That time I asked Robert Cray if he was surprised that Eric Clapton covered his song “Bad Influence” on August

By Steve Newton I’ve interviewed Robert Cray four times, ’cause I reckon he’s one of the tastiest guitarists who’s ever strapped on a Strat. This was the first time, back in January of 1996, when he was touring behind his Some Rainy Morning album. Ten years earlier Cray had gotten a bit of a boost … Continue reading That time I asked Robert Cray if he was surprised that Eric Clapton covered his song “Bad Influence” on August

Album review: Robert Cray, Strong Persuader (1986)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 26, 1986 By Steve Newton When Robert Cray joined blues giants Albert Collins and Johnny Copeland for last year’s magnificent Showdown! album, it was as if the young guitarist had stepped out of nowhere to join the ranks of the blues’ top veteran performers. With his new album, … Continue reading Album review: Robert Cray, Strong Persuader (1986)

Robert Cray soars on spectacular sound at Hard Rock Casino Vancouver

photo by Kevin Statham By Steve Newton I’ve seen a lot of electric guitar-based concerts in the last 30 years or so. Heck, one of the main reasons I became a music journalist back in ’82 was to see a lot of electric guitar-based concerts. (That, and to get free albums.) But I honestly can’t recall … Continue reading Robert Cray soars on spectacular sound at Hard Rock Casino Vancouver

Robert Cray isn’t gonna hold his breath until the blues gets back in vogue

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 13, 2001 By Steve Newton We’ve all heard contemporary blues-rock artists covering the works of Elmore James, whether it’s ZZ Top getting lowdown on “Dust My Broom”, or Stevie Ray Vaughan tearing it up on “The Sky is Crying”. Heck, the Black Crowes even named their first album … Continue reading Robert Cray isn’t gonna hold his breath until the blues gets back in vogue

Robert Cray speaks on Albert Collins, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Chuck Berry, and Muddy Waters

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 20, 2000 By Steve Newton Since barging onto the North American music scene in 1986 with the double-platinum Strong Persuader album, Robert Cray has proven himself a formidable purveyor of guitar-drenched blues and soul. And with five Grammy Awards to his credit—including one for his latest CD, Take … Continue reading Robert Cray speaks on Albert Collins, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Chuck Berry, and Muddy Waters

Robert Cray’s Rykodisc debut is a paean to sixties soul

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 8, 1999 By Steve Newton Robert Cray isn’t known for covering other people’s material, but on his latest CD, Take Your Shoes Off, he was happy to take on Willie Dixon’s “Tollin’ Bells”, as well as the 1964 Solomon Burke chestnut “Won’t You Give Him (One More Chance)”. … Continue reading Robert Cray’s Rykodisc debut is a paean to sixties soul

Robert Cray gets the thing happening on Some Rainy Morning

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JAN. 18, 1996 By Steve Newton You wouldn’t think bluesman Robert Cray would be musically indebted to the Beatles, but they were the band that drove him to pick up a guitar. By the age of 10 Cray had already been soaking up the gospel, jazz, soul, and blues … Continue reading Robert Cray gets the thing happening on Some Rainy Morning

Taj Mahal and Robert Cray deliver soulfully smokin’ blues to a sold-out Commodore crowd

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JAN. 27, 1994 By Steve Newton If there’s one thing that’s a sure cure for the sad-eyed, rain-soaked January blahs, it’s a blues show at the Commodore. And when that show’s on a Friday night (January 21), the headliner is Robert Cray, and the opener is Taj Mahal, then … Continue reading Taj Mahal and Robert Cray deliver soulfully smokin’ blues to a sold-out Commodore crowd

Robert Cray and Colin James can’t match Jeff Healey in Vancouver

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 10, 1992 By Steve Newton The PNE isn’t normally the type of place you’d go to save money, but Vancouver blues-rock fans who paid just $7.50 (plus fair admission) to see guitar heroes Robert Cray, Jeff Healey, and Colin James last Thursday (September 3) got themselves a heckuva … Continue reading Robert Cray and Colin James can’t match Jeff Healey in Vancouver

Brian Robertson’s wicked solo from Thin Lizzy’s “Don’t Believe a Word” played on harmonica

