Contino is an eclectic roots music band from Las Vegas, Nevada. The talent and synergy of the five highly accomplished musicians create an awesome sound and show experience. With their unique mixture of influences and instrumentation they have crafted a lively and distinctive mixture of blues, Americana, rockabilly, and zydeco.
The quintet's unique mixture of roots music style has earned rave reviews a
nd an ever-growing fan base in both North America and Europe. With the release of their new Blind Pig CD, Back Porch Dogma, the acclaim and fan base are sure to grow. Contino was formed in 2009 with a mission of writing songs that are "outside the box, yet authentic." All the band members were involving in writing the nine original compositions on Back Porch Dogma. Recorded at world famous Studio D in Sausalito, CA, with Joel Jaffe producing, it features a guest appearance on a Contino-penned track by noted vocalist Maria Muldaur. The four covers include tunes from Tom Waits and the legendary songwriting team of Leiber and Stoller.
In 2009 Contino did an extensive tour through Germany opening for Grammy nominated Cajun/Creole artist, Cedric Watson. Contino has also opened for Buckwheat Zydeco and Dr. John, and recently completed a tour in Europe with Robben Ford. Their music was also used in the movie The Fall.
To see Contino is often like watching a train rolling at high speed down a mountain. It's frenetic, exhilarating, and you might often wonder if it's about to run off the tracks - but it never does. The band's interaction with each other is almost instinctive; trading solos between each of the members, the band looks and sounds fluid, as if every song has taken on its own meaning. The only giveaway is when you catch them laughing and grinning. These guys have almost as much fun playing as the audience does watching and listening. This thing really does move and shake along the tracks - like a smooth locomotive.
Pete Contino - accordion/ vocal
Many music fans will quickly recognize the name. Pete Contino is the son of legendary accordionist and singer Dick Contino, a hugely successful performer in the late 40's and early 50's who appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show" a record 48 times, and the man who made "Lady of Spain" a No. 1 hit. Pete toured with his father for over fifteen years as his drummer. While on the road he also honed his skills on the accordion and as a songwriter and singer. While Pete embraces his heritage, he has decided to take the accordion in a different direction, writing and performing original songs with Rob, Al, Jim and Billy in a style that has been described as "acoustic zydeco/blues Americana."
Rob Edwards - upright bass
Rob Edwards is an amazing upright bass player with high-energy and rhythmic interludes. His unique blend of rockabilly and blues makes him stand out above the rest. Rob has opened for bands such as The Stray Cats, Dick Dale, Ted Nugent, Dr. John, The Radiators, Rev. Horton Heat and many more. He has also backed Chuck Berry multiple times!
Al Ek - guitars/harmonica/vocal
Al Ek plays a mean slide guitar but considers himself most accomplished on the harmonica. He joined The Spanic Boys in 1985 and toured the East Coast, including Tramps in New York City and The Tower Theater in Philly. Al's own band, The Shuffle-Aires, has opened for such bands as Johnny Winter, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Los Lobos, and Lonnie Brooks. He has also joined Rob Edwards and Jim Lovgren for a recording session backing up Sun Studios legend Narvel Felts.
Jim Lovgren - drums
Jim has over 30 years of professional trapkit experience, mastering a wide variety of styles by playing behind a multitude of different artists. Most notably, he's worked with Grammy award nominated artists Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds, country chart toppers Rex Allen Jr., Barbara Fairchild and David Frizzell. Jim has brought his well-crafted 'driving the bus' style of drumming to a huge variety of venues worldwide including, concerts, showrooms, recording studios, and international television appearances (Solid Gold and the Travel Channel).
Billy Truitt - keyboards
Billy Truitt began his music career in the 60's with Jack Ely and the Kingsmen (later to be re-named The Courtmen) of "Louie Louie" fame. In the 70's Billy was a member of Cresendo recording artist "Foremost Authority," which evolved into "Easy Chair," one of Seattle's and the Northwest's most popular bands of that era. In the early 80's Billy was the front man and driving force in the Boise, Idaho based "Gentle Ben" and the 1,000 seat night club of the same name. He then landed a production deal with Curb/Warner Records and moved to L.A., forming a production company and keeping busy as a producer and studio player while at the same time becoming a fixture in the Bakersfield country/blues music scene. In the 90's the Billy Truitt and the Barnstormers album was released to great reviews, which led to a full schedule of touring for the next couple of years.