Barrelhouse Chuck recieved the 2014 Living Blues Magazine Critics Poll Award for “Most Outstanding Musician” (Keyboards), 2010 Grammy Awardnominee, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 Blues Music Awards, Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year nominee. Barrelhouse Chuck is the only Chicago blues pianist to have studied under Pinetop Perkins, Sunnyland Slim, Blind John Davis, Detroit Junior and Little Brother Montgomery. Barrelhouse Chuck draws on this distinguished lineage to create a blues, boogie-woogie and barrelhouse piano style, that places him at the forefront of this celebrated tradition.
Barrelhouse Chuck was asked by Kim Wilson to join with members of the “Cadillac Records Band” to be the piano player for Howlin For Hubert: A Concert to Benefit the Jazz Foundation of America at The Apollo Theater in New York. February 24, 2012.The House Band included: Willie Weeks – Electric Bass, Larry “The Mole” Taylor- Standup Bass, Barrelhouse Chuck Goering- Upright piano, Billy Flynn- Guitar, Eddie Taylor Jr. Guitar, Danny “Kootch” Kortchmar- Guitar, Ivan Neville – Organ, Jimmy Lee Keltner- Drums, Steve Jordan Drums, Musical Director Kim Wilson- Harp, Vocals. These musicians backed up Keith Richards, Eric Clapton Billy Gibbons and James Cotton, Buddy Guy Jimmy Vaughan, Jody Williams, Jimmy Vivino, DavidJohansen, Elvis Costello, Eddy Shaw, Ronnie Baker Brooks and Lonnie Brooks, Warren Haynes, Gary Clark Jr., and Shemekia Copeland. Hats off to the 1500 seat Apollo Theater in Harlem. The venue did the show full justice!
Born in Ohio (Columbus, OH – July 10, 1958) where he first learned to play the drums at the age of 6, Barrelhouse Chuck, whose real name is Charles Goering, later switched to the piano and was living Gainesville, Florida when he heard his first Muddy Waters record featuring Otis Spann on piano. This was a major turning point in Chuck’s life.
After that, Chuck started buying the records of every blues artist he could find. A quick study on the keyboards, it wasn’t long before Chuck had formed his own band and began opening for Willie Dixon, B.B. King, and Muddy Waters and Chuck was playing with the great Bo Diddley. It was also during this time (the middle 70’s) that Chuck and some of his friends began following Muddy Waters around to get some first hand exposure to both Muddy and his then current piano player, Pinetop Perkins.
‘We used to follow Muddy all around down South. We would wait in parking lots for the Van with Illinois plates to roll up. Pinetop Perkins & Willie Smith would recognize me and get me into their concerts. Then invited me to be back stage with Muddy and the band. Afterward, I’d go out to breakfast with them. I was just in awe.’
Then realizing he needed to immerse himself in blues piano he deciding to go directly to the source. In 1979 he drove 24 hours straight from Florida with Right-hand Frank to Chicago and went directly to B.L.U.E.S on Halsted specifically to see Sunnyland Slim. ‘I took a gamble and came to Chicago, and the first thing I did when I arrived was to go to B.L.U.E.S on Halsted. I walked in the door and there was Sunnyland Slim. I went right up to him and said, ‘I’ve just driven 24 hours straight to see you.”
Chuck spent the next 16 years studying with the living legend, who Chuck called ‘the great-granddaddy of all the blues piano players.’ Through Sunnyland he met all the great blues musicians in Chicago, and often ended up playing with and hanging out with them. Piano greats Blind John Davis, Big Moose Walker, Detroit Junior and Erwin Helfer were also playing blues piano in Chicago. Chuck spent years listening, learning and became friends.
People like S.P. Leary, Smokey Smothers, Erwin Helfer and Little Brother Montgomery took Chuck under their wings, invited him into their homes and made him feel a part of their families.
Chuck formed a special bond with piano legend Little Brother Montgomery with whom he honed his piano stylings during a long internship. Chuck often lived with Little Brother spending many hours with him and Sunnyland Slim playing piano and hanging out. Other great piano players like Tollie & Joe Montgomery, Jay McShann and Lafayette Leake would come by to visit L.B. and play piano. Chuck was instrumental in arranging honorariums, driving him to jobs (and to the hospital when his health began failing) and helping him out in every way he could. Little Brother returned this favor by taking Chuck under his wing and giving him a musical education no other man has ever received. When Brother passed away Chuck lost a mentor and a true friend, but Chuck keeps his music alive when ever he plays. “Little Brother was like a grandfather to me”.
The last 30 years Chuck developed his immense mastery of blues piano and went on to perform or record with most of the notable Chicago blues musicians-people like Jimmy Rogers, Eddie Taylor, Kim Wilson, Hubert Sumlin, Otis Rush, Louis Myers, Buddy Guy, Big Smokey Smothers among many others. His recording credits reads like a ‘who’s who’ of modern day Chicago blues. [CLICK HERE for Chuck’s recording session & record label credits. CLICK HERE for a list of musicians Barrelhouse Chuck has played with!]
Barrelhouse Chuck is a recording artist for The Sirens Records. He participates on the classic recording ‘8 Hands on 88 Keys – Chicago Blues Piano Masters Detroit Jr., Pinetop Perkins, and Erwin Helfer. He has also recorded a solo disc entitled ‘Prescription for the Blues’ and a highly acclaimed band disc ‘Got My Eyes On You’ with Kim Wilson, Calvin ‘Fuzz’ Jones, Willie ‘Big Eyes’ Smith, Eddie Taylor Jr. Joel Foy.
In Feb.2008 Barrelhouse Chuck was asked by Kim Wilson, lead singer and harmonica player for the Fabulous Thunderbirds, to participate with Kim and recorded the soundtrack for Sony BMG’s much anticipated new film ‘Cadillac Records.’ The movie tells the story of Chess Records and includes many of the gifted musicians who started there. Beyonce Knowles is executive producer. Beyonce will also portray famed blues singer Etta James. Adrian Brody plays historic Chess Records founder Leonard Chess; Jeff Wright is cast as blues great Muddy Waters; and Cedric the Entertainer plays legendary songwriter Willie Dixon. Other musicians in the session include Steve Jordan on drums, bassist Larry Taylor (Canned Heat), and guitarists Eddie Taylor Jr., Billy Flynn and the legenday Hubert Sumlin. Previous to recording for this amazing new film, Kim Wilson and Eddie Taylor appeared on Barrelhouse Chuck’s critically acclaimed recording ‘Got My Eyes On You’, released by The Sirens Records in 2006.
During the past Three decades Chuck has played all over the U.S., Canada, Mexico, South America and tours Europe regularly. He has also appeared more than a dozen times at the Chicago Blues Festival. “There are only a few of those great piano players left” notes Barrelhouse Chuck. Even though most of his teachers have passed on, Barrelhouse Chuck has become one of the bearers of the flame, and keeps both their spirit and music alive, passing it along where ever he plays.