PHOTO CREDIT: OREN HELBOCK, DESTINATION BLUES
“Gabe plays the blues with strength, personality, and a depth of both feeling and musicianship.” —Nighthawks’ founder and frontman Mark Wenner
“Gabe Stillman has got the chops and the intensity the blues should have. Keep your eye on him!” —Toronzo Cannon
The Gabe Stillman Band are a high-voltage blues outfit that electrifies audiences with performances that showcase the band’s passion, musical prowess and the joy they take in playing music together. While their sound is unmistakably rooted in the blues, the band plays both original and cover songs that draw deeply from the well of Soul, R&B,Rock'N'Roll and New Orleans music.
Based in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, the band is led by ace guitarist and singer Gabe Stillman, who formed the band in 2015, shortly after graduating from Boston’s Berklee College of Music. Backed by bassist Colin Beatty and drummer Jesse Roedts, Gabe has become a mainstay of the regional blues circuit with standout performances at venues large and small. In addition to sharing stages with blues royalty The Nighthawks and Chicago powerhouse Toronzo Cannon, they’ve won over crowds at the Briggs Farm Blues Fest, the Lancaster Roots & Blues Festival, the Destination Blues Festival and, to Stillman’s great satisfaction, the annual Billtown Blues Festival.
In 2018 the band won the Billtown Blues Challenge for the 2nd time, earning them a return performance at the 2018 Billtown Blues Festival and the opportunity to compete in the International Blues Challenge coming up in January of 2019 in Memphis TN. Also in the Summer of 2018 the band performed at the Spyglass Ridge Winery in support of legendary blues and Rock'N'Roll band, George Thorogood & The Destroyers.
“Some people measure the passing of time by Christmas or New Year’s or birthdays,” Stillman says. “I measure it by the arrival of the Billtown Blues Festival every June. I was 12 when I started volunteering as a stagehand. I’ve seen Bob Margolin, Johnny Winter, The Nighthawks, Mark Hummel, Bernard Allison, Big Bill Morganfield, and a lot of other great acts at the Billtown festival. By now I’ve played there myself three times, most recently last year with my band. On the one hand, it’s always like a dream come true; on the other hand, it always makes me dream bigger.”
“I wasn’t raised in an environment that would make someone think 'This guy is gonna play the blues someday' There’s no romantic story about how I was exposed to this music. I was introduced to the blues while I was a student at the Uptown Music Collective, a school of music in Williamsport, PA. I started attending when I was 11. At first, I liked the blues because it seemed like simple music, and it was music that I could play. It was much harder for me, technically, to play heavy metal solos. With blues, I could make decent sounds almost immediately. In time, of course, I learned that blues music encompasses a tremendous amount of complexity and deep feeling. In a lot of ways, there’s nothing simple about it. There’s so much to love and learn about the blues.”