Jorma Kaukonen’s distinctive vocals help Hot Tuna get tasty in Vancouver

charles campbell photo ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 4, 1988 By Steve Newton An acoustic concert can be quite a scary thing to those people, like myself, who thrive on raunchy guitars and rock-steady rhythms. But you’ve got to be brave sometimes, and realizing that I headed down to the Commodore last Thursday (February 25) to see an … Continue reading Jorma Kaukonen’s distinctive vocals help Hot Tuna get tasty in Vancouver

Hot Tuna brings its deathless blues to Seattle this winter

Jack (left) and Jorma still chuckle about the mellow good times they had at Altamont back in ’69. Good news for ’70s-rock fans who might feel like taking a quick musical trip Stateside this winter. Hot Tuna–aka guitarist-vocalist Jorma Kaukonen and bassist Jack Casady–will be performing an acoustic show in Seattle on Feb. 20 at … Continue reading Hot Tuna brings its deathless blues to Seattle this winter

That time Buddy Guy told me how badly he wanted Stevie Ray Vaughan’s photo on his album cover

By Steve Newton Buddy Guy is one of my favourite old-school blues guitarists, right up there with Albert King, B.B. King, and Albert Collins. I’ve been fortunate enough to have interviewed him five times, and seen him perform live many more times than that. I did my first interview with Buddy in August of ’91, … Continue reading That time Buddy Guy told me how badly he wanted Stevie Ray Vaughan’s photo on his album cover

Irish guitar hero Gary Moore found dead in a Spanish hotel room

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, FEB. 6, 2011 The guitar world is in mourning today as the news of Gary Moore’s death travels around the globe. The Irish musician—best known for his work with Thin Lizzy and his solo career as a hard rocker-turned-bluesman—passed away early this morning in his room at the luxury Kempinski Resort … Continue reading Irish guitar hero Gary Moore found dead in a Spanish hotel room

Blind Willie Johnson’s blues genius lauded in upcoming tribute album

By Steve Newton Blues legends don’t get much more legendary than Blind Willie Johnson, whose recordings in the 1920s of songs like “John the Revelator”, “It’s Nobody’s Fault But Mine”, and “Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning” have inspired versions by everyone from Hot Tuna to Warren Haynes to Led Zeppelin. So it’s more than … Continue reading Blind Willie Johnson’s blues genius lauded in upcoming tribute album

The Newt’s 300 Best Rock Albums of the 1970s

By Steve Newton You had to be there. Abraxas: Santana (“Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen”, “Oye Coma Va”, “Samba Pa Ti”) 1970 A Day at the Races: Queen (“Tie Your Mother Down”, “Somebody to Love”, “Long Away”) 1976 Aerosmith: Aerosmith (“Make It”, “Dream On”, “Mama Kin”) 1973 After the Gold Rush: Neil Young (“Tell Me Why”, “Southern Man”, “When You … Continue reading The Newt’s 300 Best Rock Albums of the 1970s

Ear of Newt’s Top 30 Rock Albums of 1976

The spirit of ’76 will never falter because that’s the year Thin Lizzy put out two LPs instead of just one. Albums listed in alphabetical order according to title, otherwise Jailbreak would be right there at the top. I’ve included three song titles to help you remember how awesome the music was, and one clip to bring it … Continue reading Ear of Newt’s Top 30 Rock Albums of 1976

Ear of Newt’s Top 30 Rock Albums of 1975

Ah, 1975. The year I graduated high school. Talk about dazed and confused. Albums listed alphabetically by title, including three choice tracks from each one to help you remember how wicked they really were. Against the Grain: Rory Gallagher (“Bought and Sold”, “Out on the Western Plain”, “Lost at Sea”) America’s Choice: Hot Tuna (“Sleep … Continue reading Ear of Newt’s Top 30 Rock Albums of 1975

Ear of Newt’s Top 30 Rock Albums of 1972

1972 was a year when I got introduced to a number of bands that would become all-time faves, including Blue Oyster Cult, Mott the Hoople, and Steely Dan. And as far as live albums went, the Allman Brothers, Jimi Hendrix, the J. Geils Band, and Rory Gallagher were well represented. I wouldn’t say ’72 was … Continue reading Ear of Newt’s Top 30 Rock Albums of 1972

