If not for the Beatles and the US British Invasion of music in the sixties, it’s entirely possible Tony Deziel wouldn’t be the talented six-string guitar slinger he is. The impact of the Fab Four on a young Tony Deziel cannot be underestimated but they weren’t the only ones, as the Connecticut native is only too happy to confirm: ”Eric Clapton, Cream, The Who, Peter Frampton, the Beatles as solo artists, and British pop songs from the sixties and seventies were influences, too. There was some very creative song writing during that period from the ole UK. The Allman Brothers Band were also a big influence, but the Beatles were by far the biggest factor in my wanting to play the guitar.” Just about every musician has influences but not every musician has natural talent. Tony Deziel most certainly did – only two and a half years on from striking that first chord and picking out those first notes, Tony was teaching professionally in a local music store. By eighteen the gifted guitarist was playing the Connecticut club circuit; his first band, The Barnes Brothers, picked up a solid regional following. The band went on to feature on local cable programs, garnered airplay on Connecticut rock radio stations and played throughout New England. But Tony Deziel’s guitar band talents were only the half of it – he was a college major in classical guitar for three years and went on to teach privately, becoming one of only ten guitar teachers in the United States certified to offer the London College of Music Exams in guitar and music theory. That last credential confirms and underlines the fact that Tony Deziel is none too shabby on his instrument of choice. But performing and playing are where Tony’s musical heart lies and it was his second band, Sundance, which brought deserved and wider recognition. Sundance released the album Pearls of Wisdom in 1996; it garnered a number of notable reviews with many acknowledging Tony’s guitar playing and song writing skills. Guitar Player, Guitar World, Relix and Songwriter’s Monthly were amongst the magazines applying the plaudits; a number of radio and television appearances followed for Sundance. The band also featured in the documentary Behind the Scenes with Sundance, which aired on many cable networks throughout the state and around the country. Songs from Pearls of Wisdom also featured on prominent Connecticut rock radio stations and the longevity and quality of the album is proven by its recent reissue and availability through cdbaby.com, iTunes and Amazon.com. As the sun set on Sundance, Tony Deziel the solo artist and the Tony Deziel Band blossomed in the Millennium years. Guitarist and band became noted for delivering rhythm and blues pop punch with songs such as ‘What’cha Put in That Kiss’ and the finger pickin’ instrumental ‘Jilly Bean,’ while also breathing new life into covers of classic material by British Invasion artists such as Cream, The Who, and the Beatles. A number of Tony’s studio recordings, both self-penned and covers, have been released as singles but the guitarist has also been successful on the other side of the studio glass – in 2004, using his own band, Tony recorded and produced folk artist Bob Johnson’s debut release Fast Train To Nowhere and the album picked up many positive reviews. In 2005 Garageband.com listed Tony as one of their top twelve favourite artists; Tony was featured on 178 Clear Channel Rock Radio stations across the United States. In 2006 Gargeband.com honoured him again by placing him on over 600 Clear Channel Radio Stations. But the best was yet to come. In 2012 Tony was considering releasing ‘What’cha Put in That Kiss’ as a CD single, accompanied but a cover or two (by now something of a Tony Deziel trait). But Tony and fellow musicians Paul Opalach (bass, keyboards) and drummers Steve Peck and Scott Donofrio had so much fun with the covers they ended up recording eight classic pop and blues numbers along with four Tony Deziel originals. Those songs became Tony’s debut solo album Some Things Never Change, released in 2013. Led by the fun, bluesy shuffle of the reworked Sundance song ‘What’cha Put in That Kiss,’ Some Things Never Change is a fine debut, with highlights including the acoustic ballad ‘If I Could Hold You’ and the sleepy little rag ‘Calistoga.’ As regards to having all his musical influences ‘covered,’ Tony and band produced a punchy take of The Who’s ‘Substitute,’ put a little R&B shake on Lennon & McCartney’s ‘Got To Get You Into My Life’ (Number One on Paris France Radio for eleven weeks in 2005) and delivered a lovely rendition of George Harrison’s ‘Something’ (one of Tony’s favourite ever songs). Tony Deziel’s simple but strikingly effective solo on ‘Something’ is a perfect tribute to a late and legendary artist, but its ‘Tattoo’d Lady,’ a cover of a song from another late and legendary artist that typifies and showcases Tony Deziel’s six-string verve and energy. And it’s an artist that Tony has not just an admiration for but a true musical affinity: “When I was in the 9th grade I would dig up anything I could on blues artists; I discovered the London Muddy Waters Sessions album and noticed there was a guitar player called Rory Gallagher on the record. Once I heard him I ran out and got his Tattoo album and that, as they say, was that! People still don’t realize how good this guy was. Not just as a guitar player but as a vocalist and songwriter. And he could, and did, write in many different styles.” Also, not uncoincidentally, musical strengths of Tony Deziel. While Tony’s guitar work is all about the notes and the tone as opposed to the speed of a solo or a riff, he’s not averse to firing off some feisty fretwork, such as on the Rory Gallagher gem ‘Bought & Sold.’ And many of Tony Deziel’s covers now come with official seals of approval… When the Tony Deziel Band did a hot rockin’ version of the Rory Gallagher/ Taste classic ‘Blister On the Moon,’ the legendary Irish guitarist’s brother Donal was moved to say: “Superb, what a terrific version. If Rory were around and did a re-record I reckon this is what it would sound like.” Then a very different kind of song got the official nod from its songwriter. When Tony and band decided to do the first-ever cover of Jimmy Nail’s ‘Ain’t No Doubt’ (the British singer and actor’s 1992 funkified pop hit), Nail’s co-writer Charlie Dore asked Tony to add some spice: “Charlie told me to ‘cook it up’ so I put some vim and vigour into the chorus vocals and took out the sax solo in favour of a cranked up guitar solo. I sent her a version of it and she gave me two thumbs up!” A few covers, including ‘Bought & Sold’ and ‘Ain’t No Doubt’ will appear on Deziel, due for release in the summer of 2014. But the fourteen track album will feature primarily self-penned material including the instrumental ‘Jilly Bean,’ the heavy and bluesy ‘Why Is Love Killing Me’ and melodic blues ballad ‘Shades of Blue.’ The latter was recently used in an episode of the popular CBS crime drama Person of Interest. The featured rhythm section on Deziel are Tony Deziel Band stalwarts Paul Opalach on bass (who also produced and engineered the album and played with Tony in Sundance) and Tony’s long-time friend Steve Peck on drums; another ex Sundancer, drummer Scott Donofrio, also appears on the album. Tony’s love of performance, both electric and acoustic, along with his recording career, means his Student Roster and guitar teaching classes are a thing of the past (he gave up teaching guitar in 2013). But those budding guitarists’ loss is the pop and hard rockin’ rhythm ‘n’ blues world’s gain.