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Brother 2 Brother: News

Review of NEW CD - October 2, 2011

We were there for the humble beginnings of this long-running institution of local blues, rock and R & B music and have seen a lot of changes over the years. With only one original member left, Norm Uhl on keyboards and vocals, the current lineup consists of Sandy Hickey on vocals, Jon Cometta on guitar, Dan Jones on drums, and Ernie Diaz on bass. Guest musicians included Patrick Brennan on sax and another original member, the late, great Mike “Lowboy” Leubner for his last recorded memory. It has been five years since “Lookin’ For Texas” and this is a welcome treat. The opening cut “Sizzlin’ Hot” is a jazzy, funky ballad with strong sexual undertones, then the bouncy ballad “Wrong Side of the Blues” takes a more jazz-oriented feel, but is a cute little tune. A smoky ballad, “The Day You Went Away” is a fine example of love gone bad song, and a delightful song, and Norm takes the lead vocals on a cutesy “The Drinking Song” where he keeps promising to “give up drinking, as soon as I finish this beer”. Sandy belts out “Lost Respect”, a real torch song of he-done-her-wrong story, and then nails a scorching cover of “Use What You Got”. Her rendition of the Gershwin classic “Summertime” is a fine cover of this much-covered song, and is also a staple of their live shows, and then they finish with the title cut, a real rockin’ blues cut with lots of screaming guitars, howling harmonica and honky-tonk piano, a really good way to end the album. The fitting tribute to the late bass player “Lowboy” Leubner is including a cut of him singing Jimmy Thackery’s “Cool Guitar (Sell The Bitch’s Car), which was a staple of their shows for many years. Thanks for the memories! All in all, this is a fun group of songs, with several outstanding cuts, and I know all you Texas blues fans will love it.
Dave Miller
North of the Border Entertainment Guide
http://www.nobtexas.tv/

NEW CD Released - August 24, 2011

B2B has released its second CD, Texas Blues Rocks, in digital form. It is available at CDBaby.com (link on homepage) and on iTunes. The physical CD will be out in October.

Great New Internet Radio Station - July 25, 2010

As many of you know, our keyboard player Norm Uhl is the spokesman for the Houston Independent School District. Recently, Norm was instrumental in the district launching an internet radio station called K12RadioHouston. It has a great mix of rhythmic pop music, news items about Houston area education and ,most importantly, very few commercials. It is programmed by the same folks who used to program K101 here in Houston. Norm invites you to take a listen. You can access it from the front page of HISD’s website. www.houstonisd.org and a smart phone APP is coming soon.

Ultimate Band List Competition Results! - April 4, 2007

Here's the news you've all been waiting for! (If you don't already
know :o) The final results of the competition are in and here they
are!

10th place went to Billy Cain from Harlem, NY - East Coast Hip Hop

9th place went to Kevin Cahoon & Ghetto Cowboy from New York, NY -
Glam Rock

8th place went to JED from Aberdeen, WA - Hard Rock

7th place went to us! Yaay!!Brother 2 Brother from Houston, TX - Blues
Rock http://www.ubl.com/artists/brother2brother/
6th place went to Bullfrog Brown from Tartu, Estonia - Delta Blues

5th place went to Infinite Out from Boston, Mass. - Jazz

4th place went to The Scene from Peterborough, Ontario - Indie Rock

3rd place went to Aquatic from Hilversum, Barneveld (The Netherlands)
- Pop

2nd place went to The Mary Dream from Nashville, TN - Adult
Contemporary

And 1st place went to Kelly Pettit from Vancouver, Canada - Folk Pop

Our congratulations go out to Kelly and all the other finalists in
this exciting contest that was held by UBL - the ultimate band list!
www.ubl.com
Personally, we are particularly proud that two Blues Bands (us and
Bullfrog Brown) even made it to the Finals in a day and age where
Blues is not heard on mainstream radio. And proud that we were the
ONLY U.S. Blues Band! And from Texas to boot!! :o)

Thousands of independent bands & singers & artists started in this
competition in late 2005. 120 received the highest UBL chart rankings
& became semi-finalists. Then 10 bands received the most votes to
become finalists. And after a second round of voting & input from the
ARTISTdirect & UBL judges, the countdown began Saturday 3/24. Congrats
again to all Finalists & thanks to all those who voted & participated in this
competition!

