That time blues legend John Mayall told me why he handles his own gear and never uses roadies

By Steve Newton I did the second of my three interviews with British blues great John Mayall back in May of 1990, when he was heading to Vancouver for a show with his band the Bluesbreakers. He was touring to promote his latest album, A Sense of Place, which featured slide-guitar ace Sonny Landreth on … Continue reading That time blues legend John Mayall told me why he handles his own gear and never uses roadies

Big Jack Johnson likes the sauce cooked into his barbecue

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 24, 2003 By Steve Newton When the Straight contacts Big Jack Johnson—the veteran bluesman, not the youthful chart-topping surfer dude—at his home in Clarksdale, Mississippi, he’s just gotten back from Milan, Italy. To hear him tell it, the blues is definitely alive and well in Europe, and has … Continue reading Big Jack Johnson likes the sauce cooked into his barbecue

Brent Parkin has worked the Winnipeg blues beat longer than Big Dave McLean

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 24, 2003 By Steve Newton When you talk about the Winnipeg music scene, one name that tends to crop up repeatedly is Big Dave McLean. He’s a fixture of the city’s blues joints who’s been championed for years by the likes of Colin James. But Brent Parkin is … Continue reading Brent Parkin has worked the Winnipeg blues beat longer than Big Dave McLean

Guy Davis says that Taj Mahal gave him the real concerted blues lesson

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 20, 2003 By Steve Newton Blues fans who enjoy their music with a theatrical twist should make an effort to get out to the North Shore on Sunday (March 23), when singer-storyteller-guitarist Guy Davis plays the Capilano College Performing Arts Theatre. The New York bluesman will be performing … Continue reading Guy Davis says that Taj Mahal gave him the real concerted blues lesson

Ray Bonneville was fine with Sue Foley beating him out for the best blues Juno

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 18, 2002 By Steve Newton Rough Luck, the latest CD from Montreal-based blues artist Ray Bonneville, is about as solo as you can get. It’s just him, his guitar, an occasional harmonica, and his trusty footboard—a piece of plywood with four rubber stoppers to get it up off … Continue reading Ray Bonneville was fine with Sue Foley beating him out for the best blues Juno

Sista Monica says the blues can’t help but support a healing process for people

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 4, 2001 By Steve Newton Some music writers are quite skilled at describing certain artists by pointing to the attributes of others. Take Mac MacDonald of the Monterey Herald, for instance, who penned this stylistic sketch of California blues vocalist Monica Parker, aka Sista Monica: “She has the … Continue reading Sista Monica says the blues can’t help but support a healing process for people

Michael Hill say fans were eyeing the skies when Jimi Hendrix played the national anthem at Woodstock

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 20, 2000 By Steve Newton Ever since Woodstock happened, the music world’s been hearing about Jimi Hendrix’s performance at the fabled ’69 rock fest. I’ve seen some of the film footage and heard the recordings, and indeed the legendary guitarist appears in good form—but sometimes I wonder if … Continue reading Michael Hill say fans were eyeing the skies when Jimi Hendrix played the national anthem at Woodstock

Anson Funderburgh says Sam Myers talks about making moonshine with Elmore James

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 9, 2000 By Steve Newton One listen to the new Anson Funderburgh and the Rockets CD, Change in My Pocket, and you can tell the guitarist is from the less-is-more school; his tasty, laid-back approach would put him in the same homeroom as Jimmie Vaughan. Both pickers are … Continue reading Anson Funderburgh says Sam Myers talks about making moonshine with Elmore James

Texas bluesman Teddy Morgan will never forget having Lazy Lester on his new album

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 25, 1999 By Steve Newton On his first two albums, Texas singer-songwriter and ace guitar-slinger Teddy Morgan took a decidedly bluesy approach, but on his third, Lost Love and Highways, he’s adopted a more country-roots stance. Although he now sounds more like a cross between J.J. Cale and … Continue reading Texas bluesman Teddy Morgan will never forget having Lazy Lester on his new album

Harmonica ace Carlos Del Junco’s first album purchase was The Paul Butterfield Blues Band

