"The Blues Don't Have to be Sad"
Kingdom Brothers, a St. Louis, Missouri band, plays powerful original music that combines blues, R&B, and Gospel influences.
When blues veteran and Kingdom Brothers’ founder Bob Walther formed the group in 2005, he reached out to established area musicians who wanted to do something really different on the St. Louis music scene.
The group decided to concentrate on blues, R&B covers and originals that mostly have a positive message, The band demonstrates that, as the title of Shepherd’s latest offering states, “The Blues Don’t Have to Be Sad.”
This fresh approach was a bit risky but has paid huge dividends for the band, attracting a sizeable and devoted following in the St. Louis market. Kingdom Brothers were selected to represent the St. Louis Blues Society in the 2015 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, appearing in the semi-finals. The band continues to win over fans at each performance.
The recently released Times Hard, featuring 12 all-new original Kingdom Brothers tunes, is already beginning to attract the attention of blues enthusiasts and DJs around the world with airplay in Canada, England, Europe and Australia, Kingdom Brothers continue to draw crowds throughout the Midwest as they expand their listener base beyond just hardcore blues fans.
Chris Shepherd, vocals/guitar
Chris Shepherd, a singer songwriter living in St. Louis, has recorded and performed from Miami to Seattle. He grew up in a small town about 75 miles north of St Louis and has used music as a way to see the country and meet lots of interesting people. He interned for a short time at the private studio of the super group, The Bee Gees, while going to school in Miami Beach where he learned about the music business from industry professionals who were major label producers, hit song writers and other former industry big wigs. After returning to St Louis, Chris became known more for his original blues flavored gospel songs, but has also been churning out some great blues rock tunes as well. He has been involved in many projects in St. Louis and for the last several years has been playing with and writing for the blues band Kingdom Brothers. He still performs his own original music as well as many of his favorite cover songs with various other local musicians as the Chris Shepherd Band.
Ron Roskowske, guitar/slide guitar
Ron (Dr. Ron) Roskowske has been playing professionally for over forty plus years. Ron first started with the Macks Creek Band in the late 1970’s, playing clubs and concerts throughout the Midwest and opening for acts such as Pure Prairie League, The Outlaws, Greg Allman, Black Oak Arkansas, and Grinderswitch. After recording an album, the group disbanded in the early eighties. Ron went on and studied jazz guitar and composition at Webster University under Steve Schenkel and Peter Mayer and started a career in music education. He teaches today at St. Pius X High School in Festus, Missouri and also teaches guitar privately. He can be reached for lessons at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ron counts among his many influences blues-rock guitarists such as Duane Allman, Eric Clapton, and Robben Ford, and urban blues guitarists like BB, Albert, and Freddie King along with Albert Collins and Otis Rush. Jazz influences include Wes Montgomery, Jim Hall, Sonny Rollins, and Miles Davis.
Ron also has played and recorded with local Catholic praise and worship artists such as Adam Bitter and Karl Zimmerman.
Stan Gill, keyboards/vocals
Stan Gill, a Southern Illinois native, played with a number of rock and dance bands before spending the 70s on tour as the stage manager for A&M recording artists Head East. In the St. Louis area throughout the 80s and 90s, Stan performed on keyboards, sax, flute, and vocal with local club bands, S.O.R., and Jester. A founding member of Kingdom Brothers, Stan still spends some time apart from the band playing the B3 at Clayton Community Church in Rock Hill, while doing occasional work rockin' the classics with The Excelerators, and leading the swing trio Bucket List.
Bob Walther, bass
Bob Walther founded Kingdom Brothers in September 2005. Prior to this he played Bass Guitar for Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Johnnie B. Good Johnson, Soul Icon Oliver Sain, members of the Ike & Tina Turner Review, Kenny Rice (Albert King), The Benders, and David Lee and the House Rockers. With David Lee scored top 100 song in 1989 that went number one in four cities and was featured in the Universal Pictures movie “White Palace”, starring Susan Sarandon and James Spader. The tune "Times Hard" penned by Bob was featured in the Spike Lee produced movie "Cronies." Opened shows for Asleep At The Wheel, Buddy Guy, Marshall Tucker Band, The Paladins and 80’s Rockabilly Revival Giants- The Blasters. Various radio and TV spots for Budweiser, Plaza Frontenac and The St. Louis Cardinals. Clayton Community Church Band on Sunday mornings for over thirty-years. He has engineered live recordings for NPR Affiliate KWMU featuring Art Blakey (Wynton Marsallis), Jeff Lorber Group (Kenny G) and Jimmy Smith. Regional artists Beth Tuttle, Sandy Weltman and Mae Wheeler.
Rusty Parker, Drums
Rusty, the newest member of the band, has been one of the premier drummers on the St. Louis scene for over forty years.
He wanted to play drums after seeing The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show at age 9. He began taking lessons at age 11. While a sophomore at Kirkwood High School, Rusty played with the 3 piece heavy rock band Rush (this was before that other rock trio of the same name from Canada). Rush would play free concerts at the Forest Park Pavillion ("hippie hill") on many Sunday afternoons. They also played gigs at the teen club Rainy Daze opening for national acts such as Alice Cooper and Iggy and the Stooges.
Rusty attended Webster College, studying percussion with John Kasica of the St. Louis Symphony. During college he played with Front Street, playing cover tunes and originals at clubs throughout the St. Louis area, opening for groups like Mamas Pride, Pat Benatar and Black Oak Arkansas.
He taught private lessons after college for 19 years. Rusty has also played with many other local bands and artists, the most prominent being a seven year stint with the popular local band Fantasy.
Rusty has played for the last 16 years with Arvell and Company, doing private parties, the Chase, Ritz-Carlton and local casinos.
He played in the worship band at Clayton Community Church for 20+years with Bob Walther and Stan Gill, and currently plays in the worship band at North County Community Church in Hazelwood, MO.