Eric Clapton and Mark Knopfler shiver spines in Vancouver

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 7, 1988 By Steve Newton Of the three big guitar names in seminal British blues-rock--Page, Beck, and Clapton--only the latter has chosen to take a player of his own calibre on tour with him. The match-up of Mark Knopfler and Eric Clapton is one made in guitarist's heaven, … Continue reading Eric Clapton and Mark Knopfler shiver spines in Vancouver

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

Album review: Eric Clapton, Me and Mr. Johnson (2004)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 22, 2004 By Steve Newton Ten years ago, Eric Clapton issued an astounding love letter to the blues titled From the Cradle, which featured some of his most fiery electric-guitar work since the Derek and the Dominos days. Apart from two overdubs, the 16-track CD was a live, … Continue reading Album review: Eric Clapton, Me and Mr. Johnson (2004)

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!”

Blues-rocker Nigel Mack started off covering Molly Hatchet, the Outlaws, and Skynyrd

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JAN. 23, 1997 In Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Ballad of Curtis Loew”, Ronnie Van Zant sings about a black bluesman with white curly hair who plays Dobro all day in exchange for drinking money. Feeling like a cheapskate, I don’t offer any monetary incentive to curly-haired local blues-rocker Nigel Mack while … Continue reading Blues-rocker Nigel Mack started off covering Molly Hatchet, the Outlaws, and Skynyrd

Crossroads 2 (live in the seventies) finds Slowhand bluesy as hell

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 12, 1996 By Steve Newton They should have subtitled this one live (and bluesy) in the seventies, because over the course of this four-CD package old Slowhand really gets down, covering tunes by Johnny Otis, Elmore James, Sonny Boy Williamson, T-Bone Walker, Otis Rush, and—no fewer than six … Continue reading Crossroads 2 (live in the seventies) finds Slowhand bluesy as hell

George Thorogood wants to rock with McCartney and play the blues with Dylan

I've always enjoy asking guitar heroes which players they'd most like to jam with if they could pick anyone, living or dead. And the last one I interviewed, George Thorogood, had a pretty interesting bucket list. "Well you can't jam with Robert Johnson 'cause he didn't need anybody," replied the 64-year-old blues-rocker. And I can't jam with Elmore … Continue reading George Thorogood wants to rock with McCartney and play the blues with Dylan

Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton isn’t just “some spook from South Central who plays guitar”

You can't believe everything you read on Wikipedia, that’s for sure. While preparing for an interview with acoustic bluesman Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton, I read that he was “the son of one of the cousins of famed blues guitarist Robert Johnson”. That got me thinking that a fun question might be whether he had any … Continue reading Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton isn’t just “some spook from South Central who plays guitar”

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

Eric Clapton shown up by Doyle Bramhall II in Vancouver

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, MARCH 28, 2007 A few days before attending last Friday's Eric Clapton/Robert Cray show, I came across a timely TV broadcast of Taylor Hackford's 1986 concert documentary, Chuck Berry: Hail! Hail! Rock 'N' Roll. Both Clapton and Cray are featured in it, the former performing the smokin' slow blues, "Wee Wee … Continue reading Eric Clapton shown up by Doyle Bramhall II in Vancouver

That time Joe Bonamassa told me to give Jann Wenner a good bashing

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, DEC. 14, 2011 By Steve Newton When blues-guitar great Hubert Sumlin passed away on December 4 at the age of 80, it didn’t take long for the condolences and accolades to hit cyberspace. Within hours, ace picker Joe Bonamassa had tweeted his heartfelt sentiments, saying what a huge effect the “extraordinary” … Continue reading That time Joe Bonamassa told me to give Jann Wenner a good bashing