Under the ‘ZZ’ Top; Montreal Concert Review

If whiskey, cars and ladies are the three most favorite things in your life – ZZ Top is the band to rock out to …

The trio who benefited  more  from the age of Friday Night Videos than any other Blues and Rock formation in history – proved once and for all;

Top coat, top hat,
And I don’t worry coz my wallet’s fat.
Black shades, white gloves,
Lookin’ sharp lookin’ for love.
They come runnin’ just as fast as they can
‘Cause every girl crazy ’bout a sharp dressed man.

It was not just the girls who came runnin’ to the Bell Center last night. Bikers, Suburban teen boys, husbands and at least one nine year old boy  – all present and accounted for in an arena filled with Southern-styled Blues.

FRANK LEE BEARD, JOE MICHAEL ( Dusty) HILL and  BILLY F GIBBONS –  the only trio in music more popular than Rush, set the tone early.

Gibbon’s instantly recognizable guitar riffs combined with Hill’s equilibrium ( bass ) and Beard’s somewhat maniacal and steady metronome ( drums), aroused an already aroused fan base. Thanks to opening act, The Ben Miller Band ( another powerhouse trio), those in attendance were primed to rock.

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‘Got Me Under Pressure’, ‘Waitin’ for The Bus’ and ‘Jesus Just left for Chicago’ started the evening off. A perfecta to introduce what ZZ Top is all about to the novices ( TEN YEAR OLD BOY?) in the crowd. The three tunes – a summation of the group’s sound  over the years. Greasy Blues, commercial Blues and Rock Blues.

ZZ Top has done it all.

The diehards in attendance, happy from the get-go. The passing fan who only listens to Classic Rock radio, ecstatic from song four.

The quatrieme ? ‘Gimme All Your Lovin’ – the song which arguably placed ZZ Top on the world  map preceded ‘I’m Bad I’m Nationwide’. The latter, a tune which ( along with Cheap Sunglasses) started Top’s rise to fame outside of Texas in the late seventies. ‘Gimme All Your Lovin’ almost a duplicate of the studio version while Gibbon’s vocals seemed to get lost like a needle in a haystack during I’m Bad I’m Nationwide …

The interplay / gimmickry of Hill and Gibbon’s shtick ( top hat, matching ( sharp?) suits and matching beards), has to make anyone smile. Rock and Roll / the Blues’ largest ( and first) costumed duo, hamming it up as only partners for forty plus years can. Gibbons pointed out the longevity factor during one of his very brief ‘in-between-song’ banters;

We have been here numerous times in forty years. Same three guys. Same three chords.

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‘Pincushion‘ – the number one single off of 1994’s Antennae ( the first ZZ top album to contain a song with the same name), was a bit of a let down. Lacking the chord changes and natural progression and creativity of  most ZZ Top hits, ‘Pincushionlive’ seemed more as a filler. Monotone music for the mindless masses. A let down career-wise as well. The final cog in the 1980’s ZZ Top money-making machine.

Two screens framed drummer Frank Beard through the evening. Two screens filled with moving pictures identifying the themes of each song played. Thankfully, for the man / woman in charge of choosing those images – ZZ Top’s repertoire contains mainly three themes. Whiskey, cars and ladies.

‘I Gotsta Get Paid’ – Top’s last and most recent hit off of the album ‘Futura’, made all the  ‘under twenty- year-olds’ at The Bell Center very happy. The lone song a newer generation can claim as their own was played perfectly by the trio from Texas. Gibbon’s riffs as distinctive as all of the the band’s top success stories. Gibbons – without a doubt, one of the great guitar players of our time.

Flyin’ High’, a cover of the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s‘Foxey Lady’ and a take on Muddy Waters’Catfish Blues was enough for the Blues purists in the house. ZZ Top, conscience or not – paying homage to their roots. Paying their dues to the Gods in the sky. ZZ Top were a Blues Band to begin with long before the long ( dusty) beards, the synthesizer sounds of the 80’s and the ‘flying through space cars’. Thankfully – they have retained that ability to play pure Blues. Thankfully  it was played out last night.

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The homestretch commenced with ‘Cheap Sunglasses’ off of the 1979 album Deguello. ‘Chartreuse’ensued and then the ‘big boys’ closed off the main part of the show. ‘Sharp Dressed Man’ and ‘Legs’. Two stratospheric songs from 1983’s gigantic album ‘Eliminator’. 

All the former teenagers from the 1980’s stood simultaneously and welcomed back their youth via ZZ Top. 

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band (inducted by Keith Richards no less) returned for an encore following the ubiquitous and frivolous ( you know they are coming back?) standing ovation. ZZ Top did not disappoint. Sorta …

‘La Grange’ ( every bar-band and biker’s favorite tune) was played. That’s the good news. The song was not played in it’s entirety, that’s the bad news. Instead of allowing drummer Frank Beard an opportunity of bringing himself and the audience into a mesmerizing groove, the band chose instead to enter into the song; ‘Sloppy Drunk Jam’. A great opportunity to display the skills of a pure Blues band – lost to an opportunity to jam. Fun for the crowd, sad for the fans.

The final song of the evening, played in it’s entirety? ‘Tush’.

The band’s signature song to many. The ultimate grab-a-Whiskey-grab-a-girl-listen-to-a-bar-band-play-a-song tune. The ultimate parting party song An obvious decision to leave the Bell Center ‘faithful’ – faithful to ZZ Top the next time they come.

An obvious decision to allow ZZ Top to be faithful to …

Whiskey, cars and ladies.

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Tom Lavin; The Water in the Powder ‘ed’ Blues

For over three decades Powder Blues has been one of Canada’s leading blues bands.

 

powder1979-150x150Blues, Jazz, Rock & Roll and R & B. Four styles is what you get each and every time the band takes the stage. On November 2nd at Club Soda – the Powder Blues Band does just that along with The Downchild Blues Band.

Two acts, one cause. Two acts – eighty two years of experience between them as Blues artists.

Please listen as Tom Lavin of The Powder Blues talks all things Blues and gives a history lesson on some of the legendary men who make up the Blues legacy.

Tom? John Lee Hooker made you supper? Say what?

 

Visit The Powder Blues Band Here!

 

Visit The Downchild Blues Band Here!

 

Buy Tickets for Downchild Blues Band and Powder Blues Here!

 

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Warren Cromartie – The Universal Dream

Former Montreal Expos player Warren ‘Cro’ Cromartie – not unlike Martin Luther King Jr; has a dream …

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To bring baseball back to the city that gave him an opportunity to earn a living playing the game he loves.

Music is his second passion.

Warren?

Visit The Montreal Baseball Project Here!

Buy Your Tickets for the Gala Here!

 

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Steve Hill; Hendrix, Guitar Tuning and Volume Three?

Volume three cannot be far off …

Following two very successful solo albums; Steve Hill of Trois Rivieres, Quebec is living a life of renewed interest and respect.

Respect is what this guy deserves ...

Not too many musicians take the hard way out. Undertaking a solo project is one thing – taking the stage as a one man band is another entirely. Playing guitar, singing original compositions, playing bass, snare and high-hat; no simple task.

Steve Hill will tell you this. Right now as a matter of fact …

Steve?

 

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Hear my interview with Paul Deslauriers Here!

 

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Paul Deslauriers and Jimi Hendrix; A Match Made in Heaven (Ask Steve Hill).

Paul Deslauriers is one smart cookie …

Nothing like jumping on an opportunity to pay homage to a childhood idol and hooking up with an old friend at the same time.

As part of the Montreal International Jazz Festival – Paul is taking the stage with his band and with longtime guitar buddy Steve Hill. Not together – apart …

On la  Scene Lotto Quebec and  Metropolis; Paul will delight fans of both his band and those of the Jimi Hendrix persuasion. A double bill for lovers of guitar rock and Blues.

Shows not to be missed. Shows not to be dissed.

Please listen as Paul explains what people will expect and why he loves Hendrix so much.

Paul …?

 

Find out the dates and times Here!

The 35th Edition of The Montreal International Jazz Festival

 

The 35th edition of the Festival International de Jazz de Montreal, presented by TD in partnership with Rio Tinto Alcan, kicks off in just 3 short days! The Quartier des Spectacles is ready and waiting to welcome the world’s large largest jazz festival, from Friday, June 26 to Sunday, July 6, 2014!

The Festival goes mobile

Here’s a major new addition for this 35th edition: the full program is now available from the Festival’s new mobile website (mobile.montrealjazzfest.com ).

Web surfers Will Find a detailed schedule, shows listed by series or course, a search engine, photos, concert descriptions and audio excerpts. And to help everyone get the MOST out of the Festival, visitors can create a personalized schedule to Ensure They Do not Miss Any of the Action! Festival fans can aussi experience the festivities’ round the clock, 24/7 on the Festival website ( montrealjazzfest.com ), socialand via the Montreal Jazz mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android (montrealjazzfest.com / mobile ).

