That time Stevie Ray Vaughan told me about his love of sixties blues

By Steve Newton Stevie Ray Vaughan wrote (and co-wrote) some damn fine songs, but he didn't mind covering somebody else's tunes either. When I did my second interview with him in 1990 his latest album was In Step, which included covers of sixties blues tunes by Howlin' Wolf, Buddy Guy, and Willie Dixon. When I … Continue reading That time Stevie Ray Vaughan told me about his love of sixties blues

Album review: Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, In Step (1989)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 4, 1989 By Steve Newton It's been four years since Stevie Ray Vaughan's last studio album, but with In Step he's made the long wait worthwhile. The Texas blues-rocker covers a lot of musical bases on this latest effort, and comes through with flying colours. The album kicks … Continue reading Album review: Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, In Step (1989)

Newt’s Top 10 Albums of 2018

By Steve Newton This year I picked some instrumental rock, some hard rock, some southern rock, and some Beatles, but the underlying thread running through most of this stuff is the blues. You just can't beat the blues. Joe Satriani What Happens Next Bay Area guitar wizard hooks up once again with Langley producer Mike Fraser … Continue reading Newt’s Top 10 Albums of 2018

Chillin’ with blues legend Buddy Guy backstage at the Commodore

By Steve Newton Here's me hangin' with one of my fave all-time bluesmen, Mr. Buddy Guy. It was backstage at the Commodore Ballroom, one of the top concert venues in Vancouver. I remember this meeting well, because the former proprietor of the Commodore, local legend Drew Burns, also showed up to say hi to Buddy. … Continue reading Chillin’ with blues legend Buddy Guy backstage at the Commodore

Album review: Lonnie Mack, Strike Like Lightning (1985)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 24, 1985 By Steve Newton Strike Like Lightning--the newest release from blues innovator Lonnie Mack--packs a sizzling guitar-drenched punch. Produced by Mack and six-string hero Stevie Ray Vaughan, the album features Vaughan's nifty fretwork on five tracks, including the go-for-broke instrumental "Double Whammy" and the acoustic, back-porch jam of … Continue reading Album review: Lonnie Mack, Strike Like Lightning (1985)

Album review: Various Artists, Big Bad Love Soundtrack (2002)

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 25, 2002 By Steve Newton This is my favourite soundtrack album of the year, so far; I must have played it 20 times already. It’s essentially a showcase for the rough-hewn backwoods boogie of North Mississippi hill-country blues artists Robert Belfour, T-Model Ford, Junior Kimbrough, and R. … Continue reading Album review: Various Artists, Big Bad Love Soundtrack (2002)

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)

Album review: Buddy Guy, Slippin’ In (1994)

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 15, 1994 By Steve Newton I always felt that Buddy Guy’s two Grammy award–winning ’90s releases—Damn Right I’ve Got the Blues and Feels Like Rain—were fine examples of the legendary guitarist’s crossover blues, but when I wanted to hear him at his raw, sweaty, string-strangling best I … Continue reading Album review: Buddy Guy, Slippin’ In (1994)

Album review: John Mayall, Wake Up Call (1993)

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 3, 1993 By Steve Newton Blues legend Mayall lays down 12 bare-bones blues-rock tunes on Wake Up Call, his third good album in a row after Chicago Line and A Sense of Place. Fans of wailing harp and biting guitar won’t be disappointed by the sounds coming … Continue reading Album review: John Mayall, Wake Up Call (1993)

That time blues legend Otis Rush told me that he was always tryin’

By Steve Newton I've interviewed a lot of legendary blues guitarists over the years. B.B. King, Albert King, Buddy Guy, Albert Collins, Stevie Ray Vaughan--they don't get much more famous than that. But I've also managed to score time with lesser-known blues artists who--though not as familiar to the average music fan--have been very influential … Continue reading That time blues legend Otis Rush told me that he was always tryin’

David Gogo drinks “anything that’s liquid” and uses the empty glass for a slide in Vancouver

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 19, 1991 By Steve Newton Does 22-year-old David Gogo have what it takes to become Canada’s next blues-rock guitar hero? Can his name be mentioned along with the likes of Jeff Healey, Colin James, and Tony “Wild T” Springer? That question could be on a few minds these … Continue reading David Gogo drinks “anything that’s liquid” and uses the empty glass for a slide in Vancouver

That time I asked 18-year-old guitar star Derek Trucks who he’d most like to jam with

his wish to jam with B.B. came true By Steve Newton The first time I interviewed Derek Trucks--back in March of 1998, when he was just 18--I mentioned that he'd already played with famous folks like Bob Dylan and Buddy Guy, but wondered who else he'd most like to jam with. He mentioned a couple … Continue reading That time I asked 18-year-old guitar star Derek Trucks who he’d most like to jam with

Newt’s Top 10 albums of 2013

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, DEC. 11, 2013 By Steve Newton Whatever happened to the Gangnam style? Gov't Mule Shout!  Mule fans got a double dose of their favourite southern-flavoured blues/jam-rock outfit this time around, as all 11 tracks on Shout! were rerecorded on a second disc with a stellar cast of guest singers, including Ben Harper, … Continue reading Newt’s Top 10 albums of 2013

