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 Jerry Garcia’s shoes on pedal-steel in New Riders of the Purple Sage

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 Jerry Garcia’s shoes on pedal-steel in New Riders of the Purple Sage

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

Michael Schau dedicates Livin’ the Blues to Stevie Ray, Hendrix, and the two Alberts

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEB. 9, 1995 By Steve Newton During my years as a rock scribbler I’ve been fortunate enough to have interviewed lots of amazing guitarists. Unfortunately, many of them aren’t around anymore. Roy Buchanan hanged himself in a jail cell (or so the story goes). Danny Gatton shot himself in … Continue reading Michael Schau dedicates Livin’ the Blues to Stevie Ray, Hendrix, and the two Alberts

Dave Gonzalez says the Paladins are at their best when pared down

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JAN. 17, 1991 By Steve Newton When Paladins guitarist Dave Gonzales called snowbound Vancouver last week, yours truly wasn’t in a cheery mood—and it had nothing to do with the frosty mounds of white stuff entombing his car. The TV news was broadcasting live press conferences with Iraq’s foreign … Continue reading Dave Gonzalez says the Paladins are at their best when pared down

That time I asked Bruce Dickinson what his favourite tune was on Iron Maiden’s new album Piece of Mind

By Steve Newton Over the last 40 years I’ve been fortunate enough to have done one-on-one interviews with four members of Iron Maiden: Clive Burr, Steve Harris, Dave Murray, and Bruce Dickinson. I interviewed Dickinson back in June of 1983, when Maiden was touring behind its fourth studio album, Piece of Mind, which had been … Continue reading That time I asked Bruce Dickinson what his favourite tune was on Iron Maiden’s new album Piece of Mind

Paul Dean takes a break from Loverboy to go Hard Core with Brian “Too Loud” MacLeod

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 3, 1989 By Steve Newton Having Bruce Allen’s office all to yourself is quite the experience. While waiting to interview Loverboy guitarist turned solo artist Paul Dean I’m momentarily left to scour the big-time rock manager’s hallowed chamber, where no doubt many a make-or-break deal has gone down. … Continue reading Paul Dean takes a break from Loverboy to go Hard Core with Brian “Too Loud” MacLeod