Ear of Newt’s Top 30 Rock Albums of 1971

All in all, 1971 wasn’t one of the greatest years for rock in the seventies. But it was a pretty great one for Alice Cooper, Rory Gallagher, and Yes, who each had two albums on my Top 30. As before, I’ve listed the LPs alphabetically by title, and included three choice tracks from each disc … Continue reading Ear of Newt’s Top 30 Rock Albums of 1971

Ear of Newt’s Top 30 Rock Albums of 1970

Last year I decided to turn the clock back four decades and put together a list of my 30 fave albums of 1973, because, for one thing, that was the year when the greatest rock album of all time–the Who’s Quadrophenia–was released. Then,  a couple of weeks back, I kept up the “40 years ago” … Continue reading Ear of Newt’s Top 30 Rock Albums of 1970

Buddy Cage says it was easy filling Gerry Garcia’s shoes on pedal-steel

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, NOV. 29, 2006 By Steve Newton As the story goes, Jerry Garcia had only been experimenting on pedal-steel guitar for two weeks when he played it on Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’s 1970 hit “Teach Your Children”. Garcia’s licks resulted in the most widely heard pedal-steel performance ever, but that doesn’t … Continue reading Buddy Cage says it was easy filling Gerry Garcia’s shoes on pedal-steel

Blues guitar great Hubert Sumlin passes away at age 80

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, DEC. 4, 2011 By Steve Newton I just learned via a tweet from Hot Tuna guitarist Jorma Kaukonen that blues guitar great Hubert Sumlin passed away this morning, succumbing to heart failure at a New Jersey hospital at the age of 80. It’s a huge loss for the music world, as … Continue reading Blues guitar great Hubert Sumlin passes away at age 80

concert reviews

So, yeah, I’ve reviewed a few shows over the years. IRON MAIDEN at Rogers Arena, Sept. 3, 2019 SONNY LANDRETH at the Rio Theatre, Aug. 24, 2019 BAND OF FRIENDS at the Fox Cabaret, Dec. 18, 2018 DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS at the Imperial, Feb. 2, 2018 ROGER WATERS at Rogers Arena, Oct. 28, 2017 GUNS N’ ROSES … Continue reading concert reviews

That time I took a limo from Vancouver to Seattle to see Van Halen’s Monsters of Rock Tour

@shotbykevin By Steve Newton I haven’t taken many limousine rides during my lifetime. It’s a little hoity-toity for my liking. But there were a couple of times when I actually enjoyed that lifestyle of the rich and famous. The first time was back in 1986, when I got flown out to Berkeley, California to review … Continue reading That time I took a limo from Vancouver to Seattle to see Van Halen’s Monsters of Rock Tour

That time B.B. King told me how playing guitar was like telling the truth

bev davies photo By Steve Newton I’ve been very fortunate to have interviewed several legendary bluesmen over the last 40 years, guys like Albert King, Albert Collins, Buddy Guy, Roy Buchanan, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. But the very first legendary bluesman I ever interviewed was B.B. King. In January of 1984 he was playing a … Continue reading That time B.B. King told me how playing guitar was like telling the truth

That time Albert King told me that Gary Moore could play guitar: “I guarantee it”

By Steve Newton During my 40 years of writing about music, I’ve been extremely fortunate, especially when it comes to interviewing guitar players. I’ve been able to interview some of the world’s greatest guitarists several times over, including amazing players like Joe Satriani (eight times), Warren Haynes (six times), Buddy Guy (five times), and Dickey … Continue reading That time Albert King told me that Gary Moore could play guitar: “I guarantee it”

That time Dick Dale told me that the way he played guitar was “ticka-ticka-tucka-tucka ticka-ticka-tucka-tucka ticka-ticka-ta”

By Steve Newton I was fortunate enough to have interviewed Dick Dale–the “King of the Surf Guitar”–twice, in 1993 and 2000. Wow–what a totally unique and interesting guy. So outgoing and full of life and passion. At one point during the second conversation I brought up the topic of his highly percussive approach to guitar … Continue reading That time Dick Dale told me that the way he played guitar was “ticka-ticka-tucka-tucka ticka-ticka-tucka-tucka ticka-ticka-ta”