49th Annual Grammy Award Winners!! - February 11, 2007

The winners in the categories that B2B and "Lookin' for Texas" were placed in are as follows:

Field 4 - Rock
Category 16 - Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal

Dani California
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Track from: Stadium Arcadium
[Warner Bros.]

Field 13 - Blues
Category 66 - Best Contemporary Blues Album

After The Rain
Irma Thomas
[Rounder]

Our hats go off to these two great and deserving artists!! Congratulations!!

Grammy Finalists - December 7, 2006

Well, as many of you already know, we didn't make the final five on the Grammy ballot. But we're not disappointed. We are PROUD to have been listed among many of today's top artists. Other artists in our categories that also DIDN"T make it include:

Field 4 - Rock
Category 16 - Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal

Aerosmith, Cheap Trick, Def Leppard, Counting Crows, Eric Johnson, John Mayer Trio, Jerry Lee Lewis, Pearl Jam, etc. There were 214 entries in this category.

Field 13 - Blues
Category 66 - Best Contemporary Blues Album

Eric Burdon, Sue Foley, Guitar Shorty, John Lee Hooker Jr., Smokin' Joe Kubek & Bnois King, Charlie Musselwhite, Tony Joe White, etc.
There were 40 entries in this category. Only five were chosen from each category to be a nominee.

Would anybody call the above artists losers? I think not!!

The artists that DID win a nomination in our categories are:

Field 4 - Rock
Category 16 - Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal (For duo, group or collaborative performances, with vocals. Singles or Tracks only.)

• Talk
Coldplay
Track from: X&Y
[Capitol]

• How To Save A Life
The Fray
Track from: How To Save A Life
[Epic]

• Steady, As She Goes
The Raconteurs
Track from: Broken Boy Soldiers
[V2/Third Man Records]

• Dani California
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Track from: Stadium Arcadium
[Warner Bros.]

• The Saints Are Coming
U2 & Green Day
[Interscope Records/Warner Bros.]

Field 13 - Blues
Category 66 - Best Contemporary Blues Album
(Vocal or Instrumental.)

• Live From Across The Pond
Robert Cray Band
[Vanguard Records/Nozzle Records]

• Sippiana Hericane
Dr. John & The Lower 911
[Blue Note Records]

• Suitcase
Keb' Mo'
[Epic/One Haven/Red Ink]

• Hope And Desire
Susan Tedeschi
[Verve Forecast]

• After The Rain
Irma Thomas
[Rounder]

So all in all, we were in great company! Our congratulations and best wishes for much success goes out to these very deserving and great artists!! If you haven't already, be sure to check out their music.
You'll love it!!

Brother 2 Brother Placed on Grammy Ballot!!! - November 6, 2006

The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences Committee has placed Brother 2 Brother on the
Official Ballot for the 2007 Grammy Awards in the following categories:

Category 16 - Best Rock Performance By A Duo or Group with Vocal
Brother 2 Brother - The Power to Drive the Blues Away
Award goes to Artist: Brother 2 Brother
Ballot Entry # 027

Category 66 - Best Contemporary Blues Album
Brother 2 Brother - Lookin' For Texas
Award goes to Artist: Brother 2 Brother
Ballot Entry # 003

Voting on the first ballot ended on November 4. Now we have to wait until mid-December to find out if we got enough votes to be finalists.
We've made it this far on the strength of our music and the support of our fans, family and friends.
WE THANK ALL OF YOU for EVERYTHING YOU'VE DONE TO HELP THE BAND!!!

Grammy nominations possible for Harlan native - November 2, 2006

Harlan Daily Enterprise

http://www.harlandaily.com/articles/2006/11/03/news/local_news/news9461.txt
By DEANNA LEE-SHERMAN - Staff Writer
Friday, November 3, 2006 1:59 AM EST

Harlan County can't seem to help but make a name for itself when natives like Norm Uhl are chasing their lifelong aspirations.

Uhl's years of labor behind his musical efforts have landed his Texas band two possible nominations for the 2007 Grammy Awards for “Lookin' for Texas,” the group's debut album which is earning rave reviews.

