Monkey Around in Phelan Park

Birmingham Weekly

Seriously, eight people in a blues band? That's a lot of damn blues. And apparently, they play them right. I'm talking about Po' Monkey, a Birmingham-based blues band fronted by guitarist Ross Roberts and vocalist/harmonica player Bruce Andrews. Po' Monkey won Birmingham's Battle of the Blues Bands this year, and consequently Andrews, Roberts, horn players Mike Lingo, John Remley, and Rick White, drummer Lewis Ross, keyboardist Clay Swafford, and bass player Eric Onimus (MAN that's a lot of names) will be representing the great state of Alabama in the International Blues Competition in Memphis, in February. Today, the band is playing a free (yes, that means no money! I love the Magic City Blues Society!) concert for your enjoyment in Phelan Park. Po' Monkey has come a long way from its humble beginnings. Competing in the International Blues Competition was probably not on the radar (heck, the radar hadn't even been built) when Roberts and Andrews started playing a Tuesday night jam session at an area establishment. As more and more band members started to show up (you'd think they took in strangers off the street), it became clear that something special was happening, and Po' Monkey was created. If you'd like to see what collaboration has wrought, grab a deck chair or blanket, a cooler stocked with your favorite beverages, and some barbeque from Dreamland (just across the street from Phelan Park) and show up at 3 p.m. For more information visit