““Kansas City”, is a ripping, roaring almost Hawaiian sounding slide tribute to Kansas City resident and slide guitar genius Casey Weldon, it also, has to be said that this is a seriously delirious slide, and piano toe-tapper! “The Avenue”, comes with a solemn and funereal guitar-and-drum motif that gives it an enticing and alluring atmosphere, while the lyrics describe all the working girls and home-use drug searchers that began to visit the area on a daily basis, making it such an interesting neighbourhood. The irresistible, shuffling, swinging, jungle sounding drums are once again put to good use being paired with that wonderful electrifying slide on “Hello Mrs, Radzinsky”, which is a sad tale of some poor soul who chatted away on the phone, in a public phone box for hours, except that the phone never did work. “Calendar”, is a humorously sultry, solemn, slow,burning slide and bass ode to the days of risqué calendars and top shelf material for the discerning gentlem”
““He is touching pure rock and roll and boogie.” “After striking a piece depicting the leader of the group, the band takes the listeners on a stylish ride the fifties ( Kansas City Blues), and then swerves towards the gospel (The Avenue), ragged crazy riffs with slide, colorful voice of Jason, space omnipresent choirs band The Billy Bats, make the disc is unique. Sometimes dark and stretching to the grim atmosphere, another time lively and spirited to dance ( Hello Mrs Radzinsky). About diversity disc testifies climax album ( MY Heart In The Right Place), in which on top of flow in full glory all the instruments.” “Very positive and creative music from Kansas City.””
" ‘The Avenue’ is exactly what we have come to know and love about this time-tested genre." "The most telling example of the group’s talent is the fifth song, “Train Musta Jumped the Tracks.” In this piece, singer Jason Vivone plays the strength as team captain and lets each member shine. All of the songs are good, but this one is the eyes of the collection because it is a window into the soul of the album, the band and the Blues." "Jason Vivone and the Billy Bats really know the Blues."
"This eight-track release reflects life and love, despair and hope in equal measures as lived on the Avenue over the years, and features a full-blown seven-piece outfit with a soaring sense of humor and an astute eye on the world around them." "This is a mighty fine album, a tad quirky in places and at turns, but an overall charmer worth discovering."
“4 stars. A outlier with a feverish musical imagination, Kansas City's Jason Vivone casts intriguing moods as a songwriter and as a better than good slide guitarist who also sings with conviction. He and six Billy Bats, always attentive to craft, revel in killer riffs, eerie blues depictions and time-bound train metaphors. You just have to hear the appealingly weird Calendar to believe it.”
“This 2016 IBC participant (representing the Kansas City Blues Society) plugs out a jamming cd full of good drums, guitars, vocals, and all things needed for a great blues CD. He starts out by telling you, in a Bo Diddley-esque style, how to pronounce his name. His name doesn’t rhyme with Al Capone. In Hello Mrs Radzinsky, he rolls into the “hey-baby” blues and does the riff and makes the strings whine and oooh hey baby it just gets better from there! He slows it down with the Train Musta Jumped the Track adding some nice string work and gut-wrenching vocals about a story we all know too well, a ship that never came in. This bro is real and old school, using slide and signature cigar box Nicotina to wreak havoc. On a jam that he claims saves relationships, his crowd pleaser Calendar is a bump and grind crowd favorite sure to have your spring break bunny pronouncing your name right,”
"I just received the newest release, The Avenue, from Jason Vivone and the Billy Bats and it's raw and fun. Opening with a Bo Diddley style track, The Vivone Song (pronounced Viv O Nee), a musical chant with heavy tom tom rhythm and thick warm lower octave guitar melody on vibrato, a cool opener. Jim Jackson's, Kansas City Blues, is a rumbler with Vivone on wild slide guitar and lead vocal, Matt Bustamante on drums, Rick Maclvor on piano and Jeremy Clark on bass, topped off by Joanna Berkebile, Ben Hoppes and Paula Crawford on backing vocal. A solid boogie woogie and absolutely camaraderie among the band makes this a great track. Title track, The Avenue, tells the story of the gritty part of town where the dirt goes down. With the band in common vocal style and with very cool vibrato glistened guitar work, this track shimmers. Very nice. Hello Mrs Radzinsky is a driving boogie with a great walking bass line complimented nicely by MacIver on keys and featuring Vivone on slide.
" If Jason Vivone ever got inked with one of those classic heart tattoos, it is a safe bet that rather than “Mom,” “KCMO” would be scrawled across it. The bluesman has an abiding affection for his adopted hometown, and it comes through loud and clear on the latest album from his band The Billy Bats. “The Avenue” is a listening experience that reveals subtle bits of insight each time. That dynamic reflects the persona of the bandleader: Vivone is an entertainer first and foremost, never taking himself — or the seemingly inviolable traditions of the blues — too seriously. Rather, he does what he pleases and what he does — enabled by a cracker-jack band — also pleases the listener more often than not."
"Jason Vivone spells it out in album opener of his recent release backed by The Billy Bats, The Avenue. On track number one, “The Vivone Song”, the schooling comes with the proper pronunciation of his name as Jason gives the correct way on carefully clear bursts of ‘Viv O Nee’. The Kansas City bluesman strolls the album with streetwise tunes, sassy and snappy as they head uptown for a Saturday night. The Avenue puts on a show as it rides the album tracks. From stage to studio, Jason and the Billy Bats cannot stop being performers, serving a slow burn funeral march of memories for the title track, pumping up the beat for “My Heart is in the Right Place”, and sliding off the pages of passing time in “Calendar” with long, drawn-out guitar notes and chords.
