A blues combo that fuses contemporary styles with the vintage Chicago sound of the '50s, Mississippi Heat was formed in the Windy City in 1991 by Israeli-born, Belgian-bred vocalist and harp man Pierre Lacocque. The band's story began when blues guitarist and vocalist Jon McDonald invited Lacocque on-stage during a gig in their shared hometown of Chicago. The two liked jamming together, and they teamed up with drummer and vocalist Robert Covington and bassist Bob Stroger to form the first edition of Mississippi Heat. By 1992, McDonald had dropped out of the lineup, and the team of Billy Flynn and James Wheeler took his place; it was this lineup that cut Mississippi Heat's debut album, 1992's Straight from the Heart, which was released on the band's own Van der Linden Records.
In 1994, Mississippi Heat delivered their second long-player, Learned the Hard Way; once again, the album reflected personnel changes within the band, as Robert Covington left the combo due to too many musical commitments, and vocalist Deitra Farr and drummer Allen Kirk came on board. This edition of the band also recorded 1995's Thunder in My Heart, but by the time Mississippi Heat next convened in the studio, Lacocque was the only original member left in the group. 1999's Handyman found Lacocque accompanied by Katherine Davis (vocals), George Baze (guitar), Ike Anderson (bass), Barrelhouse Chuck (piano), and Kenneth Smith (drums). While Handyman was originally issued by Van der Linden Records, the German blues label Crosscut Records picked it up for reissue, adding two bonus tracks for their edition. Mississippi Heat's membership continued to evolve for the 2002 album Footprints on the Ceiling. Lacocque and Smith were the only holdovers from the previous album, with vocalist Inetta Visor, guitarists Chris Winters and Michael Thomas, keyboard man Roger Weaver, and bassist Stephen Howard completing the lineup. The album also featured guest appearances from Billy Boy Arnold and Peter "Madcat" Ruth. 2005's Glad You're Mine found Thomas, Weaver, and Howard out of Mississippi Heat, and Steve Doyle (guitar), Chris Cameron (keyboards), and Spurling Banks (bass) taking their places.
By the end of 2005, after establishing themselves across the country and throughout Europe with steady touring and a dynamic live show, Mississippi Heat struck a deal with the prestigious Chicago blues and jazz label Delmark Records. Their first release for the label was a live set, One Eye Open, which was released as an audio CD and video DVD. For the show, Chicago blues legend Lurrie Bell sat in on guitar, while fellow guitarist Max Valldeneu took over for Winters and Doyle, who had moved on. Lurrie Bell also made a guest appearance on the group's first studio album for Delmark, 2008's Hattiesburg Blues, which once again found new faces in the band, with Giles Corey taking over guitar duties from Valldeneu, while bassist Stephen Howard and drummer Dujuan Austin sat in for Banks and Smith on several cuts. Howard replaced Banks on the sessions for 201's Let's Live It Up, while Carl Weathersby, a veteran blues guitarist and longtime friend of the band, joined Corey on guitars. 2012 saw the release of Delta Bound, with Corey and Billy Satterfield on guitars, Johnny Iguana teaming with Cameron on keys, and Joseph Veloz replacing Howard on bass. In 2014, Mississippi Heat was back with a new album and a new lineup; Warning Shot found Lacocque, Visor, and Corey teaming with new members Brian Quinn (bass), Michael Dotson (guitar), Neal O'Hara (keyboards), and Andrew Thomas (drums, though Kenneth Smith played on one track). Carl Weathersby also sat in on guitar, and Sax Gordon, fittingly enough, guested on sax. 2016's Cab Driving Man arrived as the band was enjoying increasing success in Europe as a live act; it also featured nearly all the same players as Warning Shot, with the exception of Terrence Williams taking over as drummer. ~ Mark Deming