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

Coco Montoya was transformed by the sheer soul of Alberts Collins and King

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 18, 2003 By Steve Newton Many guitarists can pinpoint a moment in their youth when they knew they were destined for a life in music. For blues-rocker Coco Montoya it happened in 1969, at the Shrine Auditorium in L.A. He’d gone there to see Creedence Clearwater Revival and … Continue reading Coco Montoya was transformed by the sheer soul of Alberts Collins and King

Andy Powell says the Flying V has become a symbol of Wishbone Ash

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEB. 20, 2003 Every once in a while, when my wee home office gets too cramped from all the free CDs this job incurs, I take a deep breath and begin studying my stacks of record albums. Vinyl, baby—that’s where it used to be at. Now I scour those … Continue reading Andy Powell says the Flying V has become a symbol of Wishbone Ash

Michael Burks always played a Gibson, but he keeps a coupla Strats handy too

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 30, 2002 By Steve Newton I know a couple from Richmond who were such huge Stevie Ray Vaughan fanatics that they named their first-born child Vaughan. That’s pretty cool, but I’d like to go one better, and have my own son actually become a blues-rock guitar wizard! … Continue reading Michael Burks always played a Gibson, but he keeps a coupla Strats handy too

Jack De Keyzer grew to like Howlin’ Wolf more than the Stones

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 19, 2002 By Steve Newton Toronto blues-rocker Jack De Keyzer spent the first decade of his life in England, when the biggest thing in pop music was Cliff Richard and the Shadows. Just before he moved to Ontario, though, the Beatles came along, and it was through the … Continue reading Jack De Keyzer grew to like Howlin’ Wolf more than the Stones

Sue Foley teams with Colin Linden to kick ass on Where the Action Is

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 29, 2002 By Steve Newton Ottawa-based blueswoman Sue Foley recorded her Juno Award–winning 2000 CD, the Colin Linden–produced Love Comin’ Down, in Kingston, Ontario, but travelled down to New Orleans to mix it. On her new album, Where the Action Is, she went full-on with the southern treatment, … Continue reading Sue Foley teams with Colin Linden to kick ass on Where the Action Is

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

Jimmy Thackery pays tribute to Muscle Shoals soulman Eddie Hinton on We Got It

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 13, 2002 Most blues-rock guitarists of note have tales to tell about the first time they heard the likes of Jimi Hendrix or Buddy Guy. But as a teenager growing up in Washington, D.C., Jimmy Thackery actually got to see both those legends perform live. A 17-year-old Thackery … Continue reading Jimmy Thackery pays tribute to Muscle Shoals soulman Eddie Hinton on We Got It

Harmonica legend Charlie Musselwhite has real good lung capacity

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 14, 2002 By Steve Newton Charlie Musselwhite was just 13 years old when he started playing harmonica, the instrument that he’d wield so well while staking out his place in the blues world. He was living in Memphis at the time, which was a good location to be … Continue reading Harmonica legend Charlie Musselwhite has real good lung capacity

My interview with 18-year-old Jordan Cook, long before he ruled as Reignwolf

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 6, 2001 By Steve Newton A lot of musicians catch the music bug early on in life, though usually not as early as 18-year-old blues guitarist Jordan Cook. After he was born, the first thing Cook heard on a regular basis was the sound of his dad taking … Continue reading My interview with 18-year-old Jordan Cook, long before he ruled as Reignwolf

Sonny Rhodes went hell-bent for leather on the lap-steel guitar

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 20, 2001 The first musician I interviewed after terrorists committed those atrocious acts in the U.S. last week was American blues veteran Sonny Rhodes. And the impression I got—after passing on my condolences regarding his country’s anguish—was that the 60-year-old Florida resident is a straight-up kinda guy. “I … Continue reading Sonny Rhodes went hell-bent for leather on the lap-steel guitar

Guitar Shorty says Jimi Hendrix used to go AWOL to catch his gigs

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 17, 2001 Hordes of rock guitarists have been influenced by Jimi Hendrix, but only a few would claim that he was influenced by them. According to Guitar Shorty’s latest bio, in the ’60s Hendrix would go AWOL from the U.S. army in order to catch Shorty’s gigs at … Continue reading Guitar Shorty says Jimi Hendrix used to go AWOL to catch his gigs

Chicago blues ace Lil’ Ed Williams learned to be nice from his uncle J.B. Hutto

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 3, 2001 On the cover of his latest CD, Get Wild!, blues-rocker Lil’ Ed Williams is pictured atop his rhythm guitarist’s shoulders, lookin’ sharp in a black-and-gold fez, sporting a huge grin and a red Washburn guitar with the name Pamela in block letters on the front. That’s … Continue reading Chicago blues ace Lil’ Ed Williams learned to be nice from his uncle J.B. Hutto

