“Stand-out vocals from singer Robbin Kapsalis, a lady who has a powerful probing voice and range steeped in southern blues and soul quality.” Blues Magazine (Netherlands)
“This less-is-more formula draws all the more attention to the cut-above quality of the band-penned material found throughout the set.” Roots Music Report
"Vintage #18 went into the recording studio and came up with a winner." Southland Blues
Hard-driving blues rhythms and soul grooves fuel the blistering performance of D.C.-based soul blues band Vintage#18. After attending a performance, John Porter, WCVE declares, “Vintage#18 is a band you have to see live in order to appreciate their level of performance.” According to The Alternate Root, “Robbin Kapsalis delivers vocals that slink through a smokey haze of Soul”.
Performing together since 2013, the band sharpened their sound and performance chops in clubs throughout Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia. In 2016, they represented the Central Virginia Blues Society at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee and afterward immediately began working on their debut album Grit.
The album reflects the band’s love of classic 60’s Soul and Blues, featuring a mix of originals as well as two covers (ZZ Top and Bob Dylan). Grit debuted at #5 on the Roots Music Report’s Top 50 Soul Blues Album Chart and held the #1 spot for six consecutive weeks. The band received their first industry nod in early 2017 - a Blues Blast Music Award Nomination for New Artist Album Debut.
Vintage#18 chose to self-produce Grit, and a framework was in place before most of the album was written. One of the goals when they first started writing, was to make sure that their sound didn’t fit solely into a single genre. Blues, Soul and other familiar elements appear, however they’re mixed in a way that brings unexpected experiences for both listeners and dancers. This idea worked well in live settings, so the album was approached the same way.
Grit delivers soul and passion along with very personal songwriting from Kapsalis and tight musicianship from Holter, Chandler, and Kuldell. Kapsalis oozes soul in the opening track, “Diamonds Are Optional” and “Is This Too Good.” The seductive “Love Hangover” has become a club favorite, showcasing smokey vocals and intricate guitar throughout. The album features their cover of “Million Miles”, a Bob Dylan classic, which is given the slow blues treatment by Holter’s searing guitar, with Chandler and Kuldell holding a delicious groove. Their ZZ Top cover of “Just Got Back From Baby’s” highlights the bands level of musicianship; Blues Bytes declares "This one positively burns with Kapsalis’s soulful delivery and Holter’s six-string fireworks". “Poor Me” is a throwback tune for the broken-hearted delivered with power and raw emotion, showcasing true soul from Kapsalis.
The band’s live performances generated quite the buzz throughout Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Mark Wenner of the Nighthawks declares “Robbin is a whirlwind of soulful excitement backed by one of the tightest trios in the trade”; and Nick “Dr. Nick” Johnson, WPFW declares “Their onstage performance, with Robbin’s boundless energy, will leave you breathless”.
They soon found themselves opening shows for The Nighthawks, Billy Price, Lil’ Ed and the Blues Imperials, Albert Cummings, Selwyn Birchwood, Coco Montoya and Roomful of Blues. The album features the unique sound of Bill Holter on guitar (a.k.a. #18), while the groove is laid down by Alex Kuldell on drums and Mark Chandler on bass. Soulful vocals are delivered by newcomer and bandleader Robbin Kapsalis.
Blues In the South hit it on the head…”Although this outfit is undoubtedly a blues band, they have a distinctively individual sound.”
Review: Blues Magazine (The Netherlands), Iain Patience
"...An eleven track debut release from US, east-coast band, Vintage#18, ‘Grit’ is an album that pulses with quality grooves, songs, talent and stand-out vocals from singer Robbin Kapsalis, a lady who has a powerful probing voice and range steeped in southern blues and soul quality. Originally from Atlanta, Kapsalis is a true revelation here; a lady with a driving force and command of the music...In truth, this is a rock-solid album, bursting with Memphis soul, Stax and Chess-inspired tradition, and history, an album that assuredly demands wide exposure and appreciation. ‘Grit’ is true grit, with more than a faint shimmer and glitter of gold at its heart. Highly recommended release, for sure." https://www.bluesmagazine.nl/recensie-vintage18-grit/
Review: Blues in the South (UK), by Norman Darwen
"This is the first time I have come across Washington DC four-piece outfit Vintage #18, but I am pretty sure it won’t be the last. Fronted by the versatile and excellent Chicago-born and Atlanta-raised blues singer Robbin Kapsalis – a real blues singer, not a rock or soul singer masquerading as one – the band lay down a stripped back programme of mostly original blues plus covers from ZZ Top (the slow grooving ‘Just Got Back From Baby’s) and Bob Dylan, ‘’Million Miles’ – also a lovely slow groove). Although this outfit is undoubtedly a blues band, they have a distinctively individual sound, based around Bill Holter’s original guitar work – he can riff slowly and simply, or soar with a busy, supercharged solo as necessary. The rhythm section sets the tempo and let the music develop: kudos to Alex Kuldell on drums – listen to the way he plays marching drums on the close of ‘Million Miles’ - and bassist/ keyboards player/ slide guitarist Mark Chandler, who has worked with Charley Sayles. To sum up, this is a fine set, a little different from most blues releases, and given the amount of material issued these days, that is no bad thing at all."
