Interview with The Raisin Cain' Band - hitting the British and Southern Blues Rock created a unique sound

"Southern rock was the inevitable spawn of blues. If blues was born out of the hardships of the sharecropper, then southern rock was born out of the poor white folk who lived right beside them."

The Raisin Cain' Band: Keep on Rockin'

Raisin Cain' is the rocking collaboration of John Haldenwang on vocals, guitar & harp; Chuck Lindbergh Gore on lead guitar & vocals); John Petrenko on bass and backing vocals and Bret Hamrick on drums & percussion's. They are setting the music world on fire with their electrifying brand of rock. RCB Fuses rock, funk and blues for an original sound that can only be described as intense, soulful and fiery. With mesmerizing performances and unparalleled musicianship, RCB is cut from the mold of legendary stage acts such as Cream, Allman Brothers and Humble Pie. These four blues/rockers combine years of experience on stages throughout the world and have played from New York to Florida and from the Outer Banks to Memphis and everyplace in between.

They have shared the stage with notable artists such as; Leon Russell, Trombone Shorty, Elvin Bishop, Tommy Castro, Zack Rosicka, Mac Arnold, Moreland & Arbuckle, Contagious Blues Band and WSNB and have played at prestigious events and establishments such as; Sarasota Blues Festival, Pleasure Island Seafood Blues & Jazz Festival, Ashvegas Blues Fest, and “Ground Zero Club” in Memphis. RCB combine their influences of hard hitting Texas Blues Rock, British Rock and Southern Rock to create a unique sound. Their influences range from home grown Texas Blues rockers such as Johnny Winter and ZZ Top to British Rockers such as Rory Gallagher and Led Zeppelin with the occasional Hendrix or John Lee Hooker thrown in to shake it up a little, as well as Southern rock influences such as the Allman Brothers and the Black Crowes.

Interview by Michael Limnios

How do you describe your sound and what characterize The Raisin Cain Band’s philosophy? 

Bret: I would describe our sound as down and dirty, rockin' blues based classic rock from the late 60's / 70's era. We are heavily influenced by stuff like Deep Purple and AC/DC alike. So we tend to nasty up the blues, while giving the rockers a little more of a groove!

John H: RCB sound- I would characterize our sound as a Modern classic Rock/Blues sound with a hard rock edge. High energy with an in your face attitude. You can hear some the bands that influenced us like Mountain and Bad Company and of course AC/DC, the bands from the 60’s and 70’s the bands that personified high voltage Rock N Roll with strong driving rhythm sections. That driving, 60 beats a minute cycle type of music. Philosophically, I’d say-“We keep em rockin' till they go home exhausted”. After a night with us, you might need to sleep for a week!

John P: My own playing style has evolved over the last 30 years through a lot of seat-of-the-pants experimentation. I run my bass through an effects processor and am constantly trying out new sounds. This works within Raisin’ Cain quite well as we tend to perform songs our own way; the basic framework of the song remains the same, but we rarely play the same song the exact same way twice.

Chuck: I would best describe our sound as "rockin' blues". While we have a strong blues element, we are unashamed of our early 70s rock roots. Having said that, I miss that element of being in touch with your roots in today's music. Most of what you hear on the radio, or internet, is processed, sampled, and formulated. It lacks soul. Fortunately, there is still music being created that is true to its roots, bands such as Drive By Truckers and North Mississippi All-stars, but you have to hunt for it. It isn't gonna jump right out at you.

Why did you think that the Blues Rock music continues to generate such a devoted following?

Bret: I believe that Blues Rock nd Blues based music is still so viable and strong, because it is the only genre of music that I know of that gets into your core, and taps into heartbeat and becomes at one with your entire being!

John H: (Photo) Blues and Blues rock is making a resurgence for several reasons. The whole 60’s 70’s scene is coming back, bell bottoms, tie-dyed, floppy hats, and the whole thing. It is new for the younger people. Many of them think they invented it. Music is starting to come full circle generally also. When they talk about classic rock being the greatest music ever recorded, it is a true statement. It transcends all ages. Blues is still the basic format that most music is based on whether it is newer bands or old time rockers and blues artists. Even the Hip Hop artists are starting to get more melodic. R&B is making a comeback as well. I think that as some of the newer artists go back to basics and introduce the classic feel to the younger generations, it becomes acceptable to embrace it. There are a lot of new younger artists that are playing the classics and writing original material with a classic feel to it, and many of the classic artists are still popular today as well. I think it is just a natural progression for music to go back to its roots.

Blues or Rock may go out of favor for a while, but I don’t think it will ever go away. The proof is in the music that is being produced today by the current artists. A lot of the artists today have that mid 60’s sound. I often hear something today and feel as if it is something I could hear John Lennon or Paul McCartney having written.