Perhaps one of the most rewarding aspects behind the nominations is the band, Brother 2 Brother, has only performed its music in the Houston area where Uhl, 52, has resided for more than 20 years now. An independent band, the group of five has had to entirely promote themselves.

“That could change with all of this going on,” Uhl said, explaining that the band has had to turn down several offers in the past because of insufficient pay. “That could change, and that would be just fine with me.”

The band's album, a mixture of rock and blues, is in the running for Best Contemporary Blues Album, and a single from that album, “The Power to Drive the Blues,” is on the ballot for Best Rock Performance By A Duo or Group.

Uhl, a backup singer who plays keyboard and harmonica, said his band's name even appearing on the Grammy ballot is an honor. The band is competing with about 50 others, five of whom will be named nominees and featured at the Grammy Awards on Feb. 11. The band will not know how it fared in the elimination process until December.

But the excitement and publicity that have come from being tabbed possible Grammy nominees have catapulted the group to a whole new level and a definite high among themselves and their biggest fans.

“We've made it this far on the strength of our music and we're hoping that will help us, as well, when we get our name out there,” Uhl said.

It all became a reality when the band contacted Al Gomes, a promoter of independent artists who has reportedly worked for Christina Aguilera. A member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which votes for the Grammy Awards, Gomes was not only impressed with the band's music, but the band's self-promotion, Uhl said.

Uhl said his “largely unknown, unsigned” band has been working diligently to promote itself to get its name out among other voting members of the Grammy Awards.

Born in Harlan, Uhl and his family left Loyall when he was only 3 after his father, an accountant at a coal mining company, took another job in Lexington. His musical roots, he said, came from his mother, who grew up in Wallins among a number of talented singers and musicians. Uhl himself sang in a church choir and played trumpet throughout his school years in Lexington.

“I'm glad I took after my mom's side of the family. None of my dad's family could carry a tune in a bucket,” he joked.

Uhl was “bit by the TV bug” at a young age and eventually worked for a short time in 1981 as the Frankfort bureau chief for WKYT-TV. A graduate of Eastern Kentucky University, he studied journalism and went on to work in the field for nearly 25 years. He also worked at Louisville's WAVE-TV and was a reporter in Huntington/Charleston, W.Va.

Uhl moved to Houston in 1985 for another opportunity in television that brought him closer to some family and a college friend. He spent 13 years at KHOU-TV, where he covered some of the nation's most noted events, from the dismantling of the Berlin Wall in 1989 to the Waco, Texas, siege in 1993.

In Texas, Uhl also discovered a culture of music that would have a large impact on his own musical styles and songwriting abilities.

“It's a rockin' variety of blues. Texas artists are hard to categorize because they embrace all types of music - country, blues, jazz, rock. Our album, too, is very diverse ... a good mix. That's why I think the album has done so well,” he said.

Brother 2 Brother performs primarily on the weekends because most band members have “day jobs,” Uhl said. But the power of the Internet has allowed the band to begin to make a name for itself while remaining in Houston.

“That's the cool thing about the Internet. You can promote yourself. ... It really makes it possible for independent musicians to thrive. The Internet is a worldwide community - boarders do not exist,” he said.

Thanks to that exposure, the band's music has been played on broadcast and Internet radio stations throughout Asia and the United Kingdom, to name two. That could be the result of what Uhl believes is a more prevalent appreciation for American blues outside the United States. He credits American blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan for helping to spread the genre of music. That, and the “power” of music.

That's precisely why the band chose its name, Brother 2 Brother.

“We're not brothers, but we're brothers in music,” Uhl said, adding that music is “sometimes the only common ground” some people have.

Though Houston is home to the Harlan County native, Uhl - an assistant press secretary for the Houston School District - said he still misses the hills and fall colors that are absent in his Texas environment.

He has a theory about his first hometown, one he said he developed after consistently meeting someone, or someone who knew someone, who in some way had Harlan County roots.

“You always find someone from Harlan County. If everyone still lived there, it would be the biggest city in the country.”