Too Slim and the Taildraggers sample Lightnin’ Hopkins on King Size Troublemakers

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 12, 2000 You’d think a band from Washington state that’s been around as long as Too Slim and the Taildraggers would have made at least a couple of runs across the border to play for blues-hungry Canucks. But as guitarist-vocalist Tim “Too Slim” Langford explains from his Spokane … Continue reading Too Slim and the Taildraggers sample Lightnin’ Hopkins on King Size Troublemakers

Alvin Youngblood Hart loves Southern rock, was an Allman Brother for a night

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 25, 2000 By Steve Newton Until now, Alvin Youngblood Hart has been best-known as an acoustic folk-blues performer. His first two albums—1996’s Big Mama’s Door and 1998’s Territory—showed him carrying a traditional torch similar to that of blues revivalists Taj Mahal and Guy Davis. So it comes as … Continue reading Alvin Youngblood Hart loves Southern rock, was an Allman Brother for a night

Ray Bonneville hits his stride with Juno-winning Gust of WInd

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 6, 2000 BY STEVE NEWTON Only two songs into Ray Bonneville’s new CD, Gust of Wind, and I’m starting to think: “This guy reminds me of someone.” There’s a familiar timbre to his laid-back vocals, and the gently percolating blues rings a bell. I’ve got it! Eric Clapton, … Continue reading Ray Bonneville hits his stride with Juno-winning Gust of WInd

Guitar legend Rick Derringer has soloed for everyone from Alice Cooper to Air Supply

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 22, 1999 By Steve Newton When most people hear the name Rick Derringer, they probably think of his ’70s hit “Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo”, which typified the randy guitar-boogie of the free-love era. Others may remember him for “Hang On Sloopy”, the 1965 sing-along number Derringer did … Continue reading Guitar legend Rick Derringer has soloed for everyone from Alice Cooper to Air Supply

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

Eddy Clearwater took Magic lessons on Chicago’s West Side

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 24, 1999 Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater chose a good guy to hang with when he moved to Chicago’s West Side in 1950. As a budding, 15-year-old bluesman, Clearwater became close friends with Magic Sam, the legendary West Side guitarist who died of a heart attack at the age … Continue reading Eddy Clearwater took Magic lessons on Chicago’s West Side

Smokin’ Joe Kubek thanks Jimmie Vaughan for turning him on to barbecued bologna

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 8, 1999 I knew a Smokin’ Joe once. He was a driftin’ country musician who moved into the duplex next door to my party pad on a dead-end street by the railroad tracks in Chilliwack. His name was just Joe at first, but I named him Smokin’ ’cause … Continue reading Smokin’ Joe Kubek thanks Jimmie Vaughan for turning him on to barbecued bologna

Tab Benoit says there’s only one Stevie Ray Vaughan, and he’s gone

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 3, 1998 The biggest obstacle to conducting a phone interview with a touring musician is pinpointing precisely where the artist will be at a particular time. Which city, which hotel, which room, and—if they’re big shots like Robert Plant—which alias they’re using that day. The promotions arm of … Continue reading Tab Benoit says there’s only one Stevie Ray Vaughan, and he’s gone

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

Bluesman Bill Perry lays it down fast and raw on Love Scars debut

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 17, 1996 I remember when I was about 13 years old and my guitar teacher had his students put on a recital in some big old rented hall. If I recall correctly, the highlight of my performance involved some nervous noodling on an unspectacular rendition of everybody’s all-time … Continue reading Bluesman Bill Perry lays it down fast and raw on Love Scars debut

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

Dr. John is still rubbing elbows with the elite

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, MARCH 4, 2004 By Steve Newton You learn pretty quickly as a music writer not to put too much faith in recording artists' bios. Once in a while, though, the proclamations heard in those promotional sheets actually turn out to be true. Take the opening line of the current PR blurb … Continue reading Dr. John is still rubbing elbows with the elite

Sonny Landreth’s smokin’ slide heats up the Yale in Vancouver

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, FEB. 20, 2009 A sell-out crowd of slide-guitar freaks converged on the Yale Hotel last night (February 19) to take in one of the world's most amazing bottleneck players. Louisiana's Sonny Landreth kept the audience entranced with a set that focused on material from his star-studded new CD From the Reach—which boasts … Continue reading Sonny Landreth’s smokin’ slide heats up the Yale in Vancouver