The Band opening for BB KIng at the Denver Botanical Gardens ~ Image by Jim Mimna

The Band opening for BB KIng at the Denver Botanical Gardens ~ Image by Jim Mimna

The Delta Sonics have been playing in Colorado since 1992, and have established themselves as one of the finest blues acts in the area with their solid musicianship and exciting live performances. Their musical stylings include Chicago Blues, West Coast Swing, New Orleans R&B, and some early Rock n' Roll.

The band has won Westword's Best Blues Band Honors for six years in a row (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015,2016) and represented the Colorado Blues Society at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in 2012, making the semi-finals.

Besides averaging 250 gigs a year, the band was featured at notable regional festivals like the Mile High Blues Festival (2009), Blues From the Top (2006 & 2007)  Greeley Blues Jam ( 2006 , 2009, 2012, 2014,2016 ) Belvedere Blues Fest ( 2008, 2011) , Pearl St. Brews and Blues Fest (2007, 2009, 2012, 2014,2015,2016) and the Cherry Creek Arts Festival Main Stage ( 2009, 2012) to name a few.

Al Chesis was one of the only local harmonica players to be featured at the SPAH Convention held in Denver in 2006 and also appeared on Mark Hummel's Harmonica Blowout with harp heavyweights  Magic Dick, Kim Wilson, Jason Ricci, and Mark Hummel himself in Denver and Colorado Springs in October 2008.

The band was featured at the 1997, 1998, and 2001 Denver Blues & Bones Festival, the Boulder/Lyons Blues Festival five times, the Yellowstone Jazz Festival, and the Westword Music Showcase in 1996 and 1997. They have opened for many nationally known blues artists, including BB King,Robert Cray Koko Taylor, Junior Wells, Taj Mahal, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, The Radiators,  the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Tommy Castro, and Charlie Musselwhite.. In 1999 and 2004, the band brought blues piano legend Pinetop Perkins to Colorado for two successful tours. Most recently, The Delta Sonics have also backed Steadyrollin Bob Margolin , Big Bill Morganfield, Lurrie Bell ,John Primer ,the late Bo Diddley (2004), and the late Pinetop Perkins on their many club and festival performances in Colorado. They are a sought after back-up band for national blues artists.


The Delta Sonics music takes a Chicago Blues base and seasons it with Swing, Delta, N’awlins R&B and some early Rock n' Roll . They were Westword’s best blues band in Denver the last six of seven years. The band made the semi-finals in the Memphis (International Blues Challenge) in 2012, after defeating 30 other Colorado bands. The band has also played in Kansas City, St. Louis and New Orleans among other cities. 

Al Chesis supplies vocals & foot stomping showmanship but it's his harmonica playing that grabs you. He has been a Hohner endorser since 1992. Bob Pellegrino supplies the dazzling, slide guitar. Bob was the Colorado Blues Society’s best slide guitar player in three years in a row. Alissa Chesis on bass and Stefan Florez   on drums ‘drive the bus’. 

 The Sonics have  been THE Mile Hi ‘go-to’ band for touring Blues national acts for nearly 15 yrs. The band has backed national blues acts like Big Bill Morganfield, Steadyrollin Bob Margolin, Ronnie Baker Brooks, grammy -nominated Lurrie Bell, grammy -nominated John Primer and the late Pinetop Perkins, & the late Bo Diddley. 

The Delta Sonics opened for BB King (twice) Robert Cray ( three times) and Jimmy Vaughn (twice) among many others . 

Al Chesis was also a special guest on Big Head Todd's album " Black Beehive" on the cut  "I Get Smooth"



Al Chesis ~ Harmonica/Vocals

Al has played in Colorado since the mid-1980's after moving to Denver from Washington, D.C. There he played in the Mojo-Matics for five years, opening shows for Albert Collins, Elvin Bishop, and others. Al has shared the stage with Canned Heat, Tommy Castro, and Homesick James

He has also done studio work for two PBS movie soundtracks and Denver area radio stations, including KBCO, KUVO and the FOX. Al has toured locally and nationally with Muddy Waters' son Big Bill Morganfield, appearing at venues in Colorado, Utah, and Wisconsin, as well as at the prestigious Chicago Blues Festival in 2002.

Recently, Al has toured regionally with Pinetop Perkins, Steadyrollin' Bob Margolin, and Willie "Big Eyes" Smith. Al has been endorsed by Hohner Harmonicas since 1992.

Al ChesisPhoto by: Rob Stuehrk / Agile Imaging

Bob Pelligrino ~ Guitar / Vocals

In 1990, Bob received national attention when he opened for, and backed up, famed Detroit blues artist Eddie "The Energy Man" Kirkland. With Kirkland, Pellegrino recorded a segment for Ruth Brown's nationally broadcast "Blues Stage" at Manny's Car Wash in New York City. Bob opened for Koko Taylor at the Grand Emporium in Kansas City as well as for Duke Robillard and James Cotton.

Although Pellegrino has been a mainstay blues player in the Rocky Mountain region for more than 20 years, he has played all over the country including Kansas City's Grand Emporium, Manny's Car Wash in New York, the Hard Rock Cafe in Dallas, Antoine's "Home of the Blues" in Austin and Denver's Swallow Hill Music Hall. Bob has also been featured at the Swallow Hill Folk Festival and the 2006 Montery Bay Blues Festival.
Bob Pelligrino

John Butler ~ Bass/ Vocals

John began his music career in the Midwest over 40 years ago. Starting as a drummer at age 8, he switched to bass at age 13. 

After moving to Colorado in the early seventies John was "Big Al" of "Big Al & the Hi-Fi's", a national touring oldies act.

John has also played in some of Colorado's top blues bands including "The Homewreckers," "Chicago Skinny," and "Blues Tonic."

He has played many of the Colorado blues festivals and has opened shows for national blues acts such as Kim Wilson, Albert Collins, and Delbert McClinton.

John Butler
Photo by  Rob Stuehrk / Agile Imaging

Willie Panker ~ Drums

Willie Panker grew up in Chicago, where he began studying drums at the age of 10 and playing professionally at 14. He developed a strong interest in jazz and blues while studying under Muddy Waters' and Little Walters' drummer, Fred Below. He eventually was sent by Below to Roy Knapp, a world-renowned percussion and music theory educator, to continue his studies. Willie became involved in the Blues scene gigging with James Cotton, Junior Wells, Jimmy Rogers and the like.

Upon moving to New Orleans in the 80's, Willie became a sought-after sideman, drumming for Earl King, Allen Toussaint and Snooks Eaglin, and eventually forming his own group, The Iguanas . Some of the artists he has played with are John Mooney, Walter ‘Wolfman' Washington, Ronnie Earl, Kim Wilson, Mitch Woods, Fingers Taylor, James Harmon, Anson Funderburg, Gary Primich, Mark Hummel, Jumping Johnny Sansone, and more.

Willie has traveled the world over and performed at festivals, concerts and shows in every juke-joint from California to Miami.