We're a unique blend of blues and we're trying to help save the dying genre.
Formed in the fall of 2008, the Backyard Blues Boys started out with the original 5 members—Wade Hilts and Garren Epley of Franklin High School—and Louie Leager, Jason Morrison and Reuben Unrau of Cleveland High School.
Soon after forming, the group decided to enter a band competition and began to work up material for their first public appearance. During that time, they added Jillian Looney, another student from Cleveland, to the group. Jillian’s rich, jazz-tinged vocals offered new possibilities for the band to broaden their sound. The expanded group, with Jillian as their female vocalist, won the Cleveland Battle of the Bands in the spring of 2009 with a stunning version of “The Truth,” by Handsome Boy Modeling School.
During the following summer, the BBBs began to collaborate with Lucas Biespiel, an accomplished musician and song-writer in his own right. Lucas had already recorded dozens of original and cover songs independently, and had established himself as a top local young music talent. The BBBs backed Lucas for a gig on the FedEx Workshop Stage at the 2009 Portland Waterfront Blues Festival—the combination of Lucas’ soulful vocals and the bluesmanship of the Boys was a perfect match. More collaborative gigs followed at venues around Portland, such as Mississippi Pizza and Arrivederci Wine & Jazz, and then… nearly a year later, Lucas (also a Cleveland student) officially became a member of the BBB band.
The BBBs then went on to record their debut album “Tradin’ Twelves” and continue to play shows on the West Coast and elsewhere.