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Motor City Women
Motor City Women is comprised of six powerful female singers including, Valerie Barrymore, Stacia Petrie, Cheryl Lescom, Rhonda Bantsimba, Karen 'Bosco' Vesprini and Lady T. Their award-winning band, the Express includes Dennis Burr - Guitar; Susie Woodman - Piano, Danny O'Connell- bass, and Stephen Kohn - Drums.
In 1985, Kate Hart Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter, playwright and actress, put together a group called Seattle Women in Rhythm and Blues, a revue-style act that featured ten of the West Coast’s finest blues singers. Initially intended for a single performance, the group stayed together for a remarkable 18 years. When Hart moved back to her home of Detroit in the winter of 2002, she decided to resurrect the concept and formed Detroit Women, an all-star cast of the Motor City’s most outstanding female vocalist backed by the powerhouse band Motor City. Kate left the band in 2007 due to her fathers health problems, there for the birth of the Motor City Women.
The ladies are all soloists in their own right, range in age from early 20's to “it’s not polite to ask” and come from a wide variety of backgrounds that cover a gamut of blues and R&B styles including swing, Chicago shuffle and Texas romp. Scanning the long list of luminaries that they have performed with reveals notable names like Ike and Tina Turner, The Rolling Stones, Elton John, Joe Cocker, Hall and Oats and Etta James.
With so many microphones lined up across the front of the stage, a show by the Motor City Women is a sight to behold. All of the artists perform together, each singer taking a turn as soloist to showcase her special talent while the others contribute backup harmonies and dance. That combination of harmony and individual talent is what has made the group so successful. It’s collaboration rather than a competition. Everyone gets a chance to shine and everyone takes great pride in each other’s accomplishments. As Valerie Barrymore explains, “Hearing the harmony of all these women singing together it’s a healing experience.”
While Detroit Women had only been together for about Five years, their “Sassitude” has engines revving well beyond their Motor City base. In 2004 they were the winners of Detroit Music Awards for Best Rhythm and Blues Band, Best Rhythm and Blues Album and Outstanding Live Performance. In 2005 they took a record-setting 13 Detroit Music Awards. In 2006, Detroit Women again won the Detroit Music Awards Outstanding Live Performance and Best Rhythm and Blues Band along with awards in three other categories. The Detroit Metro Times has included them in their list of the most influential regional artists of the last 100 years. They have toured Canada, Europe and the West Coast of the USA along with their CDs becoming radio favorites. Their live shows have the fire and energy bursts of a sonic flamethrower. They are a spine tingling, cage rattling hit at every festival that they play and even the stingiest critics are showering them with superlatives.
Winner! Outstanding R&B Instrumentalist 2005 Detroit Music Awards
Nominee! For Outstanding R&B Instrumentalist 2006 Detroit Music Awards
A notable Motor City guitar and vocal talent, Dennis’ career spans over thirty years and can be remembered as far back as the Grande Ballroom working with Wilson Mower Pursuit when he was just 16.
He has performed, recorded and/or toured with Hall and Oates, Kenny Loggins, Tanya Tucker, Allman Brothers, Joe Cocker, Silver Bullet Band, Delbert McClinton, Marshall Crenshaw, Dick Wagner and Dave Gilbert. His guitar and vocals can be found on jingles, ads, films and in many recording sessions.
Nominated! Outstanding R&B Instrumentalist & Outstanding Country Instrumentalist 2005 & 2006 Detroit Music Awards!
Susie has been the keyboardist for both Meatloaf and Grammy Award winner Richard Wagner of Alice Cooper and Lou Reed fame and Road Manager for Question Mark and the Mysterians. She has worked with a number of prominent Michigan artists: Phil Esser, Charlie Latimer, Barbara Bredius, Ted Lucas and was the musical director of the Detroit’s record-setting dinner theater production of Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris. She collaborated with Tony Award Winner Michael Perter Smith — Grapes of Wrath — on his very first musical theater production in Detroit – Personals.
Nominated! Outstanding Country Instrumentalist 2005 & 2006 Detroit Music Awards!
Rick has provided bass for numerous bands, sessions and commercials in the Detroit Area for over 25 years. He has recorded and performed with Dick Wagner, SlyFox, Maxeen Volunteer and Cover Story. While in Sacramento and San Francisco, Rick recorded and performed with The Difference. In addition, Rick has appeared with Sammy Kershaw and Trace Atkins.
Nominated! Outstanding Live Sound Technician 2005 and 2006 Detroit Music Awards!
Steve may often wear a bandana on stage, but he actually wears many hats for Detroit Women. Drummer, sound technician, producer. Steve is co-producer of the group’s upcoming CD release Sassitude. Steve has performed at most Blues festivals in Michigan along with organizing the Novi International Bluesfest / Flamin' Hot Blues Festival for several years. Steve has toured with Nikki James and the Flamethrowers, Randy Volin's Sonic Blues, Pete "Big Dog" Fetters, Code Blue, Rattlesnakes, The Vidiotz, Midnight Run, The Authorities, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Brian Setzer Band, Lonnie Brooks, Rick Derringer, Pat Traverse, Humble Pie, Larry McCray and Triumph.