That time 24-year-old Grace Potter told me that she wasn’t too young to appreciate the Allman Brothers

By Steve Newton The first time I ever saw Grace Potter perform live I was blown away. Her band the Nocturnals opened for Gov't Mule in Vancouver, and she joined the Mule on a killer version of "Honky Tonk Women", displaying a whole lotta soul. A couple months later, in January of 2008, I interviewed … Continue reading That time 24-year-old Grace Potter told me that she wasn’t too young to appreciate the Allman Brothers

That time I asked John Bell about Widespread Panic being the first act signed to the newly reborn Capricorn Records

By Steve Newton If you were a southern-rock lovin' kid in the seventies, like me, you no doubt owned an LP or two with the Capricorn Records label on it. Capricorn released classic Allman Brothers albums like At Fillmore East, Eat a Peach, and Brothers and Sisters, as well as discs by Wet Willie, the … Continue reading That time I asked John Bell about Widespread Panic being the first act signed to the newly reborn Capricorn Records

That time Tom Petty guitarist Mike Campbell told me that Lynyrd Skynyrd’s success gave him hope

  mudcrutch photo by red slater By Steve Newton When I interviewed Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell back in the summer of 1999 we got to talking about his early days playing with Petty in the Gainesville, Florida band Mudcrutch. At one point Campbell told me about how that band would sometimes … Continue reading That time Tom Petty guitarist Mike Campbell told me that Lynyrd Skynyrd’s success gave him hope

God bless Chuck Leavell’s piano solo on the Allman Brothers’ “Southbound”

By Steve Newton As most readers of Ear of Newt have probly figured out by now, I'm something of a guitar freak. I just love the sound of a guitar, especially when it's in the hands of someone really, really good. (I also spell the word probably as "probly" because that's how it sounds to me, … Continue reading God bless Chuck Leavell’s piano solo on the Allman Brothers’ “Southbound”

That time I asked Dale Krantz Rossington if it was rough being a mom and a rocker at the same time

By Steve Newton Anybody who's raised a coupla kids will tell ya: it's rough. I've raised a coupla kids and lemme tell ya: it's rough. But it's still the best thing in the world. Now raising a coupla kids while rockin' and rollin' with your guitar-legend hubby Gary Rossington, that's gotta be a challenge as … Continue reading That time I asked Dale Krantz Rossington if it was rough being a mom and a rocker at the same time

That time I asked Dr. John who he’d most like to work with

bruce weber photo By Steve Newton When the weekend chores are done--well, a couple of 'em anyway--it's always fun to sit down and bang out a quick rock blog. The wife brought home some garlic chili coho candy (aka smoked salmon) and Stellas, there's Apollo Pizza on deck, and in the fading light of Father's … Continue reading That time I asked Dr. John who he’d most like to work with

Remembering Dr. John’s answering-machine message

By Steve Newton Back in 2004 I did my one and only interview with New Orleans music legend Dr. John, aka Mac Rebennack. The first time I called him, though, he wasn't around, and after four rings his answering machine turned on. His message was short, but also pretty cool. I don't remember if I … Continue reading Remembering Dr. John’s answering-machine message

That time I asked Allman Brothers guitarist Warren Haynes about working with legendary producer Tom Dowd

By Steve Newton that's Dowd on the far left, hangin' with Warren and the Brothers By Steve Newton Legendary producer Tom Dowd has worked with some of the biggest names in the music biz, including--as Warren Haynes points out in this audio excerpt from 1994--Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, and John Coltrane. But it was Dowd's … Continue reading That time I asked Allman Brothers guitarist Warren Haynes about working with legendary producer Tom Dowd

The Drive-By Truckers’ 20 best songs, from wicked to freakin’ awesome

By Steve Newton So far I've posted these wacky "20 best songs" lists for some of my fave bands from the '70s, including Deep Purple, Alice Cooper, Aerosmith, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Black Sabbath, Robin Trower, Van Halen, AC/DC, Blue Oyster Cult, and Thin Lizzy. When I decided to compile one for the Drive-By Truckers, who are … Continue reading The Drive-By Truckers’ 20 best songs, from wicked to freakin’ awesome

Burt Reynolds’ death two weeks after Ed King’s gets me raving about “Saturday Night Special”