“Throughout, unfortunately, only eight songs this band takes us on a very interesting tour of the rich musical heritage of the American continent and. There are all sorts of rock 'n' roll, boogie, blues slide to traditionalism colored pieces from which protrudes muddy roots deeply embedded in the bottom of the Mississippi River. Indeed, it is remarkable how skillfully implemented music Elmore James, Muddy Waters, but the gospel in their musical expression. Well, it is not surprising that there is still an incredibly impressive album where the band again shows his skill connecting slide blues and boogie. The compound delta Misssissippija swing and Count Basie, no doubt, in a hint of a light atmosphere and Tex-Mex music and much else - completely different, colorful and very interesting musical experience for anyone who listens to this album.”
“Here’s an interesting and fairly crazy disc: Vivone starts the disc making it clear exactly how one says V-i-v-o-n-e (I won’t spoil it – you’ll have to listen for yourself). BTW, he is a solid slide player and the main drift on this release is hip swing and boogie coming off of the blues side.”
“KC bluesman Jason Vivone is a storyteller extraordinaire, telling tales that can make you laugh or cry, sing along or sit and think. Perhaps is is too simplistic though to call him a “bluesman” as he definitely pushes the blues envelope not just beyond the traditional boundaries, but beyond many traditional offshoots as well. His music backdrops are eclectic – he is unafraid to break away from any blues purist ideology and twist the music into his own signature version of it. The tongue-in-cheek Bo Diddley beat strewn opener “The Vivone Song (Pronounced Viv O Nee) gives you a good first glimpse of the journey you are about to embark on. Songs like the rollicking “Kansas City Blues” and ballad “Calendar” come closer to true blues styles, but even they have some internal eccentricities. The title track is a haunting, deeply moss-covered dirge with an eerie potency. “”
"This one is a keeper, and an album I would gladly, and proudly recommend to one and all. It is an album with substance." It is one album that blues lovers should display proudly in their collections...a true blues album.
"The album opens with the Bo Diddley tune of 'The Vivone Song' to quickly take the guidance into the mysterious "Kansas City Blues'. Vivone's slide guitar is a wink to Casey Bill Weldon, a slide guitar virtuoso from Kansas. The song "Calendar" is one of the favorite songs from the Billy Bats live show, and with the track 'My Heart Is In The Right Place', the sound of Motown is serious looming around the corner. After this handsome settlement may "His Honor, The Mayor 'album worthily close. Vivone this cigarbox takes his guitar and praised here in an original manner, the unofficial mayor Kendall Kohr of Independence Avenue."
““The vocals just flow out of jason vivone so perfectly with such a fluid, commanding, emotionally-driven soul which combined with his amazing band brings you right down to the roots of the blues.””
““Some are musicians, then we have what are natural born entertainers, Jason Vivone is the latter. It's a skill that can't be bought or learned, simply put you either have it or you don't!””
"The Avenue" is the best yet from Jason Vivone and the Billy Bats. This release has the band delving into more than just hokum blues. Sure there's some of that: "The Vivone Song" and "Calendar" are in that vein, but this album goes deeper with a spirited deep blues cover of "Kansas City Blues," "The Avenue," the title track with a funky groove and a Staples Singers vibe, and the masterpiece of the album, "My Heart Is In The Right Place," a seven-plus minute soul/gospel "Come To Jesus" song that makes you want to believe.”
“One of the main spark plugs of the Kansas City blues scene fires up the band for an autobiographical tale of being an Italian kid moving to the Italian section of Kansas City but finding the housing bargains are in a decaying neighborhood and recounting the adventures that flowed from there. Certainly not your usual white boy blues outing, the deconstruction of everything gives this set a comfortable place on any musical shelf. A wonderfully wild ride that comes right from the heart”
““ Jason Vivone & the Billy Bats surprised us with ‘the Avenue’ again with their incredible versatility and originality. This is a contemporary blues album with his roots in the Mississippi Delta. Add to this Vivone’s excellent songwriting, than this is simply TOP!... “”
"It has surrealist lyrics, at times with aspects of Shakespeare, something very interesting for the blues. In terms of its style, hear reminiscences of Jimmy Reed, from hip hop and some of the style of New Orleans and gospel touches. Much irony and humor in this album of Jason Vivone & The Billy Bats that brings an interesting mix of Count Basie with Delta blues."
“All round more than I expected after the recently released “Lather, Rinse, Repeat”, itself a tour de force. This release so close to the previous goes against the norm when artists struggle to follow their releases up. The Billy Bats provide a wonderful springboard for Vivone to shine and places his songs in a place that is mesmerising. Congratulations to you all on another album that I must add to my favourites list of 2014”
“The opener, “Cut Those Apron Strings,” is a swinging duet (with the Grand Marquis horns in support) featuring Vivone attempting to seduce Crawford, but being rebuffed at every turn, while “Placebo” is a funky blues a la Johnny “Guitar” Watson, circa 1970’s. “Mean” keeps up the funk, but with more serious subject matter as Crawford and Berkebile take on domestic abuse. The title track is next, and if it’s lively beat and crazy subject matter doesn’t put a hop in your step, you should see if there’s a tag around your toe. “Analog” is a fond remembrance of the days of the “crackle and hiss” before digital recording, and “The Blues & The Greys” is a spoken-word sci-fi “blues opera”…..you read that correctly…..in the grand tradition of Orson Welles’ “War Between The Worlds” broadcast that has to be heard to be believed. Trust me, you will love it...”
