By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Apr 07, 2011 at 4:22 PM

Milwaukee quartet Tweed Funk started its tour in St. Louis last night. So, by the time the band wends its way home for a gig at the Grafton Blues Challenge On April 16 and a CD release party April 21 at Shank Hall, expect these four veteran musicians to really be on fire.

Tweed Funk comprises singer Smokey Holman -- who was a member of Love's Children, which released music in the 1970s on Curtis Mayfield's Curtom label -- guitarist J.D. Optekar, bassist Donnie Mac -- who is Howlin' Wolf's grandson! -- and erstwhile Harvey Scales drummer Marcus Gibbons.

The band's disc, "Bringin' It," is a sultry and soulful blues record -- constructed out of nine originals and a drumtastic cover of Sly Stone's "Thank You (Falletinme Be Mice Elf Agin)" -- that recalls the classic soul/blues crossover records of the '60s and '70s by the likes of Little Milton and Albert King.

Tonight, Tweed Funk is in Jefferson City, Mo., and moves on to Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas and Illinois before returning to Brew City next week.

Although the official release party is still a couple weeks away, you can already pick up the record (on CD or as a download) on the Tweed Funk Web site for $16.


Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.