Al Caldwell

by David Bandrowski

Al Caldwell, a native of St. Louis, is a multi-instrumentalist whose vibrant style and energy bring his music to life. Producer, songwriter of over 1500 tunes, bass player for Vanessa Williams Band, and Deering Crossfire banjo player....Al brings his enthusiastic and innovative approach to all of these talents.

He joined the Vanessa Williams Band in 1997 and his first performance was for the Prince of Monaco. On returning to the US, they performed on the David Letterman Show and were seen on the top TV shows of the time. The band added Luther Vandross to the lineup and continued to play everywhere from the Hollywood Bowl to New York City's famed Madison Square Garden.

Like many in 2002, Al saw the movie "Oh Brother Where Art Thou?" and was inspired by the soundtrack to play banjo. His great-grandfather had played the instrument. Moved by the African origins of the banjo and the lack of African American artists playing the instrument, he formed The Travelin Black Hillbilly's Band to a new African American influence to banjo music.

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