Sonny Landreth pays tribute to old friend Johnny Winter in Vancouver

photo by the Newt By Steve Newton Louisiana slide-guitar ace Sonny Landreth played Vancouver last night, and if you’re a fan of bluesy, southern-style bottleneck, I hope you didn’t miss it. The player Eric Clapton calls first when he needs world-class slide did not disappoint–especially when he dedicated a tune to his old friend Johnny … Continue reading Sonny Landreth pays tribute to old friend Johnny Winter in Vancouver

Album review: Sonny Landreth, Outward Bound (1992)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 10, 1992 By Steve Newton Sometimes when I hear a particularly snazzy slide guitar lick, I get a shiver up my spine, as if that cold piece of glass or metal stroking the strings were making a move up and down my own backbone. It doesn’t happen too … Continue reading Album review: Sonny Landreth, Outward Bound (1992)

Sonny Landreth says he’s sure Johnny Winter will make it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame one day

By Steve Newton In a few hours I’m heading out to see Louisiana slide-guitar ace Sonny Landreth play a gig in Vancouver. If you’re a fan of Sonny, you may know that his latest album, Bound By the Blues, features a tribute to one of his musical heroes, Johnny Winter, called “Firebird Blues”. You may also … Continue reading Sonny Landreth says he’s sure Johnny Winter will make it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame one day

Sonny Landreth on first hearing Johnny Winter: “Holy shit, man, this is awesome!”

By Steve Newton When Sonny Landreth connects his glass slide to the strings of his Strat, there’s always a good chance a blues-drenched tone will emerge—perhaps blended with zydeco strains befitting the guitarist’s home state of Louisiana. A blues freak since day one, Landreth composed a love letter to the genre with his latest album, Bound … Continue reading Sonny Landreth on first hearing Johnny Winter: “Holy shit, man, this is awesome!”

Sonny Landreth recalls the time Jimi Hendrix had “a bad gig”

By Steve Newton Louisiana slide-guitar legend Sonny Landreth sent me an autographed copy of his latest CD the other day, and man, was I happy to get that. And not just for the John Henry–the music’s wicked, too! On the album’s title track, Bound By the Blues, Landreth pays lyrical homage to some of his musical … Continue reading Sonny Landreth recalls the time Jimi Hendrix had “a bad gig”

Sonny Landreth ranks Johnny Winter with Clapton and Beck

By Steve Newton I called Louisiana slide guitar-ace Sonny Landreth up at his home in Lafayette yesterday and we chatted for a while, mainly about his latest album, Bound By the Blues, which he’ll showcase tunes from in Vancouver on January 17. The album, his ninth studio release, is a paeon to the blues and his … Continue reading Sonny Landreth ranks Johnny Winter with Clapton and Beck

John Mayall recruits Sonny Landreth for A Sense of Place, okays Clapton sitting in

By Steve Newton ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 7, 1990 When legendary bluesman John Mayall gets rolling on stage, he cuts right down to the roots of the blues. There’s nothing fancy about his approach to the music; with the help of his Bluesbreakers, he delivers it in all its raw and primitive … Continue reading John Mayall recruits Sonny Landreth for A Sense of Place, okays Clapton sitting in

Rivers run deep on Sonny Landreth’s South of I-10

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 13, 1995 By Steve Newton Unless you’re a devoted follower of critically acclaimed slide guitarists—or the type of music fan that analyzes the musician credits on CD liner notes—you might not have heard of Louisiana singer-songwriter-guitarist Sonny Landreth. He’s been around for a long time, though, and he’s … Continue reading Rivers run deep on Sonny Landreth’s South of I-10

Sonny Landreth hoped some of Albert King’s cosmic dust would rub off on him

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, NOV. 25, 2004 By Steve Newton Unless your an avid follower of guitar players–and slide-guitar specialists, in particular–you may not have heard of Sonny Landreth. According to Eric Clapton, he is “probably the most underestimated musician on the planet”. But that didn’t stop Landreth from earning a Grammy nomination for his … Continue reading Sonny Landreth hoped some of Albert King’s cosmic dust would rub off on him