Throughout the duration of the event,MontrealJazzFest.TV Will aussi feature artist interviews and Some hundred concerts on video captured by our video squad in Festival concert venues and on outdoor stages.

3rd Edition of our contest, I love Jazz Festival: incredible prizes available

By showing Their affection for the Festival-simply by Becoming a fan of the event’s official Facebook page, Internet users can join the fun every day by visiting the great I love Jazz Festival Contest (I Like the Jazz Festival Contest) on Facebook .

A grand total of $ 30,000 in prizes Will Be up for grabs thanks to collaborations with a number of partners: 1st prize : grand prize of$ 10,000 in cash offert by TD ; 2nd prize : a MacBook Pro 13” aluminum with Retina display, valued at $ 3.160 USD , offert by Rio Tinto Alcan , 3rd prize : an automatic coffeemaker valued at $ 3.100, offert by Jura ; 4th prize : a collection of 50 blues CDs valued at $ 1,000, offert by Loto-Québec ; 5th prize : an XM radio with a one-year subscription with a maximum value of $ 500, offert by SiriusXM .

Entering the contest is easy!

Just “Like” the Festival’s facebook page ( facebook.com / montrealjazzfest ), click the link under the “Contest” tab on the home page and fill out the online form Between June 3 and July 6, midnight.

The drawing Will take up July 8, 2014 at noon . Dozens of instant prizes, with a total value of $ 10,000, Will Be Offered by TD andLa Presse + on the outdoor festival site.

Galerie Lounge TD: presenting Jimi Hendrix!

The Galerie Lounge TD , located in. the Espace culturel Georges-Émile Lapalme exhibition hall in Place des Arts , is a treasure trove of works by artists united by Their passion for jazz.

This year, to mark the 35th anniversary of the Festival organizers and the Galerie Lounge TD are very proud to offer Drifter’s Escape , a silkscreen taken from original year work by one of the Most Significant musicians of the 20th century, Jimi Hendrix , available for The Entire Festival duration in a limited print run of only 125 copies. Also, fans can purchase a limited-run of silkscreen Saxophoenix , The Most recent creation by Yves Archambault , our artist in residence for over 25 years.

Traffic on the website

Starting June 27, the Festival Site Will Be closed to automobile traffic every day from 6 pm to 3 am, until, Sunday, July 6 at 7 am

The website Occupies the quadrilateral area bordered by St. Laurent Boulevard and De Bleury Street from east to west , and St. Catherine St. and President Kennedy Ave. from north to south. A part of the Quartier des Spectacles Will Remain closed to automobile traffic day and night Until September 5: St. Between St. Catherine De Bleury St. and St. Laurent Blvd., Jeanne Mance St. Between St. Catherine St. and De Maisonneuve Blvd., As well as Mayor and Balmoral Streets. De Maisonneuve Blvd. Will Be closed to automobile traffic Until July 9 Between Bleury and Jeanne-Mance Streets.

To Plan your visit to the Festival and for all information on access for people with limited mobility or Reduced gold Accessing the site by car, on bike or on foot:  montrealjazzfest.com ,  Access to the Site  tab.

Pre-opening concert

Beck
with The Ghost of a Sabre Tooth Tiger (Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl)

June 25, 8 pm, Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, PdA

When the preeminent icon of the alternative lands Music Scene with a new album, the highly-Anticipated Morning Phase 6 Years After Modern Guilt -we-have all reason to rejoice.

When he arrived at this festival for the first time, we’re over the moon! The voice and vision of a generation since the blockbuster success of Loser in 1994 Beck Brings us the mind-blowing alterna-folk, blues and silky inimitable artistic not touch that make him extraterrestrially brilliant!

Opening Bell Event

Woodkid

June 26, 9:30 pm, TD Internship

Three years ago, he set off a buzz Take That Has not quit since the release of the superb video for Iron -viewed over 27 million times on YouTube! This versatile French artist weaves a cinematic Pop That transport and moves the listener. After Delivering phenomenal performance falling on the Festival andJazz All-Year Round last year, he’s back to full the Hat Trick: Outdoor Concert Opening the 35th edition of this magnificent …

Indoor opening concert

Alain Lefèvre with the OSM, The Gershwin Legacy
June 26 & 27, 7 pm, Maison symphonique de Montreal

Not only do two superb thesis concerts celebrate the Festival’s 35th birthday, They Also spotlight the 80th season of the OSM and the 90th anniversary of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue , the first work to bring jazz into the World’s Most prestigious concert halls. The event promises to be a memorable one, both, in Festival history and in pianist and composer Alain Lefèvre’s career, as he surrounds himself with old friends and musical Accomplices for the occasion derived, namely, two leading figures on the Montreal jazz scene, double bassist Michel Donato and drummer Paul Brochu.

Sold out concerts

All tickets for the Following concerts-have-been already sold:

♫  Alain Lefèvre (June 26, 8 pm, Maison symphonique de Montreal)

♫  Cecile McLorin Salvant (June 26 and 27, 9 pm, L’Astral)

♫  Jordan Officer (June 27, 28 and 29, 7 pm, Savoy)

♫  Rufus Wainwright (June 27, 28 and 29, 8 pm, Théâtre du Nouveau Monde)

♫  Beth Hart (June 28, 7 pm, Club Soda)

♫  Keith Jarrett (June 28, 8 pm, Maison symphonique de Montreal)

♫  Stacey Kent . Opening act: Emie R Roussel Trio (June 28, 8 pm, Théâtre Maisonneuve, PoA)

♫  Earth, Wind & Fire (June 30, 7:30 pm, Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, PoA)

♫  Bobby McFerrin (June 30, 8 pm, Maison symphonique de Montreal)

♫  Tigran and Brad Meldhau (July 2, 6 pm, Gesù – Centre for Creativity)

♫  Aretha Franklin (July 2, 7:30 pm, Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, PoA)

♫  Diana Ross (July 3, 7:30 pm, Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, PoA)

Indoor concerts pick up your tickets now

Altho Many concerts are sold out, tickets REMAIN available for the Following:

Daniel Lanois and very special guests Emmylou Harris and Trixie Whitley June 26, 7:30 pm, Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier –

Finally back in Montreal, explore music, inspired renowned artist and producer Daniel Lanois takes hold of Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier Accompanied by His group, Including astonishing drummer Brian Blade, and two very notable guests: the sublime Trixie Whitley, Whose leaves us speechless stunning voice with every successive performance; and legendary singer and musician Emmylou Harris, back in Montreal for the first time since 2006, a 12-time Grammy winner Including the 1996 Best Contemporary Folk Album award for Wrecking Ball , produced by none other than … Daniel Lanois.

Cassandra Wilson Opening act: Andreas Varady – June 26, 8 pm, Théâtre Maisonneuve, PdA –

Singer Cassandra Wilson Effective returns a four-year absence, When She shared the bill of the opening concert of the Festival with Lionel Richie. With only her voice, her blues sensibility and flair for the unexpected, the winner of the 1999 Miles Davis Award Brings us a milestone concert marking the 20th anniversary of her famed album Blue Light ‘Til Dawn .First goal, a good hand of applause for jazz guitar wunderkind and Quincy Jones Andreas Varady protected!

Angélique Kidjo . Opening act: Karim Diouf – June 26, 8:30 pm, Metropolis – It’s always an enormous pleasure to welcome the funkiest of African diva Angelique Kidjo, back at the Festival with her ​​13th album Eve , written and Recorded in tribute to African women . Dig into funk-soul piece steeped in African traditions, Reviews another chapter in the career of this renowned sincere, passionate and authentic big-hearted activist. Opening the evening, make way for forming Colocs member Karim Diouf, has Launched Have you solo career last year with a debut album of universal tweaked pop with reggae and African rhythms, Adouna .

Van Gogh Go – June 27, 11 pm, Club Soda – Celebrating the 20th anniversary of Their debut album, it’s the return of Montreal’s once and future coolest alt-pop duo, singer and guitarist Sandra Luciantonio-singer Daniel Tierney.They’ve returned to remind us of Reviews some of the great times of the ’90s, hot on the heels of Their moving and utterly convincing performance this past December in the Cabaret du Mile End … And along with Their hits, we can expect Some surprises , Including new songs!

Katie Melua, The Acoustic Tour – June 27, 7:30 pm, Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, PdA  – At just 19, she has Launched debut album That soared to phenomenal success in the UK. Her sophomore release made ​​her international star year.Talented young Katie Melua Wherever she goes charms audiences with her ​​elegant simplicity, remarkable voice, blues-tinged jazz and an understated, intense presence, perfectly Embodying a fresh authenticity. The songstress Have you Delivered the opening concert in Festival 2008 Effective returns a 5-year failure to offer us her latest bestseller, Ketevan . Presented Exclusively for the Festival’s 35th anniversary, this is her only concert in America.Absolutely ir-re-sis-ti-ble!

