Jennifer Westwood and the Handsome Devils to Play at Balloons

By Colleen Mahoney

Rock n’ Roll Weekend attracts a variety of national artists to Ellicottville and this year’s event is no exception as Jennifer Westwood and the Handsome Devils will grace the stage at Balloons on Sept. 18, to the delight of music lovers.

Led by Westwood, the group considers itself a rock group, though it’s been welcomed by blues fans across the United States. Having worked with Shooter Jennings, Paul Thorn and Waymore’s Outlaws, among others, Jennifer Westwood and the Handsome Devils has traveled coast to coast, picking up two Detroit Music awards for Best Country Group and Outstanding Vocals along the way.

“We of course are looking forward to performing in Ellicottville, as well as taking in the scenery,” Westwood said. “We have been blown away by the friendliness of people each time we’ve been to New York.”

A gospel singer in her early years, Westwood began her music career in Detroit bars, eventually singing backup for Motown artist Carl Carlton. An ensemble choir student of Bishop C.L. Franklin (Aretha Franklin’s father), Westwood’s church performances led her to studio work with local R&B, soul and roots artists in the Detroit area.  She is joined by guitarist Dylan Dunbar on stage, who has recorded and toured with The Rumpshakers and Whitey Morgan. Dunbar is an All-State award winning jazz instrumentalist.

Making up the remainder of the Handsome Devils, Ken Blaznek and Joe Veloz bring the drums and bass, respectively, to the band.

Their Balloons set list will include some original songs, as well as some covers.

“We’ll be playing our original tunes, including a song we’ve worked on with Johnny Bee, the original drummer from Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels,” Westwood said. “He is a prolific songwriter and talented guy. We’ll also play some tunes people are familiar with in our own style, mixing up a little Texas blues with southern soul.”

Jennifer Westwood and the Handsome Devils will be at Balloons on Sunday, Sept. 18, at 2 p.m. For more information about the band, visit JWHandsomeDevils.com. For information about all the bands playing during Rock n’ Roll Weekend (Sept. 16-18), visit www.ellicottvilleny.com.