Steve Guyger and the Excellos


Philadelphia is a city that has a great musical heritage when it comes to forms of music other then Blues. Doo Wop, early R&B and 1950’s era roots rock as well as the launch pad for The Twist... all spring to mind. However, The City Of Brotherly Love can and does boast of having a Legendary Blues harmonica master that many feel is one of the best in the world today.

For over thirty years Steve Guyger has been honing his skills on the harmonica and delighting Blues audiences world-wide. That may be with his great band The Excellos or touring the world with celebrated Blues legend Jimmy Rogers, package shows with The Chicago Blues All Stars with Billy Flynn, Chess Records recording artist John Brim and many many more.

Evidence of his prowess on harp can be heard on any of the many well received and superbly reviewed products listed in Steve’s discography. His latest recording his Past Life Blues on the Severn Record label. A small sampling of the many great reviews he has received is a recent Living Blues Magazine review on the above named product where they say: “Sturdily rooted in the postwar Windy City tradition and laced with swoomping muscular harmonica excursions that never overstay their welcome.”

Growing up in Philly, Steve wasn’t exposed to Blues music until his late teens. He spent much of his youth listening to the sounds of Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye and the pop music of the 1960’s. It wasn’t until he met up with John Gunning, a harmonica player who” had all the Blues records,” that Steve would hear players like Little Walter, Jimmy Rogers, Muddy Waters and James Cotton. He was hooked and life would never be the same.

After years and years of studying including an in depth probe of classical music on the chromatic harp, Steve met Rich Yescalis, a guitarist and bassist who had logged time with the likes of Jimmy Rogers, Sam Lay, Eddie Taylor and Wild Child Butler. Rich would become a good friend, a collaborator and long-time sideman with Steve. Steve recalls that “Richie (Rich Yesscalis) had been hanging out in Chicago where he met up with Big Walter Horton who gave him an explanation of the technique called tongue blocking”. That was a major turning point for Steve who now understood a big chunk of the sound he had been striving for. “Another turning point in my playing” , Steve said ,”was when I met Paul Oscher.” Between Paul Oscher and Paul’s guitarist Frankie Padini (also a great harp player) Steve really began to understand the essence of tough Chicago Blues style harp playing.

In 1980, after years of studying, working, dreaming and hoping, Steve got the call from his long time hero Jimmy Rogers. “I was playing with Ola Dixon at the time and we both Joined Jimmy’s touring band.” “Jimmy and I hit it off right away and he became like a father to me.” “He was great to be around - very intelligent and caring.” Guyger played on and off with Rogers until his death in 1998.

Throughout the years Steve Guyger toured, recorded with or shared the stage with Buddy Guy, James Cotton, and many many more. His passion and love for the Blues is evident in his many fine studio and live performances. Hear for yourself why William Clarke called Steve “the best harp player I’ve ever seen”.


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