DelGrosso and Richardson Spotlight

"Where's Laura?" from their LP Time Slips On By
TGS Spotlight Players from February 17, 2011

Mandolin in the blues? Rich DelGrosso’s five Blues Music Award nominations say yes! ..... and when Diunna Greenleaf speaks of Jonn Del Toro Richardson she admits "I know, and have known, a lot of great guitarists, but have never loved any more then Jonn ‘cause of his tone. Absolutely love his tone!"

These two Houston-based musicians are working together now on a new project, adding rocking, solid mandolin with fiery guitar into a new spicy mix of Texas blues and roots. After the first of the year, they embark on tours in support of their new release, Time Slips on By, a collection of 14 original songs from the fertile blues territory of Southeast Texas.

Everywhere he performs, Rich DelGrosso conjures up his heroes, from the jug and string band mandolin players of the ‘20s to the great urban mandolin bluesmen Yank Rachell and Johnny Young. Like the latter performers, he plugs-in and rocks the bandstand! His electrified resonator mandolin, coupled with his gravely baritone voice, give him his unique sound. A longtime writer for Blues Revue magazine, performer and teacher, DelGrosso has an international presence, straddling the blues and American roots music.

Jonn Del Toro Richardson is an Albert King and BMA winner for his fiery guitar playing with Diunna Greenleaf’s Blue Mercy and his backing Pinetop Perkins in the Grammy and BMA award winning “Best Traditional Blues Album of the Year” - Last of the Great Mississippi Delta Bluesmen. He is a guitarist, singer and songwriter, whose roots run deep in the Southeast Texas blues and Tex-Mex communities. In recent years, his performances with Perkins, Greenleaf, Hubert Sumlin and Otis Taylor have brought his enormous talent to the international stage. A sideman in demand, this project brings him center stage, insuring him a place on the list of great American guitarists. His talent is natural, and his style is traditionally eclectic.

Time Slips on By was recorded in June of 2010 at Wire studios in Austin, Texas, produced by Mark “Kaz” Kazanoff, engineered by Stuart Sullivan and mastered by Jerry Tubbs at Terra Nova Digital Audio.

For these two performers, it is all about the groove and tone. Listen to Del Toro Richardson’s solos on “Hard To Live With,” as his vintage Silvertone speaks sweetly to his lover and then his ‘59 Strat roars with fire and passion on the title cut. DelGrosso’s amplified National Resonator mandolin adds a unique tone and voice to the arrangements. He, too, has the passion and blues sensibility, as he varies his attack, from the delicate “Summertime Is Here” to the hard grinding Chicago-style “Mandolin Man,” where he solos in the style of his blues heroes, representing one hundred years of the mandolin in the blues. A “blues first:” DelGrosso recorded “She’s Sweet” and the opener “Baby Do Wrong” on a vintage Gibson mandola. Why? The voice and the tone are unique and a perfect foil to Del Toro Richardson’s guitars.

The duo entered the studio with their favorite rhythm section, two players in demand in Houston: Carl Owens on drums and Ed Starkey on bass. They drive the music with all of the different grooves, each in the pocket. To spice up the quartet they added special guests, some of the finest musicians in Southeast Texas. Nick Connolly helps to set the moods on different keyboards, like honky-tonk piano on “A Gig Is a Gig,” or the distinctive voice of the B-3 in support of the groove on “The Real Deal.” Sonny Boy Terry, a legendary player in Houston, turns up the heat with his harmonica on “She’s Sweet” and adds a taste of Chicago’s Southside on “Mandolin Man.” The Texas Horns (Mark “Kaz” Kazanoff, John Mills and Al Gomez) add fire to “Shotgun Blues” and “Time Slips on By” to give them the sound that blues lovers recognize as East Texas blues and the music from the bayou city. Joel Guzman’s accordion adds further diversity to bring out the flavors of the Mexican community, as his plaintive phrases glide and dance between the lines of “Katalin” and “Summertime Is Here.”

2011 is the year of the DelGrosso/Del Toro Richardson Band .... a breath of fresh air for the blues .... as they perform an eclectic collection of songs and sounds, born and nurtured in one of the richest, cultural centers of American Roots music.

Visit Rich DelGrosso's website at
Visit Jonn Del Toro Richardson's website at

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