We had the good fortune of connecting with J.W. Leggio and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi J.W., what is the most important factor behind your success?
Being that Briefcase Blues was founded just over 37 years ago has a lot to do with it – “staying power”. The factors that have contributed to our longevity are the skill of our core musicians, the showmanship in each performance and the connection with every audience we stand in front of every time we play. The music is expertly arranged (as it was when the “Blues Brothers” first performed these songs from 1978-on), and we do our best to make each show a real concert experience. The driving force that lives behind the best concerts of other artists (even the most internationally acclaimed bands) is always “the SHOW must go ON”. It isn’t about being “slick” or unbelievably polished or seamless. Concerts are subject to glitches, things go wrong – it’s the real world. But every performer in Briefcase Blues knows his part on stage and we pull together to leave the audience satisfied and wanting to see more the next time.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
What sets Briefcase Blues apart from other bands is over 37 years of dedication to excellence in live performance – with a 10-piece band. It wasn’t easy, and it still isn’t. Starting a band is tough – you learn hard lessons right out of the gate. Keeping a band going for 3-plus decades is just as tough, even when it feels like you’ve paid your dues ten times over. One thing that makes it all worth it to this day is knowing that in every audience there are some people who have never heard these songs. If we connect the crowd as a whole, that’s entertainment; we’re good at what we do, we have fun doing it and audiences love seeing and hearing us.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Here in Dallas? To show someone who’s never been here a good time, I’d be like a native who avoids the “touristy-spots”. I’d take them to the best Tex-Mex eateries on the east-side – mama and papa places. I’d take them on a tour of old Oak Cliff where Stevie Ray Vaughn and a host of other great musicians started out (including some of MY band members). I’d introduce them to local characters that are my friends and let them tell some stories. Lots of stories. I’d show them Dallas at “street level” I grew up in a family where my dad was an international captain with a major airline, with an apartment in Los Angeles – traveling all over the Pacific to places like Hawaii, Okinawa, Japan and Australia. But I’ve always called Dallas home.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
This “Shoutout” is dedicated to my mother (who encouraged me), my father (who mostly didn’t), my wife (who loves and tolerates me) and all the musicians past and present who have worked with me.
John Klare, Jr., Christian Thornton, Patrick Caster