That time Buddy Guy told me about Muddy Waters bringing him sandwiches when he was hungry

By Steve Newton Here's an interesting tidbit from the first interview I did with Buddy Guy, back in 1991. At one point in the conversation I asked Buddy about this story in his record-company bio about the time he was starving in Chicago and Muddy Waters "force-fed him salami sandwiches". Have a listen:   To … Continue reading That time Buddy Guy told me about Muddy Waters bringing him sandwiches when he was hungry

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

That time Allman Brothers guitarist Warren Haynes told me who his biggest influences were on slide

By Steve Newton Oh man, I freakin' love the sound of slide guitar. And I especially love it when it's being created by somebody like Warren Haynes. In case you didn't know, Haynes is the player who took over the slide duties when the Allman Brothers reunited back in 1989. I did my first interview … Continue reading That time Allman Brothers guitarist Warren Haynes told me who his biggest influences were on slide

Buddy Guy soars to guitar heaven with a little help from Jeff Beck and Keith Richards

By Steve Newton Blues icon Buddy Guy--who I've been lucky enough to have interviewed five times--delivered a tasty treat to the world's guitar freaks today. In advance of the June 15 release of his new album, The Blues Is Alive and Well, the 81-year-old picker released a song called "Cognac" that sees him trading wild licks … Continue reading Buddy Guy soars to guitar heaven with a little help from Jeff Beck and Keith Richards

Album review: Johnny Winter, Guitar Slinger (1984)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 22, 1984 By Steve Newton The albino boss of bad-ass blues really hits the mark on this new album, which promises to be the blues-rock record of 1984. It should do for Johnny Winter what Texas Flood did for Stevie Ray Vaughan last year. Backed up by some of … Continue reading Album review: Johnny Winter, Guitar Slinger (1984)

Album review: John Hammond, John Hammond Live (1984)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 1, 1984 By Steve Newton If you happened to see John Hammond's recent Vancouver appearance, this LP--recorded live at McCabe's Concert Hall in Santa Monica, California last year--should prove a worthy remembrance of that night. Performing solely on acoustic guitar, and with his own harmonica accompaniment, Hammond gets to the root … Continue reading Album review: John Hammond, John Hammond Live (1984)

Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues overflows with deathless blues classics

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 18, 2003 By Steve Newton Many music fans have discovered the beauty of the blues while uncovering the roots of rock, yours truly included. Twenty-some-odd years ago I got set on that course by a pedal-steel guitarist and country-bluegrass performer named Smokin’ Joe Michno. As a dedicated hard-rock … Continue reading Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues overflows with deathless blues classics

Sonny Landreth on first hearing Johnny Winter: “Holy shit, man, this is awesome!”

By Steve Newton When Sonny Landreth connects his glass slide to the strings of his Strat, there’s always a good chance a blues-drenched tone will emerge—perhaps blended with zydeco strains befitting the guitarist’s home state of Louisiana. A blues freak since day one, Landreth composed a love letter to the genre with his latest album, Bound … Continue reading Sonny Landreth on first hearing Johnny Winter: “Holy shit, man, this is awesome!”

The Newt Commute #2: Muddy Waters’ “Champagne and Reefer”

By Steve Newton Couple weeks ago I banged out a little blog about how I played Neil Young's "I'm the Ocean" eight times on my shitty commute. That was kinda fun to write, so while I was cruising into work this morning I kept my mind open for another song-based subject to blather on about. … Continue reading The Newt Commute #2: Muddy Waters’ “Champagne and Reefer”

Joe Bonamassa says “I’m not a full-time rock ‘n’ roll guy. I like blues.”

By Steve Newton For his latest album, American guitar hero Joe Bonamassa came up with one helluva great idea. Or at least his producer, Kevin Shirley, did. The plan was to record a one-off concert dedicated to the music of blues legends Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, and the resultant double disc—Muddy Wolf at Red … Continue reading Joe Bonamassa says “I’m not a full-time rock ‘n’ roll guy. I like blues.”

