We've already had an American in Paris, but a Dutchman in Vienna? And one who has dedicated himself, body and soul, to American blues and roots music? Okay, Hans Theessink (pronounced Tay-sink) did not pick the easiest way to do this, but he has done so with a certain degree of single-mindedness.
Like others of his generation, in the early 1960‘s a love of the Blues took hold of the man whom Bo Diddley described as 'one helluva guitar player', and it has not let go since. Above all, the country blues with its earthy and heartfelt sound impressed Hans Theessink and played a major role in his development as a musician. His roots are unmistakenly in the blues, but has also been influenced by countless other aspects of roots music. This musical variety has become a trademark of Hans Theessink, who as a songwriter has succeeded in building bridges to the present in addressing issues which reflect the reality of the here and now.
Hans is probably Europe's bluesexport Nr.1 - one of the top blues and roots musicians worldwide who has entertained audiences around the globe during a musical career that spans over more than 35 years. The world's leading bluespaper - US magazine Blues Revue wrote: 'Hans Theessink is an international blues treasure. He is one of the world's pre-eminent country pickers and his warm baritone expresses blues'.
Theessink's first recording was an EP in 1970. Since then his music has continually developed and so far Hans has released 20 albums, a songbook, a blues-guitar instruction video and a DVD. His CDs are guaranteed award winners. 'Banjoman', the tribute project to Derroll Adams, that Hans produced with Arlo Guthrie, was recently nominated for a Grammy.
In 2004 Hans got the Austrian Amadeus award for 'Songs from the Southland', a tribute to the music of the American South - a constant source of inspiration and companion on his musical journey. A Danish Music Award for best bluesalbum followed in 2005. His most recent CD 'Bridges' - a recording with the new Hans Theessink Band, is again nominated for the Amadeus in the category best Blues-, Jazz-, Roots-, Folk-album. Hans' latest work is a DVD 'Live in Concert' - 'A Blues & Roots Revue' - it shows the Hans Theessink Band in action + lots of other special features. Hans' productions are known for their excellent sound quality and are also in big demand in HiFi circles.
Through his unmistakable guitarwork, sonorous baritone voice and stage presence, Hans has attained a status which is unique for a European. He has performed at many of the most prominent North American music festivals such as the 'New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival', the 'Chicago Blues Festival', the 'Kerville Folk Festival', the 'Toronto Soul & Blues Festival', the 'Kansas City Blues & Jazz Festival', the 'Edmonton Folk Festival', the 'St.Louis Blues & Heritage Festival', the 'King Biscuit Blues Festival', the 'Woody Guthrie Festival' and the 'Ultimate Rhythm and Blues Cruise' to name a few.
Hans Theessink has become one of the most sought-after artists of the international blues scene. He is more or less constantly 'on tour' and plays an average of 200 concerts a year - a modern day troubadour and entertainer who keeps on spellbinding audiences all over the world with his rich and emotional sounds.
His musical journey began in Vicksburg, Mississippi, in the heart of the Delta, where he was born. He was in the church choir as a young person and used to sing tenor, baritone and bass. He jokes that he wasn't allowed to sing the 'rough stuff' like rock and roll in those days and that he was only allowed to sing gospel. He'd have to 'slip away' to sing secular songs. Terry secretly listened to people like Elmore James, Little Walter, Albert King and B.B. King, to name a few. It was then that he decided he wanted be a soul singer.
In the sixties, Terry worked with an a cappella group called The Knights, touring throughout the South in clubs and juke joints. From there Terry was lured to the west coast where he first picked up the guitar, started writing music and soon became a prolific songwriter. Pops Staples as well as the late, great Louis Jordan (among others) have recorded his songs.
Long before Terry made his first recording fronting his own band, music fans were probably well acquainted with his amazing voice. For years, the soulful singer was one of Los Angeles' foremost session vocalists, receiving a gold record for his work on John Fogarty's 'Eye of the Zombie' and recording with Ry Cooder, Joan Armatrading, John Lee Hooker, Boz Scaggs, Maria Muldaur, Pops Staples, and many other well respected artists.
He teamed up with singer Bobby King in the early seventies; they toured as a duo, appearing at many prestigious clubs and festivals. In 1976 when Ry Cooder was looking for background singers, Bobby King recommended Terry. Their distinctive voices became a feature of several of Ry's critically acclaimed albums, including 'Chicken Skin Music,' 'Get Rhythm,' 'Show Time,' and 'Slide Area.' Bobby and Terry were still touring as a duo during this time. Terry sang lead vocal on 'Down in Mississippi' on the 'Crossroads' movie soundtrack album, with Ry singing the title song. In the actual film, Terry sings the title song. Terry toured with Ry Cooder throughout the U.S., Europe and Japan and credits Ry for being a great inspiration to him in his musical efforts since being in California.
In addition to his work with other artists, Terry recorded two albums with Bobby King, as well as eight of his own. He is now touring with his own band, and continues to write and produce new albums.
Ry Cooder has said that he always thought that his long time singer, Terry Evans, made a better 'front man.' To see him perform is to understand why. Terry is one of the most dynamic soul and blues singers performing today, writing and singing about all aspects of human emotion, and creating a connection with his audience in the process.