Dianne Reeves. Opening act: Nico Sarbanes – June 27, 8 pm Théâtre Maisonneuve, PdA – Les Grands concerts Rio Tinto Alcan series – Recipient of the 2002 Ella Fitzgerald Award and four Grammys Besides, Dianne Reeves HAS long since won her spot in the pantheon of jazz singers. A flamboyant onstage performer, loved by critics and audiences alike, she’s here to present her new album, Beautiful Life , a lovely marriage of R & B, Latin music, pop and jazz in Both new compositions and covers of Bob Marley, Fleetwood Mac and Marvin Gaye . Terri Lyne Carrington produced by, the album features the talents of aussi Esperanza Spalding, Gregory Porter and the late George Duke. The evening begins with young trumpet player and singer Montreal Nico Sarbanes.  

. Nikki Yanofsky Opening act: Jon Batiste and Stay Human – June 27, 8:30 pm, Metropolis – She Was Discovered at the Festival in 2006 When she was just 12; now, the darling of Montreal jazz HAS Become a singer of international caliber. She’s been hailed at the Olympia in Paris, the Blue Note Jazz Club in New York, and falling on her last stop Festival, a three-night run in TNM; now, the young artist is under the artistic wing of legendary producer Quincy Jones and returns to present a new album, Little Secret , that ‘utterly lives up to expectations The Highest! Opening the evening, welcome sensational young New Orleans jazzman Jon Batiste backed by Stay Human.

Rudresh Mahanthappa – June 27, 10:30 pm Gesù – Centre for Creativity –Named a Rising Star in the Downbeat International Critics Poll in 2010, saxman Mahanthappa now Has the profile of an old pro. An inspired gifted instrumentalist and composer, Rudresh Mahanthappa never lacks for progressive projects projects fusing Indian music, classical, avant-jazz, etc..The alto saxophonist Brings us His revolutionary artistic perspective and his Most recent project, Gamak , Accompanied by musicians Rez Abbasi (guitar), François Moutin (bass) and Dan Weiss (drums). Huge.

Hercules & Love Affair + Andy Butler (DJ set) – June 27, 11 pm, Club Soda – Captained by New York DJ Andy Butler, Hercules & Love Affair the project is an odyssey into primal disco-house territory. Filled out by John Grant, Mary Rouge, Krystle Warren and Gustaph, the group Recently released The Feast of the Broken Heart , Conceived with nighthawks in mind. With a touch of techno and pop to make things hyper-available and totally danceable, the result is at once retro and futurist, melodic and rocking.

Changes to the program

Psychology Will open for Snoop Dogg in Metropolis on July 4, 11 pm ( Les Rythmes series).

Kumbia Gypsy Orchestra ‘s performance on July 4 in the festive Love is canceled. Roma Carnivale Will replace em.

The Farruquito concert ( Improvisao ), scheduled on July 2, 6 pm in Théâtre Maisonneuve (MoU) is canceled.

 

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Joe Louis Walker; Hornet’s Nest – A ‘Feel Good’ Record

Blues guitarist Joe Louis Walker has been around more than most.

Rooming with legend Mike Bloomfield or hanging around with Jimi Hendrix and Ron Wood, let us say; Joe knows the Blues.

Hornet’s Nest is his latest labor of love and it will be released on the 25th of February. A fun-filled addition to his vast catalog. A blend of Blues, Gospel and …?

Joe?

Visit Alligator Records Here!

BLUES FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES

2014 BLUES HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE; February 12, 2014. During the first 34 years of the Blues Hall of Fame balloting, only one saxophonist, Louis Jordan, was elected. The Year of the Saxophonist has come, however, in 2014, as three sax men–Big Jay McNeely, Eddie Shaw, and Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson–blow their way into the Blues Hall. Two other performers–Mississippi hill country patriarch R.L. Burnside and the intense and inimitableRobert Pete Williams-will also be inducted in May.

Among the other individuals to be recognized by The Blues Foundation for their behind-the-scenes contributions: The Rosebud Agency’smanager and booking agent par excellenceMike Kappus, Houston music mogul and label owner Don Robey,and prolific Chicago record producer and writer Dick Shurman.

 

The book Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke by Peter Guralnick is the literature entry into the Blues Hall of Fame this year. This is Peter’s fourth book inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.

These albums are being honored: Hawk Squat (Delmark, 1969) by J.B. Hutto andMoanin’ in the Moonlight (Chess, 1959) by Howlin’ Wolf.

The following singles will be inducted during the ceremony: “After Hours” by Erskine Hawkins and His Orchestra (Bluebird, 1940); “Catfish Blues” by Robert Petway(Bluebird, 1941); “High Water Everywhere, Parts I & II” by Charley Patton (Paramount, 1930); “It’s Tight Like That” by Tampa Red & Georgia Tom (Vocalion, 1928); and “Milk Cow Blues” by Kokomo Arnold (Decca, 1934).

Inductees’ official biographies and descriptions are available, as well as all Hall of Fame inductees, at http://www.blues.org/halloffame/index.php.

The induction ceremony will be held Wednesday, May 7, at the Sheraton Memphis Downtown in Memphis, Tennessee, the night before the 35th Blues Music Awards. With living musicians like B.B. King and Buddy Guy, and legends like Muddy Waters and Koko Taylor, the Blues Hall of Fame consists of blues music’s best and brightest stars.

The Blues Foundation is now in the final stages of raising the capital needed to showcase these legendary performers and their work with Blues Hall of Fame exhibits at its 421 S. Main headquarters in downtown Memphis. The Blues Hall of Fame will honor inductees year round, provide interactive and educational exhibits, and create a place for serious blues fans, casual visitors, and students to congregate, celebrate and learn more about the Blues. The Raise the Roof! campaign hopes to raise the remaining funds necessary to commence construction in June of this year.

On May 9, the night after the Blues Hall of Fame inductions, The Blues Foundation will present the Blues Music Awards for the 35th time. Performers, industry representatives and fans from around the world will celebrate the best in Blues recording, songwriting and performance from the previous year at the Memphis Cook Convention Center in downtown Memphis.

For tickets and more information, visit www.blues.org.

Major funding is provided by ArtsMemphis and the Tennessee Arts Commission. The 35th Blues Music Awards and Blues Hall of Fame events are also sponsored by BMI, Catfood Records, Eagle Rock Entertainment, First Tennessee Foundation, Jontaar Creative Studios, Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise, Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company and Sony/Legacy Records.

The Blues Foundation is Memphis-based, but world-renown as THE organization dedicated to preserving our blues music history, celebrating recording and performance excellence, supporting blues education and ensuring the future of this uniquely American art form. Founded in 1980, The Blues Foundation has 4000 individual members and 200 affiliated local blues societies representing another 50,000 fans and professionals around the world. Its signature honors and events–the Blues Music Awards, Blues Hall of Fame, International Blues Challenge and Keeping the Blues Alive Awards–make it the international center of blues music. Its HART Fund provides the blues community with medical assistance while its Sound Healthcare program offers musicians health insurance access. Blues in the Schools programs and Generation Blues scholarships expose new generations to blues music. Throughout the year, the Foundation staff serves the worldwide Blues community with answers, contact information and news.

2014 Blues Hall of Fame Inductees

Performers

R.L. Burnside was a champion of Mississippi hill country blues who was able to energize rock audiences just as he did local juke joint revelers. He achieved crossover success by attracting a cult following among young college-age crowds with his infectious rhythms and good humor, and by agreeing with his producers at Fat Possum Records to collaborate with indie rock musicians and to submit his blues to sampling, scratching and digital programming. Although his 1990s studio product caused some reviewers and listeners to define his sound as progressive blues, Burnside himself was a traditional bluesman who never changed the way he played, and entertained live audiences as he always had.

Burnside was born in the Harmantown community near Oxford, Mississippi — where he would later become an Ole Miss favorite and Fat Possum artist — on November 23, 1926. He sometimes said his initials stood for Robert Lee, but he was also called “Rule,” and Social Security records cite his name as Rural or Rural L. Burnside. His musical inspiration came from his neighbor, Mississippi Fred McDowell, and Ranie Burnette, and he entertained at house parties, juke joints and local gatherings in the Holly Springs area while working in the cotton fields and catching and selling fish. Burnside also lived for a few years in Chicago where he grew close to another influence, Muddy Waters. His first recordings, made in 1968 by folklorist George Mitchell, appeared on Arhoolie Records and, as his reputation grew, he made many more records and began traveling to appear at blues festivals and clubs, in the U.S. and overseas. He usually performed alone with his guitar but, as patriarch of a growing brood of musicians, he began playing with his sons and other family members, and the addition of hard-driving drumming to the rhythm of his guitar grooves gave his music an electric edge that bode well for expanding his audiences.