This is the debut album from Robbin Kapsalis; Lead vocals, Bill Holter; guitars, Alex Kulddell; drums and percussion and Mark Chandler; bass, keyboards and slide. They have been performing together since two thousand and thirteen, the band started in the clubs near their home in Northern Virginia. Residencies in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia have more than ensured that the band has a healthy following.; Now after a kick-starter funding campaign they have put together nine compelling original numbers and two fine covers. They also, appear to have successfully avoided the all too obvious trap of pigeon-holing their style into one genre and subsequently seamlessly slide to wherever they want to go. They evidently, from the numbers here, have a musical soft spot for the Blues, Soul and Funk infused sixties and seventies, they also liberally mix-in a laid back Jazz feel to their sound. Robbin possesses a strongly commanding but yet, soft and sensuous vocal range that is not dissimilar to one Joan Armatrading. Within the band there is a solid and captivating rhythm section, unhurried but purposeful while the authoritative and laid back guitar work has the air of carefree picking. “Diamonds Are Optional”, starts us off with a crisp, funk groove that simply oozes from the speakers. The warm seductive voice of Robbin fires up on the foot tapping and steadily striding “Is This Too Good To Be True”, the richly deep thick Jazzy bassline and driving rocking percussion inescapably draws you hopelessly into its’ sweetly enticing web. Dylan’s “Million Miles”, is re-configured into a sombre, smouldering slow burning Blues that has a captivatingly plodding bass line that introduces a blistering and building, soul searching emotion filled fiery slide that is completely and utterly absorbing. The immensely enjoyable “Circles”, possesses a bouncing and captivating Sun Studios Rockabilly feel that has you dancing around the room. ZZ Top’s “Just Got Back From Baby’s”, has been wonderfully re-worked as a low down and dirty guitar burning slow burner with irresistibly flowing Jazz inflections that creates a splendidly spiraling feel. “Circles Down Home”. is rightly dominated by the combination of raw low level burning slide and the equally raw and emotional vocals of Robbin who together describe an unpleasant life that is definitely going nowhere. Greatly Endorsed!
Vintage #18 – Grit You need to go a million miles with this new band from Virginia. I say that as the first three songs on the debut of this blues/R&B/funk act are solid, but the eight-plus-minute power blues ballad “Million Miles” really lets loose and tells you how good these folks are. They are not reinventing the wheel, but they find their own comfortable niche and the result is songs that have a serious pulse, avoiding an overblown sound in favor of subtle intensities from all the players. Keep an ear out for them.
Shameless Endorsements by "Shameless " James Ronan
"...Of the 11 eclectic tunes from "Grit", nine are originals. What caught my eye and ears initially was their cover of Z.Z. Top's "Just Got Back From Baby's". Being so used to hearing a male vocalist singing this song, it was refreshing to hear Robbin lend her sultry voice to this classic. The nine originals stand on their own throughout this superb debut release from Vintage#18!..."
"...I believe that if anyone can make it in this business, it’s a band with a unique sound and a whole pile of determination. They mix blues with soul, funk, and rock to create their own place in the world and vocalist, Robbin Kapsalis has got a set of pipes on her that rock your world."
Robbin Kapsalis’ brawny vocals provide all the up-front action necessary for this DC-area outfit’s stripped-down take on blues and funk. This less-is-more formula draws all the more attention to the cut-above quality of the band-penned material found throughout the set. One will never confuse their own steady-rollin’ “Love Hangover” with the 70’s Diana Ross disco track. A steamy, haunting ballad, “Pieces”, stands out as does the razor-sharp, funk-charged leadoff track, “Diamonds Are Optional”. Dylan’s “Million Miles” gets a bluesy treatment.
Don't be misled by the name. Vintage #18 is a relatively new group making its recording debut here as it delivers a collection of nine originals and two covers with an old-school soul-blues feel....Grit is a solid debut. The material is both fresh and comfortably familiar. It'll be interesting to hear what Vintage #18 has to say going forward.
Blue Barry – Smoky Mtn. Blues Society – April 2017
Here’s one you need to check out...The vocals are clean and crisp, the guitar work, rhythm and lead, are outrageous. You wish your band was this good. Less is more. Enjoy at your extreme leisure. I can see why they are a sought after band, and every member a true artist! Glad to be of service. Blue Barry – Smoky Mountain Blues Society.
Review: Peter Merrett, PBS 106.7 FM, Melbourne, Australia
Vintage #18 you are relatively a new band but completely new to us here in Australia but after hearing this album that will change dramatically very soon. Now as for your album l am for once in my life speechless as this album "Grit" is brilliant. I fell instantly in love with every track immersing myself in every note and nuance it possesses. You guys are fearless but more than confident in your memorizing talents individually and as a collective."
