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Reverend Raven And The Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys Keep It Simple And Real

Chuck Ryan Photography
Courtesy of the artist

With their attention getting oddity of a name and Milwaukee as a home base, Reverend Raven and the Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys are different in some ways, but faithful to the real Blues in the ways that count.

"The Reverend's ability to keep a crowd going all night long is a matter of haunted local legend." - Brian Barney, Shepherd Express

Once you hear their album Shake Your Boogie you’ll know why the rest of the country is catching on. They have a simple and straight forward sound that locks into a variety of mostly Chicago type grooves. That makes sense since main man Reverend Raven was born on the south side of Chicago.

Where better for a Bluesman to call home?


“You know I hate these cookie cutter bios. I know they are necessary but you are only as good as last night's gig,” said the Reverend Raven.

I’ll keep it brief and simple: The Reverend started playing the Blues in 1971 after he heard a Freddy King concert. His career was interrupted by a 15 tear stint in the Navy where he got his nickname. One of his duties as a Chief was to consul sailors with personal problems and the crew started calling him Reverend and it stuck.


After the Navy he moved to Milwaukee and hooked up with Jimmy Rogers longtime harmonica player Madison Slim and started collecting the personnel who now make up The Chain Smokin' Altar Boys. Since then they have opened for a who’s who of Blues greats and moved up the line to play some of the top clubs and festivals in the country.

Among the festivals Reverend Raven and the Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys will be playing this year is The 2014 Greeley Blues Jam, June 14 at the Island Grove Regional Park. I know you’ll be glad when you come out and hear them. They're a real good time.

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