JD Optekar continued to make a name for himself in 2010/2011 on the regional and national blues scene while finishing up a successful run with the band he architected, Hounds Tooth. Playing some of the top regional blues festivals including Big Bull Falls, Prairie Dog Blues Festival, Nothin But the Blues Festival, Paramount Blues Festival, and many others - JD's music has been heard across the Midwest. JD spent 2010 co-fronting Hounds Tooth and played over 90 shows at festivals, fairs, blues societies, and clubs. He has also opened up for some of the top names in the blues including Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Shannon Curfman. His last CD with Hounds Tooth, Soul Rockin, also made the national charts hitting #41 on the Roots Music Report Top 50 Blues Albums. JD continues to garner critical acclaim for his original song-writing and guitar playing: "Solid guitar work, well written and well done original songs" - The Blues Blast Magazine. JD has studied guitar locally under Reverend Raven, Misha Siegfried (Charles Walker Band), and Steve Cohen. JD also co-produced and engineered Hounds Tooth’s Soul Rockin CD and served as executive producer and engineer on Tweed Funk’s debut CD.
Upon leaving Hounds Tooth, JD founded Tweed Funk. Formed in the fall of 2010, Tweed Funk has quickly gained recognition nationally with the release of their debut CD, ‘Bringin It’. The band brings an edge to the music of their forefathers by wrapping together blues, soul, funk, and elements of hip-hop in their audience-interactive, money-maker shaking show. Tweed Funk has performed at some of the top venues including: House of Blues – Chicago; Waukesha BluesFest; Paramount Blues Festival After-Party; BB’s Jazz, Blues, and Soups; River City Blues Society; Summerfest; and Famous Dave’s Bluesfest. Additionally, the band toured in the Midwest/South in support of their CD release.
On March 15th, 2011, Tweed Funk released their debut CD, ‘Bringin It’, which has spent 14 weeks on the Roots Music Report Blues Internet Chart including 6 weeks in the Top 5. The CD has also spent 26 straight weeks on the RMR Wisconsin State Chart including 13 weeks at #1. Here is what critics are saying about the CD.
“The Milwaukee quartet that call themselves Tweed Funk have just released an eye-opening debut entitled ‘Bringin It’, that combines elements of jazz, neo-soul, funk, and the blues to create a high-energy, versatile sound, and includes nine originals and one cool cover…Tweed Funk have taken the traditions of the blues and today's music to successfully forge a unique sound all their own.”– Nashville Blues Society
Fronted by Smokey's sweet, soulful vocals, audiences can quickly hear how Smokey was a pick to hit the Billboard Soul Top 20 back in the 70’s on Curtis Mayfield’s Curtom Records with the band Love’s Children. Former Hounds Tooth guitarist/vocalist, JD Optekar, brings his jump-style blues phrasing, skilled songwriting, and vocals. Veteran musician Donnie Mac lays claim to the biggest thumb in Milwaukee with jaw-dropping bass solos and he is a triple-threat playing bass, keys, and singing at the same time. Marcus “MG” Gibbons rounds-out the line-up on the drums as one of the area's hottest session drummers who has worked and toured extensively with national acts including Harvey Scales, Aaron Moore, and The Esquires. This 4 piece band generates a sound much fuller than you would expect all while leaving the space in the music that defines top-shelf blues bands.