From Bluegrass to Dixieland
Tank and the Beez is an old-time Americana and Roots string band from Chicago, playing traditional folk, blues, and jazz tunes. The group's timeless vocals and unassuming instrumentation hearken back to the era of old-time radio.
Tank and the Beez performs as a duo, trio, quartet, and occasional quintet. The core band features Beth “Beez” Blankenship on lead vocals and guitar, along with husband Brian “Tank” Blankenship on upright bass, harmonica, percussion, and backing vocals.
The band often hosts a rotation of guest musicians from the Chicagoland area to sit in during performances and recording sessions. Frequent collaborators include Jeff Teppema (fiddle/vocals), Amy Malouf (washboard/vocals/accordion), Tommy Malouf (mandolin/vocals), and Ian Leith (guitar/vocals).
Tank and the Beez has been called “transporting” by local author Geralyn Hesslau Magrady, and Alan Bresloff of Around Town Chicago has referred to their music as “stirring” and “well-done”.
Beez grew up in a musical family, with several artistically inclined siblings and her father directing choirs, teaching music, and playing in his own sixties rock-and-roll cover band. She sang and performed in choirs, musicals, and operas throughout her formative years. Beez also spent a stretch of time working as a server at Red Lobster, which she describes as, “I don’t want to talk about it.”
Beez is a Board Certified Music Therapist, specializing in children and adults with disabilities and hospice care. She is also a teacher for the internationally-recognized music program for parents and young children, Music Together.
Tank began taking piano lessons in grade school but quickly lost interest. His love of music was rekindled upon discovering The Beatles around age eleven. While in college, Tank discovered a knack for writing songs quickly and on-command. He was once hired to play guitar music for a wedding and, rather than admit he did not play guitar and pass up on the gig, he taught himself to play in two weeks.
Tank is a former non-profit professional and a current full time educator, teaching secondary English Language Arts as well as beginning and intermediate music. He also partners frequently with Chicago theatre companies as a musician, music director, and composer