Super Chikan’s childhood poverty led to cool homemade guitars and slide-infested blues

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 29, 2010 By Steve Newton When bluesmen chat about their favourite electric guitars, the words Strat and Les Paul often work their way into the conversation. Not when James “Super Chikan” Johnson is doing the talking, though. His ultimate six-string carries neither the Fender nor the Gibson brand, … Continue reading Super Chikan’s childhood poverty led to cool homemade guitars and slide-infested blues

Delta bluesman Big Jack Jackson says you can’t hardly tell the rap kids nuttin’

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 24, 2003 By Steve Newton When the Straight contacts Big Jack Johnson—the veteran bluesman, not the youthful chart-topping surfer dude—at his home in Clarksdale, Mississippi, he’s just gotten back from Milan, Italy. To hear him tell it, the blues is definitely alive and well in Europe, and has … Continue reading Delta bluesman Big Jack Jackson says you can’t hardly tell the rap kids nuttin’

“It’s rough all over the world,” says R.L. Burnside, “even down in Mississippi some.”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JAN. 18, 2001 BY STEVE NEWTON R.L. Burnside is one of the most popular blues artists around today, but up until five years ago he was barely known outside of his native northern Mississippi hill country. After being featured in the 1991 documentary film Deep Blues, and releasing the … Continue reading “It’s rough all over the world,” says R.L. Burnside, “even down in Mississippi some.”

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

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

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.”