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

That time I told “Gatemouth” Brown that he played pretty good boogie for a 73-year-old

By Steve Newton Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown was one of those old blues guys who didn't talk much--especially during interviews. When I chatted with him back in 1997 he was 73, and touring behind an album called Long Way Home that featured guest spots by Leon Russell, Eric Clapton, Ry Cooder, and Sonny Landreth. At one … Continue reading That time I told “Gatemouth” Brown that he played pretty good boogie for a 73-year-old

That time I asked “Honeyboy” Edwards if he thought that his friend Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads

Robert Johnson was tight with "Honeyboy" Edwards By Steve Newton I'm pretty sure that David "Honeyboy" Edwards was the oldest musician I've ever interviewed. He was 87 in March of 2003 when I called him up in Chicago to get the scoop on his early days with Mississippi Delta blues legends like Big Joe Williams, … Continue reading That time I asked “Honeyboy” Edwards if he thought that his friend Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads

That time I asked Taj Mahal which blues artists were making him smile lately

By Steve Newton I've interviewed American blues great Taj Mahal (real name Henry Saint Clair Fredericks) a couple of times. The first time was back in November of 2001, before he headed to Vancouver for a solo acoustic show at the historic Commodore Ballroom. At one point in the conversation I asked the 59-year-old Grammy-winner … Continue reading That time I asked Taj Mahal which blues artists were making him smile lately

That time John Mayall told me that his Bluesbreakers of 1988 were the best band he ever had

By Steve Newton The first time I interviewed blues legend John Mayall was in December of 1988, shortly after he'd released his Chicago Line album, which featured smokin' guitarists Walter Trout and Carlos Montoya. Mayall has always surrounded himself with the finest pickers--including guys like Mick Taylor, Eric Clapton, and Peter Green--so at one point … Continue reading That time John Mayall told me that his Bluesbreakers of 1988 were the best band he ever had

Super Chikan’s childhood poverty led to cool homemade guitars and slide-infested blues

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 29, 2010 By Steve Newton When bluesmen chat about their favourite electric guitars, the words Strat and Les Paul often work their way into the conversation. Not when James “Super Chikan” Johnson is doing the talking, though. His ultimate six-string carries neither the Fender nor the Gibson brand, … Continue reading Super Chikan’s childhood poverty led to cool homemade guitars and slide-infested blues

John Mayall believes the Bluesbreakers are better than ever on Chicago Line

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JAN. 13, 1989 By Steve Newton The biggest aim for most rock musicians when they're starting out is getting on a major label. A major-label signing means that your music is available to the masses. It's the first step on the road to international stardom. But it's not just … Continue reading John Mayall believes the Bluesbreakers are better than ever on Chicago Line

That time I asked 28-year-old Susan Tedeschi what she hoped to accomplish in her career

By Steve Newton Hey all you diehard Susan Tedeschi fans: here's another audio excerpt from my 1998 interview with her, when she had just released her second album, Just Won't Burn, and was on the verge of stardom. As the "phoner" wound down, I asked her what she hoped to accomplish in her career, and … Continue reading That time I asked 28-year-old Susan Tedeschi what she hoped to accomplish in her career

That time I asked 28-year-old Susan Tedeschi what she got from attending Berklee College of Music

By Steve Newton Here's another audio excerpt from my 1998 interview with Susan Tedeschi, for those who think she's awesome, like me. At one point in the interview I asked her about attending Berklee College of Music, which she graduated from in 1991. That's the Boston institution where such stellar musicians as Steely Dan's Donald … Continue reading That time I asked 28-year-old Susan Tedeschi what she got from attending Berklee College of Music

That time I asked 28-year-old Susan Tedeschi if she had a favourite tune on Just Won’t Burn

By Steve Newton I love listening to Susan Tedeschi sing and play guitar. I mean, who doesn't? I love interviewing her too, because she's not just a wicked musician, but a total sweetie as well. The first time I chatted with her was back in 1998, when she was just 28, and touring behind her … Continue reading That time I asked 28-year-old Susan Tedeschi if she had a favourite tune on Just Won’t Burn

Donald Kinsey laments the death of Roy Buchanan, relives the attempted assassination of Bob Marley

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 2, 1988 By Steve Newton Donald Kinsey knows the meaning of the blues. Lately--in the wake of Roy Buchanan's suicide--he knows it better than ever. Kinsey was a good buddy of Buchanan's, and played guitar on his late two albums, Hot Wires and Dancing on the Edge. Since … Continue reading Donald Kinsey laments the death of Roy Buchanan, relives the attempted assassination of Bob Marley