Blythe Gamble Projects
BLYTHE GAMBLE AND THE ROLLIN’ DICE is a dynamic blues, rock, singer/songwriter band.
Blythe Gamble first started playing music as a very young girl with her father and family. She discovered, at an early age, that she loved music and the stage. Blythe was born with a rare heart defect and her parents were told she would’nt live to be 13, there was nothing they could do. At age 10 she became deathly ill with heart disease..which led her to meet a German surgeon who had tried a risky operation to fix her defect on only 6 other people before her. Her parents let her decide and she risked it. The surgery was a miracle success story, and to this day she takes no meds and has had no heart trouble. Her lust for life is contagious, and those who know her life story think it’s because she survived beyond the tragedy and found a catalyst in music for her infectious appreciation for life in general and her joyous energy. Leaving Wisconsin in 1994 to pursue her passions, she has lent her vocal talents to many well known bands and has performed in venues all across the United States, including gracing the stage with Zena the Mojo Mama in Memphis and working with Boston member Curly Smith and members of Dokken and George Lynch and The Lynch Mob on albums in Arizona. She has also had a solo act since age 17, which started by busking on the streets of San Diego, CA and Phoenix,AZ…and joining bands who were opening for Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, No Doubt, and Gravity Kills.
Blythe fell in love at a young age, was married for 8 years, and had two children. Soulja, the firstborn, is the absolute light of her life and gives her pride and joy each and every day. Her youngest daughter(just as beautiful and precious), however, was born with the rare heart defect and it proved to be much worse that her mother’s and irrepairable. Rosa, the second born, was the 5th infant in the world to receive a heart and double lung transplant…which brought Blythe’s music to a screeching halt and catapulted her back home to Milwaukee, home of the best Children’s Hospital in the country for these extremely difficult surgeries. It was a long haul…articles were published in the State Journal and other newspapers about Blythe’s perserverence and surviving this alone. Rosa lived a year after transplant and Soulja and Blythe said goodbye after a tragic battle. They also suffered the loss of their father/husband as he up and left…caved in from the stress. Blythe went back to work as a chef, and formed a rock band Solsafire which had a great 6 year run in Milwaukee. This band helped her write some great songs about what she had been through. After the band broke up in 2007…Blythe grabbed Soulja and left Milwaukee to come even closer to her hometown Portage, WI…and settled here in Madison, WI.
Today, she is a single mother of her beautiful daughter Soulja, who has already earned herself a full-ride scholarship to UW Madison. They have somehow found the way to survive and prosper through all the grief and loss, and Blythe gives credit to the music for keeping her sane and focused through it all. In coming back to Madison, she has reconnected with her roots and gone back to the blues, the music she started singing with her Dad as a young girl. She has been quite successful so far in this genre and an album could only boost that success. Quotes from Blythe: “I want nothing more in life right now than to record my original music!””Although I have experienced great tragedies in this life, each day I am grateful for my life, my loves, and living my musical dreams that ignite my inner passion”. “I’m not telling you guys this about my life to prey upon your sympathy and get you to give me money.” “I’m seeing my friends die, fellow musicians, and I just don’t ever know how long we all have here…it’s indefinite.””I am asking if you like my music, if you’re one of the ones that wants my album, or if you want to just help a sister finally get there…let me trade you something for pitching in.””Let’s make a permanent record of this passionate music for ALL of us to enjoy long after I’m gone.” That passion she has shows up loud and clear in each performance. This woman does not know how to hold back and she absolutely never should! Her voice hits you like a tidal wave. One you delight to drown in.
Blythe has also been a professional chef for 21 years. She currently makes the best breakfast in town at Willalby’s Cafe on Williamson Street in downtown Madison, and you can also find her managing, serving, and bartending at Mickey’s Tavern. She does personal chef work in Madison and several surrounding cities.