Competing for Grammy can drive away blues - November 1, 2006

http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061101/COLUMNISTS04/611010547/1013
Competing for Grammy can drive away blues

Byron Crawford

Imagine waking one morning to learn that the small rock/blues band you'd performed with at a local club the night before was a 2007 Grammy Awards contender in two categories -- with such legends as John Lee Hooker Jr., Eric Burdon and Aerosmith.

"I was just speechless," said Norm Uhl, a former Louisville and Lexington television news reporter, a native of Harlan County and an alumnus of Lexington Henry Clay High School, the University of Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky University.

Uhl, 52, whose day job is assistant press secretary for the Houston school system, helped organize the five-piece band Brother2Brother about three years ago. He plays keyboard and harmonica and usually sings backup. He wrote and sings lead on B2B's best rock performance/duo or group Grammy ballot single, "Power to Drive the Blues Away."

Blogcritics.org describes the band's "Lookin' For Texas" debut album as a stew of blues, rock and soul that "goes down warm and sweet."

Uhl was an intern at Louisville's WAVE-TV in 1976, but later was a reporter in Huntington/Charleston, W.Va., then a police reporter at WAVE and Frankfort bureau chief for WKYT-TV in Lexington before moving to KHOU-TV in Houston.



His music developed along the way -- from family members in Harlan, where he took piano lessons in the fourth grade and later picked up guitar, to Lexington, where he played trumpet in middle and high school bands. He learned the finer points of blues harmonica from Mac Toombs, a bluegrass banjo and harmonica player in Lincoln County.
Learning the blues

"I had tried harmonica and just couldn't figure out how to bend the notes for doing the blues," Uhl recalled. "Mac said one thing to me, and I got it: 'Son, you gotta' choke that thing.' From that I figured out how you've got to change how you draw the air through to bend the notes."

After leaving television for the press secretary position in 2000, Uhl moonlighted for a while with popular Texas blues band Gene Kelton and the Diehards before helping organize Brother2Brother.

"Now, with the Internet, you can be an independent musician, produce your own CD and market it on the Internet," Uhl said. "Not that we don't want a record company, but you can promote your own music. We're all over the place on the internet, selling CDs on multiple sites, selling digital downloads for iPods -- I don't even own one -- and we even have a distributor in Paris, France, that is taking care of our European sales."

B2B's songs recently held the top five positions on a Paris-based Internet radio station whose listeners vote for their favorites. Then the group's music went to No. 1 in a listener popularity contest on the Ultimate Band List site -- UBL.com.

Rhode Island promoter Al Gomes, a member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, heard B2B's music last year and promised the band a place on the Grammy Awards ballot. Now, the band hopes its music is heard by other voting members before the December selection of top five Grammy nominees.

"We have three guys in the band over 50," Uhl said. "I don't know where it goes from here. I'd love for it to work out so I could make a living playing music full time. That's kind of been a dream all of my life. But back in high school and college, when I was playing with a band in Lexington, my parents told me that wasn't a stable job.

"So what do I do? I get into TV journalism …"

You can listen to B2B's music at www.brother2brother.com or UBL.com.

Byron Crawford's column appears on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Reach him at (502) 582-4791 or bcrawford@courier-journal.com. Comment on this column, and read previous columns, at www.courier-journal.com/byron.

HISD official, band in the running for Grammy nomination - October 24, 2006

http://feeds.chron.com/~r/houstonchronicle/entmus/~3/41098267/4284502.html
Oct. 24, 2006, 5:16PM

By RASHA MADKOUR
Associated Press

The Grammy Awards ballot bears the name of an unlikely contender this year: Houston schools spokesman Norm Uhl and his unsigned band, Brother 2 Brother.

All but one of the group's five members have day jobs, but they're in the running for Best Blues Album for their debut CD and Best Rock Performance for a song Uhl wrote.

When Uhl heard the news Monday night, he spent the evening calling and e-mailing friends.

"THE Grammys?" some replied.

Their surprise is understandable.

Uhl, 52, is a former television reporter and works in the press office of the Houston Independent School District. Brother 2 Brother only plays in the Houston/Galveston area and has heavily depended on the Internet to promote itself.

"I was speechless," Uhl said on Tuesday. "It's hard to believe."

