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

Warren Haynes calls Blind Willie Johnson’s “Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground” one of the most haunting recordings ever

By Steve Newton Gov't Mule is one of my favourite bands, and not just because their original music is so damn fine. Once in a while they'll do a cover of an old blues tune that inspires me to search out previous versions, with wonderful results. Like back in 1998 when they recorded "John the … Continue reading Warren Haynes calls Blind Willie Johnson’s “Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground” one of the most haunting recordings ever

Blues-rocker Candye Kane puts aside her porno past

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEB. 13, 2003 By Steve Newton Some say that blues-metal was born in 1969 when Led Zeppelin released “Whole Lotta Love”, and indeed that tune’s thundering guitar riff and wailing vocals have launched a thousand headbanger bands. Today it’s still having a powerful effect. Just ask Candye Kane, who … Continue reading Blues-rocker Candye Kane puts aside her porno past

Mason Ruffner was inspired by Jimmy Page to inject fire into his Gypsy Blood

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 31, 1987 By Steve Newton The Fabulous Thunderbirds are from Austin, Texas. Mason Ruffner is from Forth Worth. The Fabulous Thunderbirds hit it big last year with an album produced by Dave Edmunds. Mason Ruffner is hitting it big this year with an album produced by Dave Edmunds. … Continue reading Mason Ruffner was inspired by Jimmy Page to inject fire into his Gypsy Blood

Albert King’s “adopted grandson” Little Jimmy King salvages Vancouver gig with Hendrix-style string-chomping

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 6, 1995 By Steve Newton Sometimes greatness takes a while to reveal itself, and that was certainly the case at the Commodore on June 30. After a set of gospel-laced blues and spiritual tunes by the Holmes Brothers that included some soulful harmonizing on dusty standards such as … Continue reading Albert King’s “adopted grandson” Little Jimmy King salvages Vancouver gig with Hendrix-style string-chomping

Telecaster queen Sue Foley didn’t pick up a guitar to get chicks–or even guys, for that matter

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 2, 1992 By Steve Newton Talk about the harried, high-pressure life of a travelling blueswoman! In her Phoenix, Arizona hotel room, Sue Foley is getting it from all sides. It’s check-out time, and room service is banging on the door; she’s playing Tucson that night, and her fellow … Continue reading Telecaster queen Sue Foley didn’t pick up a guitar to get chicks–or even guys, for that matter

The Newt Commute #2: Muddy Waters’ “Champagne and Reefer”

By Steve Newton Couple weeks ago I banged out a little blog about how I played Neil Young's "I'm the Ocean" eight times on my shitty commute. That was kinda fun to write, so while I was cruising into work this morning I kept my mind open for another song-based subject to blather on about. … Continue reading The Newt Commute #2: Muddy Waters’ “Champagne and Reefer”

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