Artist Spotlight: Chump Change

-Kerry Souder, Roots N Blues Intern

The definition of “chump change” is a small or insignificant amount, but the band Chump Change definitely does not coincide with that meaning. They pack a whole lot of soul and a whole lot of fun into their music. Chump Change is a blues band based out of the Midwest who has been jamming since the 80s.

Chump Change came from humble beginnings: “Big Babe” Martin created the band after  Sunday night jam sessions at Lee’s Place, a local restaurant. The lead singer/guitarist has been favored by scores of blues guitarists and is considered a musical icon. Being left-handed, he strings his instrument upside down in a similar fashion as Jimi Hendrix and Albert Collins.

Big Babe’s soulful vocals and talented guitar strumming is backed by Kenneth Brantley on the saxophone, Pete Szkolka on the keyboard and James “Smitty” Smith on bass. The band’s chemistry and their dedication to the music ensure that you’re always in for a good show. Their style is simple and refreshing, and you can bet their groovy rhythm is bound to keep your foot tapping throughout their entire set.

The Columbia locals are all accomplished musicians and have performed on stage alongside many blues legends, including Albert Collins, Albert King, Robert Cray, Chuck Barry, Buddy Guy, The Neville Brothers and John Lee Hooker, to name a few. In spite of their popularity, the band played without a major record contract.

The Chump Change Blues Band will make for a great addition to the list of talented artists coming to the Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival this year! Listen to them at last year’s here and make sure to check them out Sunday (October 1) on the MO Lottery Stage!

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