Jose "Sweet Tone" Ruiz & The Sweet Tones
Jose Ruiz came to the harmonica late in life, some 14 years ago, at the age of 41. Some might consider that to be a very late start indeed, but many others consider his musicianship an inspiration. Equal parts jazz and blues, an improviser, an educator and a student, he wears the name “Sweet Tone” for good reason. Recently ranked among the Top Ten best instrumentalists in Austin, Texas where he is based, Jose continues his meteoric rise through the ranks of the regional scene as an instrumentalist of a singular voice – a rare trait for any musician to achieve; that immediately identifiable musical personality. He possesses a tone and character in his playing that are the result of intensely dedicated study and countless hours on bandstands in a variety of musical environments.
Now signed to Gold Man Records, he released a new single in 2013, No Left Turn, and is currently composing music for an upcoming EP. Jose tours extensively throughout Texas and will tour parts of the US in 2014 with award winning vocalist, songwriter and recording artist, Woody Russell (with whom which Jose has recorded tracks on three albums). He also continues as host of a very successful monthly harmonica jam in Austin at El Leon’s, as well as, a weekly gig with The East Side Blues Syndicate blues jam.
Jose also leads his own band, fittingly named “The Sweet Tones”. A man motivated by the pursuit of his singular style and always looking ahead musically, Jose Ruiz may have come to his chosen instrument late in life, but he has more than made up for lost time and shows no signs of slacking off now.
"Jose is a seeker, a musician who happens to play the harmonica, but more accurately a man on a quest to manifest his own sound. Like Carlos Santana and Miles Davis, Jose is not an imitator of another’s sound, but is simultaneously well studied with regard to the masters who have preceded him. He remains true to the sound he hears and that is the brave inspiration behind his musical spirit." - Woody Russell
Jose hand selected each of the band members to back him up for his harmonica jams five years ago. The band has evolved and have taken the name "The Sweet Tones". Members are lead guitar and vocals, Adam Johnson; second guitar, Gilbert Sanchez; keys, Harry Pierce; drums, Dave Swanson; bass, Harold McMillan and harmonica, Jose "Sweet Tone" Ruiz.