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Rev City Blues is a unique band that is based out of the South Bay. San Jose CA specifically. Current line up includes; Rich Ayala guitar, Steve Gaeta vocals, Charlie Brady harmonica and vocals, Ben Hinson Bass, Bill Francis Keys and Bobby Hines Drums.
The origin of the band goes back to the early nineties when Rich met Steve Gaeta. Both were Christian musicians and who shared a love for the blues. This led to the gathering of musicians to form “The Good New Blues.” The original intent of the band was just to play music in the local jails and share a positive message with the inmates. The results were amazing. Interest for blues in the local prison system was great and we were getting great feedback from both inmates as well as the staff in the various facilities. Steve was the spokesperson for each event since he himself has a history with incarceration. It was someone who came to visit him and now was his turn to do the same for someone else. With that foundation, we moved forward and rode the wave.
We never imaged that there would be a demand for our music outside the jails but soon we were invited to play at the local hot spot for Christian bands. The Koinonia Koffee House. This place was run by Mike Dow who had the latest and greatest equipment, sound gear and connection to larger venues throughout the Bay Area. We developed a great relationship that led to many gigs including Great America, Music in the Park San Jose, and the Spirit West Coast music festival.
The beauty of the band was the fact that we played music that was not anything like the “contemporary” music of the day. Our music was unpolished and full of guitar, piano and harmonica solos. Rich was the primary writer for the band. “I just wrote music in a style that I personally wanted to hear. My only expectation beyond that was to connect with people who had similar backgrounds to us or who could benefit from our “experience.” The band connected with the average person who liked fun music, laughing and did not take him or herself too seriously. We played to audiences large and small throughout the Bay Area and Northern California. We made many friends and partnerships. We enjoyed doing gigs for Motorcycle clubs, addiction recovery gatherings and continued the local jails as well. We released a cassette tape (yes cassette tape) “The Good News Blues” , and a cd of one live Koinonia gig, “Legboot”….these could be entitled “the early years” as the band was still cutting it’s teeth and included early incarnations of the band with different members.
As the band evolved into its current line up Rich, Steve, Charlie, Ben, Bobby and Bill, some of highlights included having blues and harmonica master Darrell Mansfield sit in with band as well as playing at the Spirit West Coast music fest.
Good News Blues stayed together until Rich moved to Nor Cal. The band re united in the early 2000’s as “Rev City Blues” and released an official cd entitled “The Restoration Project.” The music here was recorded in the nineties and never released until the band reformed ten years later. The project was recorded live in the studio with only minimal overdubs or corrections. “It’s a great example of what a live gig was like. We recorded the bulk of it in two days and later filled in the unfinished parts. We basically ran out of dough so the project sat until many years later.”
“I have new unrecorded music for the band and as time permits, would love to do another release. I believe it’s some of the best material yet.”