Steve Cropper’s musical career has been touched by tragedy but his killer guitar licks endure

By Steve Newton On the phone from his home in Nashville, Steve Cropper sounds happy and full of life. He talks a lot and ends most of his sentences with a chuckle, as you might expect from a guy who's spent the last 60-or-so years of his life doing exactly what he loves the most: … Continue reading Steve Cropper’s musical career has been touched by tragedy but his killer guitar licks endure

Warren Haynes says that playing guitar with Derek Trucks comes naturally, “like drinkin’ water”

kirk west photo By Steve Newton I love talking to Warren Haynes. Apart from being one of my fave guitarists, he's just such a cool, cool guy. I did my sixth interview with Haynes in 2017, when Gov't Mule was playing a show at Vancouver's Vogue Theatre. At one point in the interview I had … Continue reading Warren Haynes says that playing guitar with Derek Trucks comes naturally, “like drinkin’ water”

King Crimson freak suggests watching the band like it’s an orchestra

By Steve Newton I was a huge fan of prog-rock in the seventies, but for some reason I did not follow King Crimson much. About all I remember about them was the heavy riffs of "21st Century Schizoid Man". Guess I was too busy getting my prog-rock jollies from Yes, Tull, Floyd, Wishbone, and Genesis. … Continue reading King Crimson freak suggests watching the band like it’s an orchestra

The world’s greatest acoustic guitarist takes his fans over the rainbow in Vancouver

photos by "Honest" Todd Salive By Steve Newton “I’m not out to prove I’m the world’s greatest guitar player," Tommy Emmanuel told me back in 1994. But if that's the case, just what the hell did he think he was doing at the Vogue Theatre last night? The 59-year-old picker from Australia spent the majority … Continue reading The world’s greatest acoustic guitarist takes his fans over the rainbow in Vancouver

Sloan goes to town, ’70s guitar-rock style, on Action Pact

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 16, 2003 By Steve Newton When Sloan headed into an L.A. studio with producer Tom Rothrock earlier this year, diehard fans of the Halifax-bred power-pop quartet might have had cause for concern. The last two projects Rothrock had helmed at that point were Badly Drawn Boy’s Have You … Continue reading Sloan goes to town, ’70s guitar-rock style, on Action Pact

Fingerstyle guitar ace Leo Kottke is deeply attracted to sloth

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 13, 2002 By Steve Newton Ever since he blasted onto the music scene with his 1969 debut on John Fahey’s tiny Takoma label, 6 and 12-String Guitar, Leo Kottke has been acknowledged as one of the greats of fingerstyle acoustic guitar. But that wasn’t his first instrument—or “victim”, … Continue reading Fingerstyle guitar ace Leo Kottke is deeply attracted to sloth

Ear of Newt’s top five Vancouver concerts of 2014

  DBT photo by the Newt For me, it's always a good year for concerts when the Drive-By Truckers can be included in the year-end wrap-up, and their performance at the Vogue Theatre on April 22 was one of the two best gigs I attended in 2014. It helped that the Alabama/Georgia-based band was touring behind one … Continue reading Ear of Newt’s top five Vancouver concerts of 2014

Steve Hackett leaves Vancouver aglow with a major Genesis buzz

all crappy iPhone photos by the newt By Steve Newton At the Vogue Theatre last night former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett and his killer band performed the best-loved songs from his old group's '70s heyday. Those included "The Fountain of Salmacis" from 1971's Nursery Cryme, the seven-part "Supper's Ready" from 1972's Foxtrot, "Firth of Fifth" from my … Continue reading Steve Hackett leaves Vancouver aglow with a major Genesis buzz

Hey guitar freaks: you’d be friggin’ nuts not to go see Tommy Emmanuel

He might not be the most famous guitarist in the world, but, man, I'm tellin' ya—Tommy Emmanuel might just be the best. All-around, that is. We all know Jeff Beck is tops when it comes to rock. (Especially since Jimi, Stevie Ray and Rory blues-shuffled off this mortal coil.) But if you're looking for an … Continue reading Hey guitar freaks: you’d be friggin’ nuts not to go see Tommy Emmanuel

Kenny Wayne Shepherd never played with Stevie Ray, but still has hope for Clapton

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 7, 2000 By Steve Newton When Kenny Wayne Shepherd calls the Straight on a crapping-out cellphone from the wasteland of Duluth, Minnesota, it feels like a mixed blessing. On one hand, I’m happy to chat with anyone who’s helping to keep the Strat-ified blues-raunch spirit of Stevie Ray … Continue reading Kenny Wayne Shepherd never played with Stevie Ray, but still has hope for Clapton

Joe Satriani gave Steve Morse his full endorsement to join Deep Purple

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 18, 2000 By Steve Newton I’ve yet to be bitten by the techno bug. You won’t find any discs by the Chemical Brothers or Crystal Method in my collection, or any stashes of Ecstasy in my dresser drawer. But after listening to the new Joe Satriani CD, Engines … Continue reading Joe Satriani gave Steve Morse his full endorsement to join Deep Purple

Flamenco guitarist Ottmar Liebert was entranced by Santana’s “Samba Pa Ti” as a kid

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 10, 1999 By Steve Newton When Ottmar Liebert calls the Georgia Straight from his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, it sounds as if the popular flamenco guitarist is living in a bird sanctuary. There’s a constant chirping in the background, the likes of which I haven’t heard … Continue reading Flamenco guitarist Ottmar Liebert was entranced by Santana’s “Samba Pa Ti” as a kid