  By Steve Newton I never thought Lynyrd Skynyrd's third album, 1975's Nuthin' Fancy, was anywhere near as fine as its first two albums, but holy fvck did I love the opening track, "Saturday Night Special". It boasted a killer main riff by guitarist Ed King, and some seriously kick-ass, southern-fried solos by Gary Rossington. … Continue reading Burt Reynolds’ death two weeks after Ed King’s gets me raving about “Saturday Night Special”

That time Dickey Betts told me that the Allmans had “a good old time” on that porch from the Shades of Two Worlds cover

By Steve Newton When I interviewed Dickey Betts back on July 18, 1991, it was just two weeks since the Allman Brothers had released their 10th studio album, Shades of Two Worlds. That was very much "a Dickey album", since he'd written or co-written (with fellow guitarist Warren Haynes) five of the album's eight tracks, and also … Continue reading That time Dickey Betts told me that the Allmans had “a good old time” on that porch from the Shades of Two Worlds cover

That time I asked Dickey Betts if the Allman Brothers were the originators of “southern rock”

By Steve Newton I've been a big fan of "southern rock" since I first heard the Allman Brothers Band's version of "One Way Out" on the Eat a Peach album back in high school. Some of my other fave bands in the seventies were Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Outlaws, Molly Hatchet, and Blackfoot. So when I … Continue reading That time I asked Dickey Betts if the Allman Brothers were the originators of “southern rock”

Gary Rossington and Dale Krantz-Rossington on leaving Rossington Collins, having kids, and “Workin’ for Atlantic” in ’86

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 31, 1986 By Steve Newton Just before Lynyrd Skynyrd's plane went down on October 20, 1977, the now legendary  southern rock band released an album ironically titled Street Survivors. That crash took the lives of lead singer Ronnie Van Zant and singer/guitarist Steve Gaines, and grounded the band's … Continue reading Gary Rossington and Dale Krantz-Rossington on leaving Rossington Collins, having kids, and “Workin’ for Atlantic” in ’86

The Drive-By Truckers’ Mike Cooley thinks Donald Trump “might be f***in’ crazy”

john gellman photograph By Steve Newton Drive-By Truckers singer, songwriter, and guitarist Mike Cooley has never been one to pull punches when it comes to politicians who he feels deserve a shot to the head--or a knee to the nuts, for that matter. I've been a huge fan of Cooley, and the band as a … Continue reading The Drive-By Truckers’ Mike Cooley thinks Donald Trump “might be f***in’ crazy”

Duane Allman and Berry Oakley’s motorcycle deaths couldn’t keep the Midnight Rider off his bike

By Steve Newton I've been on a bit of an Allman Brothers bender of late. It started a while back when Gregg had to cancel some shows due to a "serious illness". He's feeling much better now, I've heard, but I still wanted to send good thoughts while continuously cranking out the four-CD Dreams box … Continue reading Duane Allman and Berry Oakley’s motorcycle deaths couldn’t keep the Midnight Rider off his bike

Ever wonder why the Allman Brothers look so damn happy on the cover of At Fillmore East?

By Steve Newton The Allman Brothers' At Fillmore East is widely recognized as one of the greatest live albums in rock history. And you won't get any arguments about that from me. The band was at its peak, guitarists Duane Allman and Dickey Betts trading the type of inspired licks that would make future ABB … Continue reading Ever wonder why the Allman Brothers look so damn happy on the cover of At Fillmore East?

.38 Special’s Donnie Van Zant on the origins of southern rock and the drive of Jacksonville bands

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 2, 1982 By Steve Newton .38 Special's July 5 gig at the Kerrisdale Arena has been cancelled due to poor ticket sales, and according to lead singer Donnie Van Zant "it's a real shame". The show would have been the band's second Vancouver appearance. Their latest album, Special … Continue reading .38 Special’s Donnie Van Zant on the origins of southern rock and the drive of Jacksonville bands

Drive-By Truckers tone down the Skynyrdisms on Decoration Day

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 7, 2003 By Steve Newton Two years ago the Drive-By Truckers took the music world by surprise with Southern Rock Opera, a sprawling, two-CD concept album about ’70s rock and southern U.S. culture that focused on the legend of doomed Dixie rock act Lynyrd Skynyrd. The independent release … Continue reading Drive-By Truckers tone down the Skynyrdisms on Decoration Day

Patterson Hood on the Drive-By Truckers’ Southern Rock Opera and the true meaning of Skynyrd

