That time Guess Who guitarist Randy Bachman told me about creating the riff for “American Woman”

By Steve Newton Canada doesn't seem to have an overabundance of rock-guitar heroes. Sure, you've got your Lenny Breau when it comes to jazz, and your Jeff Healey if you're talkin' blues. But when it comes to Canadian rock-guitar heroes, I can't think of tons. Alex Lifeson, Kim Mitchell... Obviously Neil Young, but isn't he … Continue reading That time Guess Who guitarist Randy Bachman told me about creating the riff for “American Woman”

Newt’s Top 10 albums of 2017

By Steve Newton Welcome to the old-rocker department. You won’t find much in the hip-and-happening realm here, but it’s not all about the kids, ya know. Gregg Allman Southern Blood One of the hardest-hitting musician deaths this year was southern-rock legend Gregg Allman’s passing in May of complications from liver cancer. But he left his millions … Continue reading Newt’s Top 10 albums of 2017

Willie Nelson bares his down-home soul on Revolutions of Time box

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 14, 1995 By Steve Newton I’ve gotta admit that I’m not a real huge country-music fan. I actually view what’s known as “new country”—that lightweight, vacuous, fabricated piffle churned out by the Nashville music mill these days—with the same jaundiced eye reserved for lowly “gangsta rap”. But there’s … Continue reading Willie Nelson bares his down-home soul on Revolutions of Time box

Album review: Neil Young, Mirror Ball (1995)

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 6, 1995 By Steve Newton I’ve been a Neil Young fan ever since the Harvest days of the ’70s, when folksy, acoustic-based tunes such as “Heart of Gold” and “Old Man” were the ideal soundtrack to youthful experiments with massive consumption of Old Style in a wood-grained … Continue reading Album review: Neil Young, Mirror Ball (1995)

Crosby, Stills & Nash box set benefits from some Young

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 12, 1991 By Steve Newton I’ve always thought Crosby, Stills & Nash sounded best with a “Young” tagged on the end, so it was good to find out there are actually 18 CSN&Y tunes among this four-CD set’s massive 67 tracks. But after one run-through of these tunes, … Continue reading Crosby, Stills & Nash box set benefits from some Young

That time J.J. Cale told me that any help I could give him, he’d appreciate

By Steve Newton I realize I've mentioned it before--maybe more than once--but holy crap do I love J.J. Cale. He left us four years ago this month, but my fondness for the guy hasn't dwindled at all since he shuffled off this mortal coil. He was the personification of laidback cool--not to mention criminally underrated … Continue reading That time J.J. Cale told me that any help I could give him, he’d appreciate

Moist releases Creature, opens for Neil Young, and waits for reality to set in

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 17, 1996 By Steve Newton Whenever I feel like getting a rise out of my 16-year-old niece, all it takes is a quick mention of her former fondness for New Kids on the Block. So what if she was only in Grade 3 at the time of the … Continue reading Moist releases Creature, opens for Neil Young, and waits for reality to set in

That time I asked J.J. Cale if he’d bought anything nice with his Clapton money

By Steve Newton Back in 1990 I did my first interview with J.J. Cale, who you may recall is one of the wickedest damn songwriters and guitar players that the United States of America has ever produced. A couple of years earlier there was a TV commercial for Michelob beer in heavy rotation, featuring Cale’s … Continue reading That time I asked J.J. Cale if he’d bought anything nice with his Clapton money

I played Neil Young’s “I’m the Ocean” eight times on my shitty commute today

By Steve Newton My morning commute from Delta to Vancouver can really suck—mainly because of a concrete montrosity called the Alex Fraser Bridge—but every now and again I slide in a CD that makes the trip a little less painful. Today I chose Neil Young's Mirror Ball album—that awesome one from '95 that he recorded with the … Continue reading I played Neil Young’s “I’m the Ocean” eight times on my shitty commute today