Really the hardest thing for artists today is how to make music and still feed yourself, there is so much piracy and file sharing, it is very difficult for artist to ply their trade. It is easier than ever to be heard and get the music out to the masses, but harder than ever to make a living. Music is definitely a labor of love. I am sure it is the same for all the arts.

John P: I think Blues and Blues-Rock still has such a following because it is elemental; it speaks to universal experiences and emotions. It’s also loud enough and raunchy enough that after you play it or listen to it, you feel better; you’ve worked some of the bad stuff out of your system. I also believe that many blues fans simply don’t find that in today’s music. It’s very difficult to find good music, written and played by people who actually have talent, here in the US unless you dig deep and find artists that never get any airplay or commercial attention. I do like some new music, but it just doesn’t have the soul the old stuff had, where everyone was deeply involved in the process of creating a song and put everything they had into it.

What’s the best jam you ever played in? What are some of the most memorable gigs you've had?

Bret: (Photo) I don't know that there is ever a “best” jam, but some are definitely better or more fun than the rest! Jamming onstage with John's son Jake Haldenwang is ALWAYS exiting!

John H: I have had the opportunity to play some pretty cool gigs, but for me the ones that are the most memorable are always the more intimate gigs where the crowd is right in front of a low stage. When you are face to face with your fans and actually interacting with people who come to your shows again and again and are always up front stomping their feet and clapping their hands. The energy level just goes through the roof. The adrenaline and fun quotient goes way up. You get a real sense of appreciation. It is way more intense than playing a festival for 20,000 people. Not that that isn’t fun-believe me it is an adrenaline rush also, but the gigs I remember the most are at the smaller clubs, where you get to feel the fans and be part of their experience.

John P: The best time I ever had playing was at a backyard jam at a large party in 2003. I was playing with people I had only met that day, using a borrowed guitar. We all just kind of winged it, and it actually sounded good, we had a great time, and the people listening loved it. Not including a few breaks for food and beer, we played for about five hours.

Chuck: Ironically enough, one of the most memorable shows I ever played was opening up for a budding young country artist. This enabled me to play not only the largest stage I'd ever walked on, but a crowd of several thousand people as well. The energy was overwhelming, but addictive.

Which meetings have been the most important experiences for you? What is the best advice ever given you?

Bret: The best advice I ever got was to just relax, sit back and just let it come on out!

What do you miss most nowadays from the music of past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

Bret: What I miss the most is the heart and passion that players used to put forth! That seems to be almost gone. Everything is so techno and artificial sounding. You don't get the real feelings in the music anymore. You can't hear the tears, or feel the joy that inspired the work!

John P: (Photo) My biggest fear for the future of music is that people continue to forsake live performances for DJs, to the point that some DJs now consider themselves to be musicians, which simply is not true. If you go to see a live band, you won’t hear the song just like it is on the record, and that should be a point in its favor, not against it. You won’t get perfection listening to live music. It’s also quite possible you’ll hear something unforgettable, something that changes you. Watching someone load a CD and pick a track won’t do that.

What are the lines that connect the legacy of Blues with Soul and continue to Classic and Southern Rock?

Chuck: Southern rock was the inevitable spawn of blues. If blues was born out of the hardships of the sharecropper, then southern rock was born out of the poor white folk who lived right beside them. Same feel, same soul, and often the same subject matter... just louder guitar amps! LOL!! Both are essential elements to the big picture of this thing called rock and roll.

Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really wanna go for a whole day..?

Bret: I have always felt that I was born twenty years too late! I would have loved to have been around in the early day's of Rock & Roll! Del Shannon, Chuck Berry, The Dave Clark Five! I love the oldies!

John P: A day with a time machine? That one’s easy. I would go to London in 1966 or ’67 so I could be there when Eric Clapton and members of the Who and the Beatles came to the clubs to see Hendrix tear the roof off the place.

Chuck: (Photo) As far as my time machine, it would take me to the Atlanta Pop Festival back in 1969. 'nuff said!

They are setting the music world on fire with their electrifying brand of rock. RCB combine their influences of hard hitting Texas Blues Rock, British Rock and Southern Rock to create a unique sound. 

Make an account for current realities of the case of the blues rock scene in North Carolina.

Bret: Charlotte, NC actually has a very strong blues community! We have a world renowned venue in town, and several open blues jam's around town on a weekly or monthly basis. Obviously, southern rock is very big here, and blues rock is so closely related, that the two mesh very well in set lists for the gigging bar bands.

The Raisin' Cain Band - official website

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