Six of Burnside’s later albums, some of them done with Jon Spencer or Tom Rothrock, made the Billboard blues charts. With this success, a spate of Burnside albums appeared on various labels, the result of tapes Burnside had happily agreed to make during earlier years for any fan who showed up with a tape machine. He died at St. Francis Hospital in Memphis on September 1, 2005. The family blues legacy has been carried on by sons Duwayne, Garry and Daniel, grandsons Cedric and Kent, and several other Burnsides.

Big Jay McNeely became the act no one wanted to follow during the “honkers and shouters” era of rhythm & blues that preceded rock ‘n’ roll, when the gunslingers of the trade wielded saxophones, not electric guitars. McNeely, “The Wild Man of the Saxophone,” launched sonic assaults while lying on his back, walking the bar or leading a procession out the door, driving his young audiences into a frenzy. While less acrobatic now that he’s in his eighties, McNeely has still maintained his instrumental prowess and his talent for exciting a crowd.

Born on April 29, 1927, in Watts, when the neighborhood had yet to be incorporated into the city of Los Angeles, Cecil James McNeely played jazz and classical music in high school. He graduated into the rocking world of R&B at the Barrelhouse, a club co-owned by Johnny Otis, who hired McNeely to play on a recording session in 1948. Savoy Records’ A&R man Ralph Bass signed McNeely to a contract and label owner Herman Lubinsky gave him the name “Big Jay.” His Savoy instrumental Deacon’s Hop hit No. 1 on Billboard‘s “race music” charts in 1949. McNeely continued to record for other labels, including Exclusive, Aladdin and Federal, but it was as a live act, both locally and on tour, that he had his greatest impact. The Los Angeles Sentinel reported in 1955 that the “inimitable brand of excitement imparted by his music was recently studied by a psychiatric board engaged in youth activities.” Varying and expanding his show, he added doo-wop groups to the revue and performed with glow-in-the-dark instruments and strobe lights. His over-the-top showmanship reportedly influenced a youngster who saw McNeely’s show in Seattle named James (later Jimi) Hendrix.

As musical trends changed, McNeely recruited a singer, Little Sonny Warner, for his band, and together they recorded his best-remembered song, the blues ballad There is Something on Your Mind, a 1959 hit which bore no trace of McNeely’s raucous honking. Within a few years, though, finding fewer outlets for his music, he took a job at the post office and continued the Jehovah’s Witness ministry he had adopted in his youth. In the 1980s a revival of interest in vintage R&B led to his return to the stage, as he excited a new generation of audiences around the world. McNeely was profiled in the 1995 Jim Dawson book Nervous Man Nervous: Big Jay McNeely & the Rise of the Honking Tenor Saxophone.

Eddie Shaw continues to build upon his unparalleled career as a Chicago blues saxophonist/bandleader in a city where guitar, harmonica and piano players have long ruled the roost. A multiple Blues Music Award winner and perpetual nominee in the Instrumentalist–Horn category, Shaw has blown his industrial-strength sax with the likes of Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters and Magic Sam. And with his Wolf Gang he has racked up the most road mileage of all Chicago bands over the past four decades, crisscrossing the country from Maine, where his upbeat, high-energy blues is a particular favorite, to countless points south and west.

Shaw, born March 20, 1937, in Stringtown, Mississippi, learned saxophone at school in nearby Greenville, Mississippi, the hub of blues activity in the Delta. He continued at Mississippi Vocational College (now Mississippi Valley State University) in Itta Bena, meanwhile working or sitting in with Little Milton, Ike Turner, Charlie Booker, Elmore James and others, including Muddy Waters when he brought his band down from Chicago. Muddy was so impressed that he offered Shaw a spot in the band, and before long the sax phenom was a Windy City resident. His most significant work in establishing himself in Chicago, both in the clubs and in the studio, came with Magic Sam and Howlin’ Wolf. Shaw also ran a laundry business, an air conditioning service and blues clubs on the West Side. After Wolf died in 1976, Shaw took over the band, with Hubert Sumlin on guitar, and initiated a tireless touring itinerary. His son Eddie “Vaan” Shaw, Jr., soon assumed guitar duties and, along with bassist Shorty Gilbert, has now been with the Wolf Gang for more than 30 years. Shaw has recorded for Alligator, Rooster Blues, Delmark, Wolf, North Atlantic and other labels, and has found time in the studio to do sessions with Jimmy Dawkins, Willie Kent, Lonnie Shields, John Primer, Sunnyland Slim, George Thorogood, Big Head Todd and a growing list of others. His son Stan Shaw is a veteran Hollywood actor, and father Eddie made his own big screen debut in the 2007 film Honeydripper.

Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson was an acclaimed alto saxist who fit in comfortably in a variety of blues, jazz and R&B settings. A contemporary and admirer of Charlie Parker, he contributed to the first wave of bebop, but achieved his greatest popularity with his unique singing voice, which combined full-bodied blues shouting with a quirky, broken squeal. Vinson, born in Houston on December 18, 1917, played locally with the bands of Chester Boone and Milt Larkin before he was recruited to join trumpeter Cootie Williams’ orchestra in New York in 1942. Three of the records he made singing with Williams (Cherry Red BluesIs You Is Or Is You Ain’t and Somebody’s Got to Go) made the Top Ten ofBillboard magazine’s Harlem Hit Parade charts in 1944-45 and he won Esquire magazine’s jazz poll in the “New Stars” vocalist category. Leaving Williams to front his own band, Vinson scored more Billboard hits with the 1947 Mercury double-sider Old Maid Boogie/Kidney Stew Blues and his 1948 waxing of Somebody Done Stole My Cherry Redon King. Other favorites included his original version of the standard Person to Person, his cover of Big Bill Broonzy’s Just a Dream, and a number of tunes, such as Cleanhead Blues, touting his trademark baldness. (He shaved his head to maintain the look after first losing his hair to a lye-based hair straightener treatment gone awry.)

Vinson’s later recordings retained his characteristic warmth and humor and included albums with backing by Cannonball Adderley, Jay McShann, Mike Bloomfield and Roomful of Blues, collaborations with Count Basie, Joe Turner, T-Bone Walker and Oscar Peterson, and vocal and instrumental spots on sessions with Johnny Otis and others. He played alongside many other top names in blues and jazz at different points during his long career, from accompanying Big Bill and Lil Green to hiring a young John Coltrane as a sideman. Following his years in New York, Vinson returned to Houston and spent time in Detroit and Kansas City before settling in Los Angeles to enjoy a career revival during his last two decades, recording prolifically and making several European tours. “Mr. Cleanhead” died in Los Angeles on July 2, 1988.

Robert Pete Williams made his first recordings in the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola in 1959 while serving time for murder. Folklorist Dr. Harry Oster was in search of work songs but found instead one of the most original blues artists ever in Williams, who wailed and played guitar with ominous passion and intensity in a visceral style outside the bounds of traditional musical structure, rhyme and meter. Oster’s co-worker Richard Allen noted, “He did unorthodox things. He’d be in three modes at once.” Williams often made up lyrics and improvised accompaniments (picked rather than chorded) as he played, and his subject matter could be stark and disturbing. In one of his best known songs, Grown So Ugly, he looks in the mirror and moans, “I got so ugly I don’t even know myself.” The spontaneous nature of his music made it all but inimitable and it was fitting that one of the few musicians to cover Grown So Ugly was an equally unconventional rock icon, Captain Beefheart.

Robert Williams, who added the nickname Pete as a teenager, was born in Zachary, Louisiana, near Baton Rouge, on March 14, 1914. He played music at local gatherings but made his living by farming and working at a dairy, a lumber yard and other odd jobs until he shot a man, in self-defense, he claimed, in a barroom altercation. He entered Angola in 1956 and earned a work parole in 1959 with the support of Oster and others (in a scenario reminiscent of Lead Belly. After songs from his prison sessions appeared on the Louisiana Folklore Society label, the burgeoning folk-blues revival was ready to welcome Williams. His photo appeared in the national press along with news of an invitation to appear at the 1960 Newport Folk Festival. But the parole board refused him permission to travel, and he continued to work on a local farm until his time was served. His long-anticipated Newport debut in 1964 was recorded by Vanguard, and during the 1960s and ’70s he saw albums released on Folk Lyric, Arhoolie, Bluesville, Takoma and several European labels. He performed widely at folk and blues clubs and various festivals, endearing himself in the process to an international audience who found him anything but murderous. His music made him famous among a select segment of the blues world but not prosperous at home; his jobs during his years of freedom included collecting and selling scrap iron. Williams died on December 31, 1980, in Rosedale, Louisiana.

Individuals (Business, Academic, Media & Production)

Mike Kappus has been the kind of manager and booking agent any musician would want, and the blues world is filled with musicians who wish they could have been represented by his Rosebud Agency. The example he set guiding careers, booking jobs, finding record deals and championing artists’ rights with dedication and drive made him one of the most respected men in the business. To do his most effective work, however, Kappus kept his roster select and small, and in so doing, he was able to elevate the careers of John Lee Hooker, Robert Cray and others to new heights. Hooker, who served as best man at Kappus’ wedding, once said, “Mr. Kappus has done more for me than any agent I ever had . . . He is a very strong young man. He don’t back down.”

