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 hear … 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