Lindsay Mitchell’s guitar heroics help make the reformed Prism’s debut a night to remember

chris cameron photo ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEB. 5, 1988 By Steve Newton Considering all the media hype surrounding the recent Prism reformation--all of which hit the presses before the renewed lineup even had a chance to perform live--it wasn't surprising that armchair music critics and opponents of '70s rock were skeptical of … Continue reading Lindsay Mitchell’s guitar heroics help make the reformed Prism’s debut a night to remember

China Crisis found Steely Dan’s Walter Becker a taskmaster on Flaunt the Imperfection

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 10, 1987 By Steve Newton There's nothing like seeing a band that's huge in another country close up in a club-size venue. For local fans of Britain's China Crisis, that opportunity will arise Thursday (April 9) at Club Soda. It will be the pop quintet's first Vancouver appearance … Continue reading China Crisis found Steely Dan’s Walter Becker a taskmaster on Flaunt the Imperfection

Album review: George Benson, In Your Eyes (1983)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 1, 1983 By Steve Newton With the help of such fine session musicians as drummers Steve Gadd and Steve Ferrone, bassists Will Lee and Marcus Miller, keyboardists David Paich and Jorge Dalto, and saxman David Sanborn, George Benson has come up with another tantalizing collection of funk and … Continue reading Album review: George Benson, In Your Eyes (1983)

Album review: Boston, Walk On (1994)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 1, 1994 By Steve Newton Twenty years ago, I liked Boston. The band's tight harmonies, uplifting melodies, and surging, echo-laden guitars could always put a smile on my teenage face. Heck, even now I'll reminisce about those halcyon mid-'70s rock days by cranking up "More Than a Feeling" … Continue reading Album review: Boston, Walk On (1994)

Tony Furtado became entranced by slide guitar via Ry Cooder

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 9, 2002 By Steve Newton Who’da thunk that the lowly banjo would ever be perceived as such a cool instrument? Okay, so it isn’t exactly fashionable, but in the hands of innovative pickers like Bela Fleck and Tony Furtado, it’s certainly getting known for more than just “Dueling … Continue reading Tony Furtado became entranced by slide guitar via Ry Cooder

Album review: Larry Carlton, Friends (1994)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 1, 1983 By Steve Newton One of the reigning monarchs of L.A. session guitarists, Larry Carlton has played with some of the best in the world. And now, on his third self-produced LP Friends, he's gathered some of the best in the world to play with him. Bassist … Continue reading Album review: Larry Carlton, Friends (1994)

Album review: Martin Briley, One Night With a Stranger (1983)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 1, 1983 By Steve Newton Former Ian Hunter Band member Martin Briley comes on strong with his second solo album (his first for Attic Records), One Night With a Stranger. Brimming with catchy pop/rock tunes like "The Salt in My Tears" and "Just a Mile Away", Briley's newest … Continue reading Album review: Martin Briley, One Night With a Stranger (1983)

Album review: Various Artists, Kiss My Ass (1994)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 7, 1994 By Steve Newton The first time I ever laid eyes on Kiss--I think it was on Don Kirshner's Rock Concert--I thought the band was just a bunch of Alice Cooper copycats. A short time later, though, I heard Kiss's 1974 debut album and became a huge … Continue reading Album review: Various Artists, Kiss My Ass (1994)

Collective Soul’s Ed Roland is still shocked by the success of “Shine”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 17, 1994 By Steve Newton In today's high-tech, high-finance music world--where flavour-of-the-month recording "artists" of questionable talent can essentially buy fame with expensive corporated-funded video clips--it's nice to know that devoted, honest folks with simple, strong tunes can still get a shot at the big time. Such is … Continue reading Collective Soul’s Ed Roland is still shocked by the success of “Shine”

Album review: Huey Lewis & the News, Four Chords & Several Years Ago (1994)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 10, 1994 By Steve Newton Having already embarrassed himself to the utmost degree with the ultra-lame, supersucky, unforgivably bogus "Stuck With You", all-American apple-pie rocker Huey Lewis turns his vacuous eye on a slew of soul and R&B covers from the '50s and '60s. The painful result--thanks to … Continue reading Album review: Huey Lewis & the News, Four Chords & Several Years Ago (1994)

