A native of Cook County, Ill., Terence McArdle has always been obsessed with music. As a child, he stayed up late listening to Chicago's WOPA broadcast Howlin' Wolf and other blues greats live on Big Bill Hill's Copacabana Club. He picked up a guitar at age 10 and, after moving to Washington, D.C., came under the spell of then-contemporary blues artists Bobby Parker, B.B. King and Bobby “Blue” Bland. As a teenager, he played rhythm guitar with a Chicago blues garage band, and even backed up his contemporary, the boogie pianist Darryl Davis at local keg parties.
However, by his early 20s, he craved a career as a professional performer. With so few straight-ahead blues gigs available in Washington, McArdle worked in oldies bands, blue-eyed soul bands, and local bar bands. He studied music theory with famed jazz vocalist Clea Bradford and the guitarist Keith Grimes, (band director for singer Eva Cassidy.) He even played the legendary 'knife and gun club,' Nick and Fred's in Chillum, Md to hone his chops.
He formed his own band Big Trouble in 1992, created as a band that would revive rarely-covered musical diamonds from the long history of the blues and that would swing hard with its ears directed to the music's future.
McArdle toured nationally with D.C.'s legendary jump blues group, Eric “Shoutin'” Sheridan and The Uptown Rhythm Kings in 1996 and 1997. When Sheridan moved to Chicago, he recruited two of the Rhythm Kings' finest horn players, saxophonist Jerry Queene and trumpeter Mike Powell, for his own band.
He has shared stages with a long list of entertainers – Stanley Clarke, James Cotton, Bobby Parker, The Nighthawks, Danny Gatton and Robert Lockwood Jr. just to name a few.
McArdle's debut, You Better Believe It, released in 2003 but actually recorded over a ten-year period, showcases him in several styles – harmonica-dominated Chicago blues, horn-laden jump tunes, rock'n'roll and guitar instrumentals – all anchored by his rough hewn vocal delivery and intense, masterful guitar work.
Today, Terence McArdle performs in a variety of settings – the horn-driven r'n'b of Terence McArdle and Big Trouble, the cocktail blues and boogie woogie trio of pianist Arthur “Big Boy” Berry and a revue with singer Caz Gardiner.