It’s one thing to claim you are “proven,” it’s quite another to have the credentials to back it up. Comprised of four of the most formidable musicians on the blues scene today — guitarist Kid Ramos, vocalist Brian Templeton, and bassist Willie J. Campbell — the band has collectively amassed a slew of accomplishments; dozens of awards won, decades of years playing top-notch music, hundreds of recordings, thousands of hours on the road, and millions of fans worldwide! These three musicians have proven their worth to the world over decades of hard work.
The Proven Ones’ latest album, You Ain’t Done, expands the blues-rock template initially established with their debut effort, Wild Again. The latter garnered a 2019 Blues Music Award Nomination from the Blues Foundation for Best Contemporary Blues Recording and also brought Campbell an individual nomination as well.
The album finds the band expanding their musical limits and making an even bolder statement. Produced, mixed, and engineered by Jimi Bott, and coproduced by the equally legendary Mike Zito, it was recorded at Dockside Studio in Maurice, LA (with additional recording at Roseleaf Recording in Portland, OR and Rear Window in Brookline, MA) and features songwriting contributions from each musician in the band.
“We wanted to stretch the boundaries for this record,” Templeton explains. “For the most part we are all known as blues musicians, and rightly so, but we love many styles and naturally want to indulge in them as well. I think we’ve accomplished that with this record. There’s rock, soul, country, some Latin influence, a bit of pop, and, dare I say a punk vibe in parts as well. I believe it’s going to break down a few walls.”
That’s evident at the outset, the album starts with a needle drop and a psychedelic preamble to the rockin’ and robust song “Get Love.” The assertive stomp of “Gone To Stay,” “Already Gone,” and “You Ain’t Done” follow suit, with the latter recalling the rock steady groove of bands like Free and Bad Company. There are other, subtler, touches gracing the album as well: the heart-warming “Whom My Soul Loves,” which features a searing lead vocal from special guest Ruthie Foster, and the emphatic yet embracing ballad “Milinda.”
Still, the most touching tune on the album, and the one that resonates in particular with its songwriter, Jimi Bott, is “She’ll Never Know.” Based on a poem written by his sister to her infant daughter, it reflects a very personal perspective.
Members of TPO hail from bands such as The Fabulous Thunderbirds, The Radio Kings, The Mannish Boys, and Sugar Ray and the Bluetones. The Proven Ones can claim credits on literally hundreds of recordings. They have shared the spotlight with innumerable world class musicians at major music venues across the globe. Together, they make for a potent force all their own. Vivascene declared, “The familiarity between these musicians breeds a feeling of comfortability and a palpable camaraderie… that enhances each and every note they play.” Individually, their respective resumes place them in the upper echelon of contemporary blues players.
Kid Ramos is a recipient of The Orange County (CA) Music Awards Lifetime Achievement Award in addition to 14 Blues Music Award nominations. He produced legendary pianist Floyd Dixon’s final recording as well as the accompanying documentary and has also appeared on numerous movie soundtracks.
Brian Templeton commands over 40 years as a stalwart presence as part of Boston’s formidable music scene. His credits include the legendary band the Radio Kings and the Original House of Blues Blue Monday Band, as well as collaborations with such notables as Jerry Portnoy, Sonny Rhodes, James Cotton, and Otis Grand.
Willie J. Campbell has performed with an all-star list of bands and individuals, among them The Fabulous Thunderbirds and The Mannish Boys and has recorded with such luminaries as Sugaray Rayford, Smokin’ Joe Kubek, and Cheech and Chong. He has been nominated by the Blues Foundation for Best Instrumentalist 6 times.