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 15, 1999 By Steve Newton The first blues harpist I really got into was Magic Dick of the J. Geils Band. Back in high school I used to play the live Full House LP for hours at a time, marvelling at Dick’s command of the instrument, especially when … Continue reading Harmonica ace Carlos Del Junco’s first album purchase was The Paul Butterfield Blues Band

Kenny Neal recalls getting a harmonica from swamp-blues legend Slim Harpo

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEB. 28, 2002 By Steve Newton A lot of today’s practicing blues artists have stories to tell about influential run-ins with pioneering bluesmen, and Kenny Neal is no exception. When he was a little kid he was handed a harmonica by swamp-blues legend Slim (“I’m a King Bee”) Harpo, … Continue reading Kenny Neal recalls getting a harmonica from swamp-blues legend Slim Harpo

Downchild’s Donnie Walsh relishes the resurgence of the blues

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEB. 26, 1988 By Steve Newton Followers of the Canadian blues have cause to celebrate, because one of this country's most endearing bands is back on track. Downchild--the group that helped inspired Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi to don their cool black suits 'n' shades and become the Blues … Continue reading Downchild’s Donnie Walsh relishes the resurgence of the blues

That time blues legend Charlie Musselwhite told me what it was like moving to Chicago as a teen

By Steve Newton I interviewed Charlie Musselwhite, one of the greatest blues harpists of all time, on February 19, 2002. That was one week before the official release of Musselwhite's 21st studio album, One Night in America--a fine platter that featured such ace guitarists as G.E. Smith, Robben Ford, and Marty Stuart--and exactly one month … Continue reading That time blues legend Charlie Musselwhite told me what it was like moving to Chicago as a teen

That time Tinsley Ellis told me that it was a dream come true playing with keyboard legend Chuck Leavell

Ellis playing with Leavell in 2016 By Steve Newton Back in March of 1992 I did my first interview with Atlanta blues-rocker Tinsley Ellis, who was touring behind his third album, Trouble Time. One of the attractions of the album--apart from Ellis's smokin' guitarwork--was the keyboard wizardry of one Chuck Leavell. (As you may recall, … Continue reading That time Tinsley Ellis told me that it was a dream come true playing with keyboard legend Chuck Leavell

That time 23-year-old Sue Foley told me that she didn’t pick up a guitar to get chicks–or guys, for that matter

By Steve Newton Back in March of 1992 I did my first interview with Canadian blues singer and Telecaster slinger Sue Foley. This was just before the release of her debut album, Young Girl Blues, and she was heading to Vancouver to perform as part of the Antone’s Women Blues Revue. At one point in … Continue reading That time 23-year-old Sue Foley told me that she didn’t pick up a guitar to get chicks–or guys, for that matter

That time Chris Whitley told me that he thought Johnny Winter’s debut album was the best blues-rock record ever made

By Steve Newton I interviewed Chris Whitley for the first time back in October of 1991, three months after the release of his debut album, Living With the Law. He called me up from Nashville, where he was opening for Tom Petty on Petty's Into the Great Wide Open Tour. At one point in the … Continue reading That time Chris Whitley told me that he thought Johnny Winter’s debut album was the best blues-rock record ever made

That time Luther Allison told me that he didn’t get the same break in Chicago as Magic Sam, Otis Rush, Freddie King, and Buddy Guy

By Steve Newton Luther Allison was one of those amazing blues artists who never quite got the fame they deserved; a powerful vocalist and a smokin' guitarist as well. I did my one and only interview with Allison in September of 1995, before he played his first-ever concert in Vancouver, and at one point in … Continue reading That time Luther Allison told me that he didn’t get the same break in Chicago as Magic Sam, Otis Rush, Freddie King, and Buddy Guy

That time I asked Long John Baldry who his favourite blues people were these days and he went with Stevie Ray Vaughan

By Steve Newton I did my one and only interview with blues legend Long John Baldry on September 8, 1985, shortly after he'd moved to Vancouver, where he would remain until his death 20 years later. Ten days earlier I'd gone to an incredible Vancouver concert by another blues legend, Stevie Ray Vaughan, whose third … Continue reading That time I asked Long John Baldry who his favourite blues people were these days and he went with Stevie Ray Vaughan