“Over the nine original and mind expanding numbers we sidle up close to the twilight zone of mirth and nostalgia. With this firmly in your mind, all is normal, so, it is perfectly reasonable that numbers like “Analog”, take the shape and form of a solemn and deathly New Orleans funeral dirge, the slow rumbling lament of days gone by when all we knew was that great music had to be not only warm and mono but, also submerged our ears in snap, crackle and pop; oh, those were the days of innocent joy. The visual joys of “Eddie Ate Dynamite” are wonderfully described as the swinging slide hovers over lively dancing drum work, while the glutton of a tuba bubs and expands and the excited girly chorus eggs Eddie on to the potentially exploding finale. “I Can Never Say Goodbye”, is a wonderfully woven list of goodbyes set to a lonesome and dejected piano led slow blues, while Jason mournfully and dramatically lists his farewells to all and sundry.”
“Band leader Jason Vivone counts six Billy Bats under his direction and two of them are female vocalists utilized to tremendous effect. Based in Kansas City, they beg the question just what the hell is going on in that ostensibly conservative town. This is the kind of music that ruffles traditional feathers with the Blues Society set. “Analog” is a slithering hymn to the joys of old school recorded music. It’s complete with Vivone preacher-hollering about being, “At home with the crackle and hiss/ You know I loved it since I was a kid.” Arrangements, vocal phrasings and slick guitar licks are clever across all these original compositions. Sometimes it’s not even the singing that sings. In 1940s wolf whistle tribute “Cut Those Apron Strings,” uber-cute girly spoken word makes the song sparkle. Similarly, “Where Did the Day Go?” is a bizarre instrumental strut punctuated with that mundane verbal question. The strong dose of offbeat in these grooves brings to mind Dan H”
“The set-closing “I Can Never Say Goodbye,” finds Jason backed only by Rick MacIvor on piano, as he says “adieu, adios, ta-ta, and cheerio,” but, never goodbye! And, if Jason is Orson Welles, then his “War Of The Worlds” is the blues-operetta-themed “The Blues And The Greys.” Set over a galloping beat, it also is partly spoken-word as Jason recounts a tale of aliens landing on the White House lawn after listening to WDIA in outer space, prompting a bartender in the song to exclaim that a “Grey man can sing the blues!” Just like that proverbial box of chocolates, “Eddie Ate Dynamite” is full of surprises. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, and one foot in the Delta and the other one wherever he needs it to be, Jason Vivone And The Billy Bats create quirky, interesting music that makes for a highly-enjoyable listening experience, indeed”
“Vivone and his crew didn’t save it all up for their debut set. This one is even wilder showing us that this is a bunch here for the long haul. Carefully traversing a minefield that’s loaded with comparisons to funny/50s Frank Zappa and Kansas City Count Basie, this wonderfully crazy set is almost like a bunch of mini movies because there’s so much going. It’s like Vivone didn’t want to leave a speck of tape unrecorded on. A must have for anyone that reveres a real party on a platter, this baby is smoking throughout and knows how to deliver a first class good time.”
“I just received the newest release, Eddie Ate Dynamite (January 28, 2014)from Jason Vivone and the Billy Bats and it's a modern Louis Jordan with a twist. Opening with Cut Those Apron Strings, Vivone lets off a full swing number featuring bopping backing vocals from Paula Crawford and Joanna Berkebile as well as Bryan Redmond on sax and Chad Boydston on trumpet.Placebo has an unusual beat and a composition that is a part Zappa, part Little Feat and part Captain Beefhart with particularly cool slide work from Vivone and bass from Jeremy Clark. Meanopens with a haunting vocal lead from Crawford. BB King like blues riffs permeate the trance like melody and Matt Bustamante keeps it tight on drums. Title track, Eddie Ate Dynamite is a loose slide guitar led track with swing like rhythm. It's obvious that this band is serious but their music is intended to be a lot of fun. Analoghas a standard blues style and turnaround but is very simple format with vocal, bass and drums.”
“Jason Vivone first got our attention in 2013 with his dazzling debut, “Lather, Rinse, Repeat,” and he and The Billy Bats have done it again with their latest, “Eddie Ate Dynamite.” Often called the “Orson Welles of the blues,” Jason takes the compliment seriously, and, over the course of the nine originals that comprise the set, it’s easy for listeners to insert themselves into the context of the songs. Take the slide guitar romp that is the title cut. Seems that “Eddie Ate Dynamite” at a church picnic at the urging of some cousins, then “asked me for a light!” You can almost picture yourself in the background somewhere, watching as this deal goes down. The other cuts also have Jason’s trademark quirks that make this album so refreshingly infectious. He’s not afraid to let everyone know he’s a bit “old-school,” as “the tapes inside my head are Analog,” and “I’m at home with the crackle and hiss!” It’s set over a too-cool-for-school, lop”
“Man of varied and eclectic tastes, these adjectives could also describe the music and style of singer, song-writer, guitar and harmonica player Jason Vivone, who has also been qualified as 'The King Of The Roots' of Kansas City. Jason deeply admires guitar players Hubert Sumlin, Buddy Guy and Son Seals, precisely because they are also three eclectic performers in the way they focus and play the blues. This album features nine songs, all Jason’s own compositions, that have the good support of Matt Bustamante drums, Jeremy Clark bass, Paula Crawford guitar and vocals, Imani Glasgow backing vocals and percussion and Ben Hoppes backing vocals and banjo. All songs are quite original and very special ones, precisely due to the outstanding personality Jason Vivone writes and expresses himself.”