Neil Young’s ragged glory undermined by shitty sound in Vancouver

The sound from the stage was great--until the band got up there. By Steve Newton Yesterday I wrote a fun little blog about how nice it would be if Neil Young topped off his show in Vancouver last night with one of my fave tunes of his, "Long May You Run". He didn't do that--opting instead to … Continue reading Neil Young’s ragged glory undermined by shitty sound in Vancouver

The Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl rides the rock throne to glory at a hellraising show in Vancouver

all crappy iPhone photos by the Newt By Steve Newton Nobody really expects a millionaire rock star to, after breaking his leg falling off a stage, design a special chair--or "rock throne", if  you will--that allows him to get around like royalty on stage. Is it a burning need to rock out that compels a fellow … Continue reading The Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl rides the rock throne to glory at a hellraising show in Vancouver

Sooner or later it all gets real for Neil Young’s 26-year-old guitarist Lukas Nelson

By Steve Newton Willie Nelson celebrated his 82nd birthday on April 29, so when his son Lukas calls for an interview the next day, the first question has to be “So how was the party last night?” “It wasn’t much of a party,” he replies. “We just played poker, and a little golf.” If copious … Continue reading Sooner or later it all gets real for Neil Young’s 26-year-old guitarist Lukas Nelson

Neil Young’s new guitarist calls On the Beach and Tonight’s the Night his all-time Shakey faves

By Steve Newton When I interviewed Lukas Nelson last week--in advance of the gig with his band Promise of the Real in Vancouver this Saturday--we talked a lot about Neil Young. And not just 'cause we both love him. Nelson played guitar on Shakey's upcoming album, The Monsanto Years, and POTR may well be Young's next touring … Continue reading Neil Young’s new guitarist calls On the Beach and Tonight’s the Night his all-time Shakey faves

Anders Osborne says that, when it comes to songwriting, “there’s not much to it”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 27, 2003 By Steve Newton Anders Osborne is not the type of singer-songwriter who’s easily categorized. The Sweden-raised, Louisiana-based bard is described in the liner notes for his 1999 Living Room CD as “a guitar wizard whose multifaceted grooves and soulful vocals evolve the link between second-line funk, … Continue reading Anders Osborne says that, when it comes to songwriting, “there’s not much to it”

Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready on Ticketmaster, Neil Young, Nickelback, and the new Riot Act

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 29, 2003 By Steve Newton Pearl Jam is one of those hugely influential, multiplatinum rock acts that’s notorious for refusing to talk to the press, often for extended periods of time. So when PJ guitarist Mike McCready calls from the “lovely offices” of Vandenberg Public Relations in Seattle, … Continue reading Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready on Ticketmaster, Neil Young, Nickelback, and the new Riot Act

Joe Satriani explains how he overcame pain and suffering to fulfill his new Blue Dream

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JAN. 19, 1990 By Steve Newton Just as almost everyone can recall where they were when news broke of John F. Kennedy's assassination, a lot of rock fans can vividly remember that day in 1970 when the news of Jimi Hendrix's death came down. Joe Satriani was in high … Continue reading Joe Satriani explains how he overcame pain and suffering to fulfill his new Blue Dream

Gene Odom’s Lynyrd Skynyrd book lacks literary grace and gory details

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 21, 2002 By Steve Newton On their latest CD, Southern Rock Opera, alt-country reprobates the Drive-By Truckers combine sociology, history, and musicology to deliver a concept album about southern rock, and the band they focus on to get their ideas across is Lynyrd Skynyrd. For the uninitiated, … Continue reading Gene Odom’s Lynyrd Skynyrd book lacks literary grace and gory details

If Clapton is God, then Doyle Bramhall II is the son of God

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 2, 2001 BY STEVE NEWTON “Clapton is God!” is a phrase that was bandied about early on in Eric Clapton’s fabled career, but there may be a new guitar-hero catchphrase on the horizon. How about “Bramhall is the Son of God!” And who the hell is Bramhall, … Continue reading If Clapton is God, then Doyle Bramhall II is the son of God

