Volker Strifler, a long time member of the Ford Blues Band, is achieving recognition as a musician, singer, songwriter, band leader, and record producer. His solo CDs, The Volker Strifler Band, released in 2002, and The Dance Goes On, released in 2006, received critical acclaim from the blues press, musical peers, and fans around the world. Today it’s clear that Volker Strifler is a unique musician in his own right. He has synthesized many years of American music study and the lessons learned as a longtime sideman to Robben, Patrick, and Mark Ford, Lowell Fulson, Chris Cain and others into his own unique musical style and sound.
Volker Strifler was born in Heidelberg , Germany and started playing guitar when he was a teenager. Like most young German musicians at the time, Volker played in local bands at US Army and Air Force clubs as well as local German venues. About this time, Volker had an opportunity to meet the American blues singer, Lee Reed. The meeting was life-changing, for it was Lee Reed who introduced Volker to the blues.
After meeting Lee, Volker dove into local record stores and began voraciously listening to everything he could from Howling Wolf and T-Bone Walker to B.B. King, Eric Clapton, and Peter Green. In 1986, Volker moved to the US with his wife where he had the opportunity to intimately learn about the music he loved. His musical exploration included both jazz players and blues artists. Both styles greatly influenced Volker’s playing. Over the next years, he developed a unique style that blended his musical experiences into the consummate guitar player he is today.
In 1995, Patrick Ford, founder of Blue Rock’It Records and leader of the high energy Ford Blues Band, asked Volker to join the band. Volker took a position once held by Robben Ford, Garth Webber, and Scotty Johnson. Volker toured with the Ford Blues Band on tours in Europe and the US, performing at some of the larger European blues festivals including the Notodden Festival in Norway, The Ecaussine Blues Festival in Belgium, and others in Italy, France and other European countries, as well as the United states.
In 1998, during one of those tours, Volker returned to his native Germany , performing at the Breminale, one of the top blues festivals in the country. The tour culminated in a live performance on the German TV show “Ohne Filter.” Volker appeared on stage with Rufus Thomas, who exclaimed after hearing Volker perform, “What a kick! This guy has it going on!” Volker’s performance had such an impact, it was later released as a DVD and is now still available on the “INACOUSTIC” label.
In 1999, Volker was asked to back up Lowell Fulson, the former Chess recording artist and five-time W.C. Handy blues award winner. When asked about Volker’s talent, Lowell said, “That guy really knows how to play his box!” Later that year, Volker was asked to join in the recording of the Ford Blues Band’s fifth album 1999. He accompanied the band during tours of the world’s leading blues festivals and clubs and gradually become one of the band’s leading personalities who helped influence the Ford Blues Band’s sound and music.
Volker participated in the next Blue Rock’It release, Blue Rock’It Blues Review - From the Studio, which featured Chris Cain, Garth Webber, Andy Just and other Blue Rock’It recording artists. Shortly after that, Robben Ford asked Volker to join him on a US tour, where he was privileged to stand and perform along side one of his greatest idols. Once more, Volker took the chance to prove himself and garnered praise from audiences, reviewers, and Robben.
In 2002, Volker took his career the next step when he decided to release his own CD, The Volker Strifler Band. The release brought Volker more praise from peers as well as leading blues publications including Blues Review, Blues News, and international blues magazines from Germany to New Zealand . Live audiences in the US and Europe agreed. Since the CD hit the stores, The Volker Strifler Band’s performances at festivals in Gaildorf, Heidelberg , and elsewhere in Europe were so successful that “Gitarre und Bass,” the leading German guitar magazine, featured Volker in one of their articles.
In the following years, the Ford Blues Band, including Volker and all three Ford Brothers, released a pair of tribute albums to Paul Butterfield and Michael Bloomfield. Volker was an intricate part of these recordings and co-wrote one of the songs, “Blues for MB.” Volker performed with the Ford brothers at numerous festivals including the San Francisco Blues Festival and the Santa Cruz Blues Festival, as well as at venues in the Czech Republic , Hungary , Switzerland , and Germany .
One would think the Ford Blues Band/Ford Brothers touring and recording schedule would be all that Volker could handle. Not so. In 2003, he answered a call from an old friend and fellow musician, Maurice Hufman, known as “ Big Mo ,” who asked Volker to join him on a recording and three consecutive appearances at the Monterey Blues Festival in 2003, 2004, and 2005.
After Volker’s first solo release, fans began asking for more. In between Ford Blues Band recordings and touring, Volker worked on his second solo album, The Dance Goes On, which was released in late 2006. The CD, which includes musicians from all over the world, features Volker’s song writing ability, his and guitar and vocal styling, as well as his production skills. Since its release, the album has received airplay and positive comments from fans and blues critics.
Unique and different from many of his fellow contemporaries, Volker seeks to incorporate what he has learned with his life experiences, never forgetting his roots. “Volker is not only a very talented guitarist, he is a wonderful songwriter,” says Robben Ford. “He is making an important contribution to the blues that will help keep the genre vital.”
© Blue Rock'It Records 2001--2007