““Jason Vivone And The Billy Bats came to my attention at the Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival in Columbia MO in 2011. That Saturday I stumbled out of the BBQ judging tent with a serious meat overdose, sleepy and overstuffed by eating LOTS of ribs and brisket. On the stage down the street there was this band playing. As I drifted closer, I began to hear and feel an electric guitar and three vocalists and a banjo all ripping it up, all energy and loudness, humor and joy. The crowd was literally going crazy. My plan after judging BBQ was for a long nap, but I ended up staying and listening to this great band for their entire set. And ever since then, this Kansas City-based band has been a favorite.””
"The plus side of this independent release is these guys try their best in creating roots music without any regards for mainstream success and more power to them. Some numbers like the opening tracks would no doubt go down for a Saturday night crowd looking for a good time. " "Jason Vivone makes sure to stay far away from the blues rock clichés."
“In this album, special attention is paid to the songs, especially the lyrics, sometimes serious, sometimes impregnated with humor. So, for some reason, special attention is Jason and his colleagues raised the concerns of women, say, a large body: There are two compositions on the subject - Baby Fat and absolutely hilarious The Nina, The Pinta, The Santa Maria. Where does the name of Columbus' caravels? - You ask. But listen and smile to the link found between Vivonne courts and the above topic. However, there is love lyrics and different nature - shock starting composition disk I Hear a Heartbeat and One Hot Mother, there is a Photograph, very very sad story about love, remaining only in dreams. Struck me as interesting and the song The Black Lone Ranger, dedicated to the Chicago bluesman James Ramsey. ”
"This six piece band is based in Kansas City, Missouri, and has a remit that stretches beyond the blues pure and simple - but a song like ‘The Black Lone Ranger’ (a figure whom some readers may recall from the Windy City) shows that Jason has been around for a while. The opener is a powerful Hooker-esque boogie augmented by some dirty slide playing. There are hints of Bo Diddley on the slightly warped dance number ‘Do The Nod’, Elmore James on ‘The Nina, The Pinta, The Santa Maria’, and a more generalised Chicago sound elsewhere."
“It starts with a Hooker-Boogie on Cigar Box Guitar: stoic and dry the Groove, waidwund the voice of Jason Vivone. But who has now set up for a serious Blue disc will quickly get a surprise. Because Vivone has a pretty wacky sense of humor, which is evident from the text as to "Baby Fat". And otherwise goes to him and his Billy Bats on a good show always about diversity and humor. And if he then over ships on their first trip of Columbus or liquid sings (high alcohol) diet plans, then this is funny until you drop. And more entertaining than most of the songs that start with "Woke Up This Morning." But every day I can not bear so much fun. But I also read Mark Twain, not daily. ”
“The guitarist and harmonica player Jason Vivone called his band The Billy Batts because, similar to the gang's gangster film "Goodfellas" by Martin Scorsese, all fit in one car. Vivone is a musician particular, with deep roots in the blues, which has managed to extract not only the music but also a unique sense of humor that entertains, educates, and leaves the audience wanting more. Lather Rinse Repeat found in Jason & The Billy Batts Vivone reminiscent of Hubert Sumlin, Buddy Guy and Son Seals. This view is supported eclectic blues by Matt Bustamante on drums, Jeremy Clark on bass, Paula Crawford on guitar, Imani Glasgow on drums and Ben Hoppes on the banjo. The result is an artistic testimony of an ongoing commitment to the power of music.”
