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About the Band


     Big B and the Actual Proof (2017 Detroit Blues Society Band Challenge Winners, 2018 International Blues Challenge Semifinalists) are an inspired fusion of modern electric blues, roots music and psychedelic rock. Their music features wide-ranging dynamics and arrangements, fueled by powerful, emotional guitar, clear, convincing vocals and a rhythm section that booms, rattles and shakes. Imagine Stevie Ray Vaughan covering Nick Cave, the Stray Cats doing Tom Waits, or David Gilmour playing Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. Their modern, cerebral, guitar-driven take on the blues told through strong original song writing makes them unique.

     The trio is led by three-time Detroit Music Award (DMA) nominee Brian “Big B” Burleson, ex-bandleader, singer and guitarist of former Detroit blues standouts Big B and the Magic Bullets (DMA nominees, Big City Blues Magazine CD Sampler artists, Windsor and Detroit Blues Society Blues Challenge finalists). Big B has been playing guitar for more than three decades, and brings a level of skill and intensity that authenticates those achievements. Joined by 21 year-old bassist Mitch Sharpe on electric and upright bass and pro-level drummer, percussionist, and educator Jim “The Professor” Coviak (lecturer in percussion studies at The University of Michigan-Flint, founder and leader of the Mott Community College Steelheads Percussion Ensemble and Steel Band), this trio stands ready to continue their quick ascent to festival and club headliner status.

     The band is presently at work on their debut album due later this year, creatively inspired by the plot themes present in Film Noir. “The Noir Album” will feature glimpses of broken dreams, violent thugs, degenerate masterminds, manipulative femme fatales and tenacious triggermen, all set to the varied rhythms and styles of blues, jazz and progressive rock.  Relying heavily on Mitch’s use of upright bass, Jim’s broad knowledge of swing and West Coast jump blues, and Big B’s extensive guitar collection and knowledge of techniques, styles and sounds, this diverse record promises to be lasting, commanding, haunting and above all, cinematic in scope and feel.  In addition, Detroit’s Theatre Bizarre Orchestra will boost some of the choice tracks on the record with their haunting sounds.

     “In a way this whole project reflects a theme on this upcoming record,” Big B declares with a smile. “It’s that Noir story of putting a team of skilled specialists together to pull off a ‘huge score,’ to unite all we’ve learned individually and execute this badass plan with a big payday. At this point we’ve got the blueprints, the firepower, the personnel. Now’s the time to do this.”

     With that kind of compelling plot and setup, the immediate need to catch Big B and the Actual Proof follows suit. Be sure to see them live and look for “The Noir Album” to be released in Summer 2018.

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