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New Earth Rising:
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Doug Steigerwald & Charlie Tuna by R.J.Bianchino Over the past couple of years, some of Las Vegas' top blues, rock, and R&B musicians have built a reputation as one of the city's best kept musical secrets. But all of that is soon about to change. The band began performing a couple of years ago under the name Straight Jacket, developing quite a devoted following among blues and blues-rock lovers. Guitarist Charlie Tuna has long been respected as the top blues player in Las Vegas, having played with blues superstars like B.B. King, Bobby Blue Bland, and three-time blues Grammy award winner Keb Mo. Charlie has been the featured guitarist in Bill Cherry's band as well as with John Earl and the Boogieman Band. Counterpointing Charlie's traditional blues/jazz background is guitarist Doug Steigerwald, who blasted onto the local blues scene after spending an entire career in the US Air Force. His love of blues music differs from Charlie Tuna's in that his background is having previously played in New York City's aggressive rock club and studio scene, with members of Meatloaf's, Suzanne Vega's, David Bowie's, and underground rock pioneer John Cale's bands. Kim Kesterson, whose father was a renowned jazz bassist, grew up with jazz greats Joe Pass and Charlie Parker literally playing in his living room. Kim naturally enough gravitated to the bass, his musical expertise spanning years of supporting countless national R&B, rock, and blues acts. His credits include playing and recording with Eric Burdon, both in the Animals and War, and playing with the supergroup Toto. Because of his remarkable ability to adapt to almost any musical style, Phil Leo, has been one of the most requested drummers on the Las Vegas strip for almost 20 years. Virtually a child prodigy, Phil was a member of the Musician's Union at age 13, and earned a music degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Lead singer, Nick Sacco, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, despite his relatively newcomer status to professional performing, has repeatedly won the hearts and respect of audiences wherever the band plays.

Junior Brantley & Kim Kesterson by R.J. Bianchino

The band recently changed its name to New Earth Rising both to enable them to copyright the name as they prepare their first CD for release, as well as to suggest a positive message that enables them to take the heart and soul of their blues background and to expand their horizons in new musical directions. Tuna and Steigerwald's fiery guitar interplay, backed by the rock solid support from Leo and Kesterson allow the group to take a modest blues standard to a jazz/rock jamming level that would enthrall any Grateful Dead or Phish fan. Even listeners with only a passing interest in blues music would be awed by this demonstration of musical prowess. Not given to gimmicks or blatant commercialism, the band has one goal: making great music!

This past August, New Earth Rising was filmed playing live by award winning Canadian director Paul Jay for a documentary, Lost In Las Vegas to be aired in the Spring of 2001 on the Arts and Entertainment (A&E) cable TV channel. The director was so taken with the group, that he captured Steigerwald and Tuna in a lengthy conversation about music, life, and the blues, and has decided to have the group record the film's soundtrack.

New Earth Rising is one of those bands that will soon appear to rise to the public consciousness as if out of nowhere. The fact is that this band is playing virtually every week at such Las Vegas musical hotspots such as the Sand Dollar Blues Lounge. The band is available for booking for clubs, opening for headlining acts, as well as for private parties and conventions.

Note New Earth Rising is now The SpellCasters. New name, same great band.

The SpellCasters consists of: Doug Steigerwald - guitar, vocals. Charlie Tuna - guitar, vocals. Kim Kesterson - bass, vocals. Junior Brantley - keyboards, vocals. And Lou Palmer - drums, vocals.

For booking informatio call Doug Steigerwald 702.245.6427, E-mail: BLUESGTR02@LVCM.COM

bluesInteractive™ go to New Earth Rising: Caught Live!
SpellCasters: Official Website