“The band's sound covers a lot of blues ground, from something close to a string band (the aforementioned "Baby Fat") through call and response combined with a New Orleans second line sound ("Liquid Diet") and into Bo Diddley territory ("Do The Nod"). The latter is about a (mythical) dance craze called "The Nod", which sounds like a reference to the head nodding that you often see at live shows! On "Lather, Rinse, Repeat", Jason Vivone proves that there is still a lot of humour left in the blues. This is not to decry the band's standard of musicianship, but simply shows the maintenance of a long-standing blues tradition. Gordon Baxter ”
“Vivone is an excellent vocalist, guitarist and songwriter. Those skills have made him one of the elite blues musicians in Kansas City. Friday’s show at the south Kansas City roadhouse is a prime opportunity to wish the members of the band luck before they make their potentially career-altering appearance in Memphis. ”
“The spirit of ‘Big’ Joe Turner is alive and well enjoying life in the shape and form of one Kansas born and bred Jason Vivone; his vim, verve and simple lust for life takes musical shape in the delicious merging of hill country and rockabilly, with a vigorous fifties rock’n’roll feel that is infused with a backbone of the blues, laced with a jaunty fusing of gospel and soul. The combination of banjo, cigar box slide and a sweetly enticing shuffling percussive sound make for spine-tingling music. When Jason’s voice isn’t hollering an invitation to you it is sweetly and personally canoodling your senses with an almost whispering seductiveness that is reminiscent of the fragile intonations of Harry Nilsson. ”
“I’ve seen a lot of words used to describe Jason Vivone, among them “idiosyncratic,” “wild,” “eccentric,” “humorous,” and “seriously warped.” Permit me to add a couple more…..“creative” and “entertaining.” Vivone and his band, The Billy Bats, have created one of the most unique blues CDs that I’ve listened to in a long time in Lather Rinse Repeat. Sticking closely to the music of his mentors and influences (Hubert Sumlin, Buddy Guy, and Son Seals), the young singer/songwriter/guitarist/harmonica player blends the blues with his own highly original lyrical perspective and the results make for compelling listening." Vivone is an ideal frontman, ripping through vocals and guitar solos with equal vigor. Every time I listen to this disc, I find something else to like about it and, more than likely, you will, too. ”
“The cd opens with the seductive ‘I Heard A Heartbeat’, a Texas boogie style, with tempting lyrics and a ripping cigarbox slide. On 2, ‘Baby Fat’ Vivone uses a tongue in cheek solo vocal, with minimal band participation, except a slide melody and drums. 3,’The Nina, The Pinta, The Santa Maria’, is a sped up Chicago blues with 50’s style vocals and classic blues riffs, with a touch of humour. Loosely based on a Muddy Waters track, with a touch of George Thorogood, 4, ‘ The Black Lone Ranger’ keeps the groove going, again with the slide player a chance to shine. 5,’One Hot Mother’ is a typical 12 bar blues track, allowing Vivone the freedom to sing clever lyrics to an otherwise basic track. 7,’Do The Nod’ has hints of Bo Diddley, 8, ‘Liquid Diet’ is a funky scratch track and 9,’Medusa Blues’ closes the album with a more complex track. A fun collection of original material, ideal for a party!”
“Jason Vivone & the Billy Bats' Lather Rinse Repeat (www.billybats.com) is an all originals set that starts with Muddy Waters and Hubert Sumlin and takes off from there with Vivone leading the way with his exorcistic vocals, cigar-box guitar and rump-shaking harmonica on clever titles like the banjo-limned (Ben Hoppes) homage to "Baby Fat," a clever tribute to the legendary Chicago character and blues singer "The Black Lone Ranger" and the lachrymose tale of a "Photograph."”
“Guitarist, vocalist, songwriter, harmonica blower, Jason Vivone doesn't take himself too seriously. Just listen to his latest release with the Billy Bats, Lather Rinse Repeat. It's full of tongue in cheek lyrics about some of the blues' favorite subjects, drinking and sex. It opens up strong with the burner "I Hear A Heartbeat", before it settles into the upbeat mid-tempo blues that packs the rest of the disc. For the last song the band slows it down for the banjo-inflected "Medusa Blues". This Kansas City band has left me impressed. ”
"Jason Vivone is one of the most respected blues musicians in Kansas City. He and his band recently won the Missouri Lottery King of the Roots competition. The ensemble will also represent the Kansas City Blues Society at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis next month." "Vivone knows his way around a guitar. He has a terrific voice. His songwriting is clever. His respectful admiration of women is commendable. Vivone clearly knows what's good. I just wish his new album Lather. Rinse. Repeat was better. Sure, it's superior to the majority of the standard-issue boogie that passes for blues these days. But I want more. Vivone has the potential, I think, to achieve the artistic heights of Jack White, Robert Cray and Gary Clark, Jr. I won't be satisfied until Vivone makes that climb."
"LATHER RINSE REPEAT" IS A PROVACATIVE ALBUM BY JASON VIVONE AND THE BILLY BATS. WHAT VIVONE WRITES AND SINGS IS PEOPLE'S MUSIC. IT'S ALMOST COUNTRY. IT'S ALMOST ROCK. IT'S ALMOST GOSPEL. IT'S REAL BLUES. IT'S SO GREAT.
“LATHER.RINSE.REPEAT. is full of vintage blues beats performed with excellent musicianship. If you're looking fir traditional blues with fun lyrics, grab a copy of LATHER. RINSE. REPEAT.”
“Jason, when was your first desire to become involved in the blues? "When I was 7 or 8, I had a babysitter who had the Briefcase Full of Blues tape and she would listen to it while she watched me. If you remember, Belushi cites the original artists all through out. “Here’s an old Willie Mabon tune.” “This one’s by Delbert McClinton.” This babysitter of mine sought out Otis Redding and Junior Wells and the artists who were covered on that album and played it all for me. If you’re out there, Sondra, thank you." What was the first gig you ever went to & what were the first songs you learned? "My first blues gig was B.B. King at a high school gym in Dyersburg, Tennessee. My aunt took me. It was incredible. It was the old school African American experience you don’t get too much anymore. Everyone dressed to the nines. The house shouted to B.B. the whole time. It was a dialogue.”
“Excellent album of singer/ slide guitarist Jason Vivone. Very good compositions. Excellent musicians. The slide guitar sound is in the spirit of the great RY COODER. Excellent production. Very, very GOOD Music of the Modern BLUES and Modern Chicago Blues.”
