Born and raised Burlington, Iowa, Robert Franklin “Bo” Ramsey not only played a vital role in shaping Eastern Iowa’s distinctive Blues-Rock hybrid, but has continued in his still-vibrant career as a performer, much-in-demand producer, recording session guitarist and “hired gun” in touring bands of high-profile national acts.
Ramsey broke out in the early-’70s with the seminal Mother Blues Band, that also featured Iowa Blues legends Joe Price and Patrick Hazell.
In the latter part of the decade, the guitarist broke off to form Bo Ramsey & The Sliders. Merging the sounds of Blues masters with swampy, river basin Funk, the band enjoyed a strong following on the Midwest circuit for nearly a dozen years.
Following a brief hiatus in the late-’80s, Bo began a collaboration and friendship with revered folksinger Greg Brown that continues to the present. The pair has recorded together and toured the U.S. and abroad extensively.
Ramsey also briefly co-fronted a band with Nashville singer/songwriter Kevin Gordon, led his own bands (The Backsliders and The Middle Of Nowhere), and – for the past few years – has recorded and toured with Pieta Brown.
Bo produced (and added his guitars to) albums by Dave Moore, Teddy Morgan and Jeffrey Foucault.
Ramsey also played on Lucinda Williams’ Grammy-winning Car Wheels On A Gravel Road, and the Grammy-nominated Essence – joining her band on tour in support of both records.
Ramsey made two TV appearances with Williams on The Late Show With David Letterman and one each on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Late Night With Conan O’Brien.
Other TV appearances include playing with Lucinda and Elvis Costello on CMT’s Crossroads series and again with Lucinda in award-winning German film director Wim Wenders’ Soul Of A Man segment for Martin Scorsese’s series on the Blues.
In addition, Bo’s distinctive, inimitable guitar sounds have graced the recorded works of numerous other artists, including Ani DiFranco, Iris DeMent, and Joe Price. He also produced a six-song session for Joan Baez.
Bo Ramsey has recorded nine albums under his own name, including his latest, Stranger Blues, a project that pays tribute to his Blues roots. Stranger Blues features appearances by Greg Brown, Joe Price, Pieta Brown, Benson Ramsey, Ricky Peterson, Rico Cicalo, and Steve Hayes.
PHOTO © SCOTT ALLEN – VIVIDPIX.COM