The Dukes of Destiny
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The Dukes of Destiny

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States | Established. Jan 01, 1985 | SELF

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 1985
Band Blues Americana




"Dukes of Destiny Press Comments"


“Philly’s pride and joy.. .the city’s best and best-loved blues band.”
-Mary Armstrong, The City Paper

“This group fits into the cultural-gapping species also represented by hybrids like The Blasters and the Fab T-Birds. The Dukes pump it up with a lively integration of soul, rockabilly, country and rock ‘n’ roll.”
Jonathan Takiff, Philadelphia Daily News

“The Dukes of Destiny.. .whose bruising, authentic repertoire of obscure R&B and blues is stoked by the supernal harmonica playing of John Colgan-Davis”
David Hlltbrand,
Philadelphia Inquirer

“They mix up a wide variety of music from Louis Jordan styled swing on up to soul, but their forte is Chicago blues. Veteran musicians all, this band knows rock ‘n’ roll and its contributing forms backwards and forwards... for dancing to upbeat rock ‘n’ roll, or getting lowdown with mean Chicago blues, The Dukes of Destiny are hard to beat for a good time.”
Peter Brown, East Coast Rocker and Philadelphia Weekly

“The whole band was wailing the blues on a rainy November night in a North Philadelphia bar, attacking the sadness with a fistful of boogie.”
Clark DeLeon, Philadelphia

“Believe me, Dukes of Destiny "3" is a CD you’ll want to listen to more than once...” website - The Dukes of Destiny


The Dukes of Destiny have released four CDs—

The Dukes of Destiny” (1991).

"Window Shopping in the House of Forbidden Love "(1998)

"Dukes of Destiny 3” (2004) -features 6 original compositions
by John Colgan-Davis

'Higher" -released December 2012-includes originals by Arlyn
Wolters and John Colgan-Davis



 In 1985, four young, local musicians got together and began playing old blues songs in a rambling three-story house in Philadelphia. More musicians joined, and they jammed and rehearsed and formed a blues and soul bend They decided to take the act on the road as The Dukes of Destiny, a name they got from a matchbook cover urging the reader to Be the Captain of Your Own Destiny. At first, The Dukes of Destiny played house parties in  the Germantown section of Philadelphia, generating interest by word of mouth. A gig at the now-defunct Takers Cafe in Germantown launched their public career, and 34 years later, they are still playing some of the hottest, most danceable blues and R n B in the Philadelphia area. They have released four self-produced CD's, including their most recent one, "Higher" which was released in December, 2012, and all four have gathered critical raves. The Dukes of Destiny reign as Philadelphia's longest-lived, best loved blues and Americana act.

There have been changes in the act: guitarists left, the sax player moved to Texas, and sadly, founder and singer Steve Brown died in March of 2000. But the approah and drive of the band has remained together for over 30 years, resulting in a band with a unique tightness and an original approach to the music.

Harmonica player and singer John Colgan-Davis has played in the Philadelphia area for more than 40 years, playing and touring with such notables as Bonnie Raitt, Tennessee bluesman Sparky Rucker, the John Cadillac Band, and the legendary guitarist Mississippi Fred McDowell.

Drummer Bob Holden has played with Zydeco- a-Go-Go, Little Red Rooster, Quincy Terry Evans, Quincy, Louisiana Red, Lonnie Shields, and many more.

Guitarist In Lander, the newest Dukes has jammed and played with several blues greats and led his own band before joining the Dukes.

Keyboardist/vocalist Chicago Carl Snyder has played with and been musical director for many of Chicago's best known bands, including Buddy Guy, Jr. Wells, and Son Seals.

Bassist Rich Curtis has led his own jazz groups and has played with guitarist Jim Dragoni, percussionist Doc Gibbs, and saxman Bayard Lancaster.

The lead singer for the Dukes is the talented and sassy vocalist Miss Arlyn Wolters. A veteran of jazz and gospel choirs, including Patti LaBelle's choir on NBCs Clash of the Choirs, she brings passion and fire to the stage.

Together, the members of this band represent more than 150 years of professional music experience, and it shows each time they take the stage. For great blues, old school soul and a wonderful show, it is the Dukes of Destiny for sure.

Over the years the Dukes have performed at number of festivals and concert series:


The Paoli Blues Festival

The Philadelphia Folk Festival

The Phoneixville Blues Festical

The Yo Philadelphia Festival and Waterfront Jam at Philadelphia's Penn's Landing

Philadelphia Blues Machine Concert Specials; Philadelphia , PA

The Central Pennsylvania Arts Festival; State College , PA ,

The State Street Blues Stroll; Media , PA ,

The Chestnut Hill Garden Festival and Fall for the Arts; Philadelphia , PA

Pastorius Park Concert Series; Philadelphia , PA

The New Jersey Folk Festival; Rutgers College , New Brunswick , New Jersey

The Paoli Blues Festival; Paoli , PA

Kennett Flash: Kennett Square, PA
The Mermaid Inn; Philadelphia , PA
World Cafe Live; Philadelphia , PA
Wold Cafe Live; Wilmington , DE
John & Peters and Havana ; New Hope , PA
Warmdaddy's; Philadelphia , PA

With a mix of powerful original songs and arrangements of obscure blues standards, The Dukes of Destiny continue to grow and develop as they share their music through live performances and recordings.. They continue to be Philly's longest lived and best loved blues and old school soul band

Band Members