Tom Cochrane writes about things that are real and count on xray sierra

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEB. 18, 1999 By Steve Newton When I was 12 years old, my beloved teenage brother drowned in a slough near our home, and ever since that day I’ve felt a connection to rock music that breaches the tenuous barrier between life and death. The first few times I … Continue reading Tom Cochrane writes about things that are real and count on xray sierra

Texas Strat-strangler Kenny Wayne Shepherd goes all Stevie Ray on Vancouver’s ass

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JAN. 14, 1999 Guitar legend Stevie Ray Vaughan had a profound effect on a lot of people, and 21-year-old blues-rock whiz kid Kenny Wayne Shepherd is one of them. As the story goes, Shepherd developed his Stevie Ray obsession at the age of seven when the Texas Strat-strangler sat … Continue reading Texas Strat-strangler Kenny Wayne Shepherd goes all Stevie Ray on Vancouver’s ass

Neil Finn makes his solo debut with Try Whistling This

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 9, 1998 After making the agonizing decision in 1996 to break up his world-famous Kiwi pop combo Crowded House, Neil Finn wasn’t exactly sure what to do next. An Aussie artist-musician friend of his suggested Finn try painting, so he spent two weeks at a beachside location doing … Continue reading Neil Finn makes his solo debut with Try Whistling This

At 50, southern-rock legend Gregg Allman is Searching for Simplicity

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEB. 12, 1998 By Steve Newton Gregg Allman has released six solo albums over the years, but he never wanders too far away from the southern-rock sound he helped popularize as a founding member of the Allman Brothers. On his latest CD, Searching for Simplicity, Allman doesn’t even try … Continue reading At 50, southern-rock legend Gregg Allman is Searching for Simplicity

Pete Droge’s Pearl Jam connection led him to Find a Door

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 12, 1996 When you think Seattle rock, you picture plaid shirts, baggy shorts, vein-bulging vocals, and propulsive guitar noise comin’ at you in heavily amplified blasts. You don’t necessarily envision a guy like Pete Droge, whose rootsy, laid-back style has more in common with Tom Petty’s breezy, melodic … Continue reading Pete Droge’s Pearl Jam connection led him to Find a Door

Garbage’s Shirley Manson doesn’t think punters give a fuck who Butch Vig is

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 2, 1996 By Steve Newton Usually when a band is on the lookout for a singer, its members will put the word out by advertising in a music paper, requesting demo tapes or offering appointments for auditions. The three founders of Garbage—Duke Erickson, Steve Marker, and Butch Vig—didn’t … Continue reading Garbage’s Shirley Manson doesn’t think punters give a fuck who Butch Vig is

The Newt takes a wrong turn on Granville and winds up at a freakin’ jazz show

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 30, 1993 I like guitars a lot. I really do. As a matter of fact, up until last Thursday (Sept. 23), I don’t think I’d ever attended a concert that didn’t feature at least one of those six-stringed glories. So when I sat down at the Vogue and … Continue reading The Newt takes a wrong turn on Granville and winds up at a freakin’ jazz show

Drive-By Truckers tell of trophy tail wives taking boner-pill rides in Vancouver

photos by the newt By Steve Newton The Drive-By Truckers didn't play all of my fave DBT tunes at the Vogue last night. For example, there was no "A Ghost to Most", singer-guitarist Mike Cooley's jangley indictment of George Bush's macho posturing from the sprawling 2008 Brighter than Creation's Dark album. And neither did I get to hear my … Continue reading Drive-By Truckers tell of trophy tail wives taking boner-pill rides in Vancouver

Neil Finn recruits loved ones to reach Dizzy Heights

As a singer-songwriter, Neil Finn has been known to create tunes that are both beautifully simple (Split Enz’s “One Step Ahead”) and simply beautiful (Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over”). Simplicity has been part of his oeuvre since day one, but on his latest solo album, Dizzy Heights, things get a bit more involved. As … Continue reading Neil Finn recruits loved ones to reach Dizzy Heights

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

Tedeschi Trucks Band lays the soul on heavy in Vancouver

There was a whole lotta soul rolling off of the Vogue Theatre stage last night. That's what happens when you've got a hugely talented 11-piece band joyfully letting go with bluesy, heartfelt, and sometimes funky-as-hell rock music. That's also what happens whenever bottleneck-guitar master Derek Trucks' glass slide grazes the strings of his trusty red … Continue reading Tedeschi Trucks Band lays the soul on heavy in Vancouver

Joe Satriani’s guitar heroics slay Vancouver, as do Mike Keneally’s

PHOTO BY THE NEWT ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, OCT. 20, 2013 By Steve Newton Guitar freaks go to Joe Satriani concerts to hear the Bay Area musician speedily blast out approximately 1,365,398 notes in total, and make all of them sound perfect. But Satriani's ace in the hole—apart from a wicked rhythm-section composed of bassist … Continue reading Joe Satriani’s guitar heroics slay Vancouver, as do Mike Keneally’s

Motorhead all business in Vancouver

photo by rebecca blissett ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, FEB. 8, 2011 I should have known that I’d run into Metal Ron—the long-time cohost of CiTR Radio’s popular heavy-metal show Powerchord—at Motorhead on Monday (February 7). I should have also known that he’d still be reeling from the shocking news of Irish guitar hero Gary Moore's death … Continue reading Motorhead all business in Vancouver