Jill West and Blues Attack, a Pittsburgh based dance blues band, play their own style of hard edged blues. Lead by the dynamic vocals of Miss Jill West, Blues Attack has been igniting audiences all over the tri-state area as well as opening for many national acts. Jill is said to have the power of Koko Taylor with the tone of Etta James. The most recent line-up of the band features the unpredictable Gregg Krupa - a veteran of the Pittsburgh blues scene - with guitar riffs both furious and tasty, even getting nods from his band mates for his ever changing interpretations of the music. With Hank "The Hammer" Raffetto keeping it stong, steady and straight ahead on the bass, and Nicky 'No Shoes' Crano sendin' that beat through the floor right to your feet. Add to the mix the incredibly musical and creative play of Sudden Steve Binsburger "The Chairman of the Boards" (and yes, that's a real Leslie), Blues Attack is a band to be reckoned with!!!
When they released their second album, Faceful of Blues, Blues Attack won praise from Tom Hyslop of Blues Review Magazine. He writes about the "two-guitar onslaught" that inspired the band's name: "The stop-time 'Four Letter Word' is a gem of a performance, with nuanced delivery from West."
Rege Behe of the Tribune Review writes: "West is Pittsburgh's version of Koko Taylor, a superb blues vocalist who wraps herself around a lyric like few others." And Phil Harris calls West the "Queen of Pittsburgh Blues" in Pittsburgh Magazine as he writes: "Known for her great voice, Jill West lives the blues and is evangelical about this American form of music." You won't find her singing about throwing herself off a bridge because her man left her. She says: "I'm gonna sing, 'My man left me and I'm gonna throw him off a bridge.'"
Over its twenty year history, Blues Attack got their blues education playing the Steel City's smoky bars and sharing the stage with greats like Koko Taylor, Buddy Guy, B. B. King, Jimmy Thackery, Tommy Castro, Debbie Davies, The Night Hawks and even Bruce Springsteen.
The 2002 release of Faceful of Blues features fourteen tracks of almost all original music. The band puts its own stamp on the blues with the more contemporary feel of songs like "The Other Woman" and "Beggin Song". Blues Attack plays covers of Tyrone Davis and Screamin' Jay Hawkins in addition to the ten original tracks on the album. Whether it's Jill West's straight-ahead version of Davis's "Change My Mind," or her heated rendition of Hawkins's "I Put a Spell on You," she spans the bridge from soulful to low-down moaning blues.
Now in 2009, the 3rd disc "Headline Blues" carries a mix of the dueling guitars sound plus keyboards now driving the band. Throw in some harp and sax as members from both past and present versions of the band perform in Headline for an album full of blues, swing, R&B, and roots rock and roll. The radio favorites 'Needful Things' and 'Don't Burn the BBQ' show both the serious and fun side of the band with thoughfully constructed things to keep and things to throw out. 'BBQ' is sure to bring a smile to everybody's face as Jill advises the cook to show care with the grill.
A straight ahead rock and roll instrumental by past member Mark Cholewski rises with the addition of a horn section.
A guest appearance by sister Patricia West covering the Roomful of Blues song 'Boomerang' is a favorite at local performances and an audience request for the cd, as was 'Sugar Coated Love' the band's hopped up version of a dance favorite.
The final cut 'Swang Thang' gives a suggestion of what it might sound like at the end of the evening with the band burning up the room with the swing time call and response of 'All Night Long'.
So clap your hands and stomp your feet - you've just had a Blues Attack!
For information on bookings and appearances:
Please contact Hank Raffetto at: 724-758-9612
Code Blue - 1997
Faceful of Blues - 2002
Headline Blues - 2009