“My favorite track on the release by far, Photograph, has the characteristics of a Tex/Mex blues along the lines of something Ryland Cooder would do. I like the melody and the slide work is controlled and interesting. Do The Nod has hints of Bo Diddley and further modern punk music. It breaks away form a lot of the balance of the recordings in that it is much more loosely recorded. Liquid Diet is a funky scratch track on the simplest basis. Medusa Blues wraps the recording with a more complex track... not in execution but in composition. This song has very simple components but is actually quite interesting with a quiet wailing harp. This is a party blues recording so get out your stuff and have a ball. ”
“what a very nice sound and tribute to the black lone ranger. ”
“Jason uses his booming, larger-than-life vocal delivery to convey his feelings to various and sundry lovers throughout this set. The leadoff "I Hear A Heartbeat" is set over Jason's roiling slide with a freight-train, "endless boogie" backbeat. "Do The Nod" is a parody of the various dance crazes of the Sixties, built around a shave-and-a-haircut shuffle. Ben's banjo spices up the gentle lope of Jason's take on a stunningly beautiful lover, "One Hot Mother." And, old-time blues is the style chosen for Jason's ode to a rather zaftig lover, whom he begs never to "lose that Baby Fat." Another kind of "discovery" with a lover's body incorporates the metaphor of Columbus' discovery of the New World in "The Nina The Pinta and The Santa Maria," and Jason's slide, reminiscent of Earl Hooker's "Hucklebuck," drives it along nicely. With "Lather Rinse Repeat," fans have one mighty powerful batch of snake oil, and Jason Vivone makes a helluva salesman!”
“the billy bats: love the lo-fi recording sound...done just right. ”
"The kind of act that flourishes outside the margins, Vivone is a wonderful mix of energy and madness that hangs out on the corner in front of the loony bin where blues meet rockabilly over by the musical dumpsters he regularly ravages since he always comes up from a dumpster dive with something of value. A high octane record that'll drive you absolutely nuts and convince your girl friend that it's time for her to move on, this is too much of a gasser to be believed. Check it out for the most fun you can have with your ears open. More, please.
“(KANSAS CITY, MO) – Jason Vivone and The Billy Bats are the new champions of Kansas City blues. This weekend the finals for the Kansas City chapter of the International Blues Challenge were held at Knucklehead’s Saloon. This has become an intense annual competition whose previous winners include Mary Bridget Davies, Levee Town and Trampled Under Foot –who went on to win the national IBC title in 2008. As winners, Vivone and band will journey to Memphis in late January for the Blues Challenge main event sponsored by the Blues Foundation. “We’re very proud to be part of the rich heritage of Kansas City music” says Vivone. “People all over the world are talking about the musicians you can find playing any night of the week.” The next few months will see a series of fundraisers to cover the band’s travel and lodging expenses. Last year, Vivone was named King of the Roots by the Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival in Columbia, Missouri. ”
“The music is just as inticing as the cover photo.”
“After listening to the #KillYourTV #KCTrackoftheDay I wanna say @JVivone better not drive a Prius...he better drive a 1965 Cadillac”
“Lather, Rinse, Repeat by Jason Vivone and The Billy Bats Sitting here listening to Jason Vivone & the Billy Bats new CD Lather. Rinse. Repeat. And I like it, a nice collection of rocking blues tunes. Almost every song has me tapping my feet to the beat. There are some hard rocking tunes, blues rock and a few others that make me smile, like "Baby Fat" and like "Do the Nod" that had me dancing. I really like Mr. Vivone's guitar work on this album and other tunes that I have heard by him. The song writing on this album is light and fresh and it sounds like the band was having some fun with this one. ”
“You won't be disappointed if you pick up this cd.”
“GO BUY IT!!!! Do it now......are you still here??? go buy the cd!”
“Kansas City blues rockers the Billybats have been lying low as of late, for a couple of disparate reasons. Firstly, they've been recording a new album, Lather Rinse Repeat, for which they'll have their CD-release party this Friday, May 4, at Coda. Secondly, singer and guitarist Jason Vivone's car was hit by a truck on Interstate 435 just north of Worlds of Fun six months ago, and the whiplash has left the bluesman in a good amount of pain. Vivone was kind enough to recently speak with The Pitch via e-mail about the recording and recovery processes. ”
"He is one of the best front men I've ever seen, anywhere."
“..they are one of my favorite artists that appears here, Trampled, Samantha, Jason, Full Moon ..THEY ARE THAT GOOD..”
“The Roots n Blues n BBQ festival kicks off tonight in Columbia. Click here to check out the musical lineup for the next two days. Some impressive acts will take the stage, including the Missouri Lottery King of the Roots winner, Jason Vivone and the Billy Bats. ”
“Jason Vivone and the Billy Bats are a band bursting with attention-demanding power. Expert use of searing slide, interesting instruments, world-class original music, and head turning vocals makes the Billy Bats a must-see. Sporting no small dose of showmanship, Jason often jumps into the audience to glad-hand while ripping through solos with pinpoint precision -- to the elation of the people at large. Professional and crowd-pleasing, Jason and his dexterous band have everything it takes to win hearts and minds, something they certainly have no trouble doing on every stage.”
