An Evening with Lamont Cranston
Le Musique Room, 4300 O'Day Ave, St. Michael
This legendary Minneapolis based blues band has been at it since 1969. After 14 releases and many show stopping performances, the band is still going strong and turning out new material all the time. Besides leading the Cranstons through all the years of popularity they've enjoyed, Pat "Lamont" Hayes has solo ventures to his credit, touring with Bonnie Raitt as a member of her band on her 1999 "Nick of Time" tour and blowing harmonica duets with Charlie Musselwhite in Minneapolis and Hollywood at good buddy Dan Aykroyd's House of Blues Grand Opening Bash. Pat was Dan's special guest at the opening where he jammed with Musselwhite and the Blues Brothers. Pat has been hailed by Bonnnie, Dan and many others as being one of the best harmonica players around.
The Cranston hit "Excusez Moi, Mon Cheri" (written by Pat's brother Larry Hayes) was recorded by the Blues Brothers on the flipside of their 1979 hit "Soul Man." It was also used on the soundtrack of the Al Franken-TTom Davis movie "One More Saturday Night," along with their biggest hit, "Upper Mississippi Shakedown."
The Cranstons have shared the stage with just about everyone in the business, including Muddy Waters, Albert King and many more. Wherever the band goes, their infectious style has earned them a reputation for attracting some of the best jammers in the business. Keb Mo, Jonny Lang, Jeff Healey, Sugar Blue, Dan Aykroyd and Bonnie Raitt are just a few of the many who have jumped up on stage and joined in over the years. Wilson Pickett even sat in with the band in Duluth, Minnesota a couple of years ago and kicked into his big hit "Mustang Sally."
One of the band's biggest thrills was opening for the Rolling Stones on a leg of their North American tour in 1981. The band also made history as the first band to play the grand opening of the Chicago House of Blues.
The Lamont Cranston Band has won just about every award possible throughout the years at the Minnesota Music Awards for both band and individual achievements. They still, to this day, get nominated every year in one category or another. In 1999 the band was honored during their 30th anniversary with a City of St. Paul and State of Minnesota "Lamont Cranston Day." They also received a lifetime achievement award, a City of Duluth "Ambassadors of the Blues" award, and were inducted into the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame.
The current line-up consists of Pat Hayes - Harp, Guitar, Vocals; Rod Smith - Guitar; Johnny O - Guitar; Bill Pelletier - Bass; Tom Donnohue - Drums; Tim Wick - Keyboards; and Jim Greenwell (alumni) returns on saxophone. Also, on some shows, Bruce McCabe (original member) returns on piano.