Sonny Landreth’s smokin’ slide heats up the Yale in Vancouver

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, FEB. 20, 2009 A sell-out crowd of slide-guitar freaks converged on the Yale Hotel last night (February 19) to take in one of the world’s most amazing bottleneck players. Louisiana’s Sonny Landreth kept the audience entranced with a set that focused on material from his star-studded new CD From the Reach—which boasts … Continue reading Sonny Landreth’s smokin’ slide heats up the Yale in Vancouver

Sonny Landreth and friends let the music do the talking

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, JAN. 24, 2013 By Steve Newton Fans of Louisiana slide-guitar ace Sonny Landreth have reason to be thrilled about his latest album, Elemental Journey. It’s totally instrumental, which means there’s no pesky vocals getting in the way of the 61-year-old picker’s shimmering bottleneck licks. Turns out Landreth has yearned to go wordless … Continue reading Sonny Landreth and friends let the music do the talking

That time Warren Haynes told me that it felt strange being chosen best slide player over Johnny, Sonny, and Ry (“The Man”)

By Steve Newton Warren Haynes is one helluva slide-guitar player, as anyone who’s heard him will attest. There’s a reason why Dickey Betts brought him along to handle Duane Allman’s slide parts when he rejoined the Allman Brothers back in ’89. When I interviewed Haynes in November of 1998 he’d won the latest Guitar Player … Continue reading That time Warren Haynes told me that it felt strange being chosen best slide player over Johnny, Sonny, and Ry (“The Man”)

That time I asked Joe Satriani who his best guitar student was and he said Steve Vai caught on the quickest

By Steve Newton Back in January of 1990 I did the first of my seven interviews with Joe Satriani. At the time he was touring behind his latest album, Flying in a Blue Dream, and the buzz about him was growing fast. People were learning that he’d spent several years as a guitar instructor, teaching … Continue reading That time I asked Joe Satriani who his best guitar student was and he said Steve Vai caught on the quickest

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 Richie Sambora told me why Bon Jovi switched producers from Bruce Fairbairn to Bob Rock

By Steve Newton Bon Jovi may have been hugely popular back in the day, but I actually enjoyed guitarist Richie Sambora’s solo debut album, Stranger in This Town, more than any Bon Jovi band release. I even preferred Sambora’s lead vocals over Jon Bon Jovi’s, especially on solo tunes like “Ballad of Youth”. So it … Continue reading That time Richie Sambora told me why Bon Jovi switched producers from Bruce Fairbairn to Bob Rock

That time 18-year-old Kenny Wayne Shepherd told me about meeting his idol Stevie Ray Vaughan

By Steve Newton I’ve interviewed Kenny Wayne Shepherd four times, ’cause I’m a sucker for folks who can play the shit out of a Strat. The first time was back in December of 1995, when he was only 18 and touring behind his platinum-selling debut album, Ledbetter Heights. At one point in the conversation I … Continue reading That time 18-year-old Kenny Wayne Shepherd told me about meeting his idol Stevie Ray Vaughan

That time I asked Justin Hayward if he knew the Moody Blues’ “Nights in White Satin” was special as soon as it came to him

By Steve Newton As April Wine once said, “I Like to Rock”. I like to rock as well, but once in a while a beautiful, gentle ballad is, as Ted Nugent once said, “Just What the Doctor Ordered”. But enough about April Wine and Ted Nugent. This little blog’s about a softer-rockin’, more prog-oriented band … Continue reading That time I asked Justin Hayward if he knew the Moody Blues’ “Nights in White Satin” was special as soon as it came to him

That time I asked Elliot Easton if he felt like a mercenary playing John Fogerty’s licks in Creedence Clearwater Revisited

By Steve Newton I’ve long felt that John Fogerty was the biggest triple-threat in rock: as a songwriter, singer, and guitarist, few can match him. I’ve also always hated how, for years after the breakup of Creedence Clearwater Revival, Fogerty couldn’t even perform the incredible CCR songs he’d written, for legal reasons. The old CCR … Continue reading That time I asked Elliot Easton if he felt like a mercenary playing John Fogerty’s licks in Creedence Clearwater Revisited

That time Wayne Kramer told me about the MC5’s political consciousness in the ’60s

