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 ROGER WATERS at Rogers Arena, Oct. 28, 2017 GUNS N’ ROSES at BC Place Stadium, Sept. 1, 2017 THE … Continue reading concert reviews

That time I called up 22-year-old Jeff Healey and asked him about his role in the upcoming bouncer flick Roadhouse

By Steve Newton I was fortunate enough to have interviewed Canadian guitar wizard Jeff Healey three times. Man could that guy wail on the Strat! The first interview took place in June of 1988, when he was just 22, and still three months away from releasing his incredible debut album, See the Light. When I … Continue reading That time I called up 22-year-old Jeff Healey and asked him about his role in the upcoming bouncer flick Roadhouse

That time I asked Jimmy Barnes about his boozer reputation, and why he left Cold Chisel

By Steve Newton When I went to Australia for my little sister’s wedding in 1986 I managed to see two wicked Aussie bands–Midnight Oil and the Angels (aka Angel City)–play killer shows in Melbourne-area clubs. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see Cold Chisel play a killer show in a Melbourne-area pub because they’d already broken … Continue reading That time I asked Jimmy Barnes about his boozer reputation, and why he left Cold Chisel

That time I asked Brad Delp what his fave Boston tune was and he didn’t say “More Than a Feeling”

By Steve Newton I was still a guitar-rock-crazed teenager when the debut Boston album came out in 1976, so it’s not surprising that the first single “More Than a Feeling” blew me right the funk away. Even today the killer guitar sound of Tom Scholz and the incredible vocals of Brad Delp still make me … Continue reading That time I asked Brad Delp what his fave Boston tune was and he didn’t say “More Than a Feeling”

Newt’s 30 best rock albums of the decade, 2010-2019

By Steve Newton 30. Soundgarden King Animal (2012) The classic Soundgarden lineup of singer Chris Cornell, guitarist Kim Thayil, bassist Ben Shepherd, and drummer Matt Cameron releases its first album in 16 years, and it sounds like it’s never been gone. The raging, three-minute “Attrition” might be the best damn rock tune of the year. 29. … Continue reading Newt’s 30 best rock albums of the decade, 2010-2019

Newt’s Top 10 Albums of 2018

By Steve Newton This year I picked some instrumental rock, some hard rock, some southern rock, and some Beatles, but the underlying thread running through most of this stuff is the blues. You just can’t beat the blues. Joe Satriani What Happens Next Bay Area guitar wizard hooks up once again with Langley producer Mike Fraser … Continue reading Newt’s Top 10 Albums of 2018

Scorpions upstage Van Halen as the Monsters of Rock tour hits Seattle

  kevin statham photo ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 5, 1988 By Steve Newton About 40,000 people paid $38.50 (Cdn) to see the marathon Monsters of Rock show at the Seattle Kingdome last Wednesday (July 27). My calculator blew up when I tried to figure out the night’s take, but I do know … Continue reading Scorpions upstage Van Halen as the Monsters of Rock tour hits Seattle

Jeff Healey on playing a bar-band guitarist in Roadhouse and “marvellous” star Patrick Swayze

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 1, 1988 By Steve Newton Patrick Swayze may be one of the sexiest movie stars around today, but he can’t play mean blues guitar. Jeff Healey might not be your typical matinee idol, but he can play mean blues guitar–as anyone at the Town Pump will discover this … Continue reading Jeff Healey on playing a bar-band guitarist in Roadhouse and “marvellous” star Patrick Swayze

Atlanta guitar hero Tinsley Ellis on covering Leon Russell, adoring Eric Clapton, and listening to Tom Dowd

By Steve Newton The last time yours truly interviewed American blues-rocker Tinsley Ellis was 10 years ago, when he called the Georgia Straight in advance of a gig at the Yale Hotel, Vancouver’s top blues venue for decades. Sadly, the Granville Street joint hasn’t been a real home of the blues for years now, a fact not … Continue reading Atlanta guitar hero Tinsley Ellis on covering Leon Russell, adoring Eric Clapton, and listening to Tom Dowd

Album review: Various Artists, We’re a Happy Family—A Tribute to Ramones (2003)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEB. 27, 2003 By Steve Newton You don’t fuck with the Ramones. And one of the best ways to not fuck with them is to not change their music around; i.e., slow it down. Somebody should have pointed that obvious fact out to Marilyn Manson before they let the … Continue reading Album review: Various Artists, We’re a Happy Family—A Tribute to Ramones (2003)

Album review: Santana, Shaman (2002)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 7, 2002 By Steve Newton Two songs into the new Carlos Santana CD, Shaman, I couldn’t decide whether I loved the album or despised it. Things start off just fine with the old-school, tribal-Latin workout, “Adouma”, cowritten by Angelique Kidjo, which is lit white-hot by the guitar god’s … Continue reading Album review: Santana, Shaman (2002)

Album review: Alice Cooper, A Fistful of Alice (1997)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 21, 1997 By Steve Newton Strolling around the Mexican resort town of Cabo San Lucas last year, I stumbled across a bar called the Cabo Wabo Cantina, which had a sign in the parking lot proclaiming “Reserved for Sammy Hagar”. Realizing that this must be the watering hole … Continue reading Album review: Alice Cooper, A Fistful of Alice (1997)

Album review: John Fogerty, Blue Moon Swamp (1997)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 17, 1997 By Steve Newton To me, John Fogerty is the ultimate rock ’n’ roller. His songwriting—as evidenced by a myriad of deathless Creedence Clearwater Revival hits and some stunning solo tunes—is untouchable. He’s one hell of a swamp-rock lead guitarist. And when it comes to singing, man—what … Continue reading Album review: John Fogerty, Blue Moon Swamp (1997)

“Saw Six is the sixth Saw I’ve seen”: my original reviews of every Saw movie, 2004-2010

By Steve Newton As most in-the-know horror-movie freaks are no doubt aware, the latest entry in the Saw franchise, Jigsaw, opens this Friday (October 27). Not one to miss out on the latest Hollywood torture-porn epic, I’m going. As the designated horror reviewer for Vancouver weekly the Georgia Straight since the early ’80s, it was … Continue reading “Saw Six is the sixth Saw I’ve seen”: my original reviews of every Saw movie, 2004-2010