Review: Chris Spector Midwest Record
VINTAGE #18/Grit: Blues rockers that deliver a wide mash up of sounds that captivates your ears throughout. With a lo fi approach, they are wrapping up accolades from all quadrants with this fascinating sound loaded with something you just can’t put your finger on. Perhaps a dose of modern white boy electric blues, their sound is spare but full and loaded with soul. Tasty stuff for when you are ready for a new treat that’ll treat you right, it’s time to spread the word about this crew beyond their home turf. Killer stuff throughout. 44676
Chris Spector Midwest Record
Debut Album Release Date Set!
Vintage#18 set to release their debut album Grit on April 21st!
Vintage#18 successfully raised $15,000 to support the release of their debut album.
Vintage#18 Opens for Albert Cummings!
Vintage#18 will open for Albert Cummings at the Hamilton Live in Washington, D.C.!
Vintage#18 opens the show for Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials at The Hamilton, Washington, DC!
Vintage#18 will open for Lil Ed and the Blues Imperials at the Hamilton Live D.C.!
Vintage#18 opens the show for the legendary Nighthawks at the Tally Ho Theater in Leesburg, VA.
Vintage#18 will open for the legendary Nighthawks Friday, October 16th at the Tally Ho Theater in Leesburg, VA.
It promises to be an evening filled with Roots, Blues and Soul!
The Road to Memphis!!
Vintage#18 will represent the Central Virginia Blues Society at the 2016 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN. It was a great competition and in addition to meeting some awesome folks, we listened to some really good music. During our 25 minute set we performed one of our original tunes 'Love Hangover', which will be included on our debut album, working title Grit. #Grit
Now our sleeves are rolled up as we hunker down in the lab to continue working on our album and prepare for Memphis! Many thanks to the Central Virginia Blues Society for putting together a great event; their hard work resulted in a well-run show, and great experience for all involved. We are very proud to represent the CVBS in Memphis!
Alchemical Records Magazine: Groovealicious by Daniel Warren Hill
The first time that I saw Vintage #18 was in Nashville, TN. They shared the stage that night with the likes of Phil Keaggy, Denny Jiosa, and Stan Lassiter. Almost a whole year passed before I would see them perform again in their hometown of Washington DC with talented artists like Mike Westcott and Groovespan. Vintage #18 was equally impressive for both performances. It would be hard to imagine them being able to get better as a group because they're just so tight an in the pocket. This four-piece soul and blues band consist of vocalist Robbin Kapsalis (Vocal), Bill Holter (Guitar), Mark Chandler (Bassist), and Alex Kuldell (Drummer). You can tell that each individual member of the band has mastered their craft to perfection, but the way they complement each other can truly be breathtaking. There is no “showboating”. Each member of the band is given the opportunity to shine. Their control over tone and volume is by definition dynamic, and there is just as much emotion and energy into a hit on the drum as there is in the delivery of the vocals. The band is professionally dressed, and Robbin is wearing a white, beaded flapper dress. It's a reflection of a different time when the artists that inspired Vintage #18 were prominent: Etta James, Koko Taylor, Nina Simone, Bonnie Raitt, Sharon Jones, B.B. King, Albert King, Buddy Guy, Ike & Tina Turner. It's not exactly like being transported back in time, but almost. Their interpretations of classic songs like “Walking the Dog” and “Let the Juke Joint Jump” inspire infectious dancing, and singing along, for those that know the words. It's obvious that Vintage #18 is having just as much fun as the folks that are being entertained. Vintage #18 has only been performing together as a group since 2013, but their live performance would have you believe that they've been performing together for years. It is truly a uniquely soulful and spiritual experience that should not be missed, and can only be experienced in person.
One listen and you're sure to fall into the ranks of the groovealicious.
Ric Jaz sits in - JVs, Falls Church, VA
J.V.s Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Ric Jaz from Buddy Guy's band stopped in at the J.V.'s gig after their show at the State Theater on June 10th. Great playing and of course the crowd dug the surprise.
Ric and his bandmate Sherri gave us some "Sweet Home Chicago" and "Dr. Feelgood", and they nailed it. Nice to meet, hear and play with them. Falls Church had it on.
Robbin Kapsalis will be a guest lecturer during Blues & Swing Week at Davis & Elkins College
Robbin Kapsalis will be one of the guest lecturers during Blues & Swing Week from July 13-18, 2014 at Davis & Elkins College, Elkins, WV. Held at the Augusta Heritage Center, the event offers students an opportunity to choose various seminars on Blues performance, dance and instrument repair.
Robbin will be delivering the course on "Feeling the Blues and Delivering the Blues". Other instructors for the week include Phil Wiggins, Mark Wenner and Bill Kirchen.
Robbin received a Wammie nomination for best Blues/Traditional R&B Female Vocalist for 2014. Thank you to all voting WAMA members and congratulations to the nominees. Please be sure to return your ballots by Feb 6th and if you're not a member of WAMA, we hope you will seriously consider becoming a member and embrace the Washington D.C. area music scene. http://wamadc.com/wama/wammies/wambal28.html