New Orleans, Louisiana is once again home for folk/blues/jazz artist Ted Hefko. After a stint in Brooklyn, Ted and his group, The Thousandaires, are bringing his originally penned stories to life with the “spontaneity of jazz, the bare-bones sensibility of early folk and the vibrancy of New Orleans.” The guitarist/tenor sax/clarinet is also excited about his new CD, Distillation Of The Blues.
The Madison, Wisconsin born Hefko got an early start on his musical career. When he was just 18, and fresh out of high school, he boarded a Greyhound Bus bound for New Orleans. Music was always part of his life growing up listening to jazz records and watching his dad play spoons in a street band. “He was into Piedmont Blues,” Ted recalled. “When I was finishing my junior year in high school, at 17, I hitched a ride to a New Orleans jazz fest. By the time I got home I realized I wanted to move there.”
Not sure if he was ready for college, upon graduation from high school he convinced a former manager who had also moved to New Orleans to let him be her roommate. “The city just fit for me – that spirit of New Orleans,” he said. “I was kind of a pensive kid growing up, but New Orleans will round those edges off of you pretty fast though,” he recalls. “I had some gigs right away, but it really wasn’t happening for me fast enough, and that’s why I decided to go to school for music.”
Eventually graduating from the University Of New Orleans with a degree in music, he began a musical adventure wrought with enough stories and adventures to create a lifetime of music – including driving across the country in a van with his band and living off sandwiches and bar menus. “The pay was abhorrent but the scenery was rich,” he exclaimed, “especially driving route 66 through the painted desert or Colorado’s Rabbit Ears Pass in a blizzard.” Ted’s music is littered with fantastic stories, including some of his mis-adventures through his formative years.
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