Meet the Band
A brief bio From Charles Freeman, CEO, Tuff Duck Records & Publishing™
Just ten minutes down the road from Nutbush, TN, the home of legendary Tina Turner, is another small town, Belle Eagle. It is in this small farming community that Tuff Duck Recording artist, Mickey Utley, was raised.
Even as a young boy he loved to sing- gospel, rock, country, and blues-it didn't matter what kind of music it was. In high school he was involved in sports but also studied music and theatre; appearing in stage plays, talent shows, revues - anything to perform and test his abilities. During these early years he began to develop his unique style that can make you cry with a ballad or jump to your feet and dance to a fast song.
Mickey's father, a honky-tonk musician himself, wanted Mickey to take his talents to the next level. He taught him to play the guitar, to hone his singing ability and above all embrace music. Mickey gained an early passion for rock and roll from his father, but his mom, who loved all things country, gave him an appreciation for the rich, almost spiritual connection to the family and to the earth that came from country music. This parental fusion would lay the foundation for the unique "blue-eyed soul sound" that so characterizes Mickey's singing style.
In his teen years Mickey was selected for Libertyland. He entered talent contests, karaoke contests and used any money he won to enter other contests and make demos. In 1994, Mickey would perform at a karaoke bar in Jackson TN that J. Michael Keener and I owned. A karaoke tape of "Always on My Mind" that Mickey recorded that night was played on radio station 103.1 and the seed was planted in my mind of the future that lay in front of Mickey.
Mickey would spend the next few years moving up the ladder of success playing casinos in Las Vegas and all across the country . After successfully auditioning for Carnival and Royal Norwegian Cruise Lines, he performed for thousands of passengers from all around the world establishing a fan base that contacts him on a daily basis. Unsatisfied with simply singing music written by others, Mickey began to write. Unafraid to peel back the emotional layers most of us try to keep inside, Mickey began to create songs, including one featured on several episodes of the hit television series “Jersey Shore" and three albums.
Playing separately on the casino circuit our paths crossed repeatedly and early in 2013 I joined Mickey's touring band, playing bass and singing backing vocals. During these performances I saw that the teen-aged singer that I had known had matured into true star material, wowing audiences from north to south.
In 2014 soon after starting Tuff Duck Records a chance call between Mickey and I led to Mickey singing on my Christmas project,“Tennessee Christmas”. Early this year we recorded Mickey's latest album, "Get It! Get It!" and a musical relationship was born. The talented, grinning youth I had met years before has become the cornerstone artist for Tuff Duck™ label. Charles Freeman
Tony Rossi has been playing guitar since was 10 years old…..Born and
raised in the music rich city of Chicago, Illinois, this versatile, seasoned
musician has spent most of his adult life on stage touring from one end of
the USA to the other, and literally as far north, east, west and south in
Canada as you can get!!! His strength as a performer is apparent once
you've seen him live. His wild, unpredictable stage antics have garnered him
quite a reputation!! Tony's playing is free and passionate. He performs in the
moment, drawing on the energy of the crowd and any tucked away emotions
he has bottled up. Tony is also a talented songwriter with a large catalogued
of music stylistically ranging from Hard Blues Rock, to Melodic Latin Pop. You
can catch Tony rippin' it up on stage somewhere around the country literally
any night of the week. You also hear his music on a number of TV show's
such as Mega-stuctures and Modern Marvels, and just added The WE
networks Secret Lives of Women..Episode- Size Does Matter ...Also new CD "
ILLUSIONS DELUSION " available on all major digital record stores worldwide.
Itunes, Amazon etc. TONY ROSSI is also featured on GUITAR WIZARDS VOL I II
on Versailles records…Recently played dates around the country with
STARSHIP featuring Mickey Thomas. And also now touring with Mickey Utley
[Tu: Duck Records} TONY ROSSI endorses KILLER B GUITARS and
LEE SMITH Memphis born, Lee started playing professionally at 15 on Beale Street and in Memphis venues. From early on, he drew inspiration from John Bonham, Carter Beauford and Jon Fishman. When not gigging, he draws inspiration from local artists.
Sammie Flagg has been playing bass guitar for about 20 years. He started out playing gospel music in church and from that he expanded to R&B, Blues and Country. He has played with the Mickey Utley Band for approximately 6 years. In addition, Sammie has also played with Rickey Lynn Gregg, Seventh Sundown and County Line. Also playing at Rum Boogie Cafe with blues band on Beale Street. Sammie has been influenced by Victor Wooten and Miles Davis. His back line gear preferences are a Ken Smith and Fender basses along with straight swr bass guitar amps. You can see Sammie out on the road with the Mickey Utley Band laying his groove-funk style bass playing.