Big Joe Maher
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About Big Joe Maher
Drummer, singer, and songwriter Big Joe Maher has been plying his craft in Washington, DC area clubs for more than three decades. With his band the Dynaflows, Maher has toured most of the U.S. Big Joe & the Dynaflows specialize in a kind of shuffle-heavy, swing-based blues that you can dance to. Big Joe was raised in suburban Washington, DC, listening to records his father liked to play on the family stereo. This included recordings by B.B. King, Little Milton Campbell, and Louis Jordan. By his late teens, he was out hearing live blues at nightclubs in D.C., as he had started playing drums in his early teens. As a drummer and singer, Maher takes his musical cues from a host of influences, including Big Joe Turner, Louis Jordan, Roy Brown, B.B. King, Little Milton Campbell, and Wynonie Harris.
After graduating high school in the DC area, Maher went on the road with his own blues-based jazz trio and over the years, he's accompanied the likes of Jimmy Witherspoon, Bull Moose Jackson, James "Thunderbird" Davis, Nappy Brown, Otis Rush, Earl King, Duke Robillard, and other guitarists and singers. Back home in the DC area, he spent several years on tour with the Tom Principato Band and then formed his own five-piece jump blues group, Big Joe & the Dynaflows. After some touring with that group, he took a job that would keep him home more often as musical director for Fleetwood's, Mick Fleetwood's nightclub in Alexandria, VA.
Albums by Big Joe & the Dynaflows include I'm Still Swingin' and All Night Long for the Maryland-based Severn Records, released in 1998 and 2000, respectively. I'm Still Swingin' includes innovative covers of tunes by B.B. King, Ray Charles, and Crescent City songwriter/producer Dave Bartholomew. Earlier releases from his band include Layin' in the Alley for the (defunct) New Orleans-based BlackTop Records label. The band also recorded their first release, Good Rockin' Daddy for the Powerhouse Records label (owned by Tom Principato) and released Cool Dynaflow for a label in Europe. In 1995, Maher recorded Mojo, with bassist Jeff Sarli and a team of DC area musicians for Mapleshade Records. Mojo features classic blues tunes in a stripped down, acoustic mode with laid-back grooves.
Maher works with two groups, the Big Three Trio or the Big Four Combo and tours around the U.S., Canada, and in Europe. As a drummer and singer, he has also recorded albums with others. His sessionography credits include albums by Bob Margolin's The Old School, Principato's In Orbit, Mark Wenner (of the Nighthawks) Nothin' But, and Ann Rabson's (of Saffire - The Uppity Blues Woman) Music Makin' Mama. Maher continues to record and perform, bringing his unique, sophisticated Kansas City-turned DC area jump blues stylings to all corners of the U.S., Canada, and Europe. ~ Richard Skelly