“Vivone: "I know it may be corny but I’m really proud to have our name linked to the state of Missouri. We’ve got a great musical legacy here. Big Joe Turner and Bird and Basie here in KC. That great St Louis lineage from Henry Townshend to Chuck to Albert King and Ike and Tina. University towns like Columbia and Springfield had great young musicians and songwriters – Lou Whitney, Ozark Mountain Daredevils. Scott Joplin wrote the "Maple Leaf Rag" in Sedalia. And Branson. We should be easy on Branson. There are still some great old country players down there if you know where to look. Wanda Jackson’s there often. The Brumleys." ”
"Old school. Like one room country schoolhouse old school. Like you plug in the homemade amp and the power goes out for a mile old school. An apt description for Jason Vivone & the Billy Bats, this year’s winner of the Missouri Lottery 2011 King of the Roots competition. Their reward? A main stage slot and performance at the upcoming Roots “N” Blues “N” BBQ Festival and a stage full of Heil Sound microphones." "Vivone and his band are well known in the Kansas City area and feature a wide variety of instrumentation. The Heil Sound mic package was both timely and hugely useful. Vivone states, “Gotta tell you we're enjoying the mics. At full power we have six members of which five are singers. And we're all multi-instrumentalists. I’ve found the Heil mics: PR 35s, PR 31s, and the PR 40 to be great for every need of our band- vocals, guitar, percussion, fiddle, mandolin, cigar box guitar, blues harp. They fit our style of music perfectly."
“Vivone is celebrated around the Kansas City area for his abilities on a variety of instruments and capacity to integrate a number of musical styles into one soulful brew. Taking the same stage that will, later on Saturday, house the likes of David Wax Museum, Robert Cray and Fitz & the Tantrums, should shine a brighter light on Vivone and his talented band. In a from-the-heart email exchange, Vivone waxes passionately about the momentum his band is experiencing, how his sound is a festival unto itself and chance encounters with Roots 'N Blues headliners. ”
“Jason Vivone & the Billy Bats are not only one of the hottest blues bands in Kansas City, but maybe the entire country.”
“Composer, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Jason Vivone is one of the most prominent and influential figures in Kansas City blues and roots music. With his band The Billy Bats, they provide a party of American music influences – blues, soul, gospel, medicine show music, and country. ”
“These guys are MASTERS. The crowd was pulled in from the very start, and they did not let go. Jason Vivone can work a crowd. There was a point during the song “Sweet Pea” where Jason leaped off stage and worked his way around the room, charming every beautiful lady on his way (he even grabbed this bloggers ink pen and soloed on his guitar using it!). The music of Jason Vivone and the Billy Bats is absolutely PHENOMENAL.”
“Jason and the boys claimed their invite to the final showdown by force, jumping off stage and pulling fans up to dance.”
“Warrensburg favorite Jason Vivone and the Billy Bats have been crowned King of the Roots in a competition sponsored by the Missouri Lottery and Columbia’s Blues n Roots n BBQ Festival. Roots and blues acts from St. Louis, Kansas City, Columbia and Springfield took part in regional competitions during the summer. The final showdown was held at the Blue Note in Columbia this past Saturday night. Vivone and his band The Billy Bats will perform at the Blues n Roots n BBQ Fest in Columbia Saturday September 10th. Other acts scheduled to perform are Mavis Staples, Taj Mahal, Robert Cray, Robert Randolph and Dr. Ralph Stanley. ”
“No one works a crowd like Jason Vivone. When his turn came, Vivone approached the microphone and belted out an a capella song to get the attention of the throng and then went on to work mandolin and slide guitar into his routine.”
“. “Jason has been exposed to a lot of blues players but he has his own blend that is very, very unique when it comes to the blues. It’s very refreshing. He just doesn’t want to personify someone else, someone’s style. Artists these days want to have their own course, their own life, their own way of expressing themselves, to put their own stamp on the blues and Jason definitely does that.” ”
““Jason Vivone is an extraordinary musician who sings and plays slide guitar. He is someone to watch and learn from as he plays. “ ”
“Stark, dark, and on the mark. With the ability to make you laugh when least expected.”
“ “Hill country blues on acid. Pretty wild stuff.” ”
"Jason Vivone sho gotta lotta soul!! Cruise Control rules!"
“ "Vivone makes love to his guitar like it's a woman..." Dawn McClain Morning Host, Power 96.5, KSPW Springfield, MO ”
“The Billybats will light up the stage with their low, low down, blues-infused rock. Expect everything from hazy bar room jams to raucous delta ballads. It’s all about the blues baby.”
“Local Artist on the Verge. Their debut album left an impression on me. I have a feeling their next release will be even more intense and powerful than ever. ”
“On ‘Danna Lee’ he delivers this great line: ‘If you said I was the only one / I’d demand a recount.’ “ ”
“Jason Vivone says "I've been doing First Fridays at Coda on 17th and Broadway. The audiences there -- and Annie and Dan and Clint behind the bar--- have been so supportive of me. Night after night, they ask me to surprise them, as well as myself. That place -- Coda -- is why I'm going to Memphis next week." ”
“ Vivone is a fantastic host who interacts with the crowd before, during and in between songs. He usually gets the audience to sing along, clap or even snap their fingers to the beat. It is not unusual for him to announce people as the walk through the door, or call them out as they leave. This evening he even altered the lyrics mid-song to bid adieu to “Table #4” as they exited. Sometimes he plays slide guitar on his Telecaster, but he also plays a home made cigar box guitar, and can also play the harmonica and the mandolin. He often walks through the crowd sitting down at tables with people as they eat or converse, and this night was no different. Their blues is honest. They feel it, they sling it, they sing it. Rough around the edges, yes, but brave and in your face. They totally turned the restaurant atmosphere into Mississippi backwoods speakeasy in no time flat. ”
"The primarily solo-acoustic recording effectively conjures visions of demons, pawn shops and bewitching women. In addition to its refreshing throwback sensibility, the album showcases Vivone’s exceptionally tough guitar work and distinctive skills as a songwriter." "Vivone may not be on the elite level of like-minded Jack White of The White Stripes, but the men share a similar sort of earthy swagger. “My Roaring Twenties,” consequently, isn’t to be mistaken for another bland boogie album by a burned out rock ‘n’ roller."
