Bill "Sauce Boss" Wharton brings his own hot sauce to every gig, and he cooks a big pot of gumbo, while smoking his slide guitar. At the end of the Show, everyone gets a bowl. Sauce Boss not only plays slide, sings his tamales off, makes gumbo, and feeds everybody… he also plays a drum kit with his feet. “You take that 53 Telecaster, pump it through that 48 Fender amp, add a bass rig, mix in some drums, all simmered down over some funky swamp blues, and smothered with gumbo, and you got a recipe for a good time."
With his homegrown storytelling and natural-born guitar talennt, the Sauce Boss righteously sings the blues. He gives the feeling that can only come from a life lived in the eye of the storm. He has weathered more than his share of hurricanes, sunburn, and mosquitoes – and he’s got the chops to prove it. He has taken his blues and a huge pot of gumbo to the disaster zones of the Mississippi delta and to homeless shelters across America – where he’s fed war veterans, hurricane survivors, and plenty of other regular folks who come for music but leave with much more. The Sauce Boss offers up sustenance and redemption in the form of music, food, and above all, the love of the brotherhood of man.
One morning in the early 70's the Sauce Boss walked out of his home and found a 1933 vintage National steel guitar in his front yard. That lead him down the Blues path. Deep in the shed, he penned “Let the Big Dog Eat”, which was featured in Jonathan Demme’s film “Something Wild”. The tune was later covered by Alex Taylor, James’ brother. And recently by Albert Castiglia, whose latest album is called "Big Dog". His CD was #1 on Roots Music Report for 12 weeks.
Since 1990, the Sauce Boss has cooked gumbo for over 210,000 people, all for free, while simultaneously playing his own swampy Florida blues. A Sauce Boss event transcends performance. It's a soul-shouting picnic of rock & roll brotherhood, involving everyone. And at the end of the show, everyone eats.
The Sauce Boss takes his music and his gumbo to the streets with the non-profit 501c3 organization, Planet Gumbo, where the Sauce Boss regularly donates performances (along with gumbo) to Homeless Shelters all over the US.
Jimmy Buffet sings about the Sauce Boss in his "I Will Play for Gumbo" song. Parrotheads phlock from all over the country show up at Sauce Boss shows and also bring the Sauce Boss to "play' and a' sway' with the gumbo" at their events. Festivals and performing arts centers throughout the US, Canada, and Europe feature the Sauce Boss and his gumbo. His songs "Let the Big Dog Eat" and "Great Big Fanny" appeared on the Jimmy Buffett compilation album "Margaritaville Café Late Night Menu". NPR's "All Things Considered" and "Morning Edition" have both covered the Sauce Boss. CNN and EXTRA sent film crews to New York City Sauce Boss extravaganzas, The Food Network's series "Extreme Cuisine" visited the Sauce Boss on location in New York, and another Food Network series "Keith Famie's Adventures" filmed a Sauce Boss show in Miami. The Sauce Boss is the only personality that’s been featured in “Living Blues”, “GQ”, AND "Gourmet Magazine".
"Sauce Boss! This was a show within a show. Bill “Sauce Boss” Wharton was a tremendous hit with his slide guitar and a giant pot of gumbo. Yes, he made gumbo on stage and even had fans come up and help give it a stir. It was a delightful experience that fed the masses."
- From Music Fest News review of Suwannee Roots Revival Fest Oct 2016
"I really like Wharton’s one-man-band approach on "100% Pure". This disc just grooves from beginning to end, and is a lot of fun to listen to. The Sauce Boss knows how to throw a party and the only thing missing is the gumbo after Track 12 comes to a close (not to worry….you can make your own version of the Sauce Boss’s gumbo, thanks to the recipe on his website). Enjoy!"