That time I asked Carlos Santana who his favourite guitar player was

By Steve Newton When I interview the world's greatest guitarists, I often like to ask them who they think is the world's greatest guitarist. Carlos Santana is definitely one of the best ever, so when I interviewed him back in 2001 I put the question to him. Have a listen: To hear my full interview … Continue reading That time I asked Carlos Santana who his favourite guitar player was

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: Larry Carlton, Friends (1983)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 1, 1983 By Steve Newton One of the reigning monarchs of L.A. session guitarists, Larry Carlton has played with some of the best in the world. and now, on his third self-produced LP Friends, he's gathered some of the best in the world to play with him. Bassist … Continue reading Album review: Larry Carlton, Friends (1983)

Album review: Various Artists, A Tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan (1996)

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 29, 1996 By Steve Newton The folks behind this latest tribute to blues-rock guitar legend Stevie Ray Vaughan could hardly lose when they got Vaughan’s older brother (and biggest influence) Jimmie to organize and host a one-off concert featuring Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Bonnie Raitt, … Continue reading Album review: Various Artists, A Tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan (1996)

18-year-old Kenny Wayne Shepherd recalls being seven and watching Stevie Ray Vaughan from Stevie’s amp case

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 28, 1995 By Steve Newton If a longhaired, bearded, beer-bellied guy in a teal Precidia pulls up next to you on a rain-soaked Vancouver street, there’s a good chance it’ll be me. And if the unmistakable strains of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s guitar are escaping the vehicle’s minute confines, … Continue reading 18-year-old Kenny Wayne Shepherd recalls being seven and watching Stevie Ray Vaughan from Stevie’s amp case

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

Newt’s Top 10 albums of 1998

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 17, 1998 By Steve Newton Yee-hah! I managed to make it through yet another year without having to listen to anyone named DJ anything. The Tragically Hip Phantom Power  Ontario’s guitar-rock kings continue their winning ways with a potent batch of raggedy ruminations on everything Canadian, from Bobby … Continue reading Newt’s Top 10 albums of 1998

R.I.P. B.B. King: the nicest bluesman I ever met

By Steve Newton As you've most likely heard by now, B.B. King, the beloved "King of the Blues", passed away last night at the age of 89. He was receiving hospice care at his home in Las Vegas, where the longtime diabetic was recovering from dehydration. You can read all about the great man's numerous … Continue reading R.I.P. B.B. King: the nicest bluesman I ever met

Koko Taylor, Queen of the Blues, says Willie Dixon was her right arm

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 25, 2003 By Steve Newton When Koko Taylor was a youngster, living with her poverty-stricken family on a sharecropper’s farm in Tennessee, she used to find joy in her meagre existence through the music B. B. King liked to play. It wasn’t King’s own soulful blues that caught … Continue reading Koko Taylor, Queen of the Blues, says Willie Dixon was her right arm

Stratmaster Robin Trower talks Hendrix and blues, says “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 11, 1990 By Steve Newton You know how some recording artists make you think of old times, and help you crystallize visions from the past? Well, when I think of Robin Trower, I picture a mid-'70s high-schooler cruising the main drag of Chilliwack in a wood-grained Monaco station … Continue reading Stratmaster Robin Trower talks Hendrix and blues, says “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”

B.B. King says that Eric Clapton was like his girlfriend on Riding With the King

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 31, 2002 By Steve Newton Trying to reach blues legend B.B. King at his Arkansas hotel takes some doing. Even when you have the phone number of the hotel, the room he’s in, and a predetermined time to call, you can’t argue with a busy signal. After … Continue reading B.B. King says that Eric Clapton was like his girlfriend on Riding With the King

Paul Rodgers on living the rock and roll fantasy and his new album Electric

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 21, 2000 By Steve Newton Anyone who’s ever raised a frosty Molson Pilsner to the bluesy riff-rock of Free or Bad Company would do well to attend the Commodore Ballroom on Friday (September 22), when the singer from those bands, Paul Rodgers, shows off the voice that launched … Continue reading Paul Rodgers on living the rock and roll fantasy and his new album Electric

20-year-old slide-guitar ace Derek Trucks wants to jam with B.B. King

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 2, 1999 By Steve Newton Teenage blues-rocker Kenny Wayne Shepherd has a great story about how he got inspired to take up guitar. It has something to do with him, as a little kid, watching Stevie Ray Vaughan perform from atop one of the Texas guitar legend’s amp … Continue reading 20-year-old slide-guitar ace Derek Trucks wants to jam with B.B. King

R.L. Burnside keeps his fridge chained shut and his blues cool as hell

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 24, 1999 BY STEVE NEWTON On the back cover of his latest CD, Come On In, Mississippi bluesman R.L. Burnside is pictured standing in his modest kitchen, strumming a Stratocaster and gazing toward his fridge—which is chained shut. Since Burnside has been known to distill his own moonshine, … Continue reading R.L. Burnside keeps his fridge chained shut and his blues cool as hell