Album review: Mick Ronson, Heaven and Hull (1994)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 27, 1994 By Steve Newton From his early-'70s glory-and-glitter days as the muscular, platinum-haired axeman in David Bowie's Spiders from Mars to his workmanlike late-'80s club gigs with Ian Hunter, Mick Ronson always proved himself a rock guitarist of the highest order. When Ronson succumbed to cancer on … Continue reading Album review: Mick Ronson, Heaven and Hull (1994)

Ray Bonneville was fine with Sue Foley beating him out for the best blues Juno

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 18, 2002 By Steve Newton Rough Luck, the latest CD from Montreal-based blues artist Ray Bonneville, is about as solo as you can get. It’s just him, his guitar, an occasional harmonica, and his trusty footboard—a piece of plywood with four rubber stoppers to get it up off … Continue reading Ray Bonneville was fine with Sue Foley beating him out for the best blues Juno

Kelly Joe Phelps puts the slide away to focus on his songwriting

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 13, 2001 By Steve Newton After releasing three albums that showcased his superior skill on slide guitar, Kelly Joe Phelps did a complete about-face. His new CD, Sky Like a Broken Clock, contains no slide at all. Nada. Not even a little tweak. It makes you wonder if … Continue reading Kelly Joe Phelps puts the slide away to focus on his songwriting

Sista Monica says the blues can’t help but support a healing process for people

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 4, 2001 By Steve Newton Some music writers are quite skilled at describing certain artists by pointing to the attributes of others. Take Mac MacDonald of the Monterey Herald, for instance, who penned this stylistic sketch of California blues vocalist Monica Parker, aka Sista Monica: “She has the … Continue reading Sista Monica says the blues can’t help but support a healing process for people

Big Sugar’s Gordie Johnson picks Black Sabbath over Led Zeppelin

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 27, 2001 By Steve Newton The cover of the new Big Sugar CD, Brothers and Sisters, Are You Ready?, features a classic hard-rock image of a skinny, longhaired fellow flailing away on a doubleneck Gibson guitar. If you didn’t know the guy was Big Sugar singer-guitarist Gordie Johnson, … Continue reading Big Sugar’s Gordie Johnson picks Black Sabbath over Led Zeppelin

That time me ‘n’ Ferg went backstage to meet Warren Haynes but he was too tuckered to smile

By Steve Newton I'm a huge fan of Warren Haynes. I love everything he's done, whether with Gov't Mule, the Allman Brothers, or as a solo artist. Hey, I wouldn't have interviewed him six times if I didn't think he was the shit. So one time when he brought Gov't Mule to Vancouver's Commodore Ballroom--I … Continue reading That time me ‘n’ Ferg went backstage to meet Warren Haynes but he was too tuckered to smile

That time “Mess” Messal of Flies on Fire told me that the Tragically Hip were the best band in the world

By Steve Newton Back in July of 1991 the Tragically Hip played five straight sold-out nights at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver on its Road Apples Tour. The band was smokin' hot--at least on the night that I saw them--but also impressive was the opening act, Flies on Fire, a little-known guitar-rock band from L.A. … Continue reading That time “Mess” Messal of Flies on Fire told me that the Tragically Hip were the best band in the world

The Lowest of the Low’s Ron Hawkins thinks the Weakerthans’ John Samson is the best lyricist in Canada

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 10, 2001 By Steve Newton After releasing just two albums—1991’s Shakespeare My Butt… and ’94’s Hallucigenia—Toronto guitar-rockers the Lowest of the Low called it quits on a career that was fast making them one of Canada’s most popular club acts. The breakup was sudden and acrimonious, and partially … Continue reading The Lowest of the Low’s Ron Hawkins thinks the Weakerthans’ John Samson is the best lyricist in Canada