Vinyl guitarist Billy Frates pulls off a sterling Santana impression on Flea Market

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 17, 2003 By Steve Newton Inside Flea Market, the latest CD by Bay Area jam band Vinyl, there’s a gatefold reproduction of a painting by friend Neil Osborn (not the 54•40 guy) that depicts the titular open-air bazaar, with hippie types setting up shop in front of old … Continue reading Vinyl guitarist Billy Frates pulls off a sterling Santana impression on Flea Market

That time Carlos Santana told me that he was open to anything and everything

By Steve Newton Carlos Santana has been known as a brilliant guitarist since the 1960s, but he didn’t hit his commercial peak until the release of the Supernatural album in 1999. That disc featured collaborations with artists such as Eric Clapton, Rob Thomas, Eagle-Eye Cherry, Lauryn Hill, and Dave Matthews, and sold a staggering 30-million copies worldwide. … Continue reading That time Carlos Santana told me that he was open to anything and everything

That time I asked Carlos Santana who his favourite guitar player was

By Steve Newton When I interview the world’s greatest guitarists, I often like to ask them who they think is the world’s greatest guitarist. Carlos Santana is definitely one of the best ever, so when I interviewed him back in 2001 I put the question to him. Have a listen: To hear my full interview … Continue reading That time I asked Carlos Santana who his favourite guitar player was

That time I asked Carlos Santana how he gets his guitar tone

By Steve Newton One of the biggest thrills of my life as a rock journalist came when I interviewed Carlos Santana in August of 2011. His guitar sound has just entranced me ever since I first heard “Black Magic Woman” as a kid. So of course I had to ask him where he gets his … Continue reading That time I asked Carlos Santana how he gets his guitar tone

That time Carlos Santana told me pot should be legal and “it’s all fun once you get past the fear”

By Steve Newton Carlos Santana is one of the most amazing guitar players of all time. Everybody knows that. But he’s also got it goin’ on in the humanity department. He knows what’s important in life, it seems. I interviewed Santana in 2011, and at one point in the conversation I asked him if he … Continue reading That time Carlos Santana told me pot should be legal and “it’s all fun once you get past the fear”

Album review: Gary Hoey, Music from the Motion Picture The Endless Summer II (1994)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 19, 1994 By Steve Newton Rock-guitar maniacs are gonna love this one. Fretboard wizardry abounds in the score to director Bruce Brown’s latest surfing documentary, as up-and-coming axe master Hoey tears up the beach on 14 surefooted instrumentals. With the exception of Dick Dale‘s “Shake & Stomp (Part … Continue reading Album review: Gary Hoey, Music from the Motion Picture The Endless Summer II (1994)

That time I asked J.J. Cale which covers of his songs he liked best and Clapton’s didn’t even come up

By Steve Newton When you think about the J.J. Cale songs that other artists have covered and made famous, Eric Clapton’s versions of “After Midnight” and “Cocaine” usually make the cut. (Lynyrd Skynyrd’s take on “Call Me the Breeze” and Santana’s rendition of “The Sensitive Kind” also come to mind.) But when I did my … Continue reading That time I asked J.J. Cale which covers of his songs he liked best and Clapton’s didn’t even come up

Album review: Neal Schon, I on U (2005)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEBRUARY 17, 2005 By Steve Newton Yeah, I know, everybody hates Journey. Even I lost interest in them after 1978’s Infinity album. But don’t take that much-maligned band’s corporate-rock shenanigans in the ’80s out on ex-Journey guitarist Neal Schon. Don’t forget that he made a helluva lotta fine music with … Continue reading Album review: Neal Schon, I on U (2005)

Jeff Beck, the world’s greatest rock guitarist, dead at 78

kevin statham photo By Steve Newton I can barely believe the shocking and terrible news. I just heard that Jeff Beck died yesterday after suddenly contracting bacterial meningitis. That is surely one of the most profound losses the music world has ever suffered. Jeff Beck’s guitar playing spoke to me more than any other player. … Continue reading Jeff Beck, the world’s greatest rock guitarist, dead at 78

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: Terminal Station, Rolling All Night (2009)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 6, 2009 By Steve Newton If you’re the type of person who makes the rounds of Vancouver’s live-music joints there’s a good chance you’ve already heard a lick or two from guitarist Scott Smith. His blues-rock trio, Terminal Station, has enjoyed a residency at Capones in Yaletown; Bottleneck, … Continue reading Album review: Terminal Station, Rolling All Night (2009)

25 rock albums from 1977 that are way better than Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell

By Steve Newton Since the death of Meat Loaf last Thursday I’ve been hearing an awful lot about his 1977 debut album, Bat Out of Hell. The media’s been falling all over itself, declaring how it’s one of the best-selling albums of all time–moving over 40 million copies–and how much people love the music on … Continue reading 25 rock albums from 1977 that are way better than Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell

Gibson picked the top 50 guitar solos of all time, and boy did they ever blow it

Geez, even Jimi knew Johnny ruled. By Steve Newton Back in September of 2010 Gibson.com posted what it felt were the 50 greatest guitar solos of all time, and boy did they ever blow it. Most conspicuous by his absence is Texas blues-rock legend Johnny Winter. I for one am getting sick and tired of … Continue reading Gibson picked the top 50 guitar solos of all time, and boy did they ever blow it