Susan Tedeschi just enjoys being a musician, pretty much

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 3, 1998 By Steve Newton When Susan Tedeschi’s cell phone rings in an L.A. hotel room, a female voice answers, but it isn’t the one I’m looking for. It’s actually Tedeschi’s mom, who, in a very motherly way, explains that her daughter’s in the bathtub. Sounding concerned that … Continue reading Susan Tedeschi just enjoys being a musician, pretty much

Bass legend Tommy Shannon has jammed with all the greats–except Hendrix

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 6, 1998 By Steve Newton Blues-rock bassist Tommy Shannon is best-known for playing with Stevie Ray Vaughan in Double Trouble, but his résumé hardly stops there. The veteran musician has performed with so many other guitar legends that you’d be hard-pressed to find one he hasn’t accompanied somewhere … Continue reading Bass legend Tommy Shannon has jammed with all the greats–except Hendrix

David Gogo farts in his old record label’s general direction on Dine Under the Stars

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEB. 27, 1997 Just two years ago Nanaimo blues-rocker David Gogo seemed to have the music world by the tail. Only 25 years old, he was inked to a worldwide recording deal by EMI Music, which was so pleased about signing Gogo that it manufactured limited-edition double-disc promo versions … Continue reading David Gogo farts in his old record label’s general direction on Dine Under the Stars

Jack Semple’s Guitar Warz win delivered confidence and a hook

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 29, 1993 By Steve Newton One day about a year ago, I bumped into a guitar-playing acquaintance who was visiting the Georgia Straight office to put a free musician’s ad in the paper. He started raving about this “wicked” guitarist he’d seen the night before at Jake O’Grady’s, … Continue reading Jack Semple’s Guitar Warz win delivered confidence and a hook

B.B. King’s busted guitar string becomes treasure for Tinsley Ellis

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 19, 1992 By Steve Newton When one of your biggest idols gives you a souvenir—whether it be a quickly scribbled autograph or a worn-out guitar pick—that thing automatically becomes priceless. I’ve got a two-inch mirror badge that Thin Lizzy guitarist Scott Gorham gave me during my first backstage … Continue reading B.B. King’s busted guitar string becomes treasure for Tinsley Ellis

B.B. King plays North Vancouver in 1984, Newt gets the scoop

By Steve Newton On January 21, 1984, B.B. King was in the midst of a two-week stand at the Plazazz Showroom in North Vancouver, and I got the thrill of my blues-loving life when I sat down with him in his hotel room and asked him a bunch of questions. Some of them were pretty … Continue reading B.B. King plays North Vancouver in 1984, Newt gets the scoop

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

Chicago Bluesman Buddy Guy Goes Acoustic

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, FEB. 19, 2004 By Steve Newton Chicago blues great Buddy Guy has played the Commodore Ballroom many times during his 45-year career, but the next time he visits the historic venue he won't be sporting his trademark black Strat with the big white polka dots. For the first time here, the … Continue reading Chicago Bluesman Buddy Guy Goes Acoustic

Dr. John is still rubbing elbows with the elite

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, MARCH 4, 2004 By Steve Newton You learn pretty quickly as a music writer not to put too much faith in recording artists' bios. Once in a while, though, the proclamations heard in those promotional sheets actually turn out to be true. Take the opening line of the current PR blurb … Continue reading Dr. John is still rubbing elbows with the elite

Russell Marsland Travels to the Heart of the Blues

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, JUNE 17, 2004 LOCAL GUITAR ACE Russell Marsland has been a powerful presence on the Vancouver music scene for more than 30 years. At 15, he would sneak out of his parents' East Van residence to play between strip shows at the Penthouse; two years later he was in the house band … Continue reading Russell Marsland Travels to the Heart of the Blues

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

Kenny Wayne Shepherd gets swamp cred with Days

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, MAY 30, 2007 By Steve Newton The last few times I’ve pitched Straight music editor Mike Usinger stories on white blues artists, he’s flippantly responded with the bewildering phrase “Blues Hammer!” I had no clue what the guy was on about until he forwarded me a clip from Terry Zwigoff’s quirky … Continue reading Kenny Wayne Shepherd gets swamp cred with Days

Joe Bonamassa has 200 guitars, says he’s “okay for guitars”

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, AUG. 27, 2008 By Steve Newton In their recent autobiographies, famed British rockers Ronnie Wood and Eric Clapton hazily recall how one of their main pastimes while on tour—apart from getting wasted and rattling groupies—was cruising pawnshops and secondhand stores for cool guitars. When blues-rock virtuoso Joe Bonamassa calls from a … Continue reading Joe Bonamassa has 200 guitars, says he’s “okay for guitars”