Kappus got his start booking bands in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, where he was born in May 24, 1950. He later worked for two Milwaukee agencies, TGC Productions, and Contemporary Talent, and brought a number of blues acts to town, including Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Willie Dixon and Freddie King, in addition to booking a blues stage at Milwaukee’s Summerfest. He relocated to San Francisco to join the Keystone Music Agency and in 1976 he founded Rosebud. Kappus’ personal management clients have included Hooker, Cray, John Hammond, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, J.J. Cale and Trombone Shorty. As a booking agency, Rosebud also represented Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, George Thorogood, Allen Toussaint, Albert Collins, Pops and Mavis Staples, Ben Harper, Ruthie Foster and others. At the end of 2013 Kappus, a recipient of multiple Keeping the Blues Alive awards, closed the booking business of Rosebud but he continues his management work, as well as his service to nonprofit groups. Kappus has aided environmental, educational, human rights and cross-cultural organizations with his volunteer work. He originated the idea for and initially funded The Blues Foundation’s HART Fund which since 2003 has paid medical and funeral expenses for blues musicians in need.

Don Robey built one of the most formidable entertainment empires in the independent music business with his Duke and Peacock labels, Buffalo Booking Agency, Lion Music publishing company, nightclubs, and other associated activities. His hardnosed business tactics made him a controversial figure, but many of his artists, including his first Peacock signee, Gatemouth Brown, and longtime Duke star Bobby Bland, who recorded for Duke for 20 years, spoke of him with admiration and respect.

Robey was born in Houston on November 1, 1903, to a white mother and black father, a professional chef. Robey, who lived with his mother on a cotton farm as a teenager, dropped out of high school to pursue a gambling career. He chauffeured and labored on the docks in Galveston before he worked at or owned a series of restaurants and nightclubs in Houston in the 1930s, including the Sweet Dreams Cafe, Lenox Club and Harlem Grill, a large dance hall where he and partner Morris Merritt brought in top-flight big band entertainment. Robey and Merritt were longtime associates in promotion and management and were later joined by Evelyn Johnson in the Buffalo Booking Agency. Robey learned more of the business during a stay in Los Angeles, and back in Houston he opened the upscale Bronze Peacock Dinner Club, another major performance venue. In 1949 Robey launched Peacock Records and later acquired Duke and added the Back Beat, Sure Shot and Song Bird labels. At one point his company was regarded as the most successful black-owned record business in America, with multiple hits by Big Mama Thornton, Bobby Bland, Junior Parker, Johnny Ace, O.V. Wright, and a sterling roster of gospel acts including the Dixie Hummingbirds, Five Blind Boys and Sensational Nightingales. The labels’ performers were signed to booking and management contracts as well, as was B.B. King. Under the pseudonym Deadric (his middle name) Malone (his wife’s maiden name), Robey published many songs he wrote or bought outright from songwriters. Robey’s operations at times also included a record store, pressing plant and print shop. Robey sold his firm to ABC in 1973 and stayed on as a consultant, but his new position did not last long. He died of heart failure at St. Luke’s Hospital in Houston on June 16, 1975.

Dick Shurman is widely recognized in the blues community not only for the quality and care evident in his record productions and writings but also for his love for the music and the artists who sing and play it. His producing credits include albums by Albert Collins, Johnny Winter, Magic Slim, Charlie Musselwhite, Earl Hooker, Fenton Robinson, Roy Buchanan, Eddie C. Campbell and Lurrie Bell, and his bibliography includes articles for Blues Unlimited, Living Blues and Juke Blues, book chapters, and over 100 album liner notes. He has compiled numerous reissues and put in decades of service with the Chicago Blues Festival advisory committee. What makes his accomplishments even more remarkable is that he has compiled this Hall of Fame-quality blues resume while holding down non-music-related full-time jobs in a library system.

Shurman was born May 23, 1950, in Los Alamos, New Mexico, and lived in Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin, before Boeing offered his father a job in Seattle. Inspired by blues he discovered on the radio, on records and with friends in Seattle, Shurman headed straight for blues mecca when he enrolled at the University of Chicago in 1968. He began befriending blues artists, submitting articles to Blues Unlimited, and making tapes in the clubs (including some by Earl Hooker that were released on LP), but found himself so drawn to the clubs that he decided it would interfere with his studies. He returned to Seattle to earn his degrees, including a master’s in library science from the University of Washington. With the degree he was able to return to the Chicago area and start work at a suburban library, enabling him to earn a living without depending on income from the blues.

A former contributing editor with Living Blues, Shurman interviewed a number of artists he would later produce in the studio, including Albert Collins, Otis Rush, Jody Williams, Johnny Heartsman, Andrew Brown and Lee Shot Williams. His rapport with the musicians extended beyond the studios and clubs as he developed lasting personal friendships, just as he did with a worldwide network of blues aficionados. He continues to produce and write with insight and to display his well-known talents as a punster and as a font of blues anecdotes, printable and otherwise.

Classic of Blues Literature

Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke, by Peter Guralnick (Little, Brown and Company, 2005)

Dream Boogie is the fourth book by Peter Guralnick, America’s premier music biographer, to attain Blues Hall of Fame status. In this meticulously researched and detailed 750-page opus, Guralnick delves into the mind, music and soul of Sam Cooke and follows his trail, stop by stop, from his gospel days to his crossover to R&B and pop stardom to his tragic and controversial demise in a Los Angeles motel. Cooke’s talent extended to the blues and he especially admired Charles Brown, as Guralnick notes; Cooke even invited Brown to play piano on one of his sessions. The changing social landscape that soul, gospel and blues singers traversed in the 1960s is one of many fascinating themes in the book, along with the complex nature of Cooke’s personality. A champion of independence, freedom and equality, Cooke also had his demons, foibles, and a ruthless business side. Guralnick lays bare the details as no one has done before or since.

Classic of Blues Recording: Single or Album Track

After Hours – Erskine Hawkins and His Orchestra (Bluebird, 1940)

As a counterpoint to the boogie woogie piano craze of the era, trumpeter-bandleader Erskine Hawkins turned pianist Avery Parrish loose to wax a slow, atmospheric instrumental blues on a June 10, 1940, session in New York. Hawkins and his horn men come in only at the end of the song, leaving it a showcase for Parrish’s moody pianistics. The lastingly popular (and often rereleased) After Hours (first issued as Bluebird B-10879) earned the unofficial title of the “Negro national anthem” and was a tune every club or lounge pianist needed to know, regardless of their race or preferred musical genre. It also served as a theme for several radio programs. The record brought national fame to Parrish, a member of Hawkins’ band dating back to its ‘Bama State Collegians origins in Birmingham, but in 1943 he was hit over the head with a bar stool and was never able to perform again.

Catfish Blues – Robert Petway (Bluebird, 1941)

Delta blues guitarist Robert Petway helped establish an enduring downhome blues theme with his March 28, 1941, recording of Catfish Blues in Chicago (Bluebird B8838). Many other bluesmen have since sung their own renditions of Petway’s line, “Well, if was a catfish, mama, I said swimmin’ deep down in deep blue sea, all these gals now, sweet mama, settin’ out hooks for me, settin’ out hooks for me . . .” Petway’s friend Tommy McClennan recorded a similar Deep Blue Sea Blues later in 1941, and Muddy Waters most famously reworked the catfish verse as the opening line of his smoldering classic Rollin’ Stone in 1950. Kokomo Arnold had earlier (1935) sung, “I’d rather be a catfish down in the Gulf of Mexico.” None of the other versions, however, were carried by such a propulsive rhythmic drive as Petway provided on this flailing guitar workout.

High Water Everywhere, Parts I & II – Charley Patton (Paramount, 1930)

Often regarded as Delta blues king Charley Patton’s masterpiece, the two-part High Water Everywhere is a dramatic account of the flooding that inundated parts of the Mississippi Delta and Arkansas in 1927 (and perhaps later). Patton sings of the devastation and death and works over his guitar with a force that builds as the song progresses, bringing an immediacy to an event that occurred some two and a half years before the session. Perhaps one reason, as Patton scholar Dr. David Evans has suggested, is that Part II, in which the scene shifts from Mississippi to Arkansas, may have been inspired by flood waters that threatened Arkansas again in January 1930. The date for this session is usually reported as circa October 1929 but Paramount discographers now believe it was early February 1930. The record was released as Paramount 12909 in April of 1930.

It’s Tight Like That – Tampa Red & Georgia Tom (Vocalion, 1928)

Guitarist Tampa Red and pianist Georgia Tom joined together in a playful vocal duet to rework of a hot street slang phrase of the 1920s into a genre-crossing national hit. It’s Tight Like That, a prime example of the good-time music known as hokum, was cut in Chicago on October 24, 1928 (Vocalion 1216), and was widely recorded by blues, jazz and country artists, including several sequels by Tampa Red (Hudson Whittaker) and Georgia Tom (Thomas A. Dorsey, who was later to be hailed as “the father of gospel music”).

