“The New Sound of NYC/North Jersey Blues”

“New York Blues” can be described like the global phenomenon that it is: edgy, honest and one-of-a-kind. From Lionel Hampton to Ruth Brown …from Michael Hill to King Solomon Hicks — New York can claim its own unique blues experience.

BLUES People is a NY/NJ blues band featuring...KELTON COOPER (vocals/guitar), MIKE GRIOT (bass), RON THOMPSON (keys) and GENE LAKE (drums). Early comparisons to the Meters, Luther Allison, Keb Mo' and Buddy Guy are starting to roll in!

Having released two promotional singles in 2022 ("The Skin I'm In" and "Troubled Times"), the band has independently released its 2024 debut album "The Skin I'm In"

These seasoned veterans have certainly paid their dues; as individual side men, they have supported a who’s-who of touring “A-listers”, including Sue Foley, Josh Smith, Kool & the Gang, Ruf’s Blues Caravan, Joanne Shaw Taylor, Bo Diddley, Jr. and Michael Hill’s Blues Mob… just to name a few.

BLUES People’s arrival on the global blues scene marks a dynamic shift in the present and future state of blues music… and the culmination of a story over 40 years in the making. Lead singer- guitarist Kelton Cooper and Bassist Mike Griot met as teenagers in rival bands in Orange, NJ… just a stone’s throw from NYC.
Cooper (who played drums, guitar and bass) and Griot (who was a classical cellist and electric bassist) shared early stages on local talent shows. Hungry to play the  music of the time, these inspired teenagers took every opportunity to play their instruments for any who would listen. Whether it was a friend’s basement, garage or backyard — these two talents literally loaded their equipment in shopping carts (if necessary) to the next place they could play their music.
FAST FORWARD (2017): Having separately amassed years of pro touring credits, recording sessions and collaborations with a literal “Who’s Who” in entertainment, Cooper and Griot found themselves back together again — this time in Griot’s live music club in New Jersey. Cooper moonlighted as a sound engineer…as well as continuing his relentless freelance schedule. It was fellow sideman/drummer Gene Lake (David Sanborn/Boz Scaggs/Meshell Ndegeocello) who suggested Cooper should do an original project. Upon presenting this to Griot, Griot agreed, stating “if we become a cover band, lose my number”! This proved to be the catalyst for band’s birth.
THE PANDEMIC (2020): When COVID shut down the music industry, the three musical comrades did what many did: write and record. With access to multiple studios, they began crafting what has now become their “NYC/North Jersey Blues Sound” - while sharing stories of their life and struggles. Their important together work has resulted in their 2024 debut album: “The Skin I’m In”.

Blues People musically explores the effects of the blues on modern American culture on many universal levels... and is a modern chronicle of four "real-life blues brothers" living in THIS time in America... while surviving the NY/NJ-Metro urban landscape. 


BLUES People was born during the pandemic… but the band members have authentically lived their truths - as lifelong working musicians, producers and recording artists for over 30 years.

After taking the NY-metro area by storm for 3 years with their incredible shows and musicianship, the band recently won the North Jersey Blues Society International Blues Challenge… and (in their very first attempt) made the SEMIFINALS in the 2024 Memphis International Blues Challenge!

Kelton Cooper 


Lead guitar and vocals 
(Kool & the Gang/Lonnie Youngblood/Black Widow Blues Band) 



Mike Griot 



Bass guitar 
(Sue Foley, Michael Hill’s Blues Mob, Joanne Shaw Taylor, Laura Chavez, Ana Popovic, Ruf Records) 


Ron Thompson




(Hugh Masekela, Bo Diddley Jr., The Main Ingredient, Blue Magic)

Gene Lake 



(Josh Smith/Henry Threadgill/ Joe Zawinul/Marcus Miller, David Sanborn, MJ the Musical on Broadway)