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Danny Coleman
Chorus and Verse Blog
Posted: July 13, 2010 04:53 pm (-05:00)
Danny Coleman
Musician/Radio Show Host
An Itty Bitty Interview With Jo Wymer

This past Sunday on ROCK ON RADIO my guest was Freehold, NJ jazz/blues artist JO WYMER. This amazingly talented singer/songwriter, who has been designated as one of the "Top 100 Women of Blues Guitar," is blazing a path towards success at a rapid pace!

Already one of the most well-respected vocalists and songwriters in the tri-state area, WYMER's live performances are becoming the topic of discussion at water coolers, back yard BBQs and bar rooms all over the state. When she takes the stage, whether it be solo or with her ITTY BITTY BAND, WYMER gives one hundred and ten percent. Using a combination of extremely powerful vocals, which have drawn comparisons to the great Billie Holiday and Etta James, along with smooth guitar rifts, WYMER captivates audiences no matter where she goes.

Recently, I witnessed this first hand on the boardwalk in Asbury Park, NJ as she performed with two members of her Itty Bitty Band. Now, I've been around the music scene for well over thirty years and I have never seen any performer stop traffic the way that JO WYMER does. Person after person stopped, watched, and listened -- some with gaping jaws -- as WYMER belted out a selection of tunes that showcased her diverse blues and jazz styles.

On air, Jo told us a story of how one evening when she was playing on the boardwalk in Asbury Park, Frankie Valli was performing at the Paramount Theater. Suddenly she noticed a well-dressed older gentleman with a cane watching her perform. As luck would have it, this was Valli's manager. Jo said, "He approached me, gave me his card and said, 'Here's my card, take it and use it.'"

Originally born in New York and a current Freehold, NJ resident, Jo comes from a musical family. One of three children, Jo and her siblings all attended a Julliard prep school when growing up. All three are musicians. However, Jo is the only one currently pursuing it in earnest. Although a multi-instrumentalist (she plays guitar, harmonica, piano, and is currently learning the upright bass), she claims her voice to be her main instrument.

WYMER has a hectic gig schedule, playing somewhere almost every weekend as well as some weeknights. She takes on all of the work that she can muster. This in part due to her being in the process of recording her first full-length CD. This still-untitled disc is scheduled to be a ten-song effort and is being produced by Lakehouse Music's JON LEIDERSDORFF.

In studio, Jo brought the longest-sitting member of her Itty Bitty Band, HELEN RADTKE, along with her. RADTKE, a classically-trained violinist, brings her multi-instrumental talents to the band as well. Whether it's playing her violin or the electric and acoustic guitars, RADTKE has been a major contributor to WYMER's material. Laying down (at times) weeping violin solos, or kicking it out on her guitar on an upbeat blues jam, RADTKE can really bring it. WYMER often jokes, as she told us with a chuckle, of how the two of them have a whole "Heart" thing going on as they perform live. "People see me with the dark hair, and Helen, the blonde, and they think... Heart!" Jo, of course, is referring to the legendary sister team of Ann and Nancy Wilson who comprise that great band from the late '70s and '80s.

Along with RADTKE, the ITTY BITTY BAND consists of long-time Holiday Express member, GERRY PASSION. This Jersey shore-area trumpet player, who in shore-area music circles is referred to as "THE LEGEND," brings an element of showmanship to the band that definitely stands out. Rounding out the line up are the newest members, bassist JACK SHARKEY, lead guitarist ADAM GOLDENTHALL, and drummer DANNY COLEMAN. The beauty of the ITTY BITTY BAND is that whether they are all accompanying WYMER together, or a pared-down version with only some of the members present, they back Jo full force.

Some of WYMER's other past accolades have been a pick for the '05 "VH1 New Artist Jam," an '07 semi-finalist in the "International Songwriting Contest," a pick for the '07-'08 "Mamampoolza All-Star Showcase," and a consistent nominee from '06-'09 for the "Best Blues Band Award," as well as "Top Female Vocal" as well at the Asbury Park Music Awards. Recently, she won the award for "Best Female Performer, Acoustic" at the 2010 JAMM Awards.

So, remember the name JO WYMER, as you'll be seeing it more and more in the future. You can find her at www.myspace.com/jowymerblues. I highly recommend that you catch a live performance whenever possible. You won't be disappointed!

This Sunday, July 18, Philadelphia-area musician MARY SCHOLZ brings her indie/folk style into the ROCK ON RADIO studios.

Tune in at 10pm EST to www.wifi1460am.com or multiple other outlets and ROCK ON!

Danny Coleman
Danny Coleman is a central Jersey resident and a long-time area musician. He is currently the host of Rock On Radio which airs Sunday evenings at 10pm (EST) on www.wifiam1460.com.
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