The Mercy Street Blues Band describes its style as a musical "gumbo" steeped in the traditions of the Chicago Blues and spiced with accents of West Coast Jump, Gospel, Rock, Jazz and Soul. Though the group has been together for only a short period of time, they have over 100 hundred years of musical experience among them. The band plays the blues with dedication and respect for the artists that came before them, while at the same time, making the music very much their own. Mercy Street’s first CD is entitled: Blue Light.
The core of the band, guitarist, Joe Alicastro, drummer, Dave Levine and bassist, Rick Falco, began working together in 1970. After going their separate ways for more than twenty years, they came together about four years ago.
Guitarist, Joe Alicastro, began playing at age 10. Working as an award-winning producer for NBC News, his love for music never ceased. He has played in many different musical venues and has spent the last five years studying jazz. Joe is responsible for introducing most of the jazz elements now incorporated into the group’s blues foundation.
New York native, Dave Levine is a self-taught drummer who comes out of the hard rock sound of the 70’s and 80’s. A devout lover of the blues, his tasteful beat drives the band and carries it forward.
The bassist, Rick Falco, stopped playing in the early 1980’s to pursue a career as a photographer and photojournalist. After traveling extensively throughout the world on assignment, he was persuaded by his old friends to pick up the bass again. His steady pulse is the glue that holds the group together.
The first newcomer to join the three friends was harmonica player, Basil Safos. Once a corporate executive, Basil was transferred in 1992 to Memphis, Tennessee. Looking about the music scene for some quality entertainment, he continually frequented the blues clubs on Beale Street. The dynamic range of his playing binds the band to the historic roots of the Mississippi Delta.
The group then underwent with a series of rotating musicians until vocalist, Maura Pheney joined them in early 2005. Her background includes a range of classical training, musical theater and cabaret. Before settling in New York, Maura sang and acted in Chicago and Los Angeles. Maura’s extraordinary vocal range has become the soul from which the band revolves.
The last member to join the group was Andy Grainger. Andy has played and performed in many musical genres over the last thirty-five years. Originally from London, England, his immense musical knowledge as a composer and arranger has contributed greatly to the band’s voicing and texture. In addition to keyboards, Andy has extensive studio experience ranging from session playing to producing, engineering and programming.
Contact Info: (914) 277-8850
İAndrew Grainger 2004 - 2009
THE MERCY STREET BLUES BAND