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

The Stones & Muddy Waters make blues magic on Chicago’s south side

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, JULY 31, 2012 By Steve Newton Eagle Rock Entertainment recently released the DVD Muddy Waters/The Rolling Stones/Checkerboard Lounge/Live Chicago 1981, and, man, is it a sweet treat for fans of electric blues. The coolest part of the concert comes when the Stones arrive while Muddy's a minute-and-a-half into "Baby Please Don't Go" … Continue reading The Stones & Muddy Waters make blues magic on Chicago’s south side

Festival Express takes a crazy train to ’70s rock history

By Steve Newton There's been some pretty sweet concert Blu-rays released in the last little while. Hugely impressive was last week's Bob Dylan: The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration--Deluxe Edition, from Legacy Recordings, the same folks who gave us recent killer box sets by Johnny Winter and Mike Bloomfield. Yesterday I finally got around to watching another … Continue reading Festival Express takes a crazy train to ’70s rock history

The Newt’s top 10 albums of 2013

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, Dr. John, Steve Winwood, Grace Potter, and West Van resident Elvis Costello. Black Sabbath 13 It was definitely a … Continue reading The Newt’s top 10 albums of 2013

Derek Trucks offers advice to 14-year-old guitar star Quinn Sullivan

Derek Trucks knows what it's like to be just a kid and have everybody hollerin' about how goddamn great you are. He bought his first guitar at a yard sale when he was nine and by his 13th birthday had played alongside Buddy Guy and opened for the Allman Brothers. Trucks's early arrival at guitar-hero … Continue reading Derek Trucks offers advice to 14-year-old guitar star Quinn Sullivan

Quinn Sullivan found his love of the blues early—really early

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, OCT. 29, 2013 By Steve Newton The blues world has produced its fair share of guitar-wielding child prodigies. Growing up with family connections to the Allman Brothers, Derek Trucks scored his first paid gig at 11. And Kenny Wayne Shepherd took up guitar at the age of seven, shortly after being … Continue reading Quinn Sullivan found his love of the blues early—really early

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

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

Jonny Lang says he’s stolen countless things from Buddy Guy

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, APRIL 14, 2010 By Steve Newton Two weeks before he called the Straight to chat about his smokin' new album and his upcoming Vancouver gig with Buddy Guy, Jonny Lang was on the stage of Atlanta's historic Fox Theatre as part of the Experience Hendrix Tour. His set involved trading licks with Aerosmith's … Continue reading Jonny Lang says he’s stolen countless things from Buddy Guy

Well-travelled John Hiatt ponders life from the road

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, AUG. 25, 2010 By Steve Newton John Hiatt is a songwriter's songwriter, which is why such esteemed artists as Bob Dylan, Ry Cooder, and Bonnie Raitt have recorded his tunes. When Canuck blues-rocker Jeff Healey blasted onto the scene in 1988 he doubled up on the Hiatt material, using both “Confidence … Continue reading Well-travelled John Hiatt ponders life from the road