Milk Cow Blues – Kokomo Arnold (Decca, 1934)

Milk Cow Blues (Decca 7026), a solo performance by slide guitarist James “Kokomo” Arnold, was one of the biggest blues hits to come out of Chicago in the 1930s. Decca kept it in print with a popular reissue in 1946 and in the meantime it was adapted not only by other bluesmen, but by Western swing bands, including Bob Wills & his Texas Playboys and Johnnie Lee Wills. Elvis Presley recorded a Wills-influenced version on Sun in 1954 and it has been covered many times since by artists ranging from Willie Nelson to Aerosmith. Arnold’s song, recorded on September 10, 1934, is not the same as earlier Milk Cow Bluesby Sleepy John Estes and Freddie Spruell, and is recognizable both for its “If you see my milk cow, please drive her home” lyrics and Arnold’s influential phrasing of “You gonna needmy help some day.” Robert Johnson answered it in 1937 with Milkcow Calf’s Blues, the last song he ever recorded.

Classic of Blues Recording: Album

Hawk Squat! – J.B. Hutto (Delmark, 1969)

In his liner notes to Hawk Squat! (Delmark DS-617), producer Bob Koester called J.B. Hutto and the Hawks “the most exciting, roughest blues band in Chicago,” and he set out to capture the Hutto sound he heard at Turner’s Blue Lounge in the South Side ghetto. The power of Hutto’s roared, sometimes almost unintelligible vocals, ripping slide guitar, and hard-hitting band work emphatically drove home the point on these sessions. Joining Frank Kirkland, Lee Jackson and other Hawks on the tracks were special guests Sunnyland Slim and, from Delmark’s modern jazz roster, Maurice McIntyre blowing his tenor sax in a blues mode. One track, Hutto’s popular Hip-Shakin’ — which is missing from some pressings of the original LP — was recorded at a club, Mother Blues, in 1966, and the rest came from two studio dates in 1968. Although often cited as a 1968 release, Blues Unlimited magazine reported a delayed release date of 1969.

Moanin’ in the Moonlight – Howlin’ Wolf (Chess, 1959)

Moanin’ in the Moonlight (Chess 1434) was the first compilation of Wolf’s work to be issued on LP, in 1959, and marks the fifth time the Blues Hall of Fame has inducted a Wolf album on Chess. As with most of his other Chess LPs, this was a collection of singles, here including four of the five tracks that hit the Billboard charts as 78s or 45s in the ’50s — the double-sided 1951 Memphis recording of Moanin’ at Midnight/How Many More Years, plus Smokestack Lightnin’ and I Asked for Water (She Gave Me Gasoline) from 1956 Chicago sessions. Other tracks are just as highly regarded as classics today, including Forty Four, No Place to Go and Evil. Adding to Wolf’s unmatched ferocity is a brilliant pack of sidemen, including guitarists Jody Williams, Hubert Sumlin, Willie Johnson and the unsung Lee Cooper. This music is all available today, of course, on multiple reissue sets, but for an introduction back in 1959, Chess could hardly have done better.

 

Hanson; REAL or Imagined?

The kids … er … adults … are all right. Sorta …

hanson2The authors of the huge hit; MMMbop – are grown up ( fathers in their own right) and have elevated their game (and height) to a different level. What level? Is anyones guess.

For the large contingent of females in attendance who are in the same age bracket or a little younger than the trio – the boys are status quo. Forever embedded in that special place as pre – teen poster boys. A boy band with hair a la Beatles with a much lighter hue and a much lighter musical catalog.

For music ‘enthusiasts’ – a blend of potential combined with a dash of ‘cheese’ all mixed together with smoke and mirrors. Drummer Zac appears to be the most talented of the bunch. Singing, banging and even playing guitar and keyboards. Brother Taylor – a close second with the same talents but less sincere ( he comes across as calculated ) and less able on the skins.

Then there is Isaac. This is where the trickery appears. The mirror amongst the smoke …

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Poor Isaac.

The least talented of the bunch ( he does play piano – offstage). The runt ( weakest ) in this musical litter. The guitar player who wasn’t. The brother whose Mom may ask his siblings to bring him along so he will not cry.

How else does someone explain his lack of natural rhythm in the hand clapping segments of the show? The guitarist behind him on stage playing the same chords? Something is rotten in Denmark, Montreal and probably everywhere else the ‘big boys’ play … Nothing appears natural for Isaac – it all seems forced and for that reason, all eyes focus on Zac and Taylor.

Hanson is a Pop group who tinker with – and sometimes pull off, a more profound sound. Sometimes funky, sometimes Bluesy and sometimes interesting. ‘Get the Girl Back’ – their first single to chart on Billboard in nine years and possessing a Billy Squire-type intro, an example of doing something ‘not broke’. Hanson ( and probably the powers that be) do not want to fix the sound too much. A shame because the group appears to want to mature on songs such as ‘Give a Little‘. A funky number which escapes the Pop moniker and at the very least – delivers the band to a level which is more suitable to their age than Mmmbop (even Michael Jackson OUTGREW Ben).

On the Coldplay copycat; ”Lost Without Each Other‘ – the boys soak up the love emitting from the mostly female audience. People who were in the building for the fun and not as judges. No Simon Cowells to be seen dissecting musical theory,pitch and chord structures. The audience just a bunch of folks who like what they hear and Hanson  delivered it quite well …

The band also knows how to dip into a treasured past via covers. ‘Happy Together’ – that wonderfully innocent Turtles tune as well as The Bee GeesToo Much Heaven‘ – a pair of songs perfect for the setting and sung a capella. An additive of where the boys’ come from when they are not performing their own songs. Hanson do come from an education ripe in Motown as well as Classic Rock and R and B. A fact which appears sporadically in their new songs from their latest disc; Anthem.

‘Lost without You’ is a perfect example of what is good in Hanson. The boys are hugely popular worldwide and appear to do things for the right reasons. They have a squeaky clean image which borders on a seemingly ‘uncomfortable’ transition into adulthood ( see video below).

Hanson cannot be taken seriously in the grand theme of musical history. Hanson will never be spoken in the same breath as Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan or  Elton John. Hanson will be included in conversations related to all the boy bands who have come before and will arise in the future.They will be added into a category of able songwriters who can write catchy Pop tunes.

A bad thing?

Only if the ‘kids’ who idolize the band are not all right …

Or …

Hanson: Melding Rock and R&B Influences with Radio-friendly Pop

By Craig McKee

How many groups do you know that can go on tour and play EIGHT songs from their newest album without their fans minding a bit?

That’s what fans of the pop/rock trio Hanson heard at Sunday night’s show at the Corona Theatre in Montreal. Taylor, Isaac, and Zac treated their fans to 23 songs from their catalog of pop gems, including eight from their new album, Anthem.

They performed hits from their early years, including Mmmbop (the song that launched them – written and first recorded when the average age of the band members was 11), Where’s the Love, A Minute Without You, With You in Your Dreams, This Time Around, Crazy Beautiful, Lost Without Each Other, and Penny and Me. Their encore included a rocking version of the 2000 album cut In the City that is even better live than on record.

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But what really shows the development of the band is their more recent output, 2010’s Shout It Out (which has a distinctly Motown feel to it) and 2013’s Anthem, which incorporates their classic-rock-influenced style into a very current sound. Whether they exhibit the influences of Ray Charles or The White Stripes, they seem equally at home.

Hanson’s more than two-hour set also included a terrific a cappella version of the Bee Gee’s Too Much Heaven along with a rousing version of So Happy Together. It worked. All three members sing lead on different songs, and all three are comfortable changing places and instruments on stage, going from drums to piano or vice versa.

What is very clear about Hanson is that they are in it for the long haul. Each album this hard-working band releases shows another side of their talent and a growing maturity. They are celebrating 21 years as a band, even though the youngest member (drummer Zac) is just 28 (guitarist Isaac will turn 33 next week while piano/keyboard player and lead singer Taylor is 30).

Unfortunately, those most lacking in imagination will cling to the success of Mmmbop as an indication that these brothers aren’t to be taken seriously. But that’s their problem. With each new release, Hanson keeps proving themselves with quality material and passionate, crowd-pleasing performances.

The thing that comes across most as you watch Hanson is that these three really love music and respect those who have paved the way for them. It shows.

–Craig McKee is a Montreal journalist who has covered news and entertainment for more than 25 years. He is the creator of the  political blog Truth and Shadows

Joe Satriani Interview

Joe Satriani is coming to Montreal on the 9th of October to Theatre St. Denis. Has there been a better guitar player to come through these parts in the past ten years?