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

Big Dave McLean got pointers from John Hammond as a teen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 7, 2003 By Steve Newton When he was just a teen, Dave McLean attended the Mariposa Folk Festival in Orillia, Ontario, and got pointers from John Hammond on how to play some basic blues progressions. A couple of weeks ago the now 51-year-old Big Dave performed with Hammond … Continue reading Big Dave McLean got pointers from John Hammond as a teen

Deborah Coleman switched from bass to guitar after hearing Jimi Hendrix

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 4, 2002 By Steve Newton Deborah Coleman is a captivating soloist in her own right, but on her latest CD, Livin’ on Love, she did fans of impassioned blues guitar a big favour by letting her buddy Jimmy Thackery get his licks in as well. Actually, she might … Continue reading Deborah Coleman switched from bass to guitar after hearing Jimi Hendrix

James Cotton on blowing harp for Muddy Waters at Newport Jazz Festival

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 7, 2002 By Steve Newton Throughout the classic 1960 blues album Muddy Waters at Newport—which fans of the late legend should note was recently released on CD in remastered form, with bonus studio tracks—a young James Cotton can be heard blowing some serious harp at the Newport Jazz … Continue reading James Cotton on blowing harp for Muddy Waters at Newport Jazz Festival

Robert Cray speaks on Albert Collins, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Chuck Berry, and Muddy Waters

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 20, 2000 By Steve Newton Since barging onto the North American music scene in 1986 with the double-platinum Strong Persuader album, Robert Cray has proven himself a formidable purveyor of guitar-drenched blues and soul. And with five Grammy Awards to his credit—including one for his latest CD, Take … Continue reading Robert Cray speaks on Albert Collins, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Chuck Berry, and Muddy Waters

Deborah Coleman was wowed by the blues grooves of Hooker, Wolf, and Waters

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 20, 2000 There are a helluva lot of lead guitarists in the world, and a tidy portion of them are blues pickers. Increasingly, that category includes females, from veteran slide specialist Bonnie Raitt to 14-year-old blues-rock sensation Shannon Curfman. But for some reason there aren’t many black female … Continue reading Deborah Coleman was wowed by the blues grooves of Hooker, Wolf, and Waters

Magic Sam gave Magic Slim his nickname, told him to get his own style

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 1, 1999 By Steve Newton There are few blues guitarists around today who can match the fire and passion of Buddy Guy, but Morris “Magic Slim” Holt is right up there with the best of them. As can be heard on Magic Slim & the Teardrops’ latest CD, … Continue reading Magic Sam gave Magic Slim his nickname, told him to get his own style

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

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

Muddy Waters didn’t want Thorogood’s “Bad to the Bone”, but Bo Diddley did

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 30, 2014 By Steve Newton When you interview rockers on the road you always try to find out where they’re located, so you can write “When so-and-so calls from wherever” and establish a setting for the conversation. But when I contact blues-rocker George Thorogood--who plays the Hard Rock … Continue reading Muddy Waters didn’t want Thorogood’s “Bad to the Bone”, but Bo Diddley did

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

My interview with Stevie Ray Vaughan the month before his death

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 19, 1990 By Steve Newton On the honker from Montreal, Stevie Ray Vaughan is a tad disoriented. It's 7:30 p.m. his time, but he's still rubbing the sleep from his eyes. "I just woke up," he explains. "Hope I'm not late. I looked at my watch and realized … Continue reading My interview with Stevie Ray Vaughan the month before his death

ZZ Top’s current setlist includes nods to Jimi Hendrix and Muddy Waters

Jimi with Billy's old band, the Moving Sidewalks. Elizabeth Avedon photo. Guitar legend Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top e-mailed me a few days ago and--among other things--replied to a question put forth by Nanaimo blues-rocker David Gogo, who wanted to know what Gibbons thought Jimi Hendrix would be up to if he was still around. … Continue reading ZZ Top’s current setlist includes nods to Jimi Hendrix and Muddy Waters

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

Jim Byrnes Busts Out of the Blues

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, MARCH 18, 2004 FOR MANY VANCOUVER music fans, the name Jim Byrnes brings to mind a laid-back blues veteran, grizzled yet hip, weaving soulful tales with his smoky voice, slipping in subtle slide-guitar bits here and there. The actor-musician's latest CD, Fresh Horses, doesn't abandon his patented sound, but it also offers … Continue reading Jim Byrnes Busts Out of the Blues

T-Model Ford Lives Large

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, MAY 20, 2004 By Steve Newton Multiplatinum gangsta-rapper 50 Cent is famous for the several bullet wounds he sports. Big freakin' deal: T-Model Ford's been shot, stabbed, and poisoned. He even spent time on a Mississippi chain gang as a youth after killing a man. Looks like there's a new bad-ass mofo in town, … Continue reading T-Model Ford Lives Large