Good daughter Sarah Harmer goes solo with You Were Here

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 2, 2000 Sarah Harmer is a good daughter. And I’m not just saying that because, when the Ontario singer-songwriter rings the Straight, she’s calling from the basement of Chalmers United Church in Guelph. (Her trio is playing an all-ages show there that night.) No, Sarah Harmer is a … Continue reading Good daughter Sarah Harmer goes solo with You Were Here

Mike Campbell’s instro-rock medley steals the show from Tom Petty in Vancouver

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 9, 1999 By Steve Newton I’ve seen Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers perform in Vancouver four times now. The first time—one of the most memorable concert experiences of my life—was at the Commodore Ballroom in ’78, just after the release of the band’s sophomore album, You’re Gonna Get … Continue reading Mike Campbell’s instro-rock medley steals the show from Tom Petty in Vancouver

Matthew Sweet wishes his records were as loose as Neil Young’s

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 6, 1995 By Steve Newton When Matthew Sweet checks in from his L.A. abode for an afternoon chat, I’ve got a fair supply of questions lined up. I want to uncover the acclaimed pop rocker’s thoughts about his place on the Another Roadside Attraction megatour, which comes to … Continue reading Matthew Sweet wishes his records were as loose as Neil Young’s

Neil Young & Crazy Horse create a gorgeous guitar noise, Sonic Youth not so much

@shotbykevin ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 25, 1991 By Steve Newton The chameleon-like Neil Young has travelled through a kaleidoscope of musical styles over the years, switching effortlessly (and with varying degrees of success) between acoustic folk, bare-bones country, futuristic techno-bop, rockabilly, and whatever else happened to pique his interest at the time. … Continue reading Neil Young & Crazy Horse create a gorgeous guitar noise, Sonic Youth not so much

Blue Rodeo wanted to make “a real pop record” with Casino

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEB. 7, 1991 By Steve Newton For the past two years, the presenter of the Juno award for Canadian Band of the Year has ripped open a sealed envelope and seen the same two words: Blue Rodeo. The powers that be at the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and … Continue reading Blue Rodeo wanted to make “a real pop record” with Casino

Bob Dylan Blu-ray smokes with Johnny Winter, Neil Young & Tom Petty

By Steve Newton Back in October of '92 a mindblowing array of the world's top recording artists performed at New York's Madison Square Garden for Bob Dylan's 30th anniversary concert celebration, and this Tuesday (March 4) a deluxe edition of the concert is being released on CD, DVD and Blu-ray. I watched the Blu-ray this … Continue reading Bob Dylan Blu-ray smokes with Johnny Winter, Neil Young & Tom Petty

Ear of Newt’s Top 30 Rock Albums of 1977

Cheap Trick and David Bowie led the way in '77 with two albums each, and the blues was represented by Johnny Winter, Muddy Waters, and Roy Buchanan. Aja: Steely Dan ("Peg", "Deacon Blues", "Josie") American Stars n' Bars: Neil Young ("Hey Babe", "Will to Love", "Like a Hurricane") Bad Reputation: Thin Lizzy ("Opium Trail", "Bad Reputation", … Continue reading Ear of Newt’s Top 30 Rock Albums of 1977

Matt Andersen tones down the flashy fretwork on Weightless

By Steve Newton Neil Young has been in the news a lot lately for his opposition to the Alberta tarsands, but not everyone is in a mood to bash the controversial moneymaker. On his new album, Weightless, Matt Andersen has a song cowritten with Dave Gunning called “Alberta Gold” that—in its lyrics about Maritimers heading west … Continue reading Matt Andersen tones down the flashy fretwork on Weightless

54-40 thrives on new blood

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, OCT. 20, 2005 During Dave Genn's last year of high school, U2's The Joshua Tree, the Cure's The Head on the Door, and the Smiths' The Queen Is Dead were discs that drew heavy rotation on his personal play list. And right up there was the self-titled major-label debut by local … Continue reading 54-40 thrives on new blood