It is the sixth year of our lord on the day of antiquity in the month of mummification and I am born! I was left on the doorstep of a very wealthy family who dropped me off at an orphanage where I ended up being raised ! I grew up in a state of morbid curiosity and my teachers suffered my many questions on the meaning of life! Soon after being expelled from my 15th school I discovered the beetles and everything changed! I was absolutely besotted with them! Soon I collected everything I could about them and even managed to get one to my house ! But my Foster Dad apon seeing it smashed it with his newspaper and that was the end of my beetle phase! Soon after I discovered the guitar and weedled constantly to be given one for my birthday ! But since no one seemed to know when the day of antiquity was I never got one .Instead it fell to me to make my fortune and procure a guitar on my own. But since this is a short bio I shall leave that tale to another day !
John “Cousin John” Swadley
John was born and raised on Madison’s west side in a typical middle class family ’till one Sunday night in February of ’64 he witnessed an event that would change his life forever. The next day with shears in hand he made from cardboard his first guitar. But some thing was missing. Sound. A year or so, a used Teisco guitar and a borrowed Silvertone amp, later he joined his first band. But something was missing. Music. So a few lessons and couple hundred blisters later it happened, but something was still missing. People to play to. Years past bands came and went still no people ’till one day in the late ’70’s (after answering an add in the Shopper Stopper) he joined a band and people came. Addiction set in. Since then John has played in numerous bands of many styles from British rock, Punk, Heavy Metal, Polka (yes Polka another Shopper Stopper add), Country, Acoustic Rock, Blues and compelling people to get up and get down for decades. In between bands John has run sound and light for several local bands, earned a degree in recording engineering, and started a small recording studio. Then one day he was asked if he would roll the dice one more time, where he remains today.
RETRO BUS is a band full of seasoned musicians covering challenging rock songs from the 60’s to the 90’s. Led by Blythe Gamble, RETRO BUS is a power house band that brings a lot of fun to the stage with rock and roll covers from bands such as: Blondie, The Cars, Janis Joplin, Foreigner, Pat Benatar, Tom Petty, Elvis Costello, Van Morrison, The Beatles, The Romantics, and many more.
So one day I was trying to give my cat, Gooby, a much needed bath. I would have done it too if it weren’t for those meddling kids, but she gets scared and usually runs the other way like she’s seen a ghost. Something really scared her this time! Even more than that time at the abandoned amusement park. We found out it wasn’t a ghost it was just Mr. Featherstone. Anyway, I went looking for Gooby. I even thought she might come back to me quicker if I brought her favorite Gooby Snacks. As I was looking I ran into Willie, an old friend of mine. He was in this really cool retro looking bus with Greg, a familiar acquaintance from years ago, and Blythe, who they just introduced me to. I told them I liked the bus and that it kinda reminded me of a really far out one I saw once that was blue and green with red lettering. So like they asked me if I wanted a ride and I was like “Zoynks! That would be great”. So I climbed in and we found my cat, Gooby. She was in the back of the bus, curled up on my favorite green t-shirt. We then all got to talking and Will told me that the band had suffered a loss and they were short a bass player. I said “Well I’ve mostly played guitar but I had a bass and I’ve always been short”. That’s how it started I think, kinda, somewhere, and it seems like it’s going to be a great trip! Thanks for reading.
Once upon a time… There was this kid who found that he enjoyed beating on stuff. Instant music lover / just add sound, joining the category of rock-and-or-roll was like nature taking its course. There was nothing that could have been done to prevent it… Step one was when Men At Work, and Twisted Sister could be heard back to back on the local classic rock radio station. Then dads Led Zeppelin LP’s made their way on to the living room turn-table. Soon enough someone was saying “What’s that noise?” Tap tap tap. Tap tap tap. Then the teachers had to put up with it all day. (Sorry about that / haw-haw!) Next thing we knew it was percussion lessons, and that was all she wrote…. So fast forward thirty years, and now your local stage has the most awesome classic rock band for miles. “Retrobus!” The guitar, bass, and drums have been friends and band members for decades. Then we have Ms. Blythe Gamble on vocals, well you just let your ears do the talking! It’s a pure treasure with this special collection of music and members… One-Eyed Willie’s gonna drop the hammer. So screw the mortgage, grab your fifty-dollar bill, and get on the bus! Let’s roll!