This time last year, the band approached Al Gomes, a Rhode Island promoter of independent artists, who also has worked for Christina Aguilera, and extracted a promise he'd listen to their work. Uhl said Gomes was impressed.

Gomes did not return calls and an email seeking comment.

Gomes is a member National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which votes for the Grammy Awards, and told Uhl and his bandmates he'd get their band on the ballot, Uhl said. They didn't quite believe it, Uhl added - until Monday.

Their album, "Lookin' for Texas," is in the running to be named Best Contemporary Blues Album for 2006. Their song "The Power to Drive the Blues," about music's therapeutic effect, is up for Best Rock Performance By A Duo or Group with Vocal.

Brother 2 Brother tops the chart on The Ultimate Band List website, whose members — people in the music industry as well as fans — rank emerging artists. The band is also No. 1 on the site's rock and blues lists. Listeners of a radio station in Paris gave the top five slots of their chart to Brother 2 Brother songs, an unprecedented move, Uhl said.

Now the group has to wait until Dec. 7 to see if they garnered enough votes to be named among the five nominees to be featured at the Grammy's, which will be on Feb. 11.

While Uhl, who plays keyboard and harmonica and does backup vocals, isn't quite giving his employers notice just yet, publicity from the award show could give the band the chance to focus on their music full time.

The band's website gets hits from all over the world: Britain to Burkina Faso, Malaysia to the Dominican Republic.

"Some places I had to look up, and I'm pretty good at geography," Uhl said. "Seychelles - where's that?"

Besides the grass roots support, the band has also gotten rave reviews from critics.

"We knew we had something special," Uhl said. "We just had to wait for other people to validate it for us."

Other school district employees had a part in the CD. Three music teachers served as session musicians during the album's recording and the district's graphic artist did the CD's cover art.

———
Grammy Awards: www.grammy.com

A World of Blues - August 6, 2006

I am constantly amazed when I look at the stats from the B2B website. Our Little Band of Merry Musicians from Houston, Texas gets visitors from all over the world via the internet. I thought you might find this interesting. After the United States, here are the countries and places from which we are getting the most visitors, right now.
Switzerland, Norway, Mexico, Taiwan, Brazil, Netherlands, Singapore, United Kingdom, Malaysia, Slovak Republic, Belgium, Argentina, Canada, Germany, India, France, Hong Kong, Greece, Japan, Colombia, Romania, Guatemala, Spain and the Russian Federation. The order of the countries from which we get the most visits changes from day to day. Sometimes we get visits from places that we have to look up on the map. Where is the Republic of Seychelles again? Oh yeah, it's in the Indian Ocean about 1,600 kilometers (or 994.192 miles) east of mainland Africa, northeast of the island of Madagascar. Now isn't our website educational?
Norm Uhl-B2B Keyboard player

News from Midnight Special Blues Radio - December 5, 2005

Brother 2 Brother: ALONE IN THE TOP 5!!!
Remember this day: on Friday, December 2nd, 2005 one certain band from Texas called Brother 2 Brother has entirely filled the Top 5 of the Midnight Special Blues radio charts with the songs from their debut (!) album Lookin' For Texas! I can't believe my eyes: they got it! Our charts are based exclusively on listeners' votes, and we have listeners in more than 60 countries all around the world. That is, it's not in France (where the station is based), not in the U.S.A. (half of our audience), but in the whole wide world our listeners have built the Top 5 exclusively of Brother 2 Brother tunes! With Christmas approaching, we're all waiting for miracles. Stop waiting and make a miraculous gift of this CD to those you love and to yourself! :-)
Check it out at" www.ms-blues.com

Radio Airplay - October 6, 2005

In addition to the airplay we are getting in Houston on KPFT 90.1 we are also now getting airplay in Canada, Belgium, Argentina, France, Taiwan and Serbia...and we've just been added to the playlist on the LIVE 365 network, which provides Blues programming over the internet and podcasts for ipod users.

Houston Chronicle CD Review - October 5, 2005

If you like blues-rock, Lookin' for Texas is a solid purchase.
Sara Cress - Houston Chronicle (Oct 3, 2005)
Thanks Sara, for the kind words.

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