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Who is Brad Vickers?

Brad Vickers learned on the job playing, touring, and recording with America’s blues and roots masters: Jimmy Rogers, Hubert Sumlin, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Odetta, Sleepy LaBeef, Rosco Gordon, and Pinetop Perkins—with whom Brad had the good fortune to play on the Grammy-nominated discs, “Born in the Delta” (Telarc) and “Ladies’ Man” (MC)—to name just a few.

Now his own group, The Vestapolitans, offers a good-time mix of originals and covers spanning blues, ragtime, hill country breakdowns, and more great American roots ’n’ roll. A great new CD, “That's What They Say" (2015),  joins " Great Day In The Morning" (2013), “Traveling Fool” (2011), “Stuck With The Blues” (2010), and “Le Blues Hot” (2008). All have met with terrific reviews, radio play on 250+ stations (all are still in rotation on Sirius XM Bluesville). Best of all, audiences love them!

Brad comes from the Pine Barrens of Long Island’s rural East End. He is the scion of a musical family
from the Pine Barrens of Chintoteague, Virginia,
where his grandfather played lap steel and drums.

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What is a Vestapolitan?

Well, you see...
When Brad Vickers was looking for a "V" name for his group, he chose The Vestapolitans. Here's why:

Back in the 1800s, refined young people were taught, among other skills, "parlor guitar". There was one popular piece called "The Siege of Sebastapol," whose title referred to a town that figured in the Crimean war. This instrumental was what was known as a "character" or stage bravura piece, with sections meant to emulate sound effects like a bugle call, stirring battle sounds, etc. This kind of piece was learned by advanced students for recitals.

Most importantly, it was played in "open" tuning. This tuning caught fire and circulated among players almost at once, and though the piece itself did not become a standard, there must have been enough performances to get the name into circulation. By the 1920s "Sevastopol", as it was then spelled, tuning became very popular with players from all walks of life, both chord and slide guitarists. As the years went on, the name got bent into all kinds of shapes, Vestopol, Vestapool, Vastopol, Bestapol, etc. In fact, Bo Diddley said that he first learned guitar in "Vastabol" tuning. (Bo favored open E, and would use a capo to vary the key).

Vestapol refers to the chord voicing—the relationship between the open strings—not necessarily the key. The most commonly played Vestapol tunings are D Major (where the tuning is: D-A-D-F#-A-D) or E Major (where the tuning is E-B-E-G#-B-E. ) Brad uses both of these tunings.