Cash box Kings

Smokestack Lightnin' Home Page -- The Blues Profile Page

Cash box KingsConsidered the "Young Turks" of the Chicago blues scene, the Cash box Kings are dedicated tare dedicated to carrying on the spirit of the 1940's and 50's post-war Chicago blues sound as well as the Delta blues music of the 20’s and 30’s. But these illustrious torch bearers also add a bravado, energy and freshness to the mix that results in a distinctive musical experience. With a focus on the raw, stripped-down, ensemble playing that was the hallmark of the post-war sound, the band showcases the music of Chess Records and Sun Records while adding a healthy dose of original music that captures the essence of the Memphis and Chicago blues sounds of the 40’s and 50’s.

The CBKs were just awarded the 2010 Blues Blast Music Magazine "Sean Costello Rising Star" Award and are regular headliners at Chicago venues like Buddy Guy's, Rosa's Lounge, Nick's and the Smoke Daddy. They have played several successful European tours and have headlined Euro festivals like the Lucerne Blues Festival and the Hondarribia Blues Festival. They have also performed several times at the Chicago Blues Festival. Their last two CDs, "I-94 Blues" and "Cuttin' Heads Live", both spent three consecutive months in the Top Ten of the Living Blues U.S. Radio Charts. The CBKs have also performed and collaborated with Chicago blues giants like Hubert Sumlin, Buddy Guy, Willie 'Big Eyes' Smith, Billy Boy Arnold, and Lurrie Bell. Described as the "Young Turks" of the Chicago blues scene, the Cash Box Kings' recordings and live performances have earned them rave reviews on both sides of the Atlantic.

Cash box KingsAlthough the lineup has changed over the last ten years, the Cash Box Kings are still anchored by Joe Nosek, Oscar Wilson, and Kenny 'Beedy Eyes' Smith. Son of the legendary Willie 'Big Eyes' Smith (Muddy Waters' drummer from 1968-1981). The band is now joined by a rotating cast of newly crowned Kings including Billy Flynn (guitar, mandolin, vocals, harmonica), Joel Paterson (guitar and vocals), Jimmy Sutton (upright bass and vocals), Beau Sample (upright bass and vocals), Chris "CB" Boeger (bass) and Mark Haines (drums). Barrelhouse Chuck, piano and vocals, also regularly performs with the group.

Joe Nosek moved to Chicago in his early teens where he began to become exposed to the classic blues sounds of the greats like Muddy Waters and the Howlin' Wolf. Every year in early June, he would camp out in Grant Park and catch nearly every minute of the three day Chicago Blues Festival. He also began sneaking into Chicago blues bars to see blues legends like Jr. Wells, James Cotton, Otis Rush, Jimmy Rogers, and Willie Dixon. Inspired by these bluesmen, Nosek took up the guitar and harmonica and began immersing himself in the great Chess, Cobra, and Vee-Jay blues recording of the 1940's and 50's. By his early twenties he began sharing the stage blowing harmonica with blues and R&B masters like Clyde "the Funky Drummer" Stubblefield, Luther Allison, and Casey Jones.

In his mid-twenties, Nosek started the Cash Box Kings with Travis Koopman, Chris Boeger, Todd Cambio and Kenny 'Beedy Eyes' Smith. As a frontman, he provides deep, muscular vocals and he knows how to work a room. Whether it's sliding across the stage or dancing on top of the bar, Nosek takes the job of igniting a crowd seriously.

An under-appreciated gem from the Southside of Chicago, Oscar "43 Street" Wilson is part Muddy Waters, part Cedric the Entertainer and a true crowd igniter. Standing over 6'3" tall and weighing over 300 pounds, this larger-than-life front man carries on in the tradition of the great Chicago bluesmen like the Howlin' Wolf, Jimmy Rogers, and Muddy Waters.

Oscar Wilson was born in Chicago, Illinois on 43rd and Wells in the 1940's and has spent his life living and playing the blues in Chicago and Mississippi. Oscar grew up in a musical family; his father was a jazz, blues, and gospel musician and composer and performed with Nat King Cole. Oscar made his musical debut at age 11 singing at a house party with his neighbor, the legendary Dave "Honey Boy" Edwards. In his youth, Oscar immersed himself in the Chicago blues culture and taught himself guitar, piano, drums and harmonica. Throughout his adult life, Oscar frequented blues clubs in Chicago and Mississippi and performed with Chicago blues mainstays like Johnny B. Moore and Melvin Taylor.

The addition of Wilson to the Cash Box Kings lineup only intensifies the Kings' musical connection with the great postwar Chicago blues sounds of the 1940's and 50's. There are few other front men working today that can work a crowd quite like Wilson. His huge physical presence, his incredibly powerful and expressive voice, and his authentic, colorful, humorous, and dynamic stage performances are guaranteed to whip any audience into a frenzy. "Playing with the Kings has been the thrill of a lifetime for me! I'm really grateful to be making music with such accomplished young musicians," says Wilson.

