer months, but it’s fun and I’m loving it! After the Legendary Blues Cruise and our Cabo date, we’re going to hit the studio to record our next record as a band. We’re writing for that now!

Dennis: Awesome! A lot to look forward to from you and the Boneshakers this year and I look forward to picking up where we left off in a few weeks for our part two to this interview. But for now Mindi, I want to thank you once again for taking the time to answer some of my questions. With all that you’ve experienced and all that you do for music; you are simply an amazing artist whom we are honored to be featuring. Thank you so much again!

Mindi: Thanks so much for the love. We’re having so much fun out on the road and getting this new music out there.




Biography:One of the most recognized and sought-after saxophonists/vocalists, two-time GRAMMY nominee Mindi Abair has been electrifying audiences with her dynamic live performances and utter command of the saxophone since her debut album in 2000. No one since Junior Walker has brought saxophone and vocals in one package to the forefront of modern music, with a raucous tone and dynamic stage presence. She has garnered ten #1 radio hits, six Top 5 solo records and two #1 spots on the Billboard album charts. In 2014, Mindi received her first GRAMMY® nomination in the Best Pop Instrumental Album category, followed by a 2015 GRAMMY® nomination for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album for her solo LP Wild Heart featuring Gregg Allman, Joe Perry, Trombone Shorty, Booker T. Jones, Keb’ Mo’, and Max Weinberg.

The daughter and granddaughter of working musicians, Abair continues to captivate fans while evolving her sound. In 2014, after two seasons as the featured saxophonist on the hit series American Idol, Abair released Wild Heart. This LP showcased a compilation of grittier rock and soul tracks featuring some of the biggest names in music. To help translate this sound to her live shows, Mindi enlisted longtime friend and The Boneshakers founder Randy Jacobs (Bonnie Raitt, Was Not Was, Willie Nelson) to inject his brand of Detroit Blues Rock. The collaboration was undeniable, and it lead to an almost immediate decision to join forces creatively. Mindi Abair and The Boneshakers features band leader Mindi Abair (Saxophone, Vocals), Randy Jacobs (Guitar, Vocals), Rodney Lee (Keys), Derek Frank (Bass, Vocals), and Third Richardson (Drums, Vocals).

Mindi Abair and The Boneshakers LIVE in Seattle was released September 2015 to significant critical acclaim, and a 2 ½ year non-stop tour schedule across the US.

In April 2017, the band took a short break to record their first studio record. The EastWest Sessions was recorded over five days at legendary Hollywood recording studio EastWest Studios with renowned Blues Rock producer Kevin Shirley (Led Zeppelin, Joe Bonamassa, The Black Crowes, Aerosmith). The album, released September 15, 2017, is a powerful, bluesy, momentous, and deeply emotional journey. It debuted #3 on the Billboard Blues Album Chart and hit #1 on the RMR Blues Rock Album chart in January 2018. The album features a track with iconic blues guitarist Joe Bonamassa, and 2017 GRAMMY® winner in the Best Contemporary Blues Album category, Fantastic Negrito.

Mindi authored the book “How To Play Madison Square Garden – A Guide to Stage Performance” and serves as a National Trustee for The Recording Academy.

The artists she’s toured with and/or recorded with are a testament to her talent: Aerosmith, Gregg Allman, Smokey Robinson, Keb’ Mo’, Joe Perry, Bobby Rush, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Lalah Hathaway, Duran Duran, Adam Sandler, Lee Ritenour, The Backstreet Boys, Booker T. Jones, Jimmy Webb, Mandy Moore, Max Weinberg, Bill Champlin, David Pack, Mocean Worker, The Ides of March, Teena Marie, Bobby Lyle, and Jonathan Butler.



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