John Belushi used one to lay down emotionally charged solos as one half of The Blues Brothers in the late '70s. Stevie Wonder used one to transform soul music. And Salt Lake City harp player Tony Holiday uses his to get you up and moving. He'll prove that to you when he brings his band to The Horned Hand on Saturday, Feb. 16.
Sure the blues is a part of the sound that Holiday and his band put out, but there's also some gritty rock and roll to go with it. The kind of stuff that one might imagine cowboys listen to when they're mudding in their Ford pickup after a long day working on the ranch. Holiday himself even dresses like he's saddled up a couple of times—a hybrid of Slash and Waylon Jennings.
So while there's beer drinking music—a term we at the Source probably use way too much—Holiday plays more of the drink beer, get pissed at the guy hitting on your old lady, swing a few punches and then get shown the door by James Dalton kind of music. Yes—that was a Road House reference and one that works on a second level since Holiday's music also sounds a lot like the Jeff Healey band in that movie. Can't you just hear the bottles breaking?
If that isn't enough of a draw, there's one more reason to go see this band: Holiday used his harmonica skills to win Gorilla Music's Battle of the Bands in Salt Lake City last year. No small thing.
Tony Holiday & The Velvetones
8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16
The Horned Hand
507 NW Colorado Ave.
$5 at the door