Kenny "Beedy Eyes" Smith - By the time he was in his early 20's, Kenny had already toured the world and recorded with artists like Pinetop Perkins, Homesick James, Billy Boy Arnold, Henry Townsend, Junior Wells and Jimmy Rogers. Son of the legendary Willie "Big Eyes" Smith (Muddy Waters' drummer from 1968-1981), Kenny first performed with Muddy Waters at age 7. Today "Beedy Eyes" is arguably the best and most in-demand blues drummer in the world. Nicknamed the "human-metronome," he is a natural at laying down the nasty, back street shuffles he learned at his father's feet.

Joel Paterson is one of the most respected guitarists on the Windy City music scene today. The blues/country/rockabilly/jazz guitar wizard has spent the last 10 years touring and recording with acts like Dave "Honey Boy" Edwards, Wanda Jackson, Carl 'Sonny' Leyland, Jimmy Sutton's Four Charms, Deke Dickerson, and his own Joel Paterson's Blues Roundup and the Modern Sounds (who were voted best Chicago Jazz Band in the 2009 Chicago Reader Poll). While Paterson can recreate the sound and feel of guitar greats like Django Reinhardt, Tiny Grimes, Chet Atkins, Wes Montgomery, and Merle Travis, he can also nail the Chicago and delta blues idioms of guitarists like Blind Blake, Robert Nighthawk, Jimmy Rogers, and Freddie King. If that wasn't enough, this guy can also tear it up on a pedal steel. Plain and simple this cat can play.

More info on Paterson can be found at:

Jimmy Sutton is one of the most respected and sought after upright bass players in the country. He has toured and recorded with rockabilly, blues, and country legends like Jimmy Rogers, Koko Taylor, Willie 'Big Eyes' Smith, Wanda Jackson, Ronnie Dawson, Scotty Moore, and Pinetop Perkins. In the 1990's, he founded the legendary Chicago jump blues group the Mighty Blue Kings and then went on to form the wildly popular Jimmy Sutton's Four Charms. He currently spends most of his time on the road with the great J.D. Mc Pherson.. Jimmy's bass playing and stage presence are awe inspiring.

More info on Jimmy can be found at:

Chris "CB" Boeger - On both upright and electric, Boeger lays down hard-driving, punctuating bass lines. He's equally versed at playing rough-edged sometimes jazz-influenced rhythm guitar as well as some gritty leads. Gigging five to six nights a week, you can find this consummate string man playing everything from Bebop to bluegrass and blues to bossa nova. CB will be featured in the new Adam Sandler film, tentatively titled I Hate You, Dad, which is set for release in 2012.

Mary Haines - Chicago native and 25 year veteran of the Midwest blues scene, Mark Haines is celebrated for his powerful and tastefully musical drumming.

From the most primitive early Chicago-style slow blues, to an elegant swinging shuffle, Haines inspires the CBK's to find the deepest groove.

Working with fellow CBK Joel Paterson since the '80's, Mark has shared the stage with Dave "Honey Boy" Edwards, Bo Diddley and Marcia Ball, to name a few.

Besides his work on the drum throne, Mark is also an accomplished recording engineer with an Oscar winning song, "Al Otro Lado Del Rio" from the film "Motorcycle Diaries" (2005) and countless albums to his credit including 3 CBK releases, Joel Paterson's "Steel is Real" and Jimmy Sutton's Four Charms "Flatland Boogie" disc.

Oh yeah , he plays a really mean guitar, too...

Travis "White Lighting" Koopman - Now residing on a tropical island far away from the long, cold winters of the Midwest, Travis "White Lighting" Koopman, guitar and vocals, is an emeritus member of the Cash Box Kings. Travis still collaborates with the CBKs from time to time and makes occasional festival performances with the band.

Billy Flynn - Over the last 40 years, Billy Flynn has played with a “who’s who” of Chicago blues legends including Jimmy Rogers, Jr. Wells, Otis Rush, Pinetop Perkins, Buddy Guy, Jimmy Dawkins, Koko Taylor, Willie Kent and countless others. Billy’s encyclopedic knowledge and mastery of a wide array of guitar styles from the 1920’s though the present make him the “go to” guy when bands and record producers want to recreate a certain blues guitar sound. It’s no wonder that Billy was tapped to play guitar for the soundtrack for the recent major motion picture “Cadillac Records” which chronicled the heyday of the legendary Chicago blues label, Chess Records. As part of the soundtrack, Billy backed Beyonce in her 2010 Grammy Winning recording of Etta James’ “At Last.”

In addition to his virtuosic guitar playing, Billy can also shred on mandolin, banjo, lap steel, harmonica, bass, drums, piano or just about anything else that produces sound, including electric sitar (seriously). Billy has toured, recorded, and played with the CBKs for over 6 years now and also produced their second album “Black Night Falling.”

Billy also serves as the groups’ dietician and food guide.

More info on Billy can be found at:

Gerry Hundt - Equally at home on bass, guitar, mandolin, or harmonica, Gerry Hundt has played Chicago blues professionally for over a decade. He earned a reputation as "The Utility Man" during his tenure with Nick Moss & The Flip-Tops, doggedly touring the US and Europe. Gerry's first solo album, Since Way Back, was released in 2007 to critical acclaim, worldwide airplay, and Blues Music Award nominations. The growth of his family brought an extended hiatus from touring; he now plays the Midwest region with his own band and The Cash Box Kings.

For more info, go to or


Click the PLAY button above to start the stream