The Last Waltz Ensemble
|The Last Waltz Ensemble|
|Origin||Atlanta, Georgia, USA|
|Members||Kris "Jellyroll" Gloer
Nick "Bumper" Johnson
The Last Waltz Ensemble is a musical group that progressively plays the music of Bob Dylan and The Band. The group bolsters a play list of over seventy Bob Dylan, The Band, and related songs, covering music from all eras of the artists’ careers. From The Hawks to the Basement Tapes to The Last Waltz to later recordings, the group plays traditional and original arrangements in an improvisational jam band format. The group uses vintage equipment and borrowed arrangements, and incorporates guest performances by friends from regional and national acts.
In the fall of 2004, the Marietta, Georgia-based original Americana band Houndog decided to hold a one-time concert celebration, a tribute to the music from the Martin Scorsese movie The Last Waltz. Houndog, made up of Mark Kramer, lead vocals and acoustic guitar; Kris Gloer, vocals and lead guitar; Eric Reed, bass and vocals; and Shawn Stickney, drums, was a regular band on the Atlanta, Georgia, music scene. Houndog regularly played house gigs on Wednesday and Friday nights at Crystal’s bar on the Marietta Square, as well as one night stands all over Atlanta’s hotspots such as The Brandy House, Fuzzy’s Place and Smith’s Olde Bar.
Led into the project by Kris Gloer, the group contacted Brian Cole, talent buyer for the club Fuzzy’s Place, to arrange a venue for the show. In keeping with the spirit of the final concert of The Band, the group chose Thanksgiving weekend, in November 2004. With the dates and venue scheduled, the group decided to have some of their friends from the burgeoning Atlanta, Georgia, music scene perform special guest features, highlighting the guest musicians’ abilities with songs suited for their styles and influences. Guests from that weekend included Tommy Talton, founding member of the band Cowboy and former lead guitarist for The Gregg Allman Band; the late blues musician Sean Costello; and Rev. Jeff Mosier of Blueground Undergrass.
The show sold out, drawing more people than could fit in the more than thirty-year-old establishment. After the weekend was over, Houndog returned to a regular schedule of original music but decided to make the show an annual Thanksgiving weekend event. The following year the show relocated to its current home, Smith’s Olde Bar in midtown Atlanta.
The Thanksgiving 2005 show included guest performances by Kevin Harris, Terence Higgins and Efrem Towns from The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Rick Richards from The Georgia Satellites and Mimi Holland Thomas.
In the spring of 2006 the group, by then called “The Last Waltz Ensemble”, decided to do a test marketing of the show in five cities across the Southeastern United States. Following sold out performances in Charleston, South Carolina; Birmingham, Alabama; and Athens, Georgia, the group was signed by Intrepid Artists International of Charlotte, North Carolina and began touring the United States performing over seventy shows a year. Since the group was signed it has played more than two hundred shows, performing in clubs and theaters, and performed as part of community concerts and festivals.
The group continues to welcome guest performances during concerts. Former guest performers include Susan Tedeschi, Ted Pecchio, Oliver Wood, Colonel Bruce Hampton, Ret., Sean Costello, Rev. Jeff Mosier, Efrem “ET” Towns, Kevin Harris, Mike “Swami” Schumann, Caroline Aiken, Ike Stubblefield, Bobby Houck, Brock Butler, Charlie Starr, Rick Richards, Zach Deputy, CR Gruver, and Justin Brogdon.
The group released its first record, a CD recorded live in Charlotte, North Carolina, entitled Live at The Visulite Theater in January 2008. Tracks on the disc include “King Harvest”, “Time To Kill”, “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”, “Like a Rolling Stone”, “It Makes No Difference”, and Dylan’s “You Ain’t Going Nowhere”. The group is currently working with Atlanta, Georgia, musician and producer Oliver Wood on an upcoming studio release.
- Charleston SC City Paper The eternal waltz The Last Waltz Ensemble
- Meridian MS Meridian Star The Last Waltz Ensemble rolls into Mississippi
- Savannah GA Connect Savannah Interview with Kris Gloer of The Last Waltz Ensemble
- Huntsville AL AL.com Music people never forget The Last Waltz Ensemble
- Jacksonville FL EU Jacksonville Rockin' down memory lane with The Last Waltz Ensemble
- Honest Tune The Last Waltz Ensemble Not just another cover band
- Jambase Last Waltz Gets Dirty