Singer, guitarist, songwriter, and bandleader Anthony Rosano has always been drawn to grit, gravitas and the connection that comes from making music. Although his music is firmly implanted in the firmament of the blues, he takes his cue from any number of archival influences.
Over the span of the past ten years, it’s certainly served him well.
“As a teenager, I was into all the British bands that took their cues from the blues,” he recalls. “I was still a novice on guitar when I read an interview with Glen Tipton, the guitarist from Judas Priest. He mentioned that Peter Green, the genius guitar player for the original Fleetwood Mac, was his main influence, and he cited ‘Green Manalishi’ as the song that had inspired him early on. I found a copy of Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac album recorded live at the Boston Tea Party, and after soaking it all up, it led me to John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, which, in turn, led me to the original blues masters like Freddy King and Muddy Waters.
“As everything fell into place, I quickly realized that all my favorite songs by my favorite bands were actually blues songs! The feeling I got from those songs became a kind of spiritual connection, one that originated when the English took it upon themselves to emulate the authentic sound of true American soul, and then share it with the rest of the world. It became a transatlantic and universal phenomenon.”
All these years later, Anthony continues to play his part in that continuum. Well recognized and highly respected for his dedication to that specific sound, flush with its drive and determination, he and his band, The Conqueroos — Anthony on guitar and vocals, Kyle McCormick on drums and Jake Fultz on bass — have delighted — and inspired — audiences big and small. Whether on their own or while sharing stages with Bob Seger and his Silver Bullet Band, ZZ Top, Gov’t Mule, Samantha Fish, or Tab Benoit, this powerhouse trio continues to amaze and impress.
In fact, it was that connection to Benoit that led to his upcoming album, Cheat The Devil, which finds Benoit himself sitting behind the boards for producing, engineering, mixing and mastering. The two originally met at a blues festival in 2013 and immediately hit it off. Benoit offered Anthony the opportunity to open for him on tour and two weeks later, suggested they record an album.
Recorded at Whiskey Bayou Studio and due for release this July on Whiskey Bayou Records, the new album represents another defining chapter in a career that’s brought Anthony and his band to the top of the Billboard and iTunes Blues charts, while also drawing the absolute admiration of audiences and aficionados — be it those wholly devoted to the blues, raging rock enthusiasts or heavy metal Metallica fans. Not surprisingly then, the songs not only live up to expectation, but clearly exceed it as well.
“We had a great time making this record,” Anthony recalls. “Tab is a great guy to hang with and we share similar musical influences and sensibilities. Before going into the studio, we talked about our favorite records and how most of them were recorded live. This record is strictly three guys, all together in the same room playing live in the studio. We had talked about bringing in other musicians on certain songs, but Tab convinced us to maintain the power trio format that reflects our true live sound. There were no overdubs and no edits, and it was mixed directly to tape. Ultimately, we captured the perfect vibe and ended up with a perfectly imperfect organic record.”
While some have compared the Conqueroos’ sound to that of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble or Rory Gallagher, Anthony has always followed his own muse. A native New Yorker who now resides in Norfolk Virginia, he won instant acclaim with his self-released debut, Anthony Rosano and the Conqueroos, produced by Mike Zito, which made its debut at number nine on the Billboard blues chart and then quickly ascended to Number One on the iTunes blues charts at the same time.
Anthony’s efforts have continued to bear fruit ever since. While the pandemic kept the Conqueroos off the road, Anthony continued to keep in contact with his fans through a series of live streaming acoustic concerts. They were so successful in fact, that one of the new songs he previewed, “Isolation Blues,” was tapped by NPR for use on its “Voice of America” program.
With a forthcoming tour that will find them opening for the Humble Pie Legacy beginning in September, Anthony remains both modest and motivated. He’s clearly paid his dues, citing the fact that within days after playing Madison Square Garden and opening for Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band, he was back at home playing for 20 people at a pool party. And while there was a time when he made his living as a successful business man and raised his family, he never lost his motivation to make music, a muse he’s pursued for the past decade.
“I want to connect with people the way music connects with me,” he insists. “I also realize it’s important to put myself out there. The rewards that come from music equate with the human experience in its entirety — what it means to share, to sometimes feel heartbreak, to understand what it’s like to be lost in love. Sometimes it can even be about something silly or superfluous, and yet the affirmation and the bond that come through music is, in my opinion, all part of the joy that comes when a life is well-lived. Personally, I can’t imagine living my life any other way.”