It’s one thing to claim you are “proven,” it’s quite another to have the credentials to back it up. Comprised of five of the most formidable musicians on the blues scene today — guitarist Kid Ramos, vocalist Brian Templeton, keyboardist Anthony Geraci, bassist Willie J. Campbell and drummer Jimi Bott — 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 five musicians have proven their worth to the world over decades of hard work.
The Proven Ones upcoming 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, Geraci, and Bott individual nominations as well.
The upcoming album finds the band expanding their musical limits and making an even bolder statement. Produced, mixed, and engineered by Bott, and co-produced 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.
“When my sister died from substance abuse and mental illness in 2008, she and my niece had not spoken in years; they were estranged, and their rocky relationship was never resolved. The chorus I wrote was my hope of what my sister may have been feeling as she watched from the sidelines while her daughter grew up and became extremely successful. The song captures the melancholy that she was never able to share in or be a part of her daughter’s life. It is, for me, about a mother's love and regret but it can be about so many things to any parent who has been separated from their child for whatever reason.”
Members of TPO hail from bands such as The Fabulous Thunderbird's, 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.