Few and far between …joe-satriani-7

Satriani picked up the guitar when he was fourteen. Inspired by the likes of Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix – Joe began a foray into music which remains unprecedented …

A teacher first, many of Rock n Roll‘s greatest guitarists may not exist on the level which they sit if not for the existence of Satriani.

Steve Vai,  Kirk Hammett of MetallicaDavid Bryson of Counting CrowsKevin Cadogan from Third Eye BlindLarry LaLonde of Primus and PossessedAlex Skolnick of TestamentRick Hunolt (ex-Exodus), Phil Kettner of Lääz RockitGeoff Tyson of T-Ride,Charlie HunterDavid Turin and Eric Kauschen to name  some

Quite the impressive list of students for the man from Westbury, New York.

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Following his own tutelege with Jazz guitarist Billy Bauer and the famed Jazz pianist Lennie Tristano, Satriani has continued on in a career which has spanned over thirty years. A career which saw him get his biggest break ( exposure – wise ) playing on Mick Jagger’s solo tour in 1988. A defining moment for Joe as his status climbed immensely within the music world.

Satriani has just released a new album. ‘Unstoppable Momentum.’ A title conjured through his new-found enthusiasm. An energy gained in the past couple of years by working with different people and different styles. Something which Joe believes is essential to keeping things ‘fresh’.

Visit Joe’s Site here!

Joe Louis Walker Knows The Blues Part Three

After all these years in the business …

Jlwandbonnieraitt1Joe Louis Walker is still having fun.

“I am having fun because a lot of guys who taught me – so many guys who invested in me as a musician with a kind word; like Muddy Waters allowing me to open for him in Toronto … I feel as I solidified so many people’s faith in me. It solidifies my Mom and Dad‘s faith in me. My kids and my Grand-kids … To be able to say i am still alive and be allowed to do what I do. By the grace of God, I am not laying on a slab like so many musicians.”

Walker’s crowning achievement – so far, is the same as one of his mentors; Buddy Guy. Guy’s most fulfilling moment? Playing at the White House for President Obama following a youthful experience of pickin’ cotton …

” Same thing man … same thing!” Says Walker.” I was gathering produce as a sixteen year old and was watching my parents pick produce as a kid! I played for George Bush at the White House and seeing how the Blues got me from there to there – I know exactly what Buddy is talking about.”

Walker’s oldest daughter is a singer. She sings with him frequently and plays the keyboards. She has not recorded anything on her own but  Joe believes that is coming soon. Walker also has a Grandson. His birthday is the 28th of December, three days following Joe’s and ( according to Grandpa ) a great Christmas present (albeit a little late). Joe admits his Grandson is quite the harmonica player and would enjoy playing drums in the future.  According to Joe; ‘He beats on everything’!

Walker’s kid and Grandchild are the only things, music-wise – that Joe listens to under the age of thirty. The only music he listens to – on a regular basis …

JLW-StepsPortrait

” I don’t like Pop music because it just repeats itself and I don’t have time to listen to the radio. Once in a while I will listen to a Blues station on Sirius or something but that’s about it …”

He continues.

“I was with Ronnie ( Wood ) a couple of weeks ago, and he introduces me to these kids. To show you how unattached I am – I leave the room and people are saying wow you met those guys? They are the biggest group in the world! I say what …? One Direction … ? I thought Ronnie said New Direction! I was wondering ’cause New Direction is a Black group!”

Joe Louis believes that every musician must start at the bottom. He uses everyone in music history as a refrence to that. Anyone who is worth his weight in talent. Elvis, Muddy … they all got their experience through the school of hard knocks.

“When these guys started out – everyone who was groundbreaking; The Stones, Elvis, The Beatles, Jimi, B.B. … they all were vilified. Elvis got run through the wringer for playing ‘that kind of music’ played by ‘those kind of people’. People wouldn’t speak to him and wouldn’t let him  in hotels. I love what Mick ( Jagger ) says – he says; ‘ We used to be the band that everyone hated, now – we are the band that everybody loves to love’. You have to have a sense of humor about it – that’s the key. These guys had guts. Imagine playing that ‘ kind ‘ of music back in the fifties and sixties? In America? In the South?”

Walker believes the world is better off now although he still encounters racism once in a while. He believes the world is more dangerous in many ways, yet the new generation is able to see various people in positions of power. Various people in positions to make decisions. The young adults are seeing that a lot of things they were told as kids are not  true. According to Joe – the youth are realizing everybody has a brain, everybody’s blood beats red and the President of the United States is an African American but he also just happened to be –  the smartest guy in the room.

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” I think kids today are shedding a lot of baggage that was given by my generation and they do not buy into it.” Explains Walker.” They do have a large task in front of them but they are prepared for it. They know they have to work on the environment, they know they have to work on woman’s and kid’s rights. They are less for war and realize that communication is a better option.”

He continues .

“They see that other people are not holding them back and they see wars are holding them back. They see that everyone deserves an education, not just rich people, not just Democrats and not just Republicans. Young people see that because they are experiencing it. They know they have to save the environment – they are aware that so goes the honeybees, so goes us. So goes the ice caps – so goes us. Young people have figured out that  Wall Street or whatever are the cause for many of the problems and that Wall Street is not a real purpose. A real purpose is to help people, a real purpose is not to have an agenda as a political party …”

Walker teaches master classes in places such as Spain and Turkey. He is surrounded by kids from all over the world and maintains a front row seat in his role as an observer of how  kids’ brains work …

“They all say ‘we have to save the planet’ and ‘take care of ‘humanistic things’ – not ‘materialistic things’.” Says Joe. “They believe if they have a billion dollars, maybe they should educate people to reverse Global Warming. Older people don’t care, they see a bear on an iceberg floating around by himself and they say; that’s a bear!” He laughs.” No! That’s not just a bear … that’s an icecap melting! That’s why there is a Tsunami every week! That’s why there is flooding in New Jersey and Colorado…”

Walker believes these problems will be rectified by the new generation just like his generation from the sixties had to deal with issues such as Vietnam and racism. It was not easy.

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” We did not buy into many things. We had to get rid of baggage but we had to march against it and fight. It wasn’t easy – people died for racism, people died for Vietnam and people are going to die now. People are going to die in Iraq, people are going to die in Afghanistan. If they get into Syria – they will die in Syria. You cannot go and colonize somewhere and live there. If you look  through history -usually the colonizer always has to leave.”

One guy who ‘left’ too soon (according to Walker) – was Stevie Ray Vaughan. A friend, a fellow blues-man and the only guy ( in Joe’s mind ) who came close to playing guitar like Jimi Hendrix. A man who Joe believes was just getting ‘soul’ in his voice before he passed away. Soul to match the feeling emanating from Vaughan’s guitar.

Walker’s all time favorite Blues guitarist and the man responsible for modern day Blues  – is B.B. King. His second choice …? Buddy Guy. Two players who respectively altered the way the Blues were played.

Joe Louis Walker’s recent album is titled ‘Hellfire’. A disc which is filled with fire and is reminiscent of the early seventies Stones’ sound. A dirty, gritty Blues album that combines classic riffs, feelings from the heart and a groove that won’t let feet rest …

In other words; a combination of B.B. King, Buddy Guy and Bo Diddley. In other words; a combination of every Blues player.

In other words; Joe Louis Walker …

Joe Louis Walker is at L’Astral in Montreal on Friday the 27th of September

Get tickets and info here!

Joe Louis Walker Knows The Blues! Part One

Joe Louis Walker could have easily ended up like several of his friends …

Dead.

Passed on to that musical graveyard in the sky. A place which houses so many of not only his contemporaries – some of his closest pals. Jimi Hendrix and Mike Bloomfield to name but two. Musicians who – according to Joe, were tempted by the excesses of the music business and youth.

JLW-Hellfire“No doubt about it …” States the sixty-four year old student of the Blues. ” If I had gained stardom and success when I was a younger man, I would not be speaking to you right now. People forget the fact that when I talk about guys like Mike, Jimi and Stevie – I lost my friends man. I lost people who were close to me. It is a painful thing to lose someone we love.”

For those keeping track at home – Mike is the legendary Mike Bloomfield. A man who Joe lived with for several years. A man whose demons would not allow him to grow up – or old. Bloomfield succumbed to a heroin overdose in 1981. An unfortunate ( or fortunate for Joe) event which momentarily displaced Walker’s career as one of the Blues’ most talented guitar players.

Walker departed  the Blues scene as quick as he had entered.

Enrolling in San Francisco State University, a place where Walker achieved degrees in Music and English. Truth be told – Walker enrolled in a classroom to further his education and to further his longevity …

“It was not so much Mike’s death ( that was part of it), it was to get away from the whole music business and what comes with it.” Says Joe. ” There’s a lot of dangerous stuff in there and it has destroyed many people. It is the type of business which can show a person’s real character. I always say – it’s not how you handle success, the times when you are on top. It is how you handle falling and starting again. That’s what shows true character.”

He continues.