““Vivone’s guitar prowess gives the project much of its artistic heft. Eschewing flash, Vivone’s efficient, echo-laden riffing seems like a precious relic of a forgotten past. His songs are almost as good. The ominous guitar chords and old-school foot stomping that open “Little Blue River” lend the song undeniable authority. As clever as it is lusty, “Calendar” is worthy of becoming a refreshing new staple in the largely stagnant blues repertoire. “Jimmy Page” is an amusing 90-second joke at the expense of the famous guitarist.” “Lemme Come Up for Air,” the sole track with prominent drums, is propelled with winning gusto. While it provides contrast to the remainder of the album’s quieter tone, the track affirms that Vivone’s decision to focus on solo material was a savvy one.” ”
“This collection of songs was apparently recorded between 1989 –1995 and has laid dormant until recently. The whole feel of the album is very laid back with a lazy Cajun vibe. ‘Cruise Control’ has a haunting quality where as ‘Bad Stand Up Comic’ has lyrics that make you smile. Jason Vivone has not played in public for over a decade and it is a crying shame because he is a brilliant slide player and a gifted songwriter. The liner notes give no information about him so I don’t know if he is touring but he’s a musician I could listen to all night but on the strength of this album I hope he does go out on the road. Check out ‘Hollywood’ - any song that opens with the line she has breasts like Marylin Monroe gets my vote every time .This is Blues done in a simple enjoyable style.”
“His slide is a good ally of his younger creativity. "Calendar" as an example of exceptional beauty that it's hard to believe that this is the work of a twenty-something. Sometimes it seems at first hearing that some tracks are a blueprint, something that after more listenings disappears. On "Hollywood" his buddy Matt Richey gives support on drums but this song Jason sings Mississippi John Hurt-wise style to his love. Vivone is a fascinating singer he should make clear in "Voodoo Doll". With his voice he succeeds in making for a captivating song. It is a smooth transition to his funny "Jimmy Page" where a Led Zeppelin riff fakes you out but abruptly breaks off. It is followed by the beautiful "Plaything" where Howlin Wolf watches approvingly over the shoulder and then the accelerator is pressed on the catchy "Lemme Come Up For Air". At the closing, Jason is actually behind the piano and thus gives us an unexpected but worthy ending for a very recommendable album. ”
““There’s an Elmore James feel to ‘Crash and Burn’, a Wolf vocal married to a Hooker boogie on ‘Subtle Nuance’, and a Robert Plant lustiness to ‘Kung Pow Chicken’. It’s fat, bassy music with plenty of space in it. They’ve retained the rhythm of the Blues form but dispensed with the histrionic guitar parts. What the Billy Bats have in their arsenal that gives them their own identity is a deadpan sense of humor, such as the ‘MSG is good for you’ chant in ‘Kung Pow Chicken’; the furtive development of a fledgling relationship in ‘Bed or Sofa’; or in the kookiness of love song ‘Sweet Pea’. It’s too adult and knowing to capture the teenage market the Stripes have, but for those with a taste for irony and off kilter Blues then you should find something to sink your teeth into here.” ”
“Accent Burg: What genre of music do you consider yourselves to be? What are you major influences when writing new music? Jason Vivone: We’re party music. Our main influence is the audience. The way they react tells us what we’re doing right. AB: Whats your favorite part about playing live music? JV: No show’s ever the same. No matter how tight you rehearse there will always be an X factor. The feel of the room. The dancer who loves you so much they can’t sit down. The character in the song feels different that day. AB: Has anything embarrassing ever happened on stage? JV: Ummm…I never know what to do when I’m flashed from the audience. Let’s leave it at that. ”
“We're pretty old school. You buy new stuff but still put in Hooker, Wolf, Wynonie Harris. It just ends up that way, y’know? That stuff from the '50's is so audacious. Today, there’s too much focus on guitar players. I play guitar so I can say this. The Uninitiated think that’s all Blues is – guitar solos. What about the songwriters? Our song Kung Pow Chicken's really grown. We just have to get out of its way. We squeezed it into the later half of our recording session. I didn’t think anyone else would get it. I mean How Many UpTempo Post Coitus tunes can you name? The next gig is always important. We would love to tour more, get overseas, do some festivals. We want to spend some time with the old guys to say thanks. ”
“It's been something like 11 years since Fishbone last came through the area. Rather than try and document the infectious groove and caffeinated energy of the long-running band, which would be nigh impossible to put into words (to say nothing of having to try and scrawl notes in the midst of a constantly dancing crowd), we documented the night with plenty of pictures. In addition to shots of the 'Bone, we snapped a few of openers the Billy Bats and Radkey. Check 'em out.”
“KANSAS CITY, Missouri - Two Kansas City blues acts are taking their sound down south. Jason Vivone won Kansas City Blues Challenge for best solo act. The Mary Bridget Davies Group won in the group category. Now they're heading to Memphis to compete in the International Blues Challenge. They will face off against musicians from across the globe. The musicians are excited to represent Kansas City. "It’s an honor because when I was a teenager I would sneak into all these clubs and I would get in so much trouble. They would kick me out. Now I can go to any club I want and say you know KC, I’m representing you,” said Vivone. The International Blues Challenge is held once a year in Memphis. ”