Certificate Award – Harmonica 8th Annual LA Music Awards
She stands a mere five feet tall, but don’t let her tiny stature fool you, Kellie Rucker is a very BIG talent. Over the course of a career that has spanned more than 20 years, she has appeared on the bill with such legends as Dizzy Gillespie, Stephen Stills, Albert Collins, James Cotton, ZZ Top, Dan Hicks, Warren Zevon, Little Feat and B.B. King. Her command of the blues harp and her powerful singing voice have made her a key ingredient in her recent recordings and live shows of legendary blues guitarist and Grammy nominee, Jon Butcher. Her work can also be found on discs by such diverse artists as Coco Montoya, L.A. Guns, Corey Stevens and B.B. Chung King and the Screaming Buddaheads.
Born in Oklahoma City, Rucker and her family moved often, making stops in Texas, Virginia and the Florida Keys before settling in Mystic, CT. She took up the harmonica at the age of twelve, and as a teenager had the habit of sneaking into blues clubs to see influential performances by Johnny Winter, James Cotton, James Montgomery, and Roomful of Blues. At age seventeen, she headed west and set up shop in Denver, where she formed her first blues band, Blues for Breakfast. She loved the Rocky Mountains, but longed for the warmth of the Southeast and returned to the Florida Keys. There she happened to join forces with the Bill Blue Band, with whom she eventually toured in Scandinavia.
In 1985, Rucker came to Southern California and settled briefly in the San Diego scene before migrating north to Los Angeles, where she met Coco Montoya and Albert Collins’ guitarist Debbie Davies. She and Davies formed a band that toured extensively along the ‘left coast’ for over two years. As her harmonica playing evolved, Rucker began to feel limited by her role in a traditional blues band and she sought to expand her musical horizons. She caught the attention of noted electric blues guitarist, B.B. Chung King, and after sitting in a few time was invited to join his band, The Screaming Buddaheads. She recorded and toured with BBCK for over five years, and since then has become a sought after ‘gun-for-hire’.
Not one to rest on her laurels, Kellie has returned to Florida once more, and can now be seen adding to various blues based ensembles.