By Steve Newton I missed out on the MC5 when they were a major musical force on the American counterculture scene in the late ’60s. And it’s not just ’cause I’m Canadian. I was only 11 when their groundbreaking Kick Out the Jams debut album came out, and at that point all I listened to … Continue reading That time Wayne Kramer told me about the MC5’s political consciousness in the ’60s

That time Joe Satriani told me how his mind works when he’s playing wicked guitar on stage

By Steve Newton Some guitarists learn how to play by ear, and others–like Joe Satriani–learn how to play by the book. Satch knows music theory better than most, so when I did my first interview with him back in 1990–just after the release of Flying in a Blue Dream–I asked him how that relates to … Continue reading That time Joe Satriani told me how his mind works when he’s playing wicked guitar on stage

That time Randy Hansen told me about recording his atmospheric, Hendrix-style guitar parts for Apocalypse Now

By Steve Newton Back in August of 2001 I interviewed Jimi Hendrix tribute artist Randy Hansen because he was coming up from Seattle for a gig at a Vancouver club. This was right around the time that Apocalypse Now Redux, an extended version of Francis Ford Coppola’s epic 1979 Vietnam war movie, was being released. … Continue reading That time Randy Hansen told me about recording his atmospheric, Hendrix-style guitar parts for Apocalypse Now

That time Bob Rock told me that he just wakes up in the morning and music is what he does

By Steve Newton Being a rock journalist in Vancouver during the ’80s and ’90s meant that I was close to where a lot of the top-selling albums of the time were made. That was mainly down at Little Mountain Sound, where local producers, engineers, and mixers–guys like Bruce Fairbairn, Bob Rock, and Mike Fraser–were tweaking … Continue reading That time Bob Rock told me that he just wakes up in the morning and music is what he does

That time Steve Vai told me about the “cornball arrangements” on his Zappesque debut album Flex-Able

By Steve Newton When I did my first interview with Steve Vai, just after he’d released Passion and Warfare in 1990, we got to talking about his previous album, Flex-Able. Turns out the success of Passion and Warfare was pushing sales of the six-year-old Flex-Able, even though the music on it was the opposite of … Continue reading That time Steve Vai told me about the “cornball arrangements” on his Zappesque debut album Flex-Able

That time Guess Who guitarist Randy Bachman told me about creating the riff for “American Woman”

By Steve Newton Canada doesn’t seem to have an overabundance of rock-guitar heroes. Sure, you’ve got your Lenny Breau when it comes to jazz, and your Jeff Healey if you’re talkin’ blues. But when it comes to Canadian rock-guitar heroes, I can’t think of tons. Alex Lifeson, Kim Mitchell… Obviously Neil Young, but isn’t he … Continue reading That time Guess Who guitarist Randy Bachman told me about creating the riff for “American Woman”

That time Nick Gilder told me about Bryan Adams taking his place in Sweeney Todd

By Steve Newton If you were a rock-loving Canadian teenager in the mid-seventies you no doubt heard “Roxy Roller”, the big hit by Vancouver glam-rock band Sweeney Todd, on the radio. It wasn’t one of my personal favourite tunes, but I do remember buying the album, because back in ’76 I was all about the … Continue reading That time Nick Gilder told me about Bryan Adams taking his place in Sweeney Todd

That time Ann Wilson told me about the heartfelt dedication on Heart’s “These Dreams”

By Steve Newton I was a huge fan of Heart back in the seventies. I remember they played a show at the hockey rink in my hometown of Chilliwack, B.C. when I was just out of high school. With Ann Wilson’s killer voice, Roger Fisher’s killer guitar, and killer songs like “Magic Man” and “Crazy … Continue reading That time Ann Wilson told me about the heartfelt dedication on Heart’s “These Dreams”

Andy Powell on the awesomeness of Wishbone Ash’s Argus, up-and-comer Doyle Bramhall II, and “old friend” the Flying V

brian ferguson photo By Steve Newton I loved Wishbone Ash in the seventies. The dual lead-guitar stylings on albums like Argus and There’s The Rub really turned my crank. So it was cool to finally do a little interview with founding member Andy Powell back in 2003, before the band played a gig at Vancouver’s … Continue reading Andy Powell on the awesomeness of Wishbone Ash’s Argus, up-and-comer Doyle Bramhall II, and “old friend” the Flying V