After three semesters at Berklee College of Music in the Instrumental Performance Program, Neil Simpkins has been playing in the Philadelphia area for more than 40 years. This includes a year on the road with Chubby Checker throughout North America and a soda commercial with Patty Smythe (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEJJumUq5hI). He plays Blues, Rock, Americana, Reggae, Country, Jazz Standards, R&B/Funk.
The Lonnie Shields Band
Jesse Loewy-Lead/Rhythm Guitarist, Lead/Backup Vocalist, Musical Director,
Musical Arranger, Band Manager
Jesse Loewy is a young blues based guitar player who gigs regularly at festivals and establishments in the Tri-State Philadelphia area. Music has always been a big part of his life. He showed interest in the guitar at the tender age of two. At three he got his first guitar and taught himself to play by watching videos of Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn. At the age of eight he was asked to join a musician on stage at a restaurant and was well received by the crowd. That experience led Jesse to performing various open mic nights in the local area. By the time Jesse was thirteen he appeared on The 10! Show in Philadelphia as the featured attraction.
In 2011, Jesse was again asked to join a musician on stage ~ Lonnie Shields took the guitar off his back and introduced Jesse to the crowd at the State Street Blues Stroll (Media, PA) where he proceeded to bring down the house.
That same year, Jesse formed his own band. After starting in bar/restaurants, The Jesse Loewy Band advanced to performing at festivals and establishments including Briggs Farm Blues Festival, Destination Blues Festival (Poconos, PA), and World Café Live at the Queen (Wilmington, DE).
Jesse was also fortunate enough to meet and share the stage with David Bromberg, Al Chez (former trumpet player for the Late Show With David Letterman) Herb Smith (guitarist for Patti LaBelle), Slam Allen, Leroy Hawks and Lonnie Shields to name a few.
Most recently, Jesse received admission to Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA and plans to put his education on hold to join the Lonnie Shields Band as lead/rhythm guitarist, musical director, and band manager. Jesse will continue to perform extensively with The Lonnie Shields Band and Jesse’s own band while also working on a new CD with Lonnie.
Jesse’s natural ability and love of performing on stage, his impressive work ethic, his humble demeanor, and his innate unbounded talent is sure to take him anywhere he wants to go.
For more information on Jesse, please visit his website at www.jesseloewy.com
Steve Hoke-Tenor Saxophone, Keyboards
Steve Hoke studied Studio Music and Jazz with Jerry Coker at the Univ. of Tennessee Knoxville and played for many years in Reno-Tahoe-Las Vegas and across California with numerous groups including the Temptations, the Four Tops, Sonny Turner of the Platters, Don Evans, and the Dynatones in San Francisco. Since returning to the Philadelphia area he has played with many groups including the Urban Legenz band, the Blues Mercenaries, the Quake, Don Evans, Larry Tucker and others in the Chesapeake region.
Mike Whren-Bassist, Musical Arranger, Assistant Band Manager
You can add Mike Whren to the long list of solid Bass players to come from Philadelphia. Like all musicians from the area, he grew up listening to All the artists from Philly International,
Motown and R&B from the 70's. His Bass influences through the years include such masters as, James Jamerson, Stanley Clarke, Verdine White, Gerald Veasley, and Geddy Lee. No that was not a typo. Over the years Mike has played and in many genres such as Blues, R&B/Funk, Jazz, Fusion, Rock, Reggae, Country, Classical (on upright), and even a touch of Punk. He believes that any musician, especially Bass players have to have an open mind and immerse themselves in whatever style they are playing . "Make the music FEEL like you have been playing that style all of your life".