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JAN. 30, 2003 By Steve Newton It doesn’t seem likely in today’s musical climate that any band would record a 90-minute concept album about 1970s rock and southern U.S. culture, focusing on the legend of doomed Dixie rock act Lynyrd Skynyrd. It’s even more unlikely that such a CD … Continue reading Patterson Hood on the Drive-By Truckers’ Southern Rock Opera and the true meaning of Skynyrd

North Mississippi Allstars ramp up the rock on 51 Phantom

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 18, 2001 By Steve Newton For last year’s debut CD, Shake Hands With Shorty, the North Mississippi Allstars thoroughly plumbed the catalogues of Mississippi hill-country blues icons Fred McDowell, R.L. Burnside, and Jr. Kimbrough. On their new disc, 51 Phantom, the band took a different tack, including only … Continue reading North Mississippi Allstars ramp up the rock on 51 Phantom

The North Mississippi Allstars debut with that crazy hill-country sound

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 3, 2000 By Steve Newton When North Mississippi Allstars guitarist-vocalist Luther Dickinson calls the Straight from the band’s tour bus in Chicago, he’s all apologetic about missing a scheduled phone interview the day before. Seems that Luther, his drummer brother Cody, and bassist Chris Chew had performed on … Continue reading The North Mississippi Allstars debut with that crazy hill-country sound

Talking Ry Cooder, Ronnie Montrose, and the Allmans with Gov’t Mule’s Warren Haynes

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 12, 1998 By Steve Newton Bluesman Luther Allison, folk-pop troubadour Jeff Buckley, fingerstyle-guitar innovator Michael Hedges, and jazz drummer Tony Williams might seem unlikely heroes for a southern-rock band, but they’re who Gov’t Mule’s new CD, Dose, is dedicated to. Between the time the band started recording Dose … Continue reading Talking Ry Cooder, Ronnie Montrose, and the Allmans with Gov’t Mule’s Warren Haynes

Sister Hazel’s meat-and-potatoes rock is alright by the Allman Brothers

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 28, 1997 As bands sometimes do, Florida guitar-rockers Sister Hazel included snapshots from their youth in the booklet for their latest CD, …Somewhere More Familiar. There are photos of four little kids playing piano, violin, guitar (with a Neil Young headband!), and drums—and one of a smiling tyke … Continue reading Sister Hazel’s meat-and-potatoes rock is alright by the Allman Brothers

Rickey Medlocke on reuniting with Skynyrd, the plane crash, and the rebel flag

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 21, 1997 By Steve Newton October 20, 1977, is a day branded by sadness for southern-rock fans. That’s when Lynyrd Skynyrd’s rented plane, short on fuel, crashed into a Mississippi swamp en route to a gig at Louisiana University. Vocalist Ronnie Van Zant and guitarist Steve Gaines died … Continue reading Rickey Medlocke on reuniting with Skynyrd, the plane crash, and the rebel flag

Drive-By Truckers tell of trophy tail wives taking boner-pill rides in Vancouver

photos by the newt By Steve Newton The Drive-By Truckers didn't play all of my fave DBT tunes at the Vogue last night. For example, there was no "A Ghost to Most", singer-guitarist Mike Cooley's jangley indictment of George Bush's macho posturing from the sprawling 2008 Brighter than Creation's Dark album. And neither did I get to hear my … Continue reading Drive-By Truckers tell of trophy tail wives taking boner-pill rides in Vancouver

Dickey Betts figures the Allman Brothers transcend generations

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 23, 1992 By Steve Newton Every long-time Allman Brothers fan has a favourite tune by the influential Southern rock band. Some folks tend towards the bluesy slide-guitar riff of “One Way Out”, some go hog-wild when they hear the cascading guitar intro to the band’s biggest hit, “Ramblin’ … Continue reading Dickey Betts figures the Allman Brothers transcend generations

Mike Cooley’s killer songs are back full-bore on Truckers’ latest masterpiece

photo by Tim Bugbee By Steve Newton The Drive-By Truckers are normally described as being based in the musical stronghold of Athens, Georgia, but when the time comes to call guitarist-vocalist Mike Cooley he picks up the phone at his sweet home in Birmingham, Alabama. Cooley has never actually lived in Athens—“It’s kind of a … Continue reading Mike Cooley’s killer songs are back full-bore on Truckers’ latest masterpiece