OMAR & THE HOWLERS
Omar & The Howlers
''Blues is not just a kind of music that you
can just learn. It is a feeling.
You have to have roots, usually coming from great influences in music.
Omar projects that when he is playing.''
- Clifford Antone -
Born and raised in McComb, Mississippi, the small-town birthplace
of Bo Diddley, Omar started playing the guitar at the age of thirteen in the
only place possible - the black clubs at the edge of town. He played there as
the only white guy with the black musicians. They played a very rough kind of
Blues, a bit like Hound Dog Taylor but even more primitive. His influences came
from the Blues radio shows, seasoned with his mother's treasured record collection,
ranging from old Country & Western to Rock & Roll and Soul.
Originally The Howlers performed throughout Mississippi and
the Southeast. In 1976, Omar & The Howlers moved to the musically fertile
Austin, Texas, where they rapidly gained an audience. In the ensuing years they
recorded two albums on local labels that were also available in Europe through
license-deals: The debut-album "Big Leg Beat" (1980, Stomp) and the
second album "I Told You So" (1984, Dixiefrog). By 1984, The Howlers
were Bruce Jones on bass and Gene Brandon on drums, Omar's lowdown guitar licks
and Howlin' Wolf inspired growl made The Howlers one of Austin's hottest acts.
With the release of the second album and their first video
("Border Girl") they continued performing throughout the United States
and began to tour in Europe. Omar & The Howlers signed to Columbia / CBS
Records in 1987 and released the album "Hard Times ln The Land Of Plenty"
that same year. This third album was a breakthrough for the band, receiving
extensive airplay in the USA and Canada and earning an Edison award in Holland,
It was followed by the thirth album "Wall Of Pride" in 1988.
The nineties started off with a contract for the European territory
with Provogue. In 1990 the band returned to Austin to cut a new album, "Monkeyland".
Returning to the original trio format, Omar & The Howlers continued to perform
while Omar recorded his first all-blues album, "Blues Bag" (1991).
This is Omar's most personal tribute to the Blues, primitive and soulful, with
The 1992 "Live At The Paradiso" album, recorded during
a performance in Amsterdam, is a composite of Omar & The Howlers songs from
1984 tru 1992, including previously unrecorded material.
"Courts Of Lulu" of 1993 was Omar's first studio
album with the Howlers since 1990. As a teenager Omar played music in the actual
Courts Motel in Beartown, Mississippi. Like this place, where folks would come
for Blues and drinking, Courts of Lulu is a melting pot of different themes
On "Muddy Springs Road" (1994), Omar conveys images
born of his thirst for what is real, always bringing him home to his Mississippi
roots. The eleven originally penned songs for the album are an offering of the
power of Omar's emotions, reflecting upon early influences, travel and tradition.
The 1995 "World Wide Open" album was the first recording
with Omar's newest Howlers, with Paul Junior on bass guitar and Steve Kilmer
on drums. For the recordings of the album Omar again added Gary Primich on harmonica
and Nick Connolly on organ.
"Southern Style", Omar's latest album was released
in August 1996. It continues Kent "Omar" Dykes walk through the mystery
of his Mississippi roots and Texas pride, mixing Blues, Rock and Hoo Doo. Contributions
were made by Stephen Bruton (guitar), Nick Connolly (organ) and Mark Hallman
(percussion). The album was produced by Omar and Richard Mullen.
Omar and his Howlers have toured Europe around the release
date of "Southern Style" and has supported that album live in Europe
in March and April 1997. (Biography by Provogue Music Productions, The Netherlands)