Cebar began his trek down the musicologist highway more than 20 years ago when he discovered country blues players and jazz at New College in Sarasota, Fla. A love for jump blues followed and back in Milwaukee Cebar began adapting this style in solo performances. He later joined the R&B Cadets whose repertoire and influences included the piano and horn arrangements of New Orleans giants Allen Toussaint and Dave Bartholomew, and he discovered his love for calypso and African musical styles. Cebar became the band member who sought out unusual songs to add to the Cadets' play list.
"I became the 'track down the obscure B-side guy,'" Cebar says with a laugh. "It was one of the best jobs I've ever had."
Cebar eventually formed the Milwaukeeans and 16 years ago he started writing original tunes drawing from his catalogue of influences. The band has been performing much of the ensuing time, though Thursday's visit is only Cebar's second Richmond show. Currently the Milwaukeeans comprise a five-piece outfit employing bass, drums, guitar, keyboards, saxophone, percussion and accordion. In addition to Cebar's songs, the band performs unusual covers such as Eddie Bo's '60s dance tune "Check Your Bucket." But whether original or cover, the music is filtered through Cebar's unique musical personality. A part-time disc jockey in addition to a rock 'n' roller, Cebar draws from a formidable knowledge of roots music in digging his deep musical groove.
"It's like you take 'em [influences] into your own thing and make 'em my own."
Paul Cebar and the Milwaukeeans play Poe's Pub, 2706 E. Main St., Thursday, Oct. 24, 9 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door. Call 648-2120 for information.
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