The music of Lil Red and Big Bad is unique to New Orleans, a mix of Blues, R&B and RocknRoll delivered with a lot of soul. When you add the vocal energy and stage performance of Nancy “Lil’ Red” Gros, it’s no mistake that this band became the winners of the 2010 New Orleans Voodoo Blues Krewe Challenge in October, 2010.
Growing up in New Orleans, Lil’ Red attended her first Jazz Fest in 1976. She was smitten by the stage when the Meters played “They All Asked for You”. Not until 2001, after 10 years of marriage and two young children, did she begin to fulfill her dream of fronting a band. Inspired by the music of Irma Thomas, Etta James, Ruth Brown, King Floyd, Dr. John and many more great R&B musicians, she crafted her talent for several years, then formed “Lil’ Red and Big Bad” in 2005.
Because of her unique and energetic way of delivering her sultry vocal sound, the band developed quite a following, as they played from the Northshore of Lake Pontchartrain, to the West Bank of New Orleans. Today Lil’ Red is backed by some of the best musicians in New Orleans, namely Willie Panker on drums (original member of the “Iguanas” and “Amy and the Hank Sinatras”), who also worked with such musical greats as Earl King and Alan Toussaint, just to mention a few; Jeff Ruello on Lead Guitar; Sandy Maillho on Bass. Others working with Lil’ Red are Jack Carter and David Hyde on Upright Bass, Jimmy Carpenter, Derek Huston and Jason Mingledorff on Sax, and Greg Villafranco and Tom Worrell on Piano, who as well, have worked with many of the musicial greats of our time, too numerous to mention.
On October 8th, 2010, with her stellar team of musicians, Lil’ Red won the VBK (New Orleans Blues Society) Blues Challenge, and received the winning title of “Best Blues Band” at the legendary Mid-City Rock’n Bowl, sending her to world renowned Beale Street in Memphis, to represent New Orleans in the International Blues Challenge (“IBC”), in February 2011.
The band performs regularly on Frenchmen Street, has toured Colorado, and opened the 2012 French Quarter Festival on the main stage. Other recent accomplishments are 2010 Blues & BBQ Fest; 2011 Wednesdays on the Point Festival; and the 2011 Voice of the Wetlands Festival.
“It’s never too late to fulfill your dreams”, says Red. “There’s nothing like singin’ the blues.”