Newt’s Top 10 albums of 2001

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 13, 2001 By Steve Newton Cranky bugger that I am, I often use my allotted space to vent my displeasure with the popular, live music–killin’ DJ scene, but this year I don’t feel like it. Oops, what’s that down there in my Strokes entry? John Hammond Wicked Grin  … Continue reading Newt’s Top 10 albums of 2001

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

“We’re here for a reason, not here for a season,” says blues survivor Buddy Guy

By Steve Newton “I know I’m a survivor,” 56-year-old Buddy Guy told me back in 1993. “I mean we’re all only here for a time, you know—we’re here for a reason, not here for a season, man. All our days are comin’, so I’m just hopin’ I can keep our music goin’ on till some other … Continue reading “We’re here for a reason, not here for a season,” says blues survivor Buddy Guy

Buddy Guy brings me down in Vancouver when he forgets to just be Buddy

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 3, 2002 By Steve Newton Buddy Guy spent a good portion of his concert at the Commodore last Friday (September 27) paying tribute to the legends of the blues, performing in the various styles of John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. It was … Continue reading Buddy Guy brings me down in Vancouver when he forgets to just be Buddy

Buddy Guy embraces North Mississippi hill-country blues on Sweet Tea

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 28, 2001 By Steve Newton Buddy Guy has always gotten by just fine with the time-tested, Chicago-style blues he’s famous for. In the ’60s and ’70s, his work was a huge influence on the likes of Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan; later on it paid off with … Continue reading Buddy Guy embraces North Mississippi hill-country blues on Sweet Tea

Remembering the Commodore’s Drew Burns: Best. Promoter. Ever.

By now most everyone who follows the Vancouver music scene has heard the sad news about the passing of local concert-biz legend Drew Burns. The longtime proprietor of the Commodore Ballroom died on Saturday, leaving scores of friends and fans feeling down--until memories of him got them up again. The last time I saw Drew was backstage … Continue reading Remembering the Commodore’s Drew Burns: Best. Promoter. Ever.

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

Guitar great Steve Cropper helps helm Joe Louis Walker’s Great Guitars

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 20, 1997 Any bozo can pick up a guitar and trace out a simple pentatonic blues scale. I should know, I’ve been tracing out blues scales like a bozo for years. But while the most basic techniques of blues guitar are accessible to the beginner, it’s not nearly … Continue reading Guitar great Steve Cropper helps helm Joe Louis Walker’s Great Guitars

The Life of Riley shows B.B. King’s talent flowing from a huge heart

There's a ton of incredible musicians who make appearances in B.B. King: The Life of Riley, a documentary about the Mississippi blues legend released on DVD and Blu-ray today (July 1). The lineup includes such amazing guitarists as Buddy Guy, Carlos Santana, Derek Trucks, Eric Clapton, Joe Bonamassa, Jonny Lang, Johnny Winter, Bonnie Raitt, Kenny Wayne … Continue reading The Life of Riley shows B.B. King’s talent flowing from a huge heart

Chicago blues legend Otis Rush still gets around: “It’s a job, you know, and I got to work.”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 19, 1997 By Steve Newton In conversation, blues legend Otis Rush comes across like one of his classic guitar solos: direct and to the point. He’s no fancy talker, but he gets to the heart of the matter. When the Georgia Straight tracks the 62-year-old musician down at … Continue reading Chicago blues legend Otis Rush still gets around: “It’s a job, you know, and I got to work.”

Rivers run deep on Sonny Landreth’s South of I-10

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 13, 1995 By Steve Newton Unless you’re a devoted follower of critically acclaimed slide guitarists—or the type of music fan that analyzes the musician credits on CD liner notes—you might not have heard of Louisiana singer-songwriter-guitarist Sonny Landreth. He’s been around for a long time, though, and he’s … Continue reading Rivers run deep on Sonny Landreth’s South of I-10

Down Under slide-guitarist Dave Hole sports an over-the-top style

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 18, 1993 By Steve Newton As a musically inclined teenager living in Perth, Australia, during the 1960s, Dave Hole didn’t get the opportunity to hear much music by the great American bluesmen of the time. One fateful day, however, a member of his teenaged cover band got his … Continue reading Down Under slide-guitarist Dave Hole sports an over-the-top style

Blues survivor Buddy Guy tries slipping in the back door with Feels Like Rain

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 8, 1993 By Steve Newton Back in the ’60s, it is said, Jimi Hendrix was so inspired by Buddy Guy’s guitar-playing that he would go to blues clubs and lay a tape recorder at Guy’s feet to capture his performances. Not only Hendrix, but rock greats such as … Continue reading Blues survivor Buddy Guy tries slipping in the back door with Feels Like Rain

Guitar legend Buddy Guy strives to keep the blues alive

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 22, 1991 By Steve Newton Blues guitar great Buddy Guy sure has seen some interesting things during his 55 years on this earth. How many players can say that Jimi Hendrix once cancelled a gig to sit at their feet with a tape recorder? “I didn’t know who … Continue reading Guitar legend Buddy Guy strives to keep the blues alive