“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, and where his journey is taking him. And 25 years of propelling his own wheelchair around have given an upper body strength to back up that sense of a solid presence. …”
“Besides Johnny Wheels, there are two current band members who, in January 2020, were in the band’s line-up on the “Journey to Memphis” (to the annual Memphis International Blues Challenge): Brandon Logan (guitar) and Taylor Frazier (bass). Other past members in that line-up were Michael Rabe (guitar) and Doug Knoyle (drums). …”
“Johnny Wheels’ journey started early in life. He sat watching his dad’s band rehearsals with other men. Quietly. “If I made any noise, I had to leave,” he explained….”
Well, normally this time of year would soon bring talk of resolutions and reflection, BUT NOT this time around the Sun – for it is all rehearsal and song writing for Johnny and the Donkeys.
2020 is already known to be a VERY unique year for Johnny Wheels and The Swamp Donkeys as they will soon complete their “Journey To Memphis” for the International Blues Challenge (IBC) – a blues music competition between approximately 270 bands from around the globe.
For those going to Memphis to route-on the Donkeys, you’ll be able to monitor the web site calendar and/or Donkey Facebook posts for up to the minute updates on where and when the performances will be (Posted ASAP after the band is notified each morning).
Johnny, Taylor, Michael, Brandon and Douglas:
We’re very excited and proud to be representing the Cascade Blues Association for the 2020 IBC [International Blues Challenge]. I’ll stop short of saying we’re nervous, but there is definitely an electricity building in the air at recent rehearsals and gigs. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and/or what ever is appropriate, AND a VERY HAPPY, SAFE and PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR to all!!!
. . . don’t want to sound cliche, but “Welcome” to the beginnings of the new site. The site is being re-designed to coincide with the new CD and summer season tour; and since we’re making facebook posts of CD creation process (mixing as I write this), why wait to launch the new site – watch the changes and updates as they come. The Summer calendar is filling up with many great new venues – now we just need some great new weather. Hope to see you soon!