Biography
 
 

Voodoo Puppet, the Cincinnati-based blues-rock band, plays danceable blues, roadhouse hits, blues-inspired classic rock, and Cajun favorites.  Their road-tested song list is packed with popular, upbeat tunes designed to get a wide variety of crowds up and dancing and keep them entertained all night.  And their New Orleans/Cajun flavor transports one to a back porch on the bayou or seedy juke joint in the Big Easy.


The band, consisting of guitarist Harry Harvey, and bassist Brother James, was originally formed in the winter of 2008, and underwent several line-up changes throughout 2008-2009 while they tried to find their style and sound.  In the summer of 2009, the quartet solidified with Tim Tiernan as the frontman, and Greg Roberts as drummer.


Their music is a unique blend of classic blues and gritty blues-rock, in the spirit of classic 60s and early 70s bands’ approach to the genre.  Though they play Chicago-style and other forms of blues, their music still centers on raw energy and a loose, improvisational style.  They’ve been influenced by Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, John Lee Hooker, Elmore James, B.B. King, Professor Longhair, Tab Benoit, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and even Talking Heads.  Their sound has been compared to the Big Sugar, Canned Heat, Joe Cocker, and The Black Keys.

Tim Tiernan is the vocalist for Voodoo Puppet.  He’s been playing bass and singing since 1974 in high school glee club.  Early on Tim played with the band Fingers, which opened for Kansas on a number of occasions.  He’s been a sound man for most of his musical career as well, doing sound for Confederate Railroad, the Lynn Sisters, David Alan Coe, and the Kentucky Headhunters, just to name a few.  He traveled with the band Painter in the 80s and 90s, working the same circuit as Bell Jar, Prisoner, and Savatage (the precursor to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra).  In 1994 he helped found The Blues Persuaders, one of Cincinnati’s premiere blues acts of the 90s.  Finally in 2002 he joined the Cincinnati-based rock n’ soul outfit Leadfoot Johnny, which he continues to front to this day.

TIM TIERNAN

Percussionist extraordinaire, Greg Roberts, had his first gig in the spring 1962 at age 14, with his own blues-rock trio.  Since then, the bands he’s played with is too long to list, but notably he’s performed with Cherrybomb, RDM, and Blue Lightnin.  He was first influenced by his father’s Dixieland jazz band, and his mother’s practicing of show tunes for upcoming musicals, while doing dishes or the laundry.  Greg started playing drums in self-defense:  his parents thought he’d make a good trumpet player – he didn’t.  He currently also plays drums with the Oxford-based band Lonesome Stranger.  “As my sixth decade dawns I realize that my playing ability will decrease going forward if I don’t play all the time.  My aim is to end as my father did: he played his last job barely four months before his passing.  I carried his old bass fiddle to and from that job for him, as I had done for some time previous.  He told me it made him feel young when he played, and that fuels my passion for performing to this day.”

GREG ROBERTS

Cincinnati west side native and lead guitarist Harry Harvey began playing music in 1967.  He has since performed in several bands, including Rush (not the Canadian prog rock band), ONE, Boo Boo Ray, Cadillacs for Jesus, Idle, and Paleo Wah.  He recorded with the famous producer Ric Wake, and he played with legendary pianist James “Pigmeat” Jarrett.  Harry’s musical influences include The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Santana, B.B. King, King Crimson, Weather Report, Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, John McLaughlin, Robert Johnson, Rob Zombie, Metallica, and Miles Davis.  ‘Just for fun,’ Harry builds and experiments with analog synthesizers, and composes mathematics-based electronic music.  He is also a skilled luthier (Harry was a professional guitar repair tech for 15 years), designing and building acoustic guitars and electric basses, as well as piecing together instruments from parts of very disparate basses and guitars to make unusual new creations.  He also rebuilds vintage and builds vintage design-based guitar amps.

HARRY HARVEY

Bassist Brother James grew up in Youngstown, Ohio during the punk and metal scene of the 80s and has been playing music for more than 25 years.  But he was raised on old-school country music (like Waylon, Willie, and Hank Sr.), as well as Sinatra, Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel, and even Streisand and showtunes, thanks to his mother's eclectic musical taste.  He spent his summers as a child in the northern mountains of Georgia and attended many bluegrass and 'mountain music' festivals - he was hooked from an early age on the 'grass.  In addition to bass guitar, he also plays tenor saxophone, and blues harmonica.  He has performed in various rock, metal, punk, jazz, and blues bands, including, Idle, Paleo Wah, Velvet Blue, Leo Clarke Band (occasionally still subs in on bass), Tempted Souls, Cincy Blues Syndicate, and the Cincinnati Entertainment Award-winning blues band, Voodoo Puppet.  He currently plays with the Brian Keith Wallen Band from Indiana, RB Stone out of Nashville, the blues-rock original outfit Lords of Reverb, and the RiverTowne Ramblers.  He was also one of the original members of Guillotine, the precursor to the internationally-renowned 90s metal band Tempo Tantrum.  James’ influences (some of the more prominent at the moment) include John Paul Jones, Donald “Duck” Dunn, Charles Mingus, James Jamerson, Victor Wooten, Stanley Clarke, Oteil Burbridge, Johann Sebastian Bach, Tab Benoit, Junior Kimbrough, R. L. Burnside, Cake, and The Black Keys.  For more than 16 years, James has been involved in the Cincy Blues Fest in various capacities, such as Co-Director and Marketing Coordinator, and now serves as the Cincy Blues Society’s President.  To James, the blues is “a groove I can settle into, like the comfy part of your couch just made for you," and bluegrass is "the best feel-good music ever.  It just feels right, like a worthy cause or a spiritual gift."

BROTHER JAMES