Rory Gallagher’s stunning Blues should be his ticket to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

By Steve Newton Life is full of unanswered questions. Like, is there life after death? Are UFOs real? And why the hell isn't Rory Gallagher in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? I've been asking that last question for a few years now, via various blog posts, and the usual response from dedicated Gallagher … Continue reading Rory Gallagher’s stunning Blues should be his ticket to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Album review: Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, The Sky Is Crying (1991)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 21, 1991 By Steve Newton Stevie Ray Vaughan fans who thought they were getting a treat when his posthumously released Vaughan Brothers album came out have more reason to smile with the release of 10 more studio tracks by the cherished blues-rocker. But while The Sky is Crying … Continue reading Album review: Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, The Sky Is Crying (1991)

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

That time I asked B.B. King who his “King of the Blues” would be

By Steve Newton A few days ago I posted an audio excerpt from an interview I did with blues legend Albert King back in 1990, in which he talked about his biggest musical influences. As a followup, I thought I'd post a soundbite from another King I loved. Way back in 1984 I did my … Continue reading That time I asked B.B. King who his “King of the Blues” would be

That time I tried telling Albert King that Elmore James was his biggest influence

By Steve Newton When I look back over my 39-year career in music journalism, there are some folks that I'm really, really glad I got to talk to. Like Albert King. Of the three big Kings--sorry B.B. and Freddie--I think I appreciate Albert the most. There was something about the way he could wring deep, … Continue reading That time I tried telling Albert King that Elmore James was his biggest influence

Coco Montoya was transformed by the sheer soul of Alberts Collins and King

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 18, 2003 By Steve Newton Many guitarists can pinpoint a moment in their youth when they knew they were destined for a life in music. For blues-rocker Coco Montoya it happened in 1969, at the Shrine Auditorium in L.A. He’d gone there to see Creedence Clearwater Revival and … Continue reading Coco Montoya was transformed by the sheer soul of Alberts Collins and King

The Doors box set documents the band in all its unrefined glory

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 11, 1997 By Steve Newton This four-disc package of Doors material, spanning the years 1965 to ’71, favours previously unreleased live tracks and demo recordings over studio-polished hits, and documents the band in all its eccentric, unrefined, and—with tunes that pass the 18-minute mark—excessive glory. Its mix of … Continue reading The Doors box set documents the band in all its unrefined glory

Warren Haynes on the Allman Brothers reunion, Dickey Betts’ signature sound, and Where It All Begins

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 27, 1994 By Steve Newton Word on the street is that the Allman Brothers Band is playing some of the finest, most intense gigs of its illustrious career. And according to people who have seen the group recently, it’s not just the best-known members—Dickey Betts and Gregg Allman—who … Continue reading Warren Haynes on the Allman Brothers reunion, Dickey Betts’ signature sound, and Where It All Begins

My one and only interview with legendary bluesman Albert King

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 30, 1990 By Steve Newton The influence of the blues on British supergroups is well documented. The Stones, Zeppelin, Cream—they all lapped up the seminal works of people like Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, and Howlin’ Wolf. Across the sea in Ireland, a young guitarist named Gary Moore also … Continue reading My one and only interview with legendary bluesman Albert King

Rock Hall fucks up royally again, nominates Chic instead of Rory Gallagher

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, OCT. 16, 2013 By Steve Newton The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has done it again. It's made a complete ass of itself by nominating, for the eighth time, Chic. When you consider that somebody like Irish guitar hero Rory Gallagher hasn't once been given the nod, it's utterly preposterous. No less … Continue reading Rock Hall fucks up royally again, nominates Chic instead of Rory Gallagher

Albert King gets inducted into the Rock Hall tonight: it’s about fucking time

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, APRIL 18, 2013 By Steve Newton The brainiacs over at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will redeem themselves for years of bad calls when they finally induct blues legend Albert King into their hallowed institution tonight. The gatekeepers at the Cleveland-based facility have been getting flack for years for not inducting Canadian … Continue reading Albert King gets inducted into the Rock Hall tonight: it’s about fucking time

Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson calls the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame “a popularity contest”

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, OCT. 20, 2012 By Steve Newton If you're a Rush fan, you've no doubt heard that the Canuck power trio has finally been nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The group has been eligible for induction since 1999--25 years after the release of its self-titled debut album (featuring … Continue reading Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson calls the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame “a popularity contest”

B.B. King: The nicest bluesman I ever met

By Steve Newton I've interviewed a lot of incredible bluesmen over the years, including Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert King, Albert Collins, and Roy Buchanan. But far and away the nicest was B.B. King. Famed Vancouver punk-rock photographer Bev Davies snapped this shot of me 'n' B.B. in his hotel room at the Plazazz Showroom in … Continue reading B.B. King: The nicest bluesman I ever met

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

Loyal following keeps Big Head Todd going

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, MARCH 18, 2009 By Steve Newton The day before Todd Park Mohr called the Straight from a friend's place in Chicago, an armed teenager in Germany walked into his former high school and began a suicidal rampage that would claim 16 lives, including his own. Twenty-four hours before that horrific event, another 10 … Continue reading Loyal following keeps Big Head Todd going

Buddy Guy brings fiery Chicago blues to Coquitlam, but can’t outshine opener Jonny Lang

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, SEPT. 29, 2012 Blues legend Buddy Guy brought a taste of Chicago to the wilds of Coquitlam last night (September 28), but the verifiable guitar legend was outshone by a "kid" 45 years younger than himself. Jonny Lang opened the show with an hour-long set that included a showstopping version of … Continue reading Buddy Guy brings fiery Chicago blues to Coquitlam, but can’t outshine opener Jonny Lang

Bass-guitar legend Donald “Duck” Dunn dies in his sleep after a gig in Tokyo

Sad news for fans of blues, soul, and R&B music. Bassist Donald "Duck" Dunn, whose bottom end fuelled such classic tracks as Albert King's "Born Under a Bad Sign" and Otis Redding's "Respect", passed away in his sleep early this morning after a gig at the Blue Note nightclub in Tokyo. He was 70 years … Continue reading Bass-guitar legend Donald “Duck” Dunn dies in his sleep after a gig in Tokyo

Chicago bluesman Morris Holt, aka “Magic Slim”, dies at 75

   ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, FEB. 21, 2013 The blues world lost one of its elder statesmen yesterday when Morris Holt--aka "Magic Slim"--passed away at the age of 75 at a hospital in Philadelphia. He had been under medical care since late last month, when breathing problems caused him to suspend a tour with his … Continue reading Chicago bluesman Morris Holt, aka “Magic Slim”, dies at 75