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Johnny Wheels is a singer / songwriter / harmonica player inspired by the soul of the Pacific Northwest.
The “Swamp Donkeys” are Johnny’s band-mates who are inspired by Johnny to “live a song” on the edge.
“Nope! You won’t hear a song exactly the same way twice – that’s what CD’s are for. We like to add some spice of musical exploration”
The son of a traveling bass player and singer, Johnny “Wheels” Kennicott had music in his blood since birth, but expressing himself musically took on new importance when Johnny broke his neck in a childhood accident, leaving him paralyzed from the chest down.
“The days of football practice after school were definitely over”, Johnny says, but music still provided an outlet for his infectious energy and his creative potential.
Though his father’s instrument of choice and his early passion of playing drums were now out due to limited function, Johnny found, through determined trial and error, he could manipulate his paralyzed diaphragm to not only sing, but also blow the harmonica. Since that time, Johnny has been traveling the Pacific Northwest music scene, spreading the gospel of the blues.
Collectively, the band hails from Oregon, Texas and California and is typically tagged as a Blues band; Although, the diversity of the members’ musical backgrounds becomes evident as the worlds of R&B, Soul, Jazz, Funk and Rock are blended under a Blues umbrella.
Johnny Wheels, Vocals, Harmonica
Brandon Logan, Vocals, Guitar
Doug Knoyle, Drums
Michael Rabe, Vocals, Guitar
Taylor Frazier, Vocals, Bass
Members of Johnny Wheels and the Swamp Donkeys have performed and or shared the stage with:
Jeff Tamelier (Tower of Power)
Rocco Prestia (Tower of Power)
… and many others.
Help support The Blues Foundation The Blues Foundation is the sanctioning body of the International Blues Challenge band competition; which in 2020, Johnny Wheels And The Swamp Donkeys reached the Final 8 of approximately 240 bands. Help support The Blues Foundation with your purchase of the Blues on Beale documentary:
THE BLUES JOURNEY by CBA staff “While searching for the house of Oregon’s “Swamp Donkey” blues-band leader, Johnny Wheels, it was easy to get lost in the high hills around Willamina. But when finally meeting the singer/harmonicist, that ‘lost-ness’ evaporated. Johnny’s steady, blue-eyed gaze gives the comforting impression of someone knowing exactly where he is, …
After all this time Johnny Wheels and The Swamp Donkeys make their first appearance at the Keizer Rotary Amphitheater: