Vocalist, songwriter, and guitarist Carl Weathersby is a soul-blues crooner in the classic Chicago tradition. Best known for his work with Billy Branch & Sons of the Blues, Weathersby's first album, 1996's Don't Lay Your Blues on Me, was hailed as genuine, state-of-the-art Chicago blues for the '90s. Weathersby released his second album, Looking Out My Window, in 1997, and the raves continued; the song "The Blues Follow Me Around," which Weathersby first recorded with Branch, was nominated for a Handy Award.
Born in Jackson, MS, Weathersby was eight when his family moved to East Chicago, Indiana. He spent his summers back home with relatives in Mississippi. Weathersby grew up immersed in blues music and has many family links to the blues, R&B, and Motown legacies: he's related to the late Leonard "Baby Doo" Caston, Willie Dixon's pianist in the Big Three Trio, a popular Chicago group in the early '50s; Weathersby's cousin is Leonard Caston, Jr., a member of the Chicago soul group the Radiants, who had a 1965 Chess Records hit with "Voice Your Choice"; singer G.C. Cameron from the Motown group the Spinners is another cousin. Additionally, a neighbor was a cousin of Hound Dog Taylor, and Weathersby's father was friendly with Albert King. One day while Weathersby was practicing King's licks from a 45 rpm recording of "Crosscut Saw," his father and King overheard him. King encouraged the boy, who hadn't realized his identity until then, and eventually hired him as a rhythm guitarist for short road trips in 1979, 1980, and 1982.
Before becoming a full-time musician with Branch's Sons of the Blues, Weathersby worked in a steel mill, as a police officer, and as a prison guard. He also spent time in Vietnam serving in the Army from 1971 to 1977. His life experiences in all four occupations are rich fodder for his songwriting, which is as fresh, original, and life-affirming as one is likely to find from any other contemporary blues player.
Weathersby spent 14 years, from 1982 to 1996, with harmonica player Branch's Sons of the Blues before he decided to have a go at leading a band under his own name. For his Evidence albums, Weathersby is accompanied by two great New Orleans musicians, who add just the right touches of funk to the band's sound: David Torkanowsky on piano and keyboards and Herman Ernest III on drums, the latter a key element in Dr. John's quartet, the Lower 911. Weathersby's first album, Don't Lay Your Blues on Me, won nominations in the 1996 Living Blues Critics' Awards for Best New Blues Album, Best Blues Album, and Best Debut Album. Weathersby was also nominated for a 1997 W.C. Handy Blues Award for Best New Blues Artist. Subsequent outings include 1998's Restless Feeling and 2000's Come to Papa. ~ Richard Skelly