Our Story

“When I was a kid, early on my own
I took the highway to be my home
The blues overtook me
When I was a little child
You know fast women and whiskey
Made this poor boy wild”
 – Charlie Musselwhite
The blues started early with Jimbo “Big Train” Madsen from when he first picked up a guitar when his age was still counted in single digits. The music manifest in different ways through the years, but the one thing that remained constant in everything he played was the bedrock of the blues.
The start of the Loco Motives can be traced back to 2010 when percussionist Mike “Pinebox” Lander joined Madsen on stage for a Norman Music Festival event, and the two have shared the same stage ever since. Add in the solid bass of “Great Nate” Nathan Johns, and the harmonica gymnastics of Bill “Top Dog” Cummins, and you have one kick ass blues band.”
Big Train and the Loco Motives music is deep seated in the roots of the blues, due in part to annual pilgrimages to the cradle of the blues in the Mississippi Delta. There they hear the whispers of Charlie Patton, Robert Johnson, Son House, and Bukka White as they soak up the mojo that is palatable in streets, juke joints, and graveyards.
Big Train and the Loco Motives play what they coined “Red Dirt Blues”. It’s blues flavored by the red soil of Oklahoma, but always in homage to the blues artists who came before them. They cover everything from traditional Delta Blues to Texas Boogie-Woogie, from the south side of Chicago Blues to the Jump Blues of the west coast.
And while you can’t hide behind “3 chords and the truth”, their love and enjoyment of the music is on full display.
Sure, it may be hard to nail them down other than they totally enjoy keeping the clues alive, it’s guaranteed that everyone who shows up in the audience will also enjoy the show.

“When all the original blues guys are gone, you start to realize that someone has to tend to the tradition. I recognize that I have some responsibility to keep the music alive, and it’s a pretty honorable position to be in.”

Eric Clapton

The Main Cast of Characters

Bill ‘Top Dog’ Cummins

Crying, wailing, screaming, weeping, growling…all on the harmonica. The Top Dog is a harp phenom, coaxing the most amazing tone from that little piece of wood and metal magic.

Mike ‘Pine Box’ Lander

The “King of Found Sound”, “The Potentate of Percussion”, “The Duke of the Downbeat” is the bedrock that this whole hot Red Dirt Blues is built on. If anyone can bring rhythm out of some discarded bottle or hubcap, “Pine Box” can!

“Great Nate” Nathan Johns

Part jazz, part rock, and all blues, the “Great Nate” is the swing master of this combo. He adds that special blues pixie dust that makes our music irresistible.  This well traveled, seasoned blues player is the “king of the bass line”.

Jimbo ‘Big Train’ Madsen

The guy that created the term “Red Dirt Blues”. Its a crazy amalgamation of Muddy Waters, J.J. Cale, John Lee Hooker, D.C. Minner, Son House, Leon Russell, and all that blues feeling south of the Red River between Oklahoma and Texas.

About Us

Big Train and the Loco Motives isn’t a finite list of musicians. It is a core group of top notch blues musicians that welcome everyone to become a “Loco Motive”. And yes, that includes coming up on stage for spontaneous jam session or backing chorus to “Mustang Sally”.

The only requirements to become a Loco Motive are:

1. Deep seated appreciation for the blues,

2. Ability to fly by the seat of your pants, and

3. Enjoy the magic that happens onstage.

Oh yeah, your Motives must be Loco. That definitely helps.

Come along my baby, whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on
Yes, I said come along my baby, baby you can’t go wrong
We ain’t fakin’, while lotta shakin’ goin’ on

Well, I said come along my baby, we got chicken in the barn
Woo-huh, come along my baby, really got the bull by the horn
We ain’t fakin’, whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on