By Steve Newton The wicked guitar solos cranked out over the years by the various Thin Lizzy guitarists–Eric Bell, Scott Gorham, Brian Robertson, Gary Moore, Snowy White, and John Sykes–are many. But I’ve got a few faves. Definitely in my Top 10 is Robertson’s 30-second solo from “Don’t Believe a Word”, the best track on … Continue reading Brian Robertson’s wicked solo from Thin Lizzy’s “Don’t Believe a Word” played on harmonica

That time I asked “Honeyboy” Edwards if he thought that his friend Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads

Robert Johnson was tight with “Honeyboy” Edwards By Steve Newton I’m pretty sure that David “Honeyboy” Edwards was the oldest musician I’ve ever interviewed. He was 87 in March of 2003 when I called him up in Chicago to get the scoop on his early days with Mississippi Delta blues legends like Big Joe Williams, … Continue reading That time I asked “Honeyboy” Edwards if he thought that his friend Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads

That time Robert Randolph told me that he was inspired by the passion and soul of Stevie Ray Vaughan

By Steve Newton Back in April of 2003 I did my first interview with pedal-steel virtuoso Robert Randolph, who was just 24 at the time. At one point in the conversation I asked him about the time five years earlier when somebody gave him a tape of Stevie Ray Vaughan, which made a huge impression … Continue reading That time Robert Randolph told me that he was inspired by the passion and soul of Stevie Ray Vaughan

That time Joe Bonamassa complained to me about Rolling Stone’s ranking of Robert Johnson on its 100 Greatest Guitarists list

By Steve Newton I did the second of my three interviews with American blues-rock guitar virtuoso Joe Bonamassa in December of 2011, when he was touring behind his Dust Bowl album. Shortly before our chat Rolling Stone had published its 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time list, so we spent some time ridiculing that, and … Continue reading That time Joe Bonamassa complained to me about Rolling Stone’s ranking of Robert Johnson on its 100 Greatest Guitarists list

That time Robert Plant assured me “young girls still whimper as I walk past”

By Steve Newton When I interviewed Robert Plant back in 1993 he was in the midst of a world tour supporting his new album Fate of Nations. I asked the 45-year-old rock god whether it had gotten easier or harder to keep up the pace of touring over the years, and he said it was … Continue reading That time Robert Plant assured me “young girls still whimper as I walk past”

That time Robert Plant told me he wasn’t “a dumb cluck who wears tight jeans and sings fast songs about women’s parts”

By Steve Newton I often wish I could have started my journalism career 10 years earlier than I did–like in 1972 instead of ’82. Then maybe I would have had the chance to pull a Cameron Crowe and interview Led Zeppelin on its 1973 North American tour or some crazy-ass shit like that. But whoa … Continue reading That time Robert Plant told me he wasn’t “a dumb cluck who wears tight jeans and sings fast songs about women’s parts”

That time Robert Plant told me he was “very very pissed off” that Black Sabbath wasn’t going to reform

By Steve Newton Now here’s a fun little soundbite I digitized off an old cassette I had lying around from 1993. It’s an AudioMagnetics XHE 60, so good on them for making tapes that still work decades later. That particular tape also includes 1993 interviews with Devin Townsend, Steve Hackett of Genesis fame, and Stuart … Continue reading That time Robert Plant told me he was “very very pissed off” that Black Sabbath wasn’t going to reform

Robert Plant calls Shemekia Copeland, 23, “the next Tina Turner”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 26, 2002 By Steve Newton There are a number of things that can boost an up-and-coming recording artist’s career; one of the most effective might be having Robert Plant call you “the next Tina Turner”. Blues vocalist Shemekia Copeland, 23, had no complaints when the shaggy-maned former Zepman … Continue reading Robert Plant calls Shemekia Copeland, 23, “the next Tina Turner”

Robert Plant says young girls still whimper as he walks past

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 30, 1993 By Steve Newton Robert Plant is one of the best-known rock stars in the world. He’s certainly one of the best-known rock stars I’ve ever had the opportunity to chat with. So when he calls from New York and I ask him how he’s doing, the … Continue reading Robert Plant says young girls still whimper as he walks past