” Look at Jimi ( Hendrix) … He was a gentle soul with so much character. If he had surrounded himself with the right people, people who cared about him – he would still be here. Jimi had such a gentle soul and that is one thing which people don’t realize about him. A general misconception is that his best songs are full of fire. The truth is Jimi’s strength was in writing ballads. That’s where his talent was and it is a shame that many people don’t get that. Of course – that’s the fault of the business side which pumped songs like ‘Foxy Lady‘ and ‘ Purple Haze‘”

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Another guy whose reputation remains flawed is Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones. A man ( along with Ronnie Wood, Mick Jagger and Charlie Watts ) who Joe has forged a friendship with over the years. A guitar player who Walker believes is the only man in music who has stayed true to himself. A guitar play who throws no punches …

“Keith is one smart guy!” Explains Joe.” He is one of the most well read people in the business. One of the most well read people period. Have you seen the Stones’ shows when Keith does his part …?” Asks Walker. “The f*cking place goes nuts! Every time! You know why that is? Because people recognize who Keith is and what he has done. I mean that guy cannot lie. He lives and breathes music. He won’t lie about anything! You want the truth about Mick Jagger? Ask Keith. You want the truth about the Blues? Ask Keith. If you ask any musician from any type of music, a musician who really knows his stuff – they will tell you, their ain’t no Motherf*cker more true to music than Keith.”

He goes on …

” He (Keith) and the rest of the Stones could easily play a lot harder stuff. Keith has always been capable of playing leads – good leads. That’s the beauty of the Stones – they never put the instruments ahead of the songwriting. The songs were the most important element and still are. There is a reason why they have lasted fifty years. The Beatles – same thing. Their music is just as popular today as when they were ‘four brothers.’ The songs came first man ….”

Walker admits it is painful to watch The Beatles’ film; ‘Let it Be’. Joe thinks the lads from Liverpool were just becoming a great band when they went their separate ways. Directions which contained many factors including Lennon’s hatred of record companies and the music business.

Various - 1967” When you see them playing on the roof – their final concert …” Explains Walker. “You can see the smiles – the general happiness. Don’t forget, for years they did not play live and I think they lost the joy that comes from that. On the roof, they gained that back. John and the rest of the boys were supposedly talking about doing another gig after that. Unfortunately it did not happen. Imagine where they would have gone.”

Joe concludes it was all about the simplicity. Especially for John Lennon

“Look at his last album …( Double Fantasy)” Says Walker. “Three and four chords. Take away the production and that’s what it is. That’s what is always was with The Beatles. Simple. A lot of reason for their success was their success in the studio. Nobody mastered the studio like the Beatles and a lot of that goes to the Producer (George Martin). The Stones and The Beatles kept it simple …”

Walker also laughs when he hears young guys today ( musicians) complain of little details. Details that himself and guys like B.B. King and Buddy Guy – did not even have to deal with …

” Young bands today will get on stage and complain they cannot hear their monitors. Are you f*ckin’ joking …?” He laughs. ” The Beatles played at Shea Stadium without any monitors. They couldn’t hear a damn thing! Anything! The Stones – same thing at the Cow Palace in my hometown ( San Francisco). You can’t hear the monitors …? Baby – that’s the least of your problems …..”

Please stay tuned for Part Two

Joe Louis Walker is performing at L’Astral in Montreal on Friday night

Click here for show times and ticket information!

Visit Joe’s Site here!

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Top Ten Blues Guitarists – Part One

Lists are difficult …

Especially when it comes to something as unique and divers as music. One person’s junk is another man’s treasure. Human nature. Human choice. Human ears …

The Blues are an integral part of so many forms of music. Arguably – the single most used genre in every genre known. Rock n Roll … the Blues. Country … the Blues. Jazz … the Blues. On and on right up into Rap and Hip-Hop. Is it impossible to narrow down a group of guitar playing blues men to a Top Ten list of the greatest …? Probably. But why not try? Why not irk the millions of music fans around the planet who will surely disagree with some – if not most of the choices?

Here are the Top Ten Blues guitarists …

10.  Buddy Guy

Considered the first Blues player to combine showmanship with talent. A scholar of B.B King and T-Bone Walker. Once Guy arrived commercially with the release of ‘Damn Right I got the Blues‘ in 1991 – there was no turning back. For fans – for musicians – for Guy …

Geez, you can’t forget Buddy Guy. He transcended blues and started becoming theater. It was high art, kind of like drama theater when he played, you know. He was playing behind his head long before Hendrix. I once saw him throw the guitar up in the air and catch it in the same chord. – Jeff Beck

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9. Eric Clapton

Clapton was the first Englishman to pick up a guitar and emulate every Blues guitarist that came before him. Adding his own talent and songwriting – allowed Clapton to become known as God in the music world. An inspiration to every white Blues and Rock guitarist who followed, Clapton also helped to elevate the style of Country Blues to a higher level by imitating his friend and mentor – J. J. Cale.

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8. Otis Rush

Probably the least -known guitarist on the list to the general public. Not with Blues musicians however. His ‘bending’ of chords, considered to be among the first and an inspiration to Clapton and Buddy Guy.  No Rush – no Clapton.

A guy will promise you the world and give you nothin’, and that’s the blues.

-Otis Rush

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7. Elmore James

The ‘Father of the Slide’. Elmore James was the precursor for most of the Blues – oriented artists who rose to fame in the sixties and onwards. His version of ‘Dust my Broom’ ( an argument exists as to whether he or Robert Johnson wrote it), remains the most recognizable riff in Blues music. Jimi Hendrix and Brian Jones ( the Rolling Stones) – both highly influenced by James’ ‘electrifying’ of the slide guitar. Along with Muddy Waters – a forefather of ‘loud’ Blues …

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6. Muddy Waters

The inspiration of The Rolling Stones – in spirit and literally.  His song; Rollin’ Stone, the perfect name for the perfect Blues band -turned Greatest Rock n Roll band of all time. His ‘pluggin in and turning up’ the guitar to levels previously unheard of in England and most of the world. Author of some of the greatest Blues tracks ever and a teacher to everyone. The father of modern Chicago blues.

“It’s going to be years and years before most people realize how greatly he contributed to American music” – B.B King

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Stay tuned for Part Two

Texarillo; The Blues Come Full Circle

A funny thing happened on the way to success for Montreal born Dwane Rechil. He hit the blues … again!

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“It’s funny …” Says the forty – seven-year old singer, songwriter and guitar master. ” For years playing in my heavy rock band Top Johnny, I was always waiting for success to come. I was always on edge, never quite content with what I was doing. I thought I was having fun yet now that I am playing the Blues – I have never been more content in my life.”

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Rechil is referring to his new band; Texarillo.

A band which has played together for a couple of years. A band which has just completed its first full album and is getting ready for the launch party on Feb. 7 at Calistoga Grill in Pte Claire.

A launch which will launch Rechil and his mates, Ricardo Bacardi ( Bass and vocals) and Ken Loudmann ( Drums and percussion) into the upper levels of  the Montreal Blues scene.

That’s the plan anyways …

“Right now, we are number ten on the Reverbnation Blues charts.” Says Rechil right before one of the band’s many gigs. ” The album has not been officially launched and it was only ready on the 18th of January. Not bad eh?”

Not bad at all for a trio which delivers high-octane Blues on any given night.

“I think what makes me and the band different from most Blues bands, is the fact that I come from a heavy metal band.” Says Rechil. “Blues was always my first love and now I have returned with an education in music. The songs on the album are an indication of my experience over the years.”

Drummer Loudmann is no slouch in the experience department either. Ken started playing drums when he was but three years old. An entire lifetime sits behind the ‘kit’ and provides an anchor for Rechil’ s songs and Bacardi’s profound bass playing.

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Ken Loudmann

” I was not influenced by any one drummer.” Explains Ken. ” Really – it is a mixture of many drummers and drumming styles. I grew up listening to Jazz, Country, Rock – you name it. I saw Buddy Rich play five times so obviously it paid off, yet he was not a principle influence. I knew that Rich was an exception. He was born into a Vaudeville family and started playing on stage when he was three years old.

C’ mon – he was in another world, one that was out of my reach so I never strove to be like him …!”

Bacardi’s bass playing, along with a  sense of humor that injects even more life into a stage show ripe with Rechil’s uncanny ability to connect with an audience –  anchored deeply in the 1980’s. An era which Bacardi pinpoints as the training ground for his guitar and eventual bass playing.

” I just missed the Kiss period ( referring to the band Kiss – not the affectionate lip posturing).” Explains Ricardo. ” So my influences were Van Halen, AC/ DC and even U2 … I enjoyed the overall sound. Obviously Eddy Van Halen is a great guitar player and so is The Edge. I was more influenced by the overall sound these guys put out …”

Playing guitar is also what Rechil loves doing. It is something he started learning at the age of twelve after his Dad bought him an acoustic guitar. By the tender age of  thirteen; Rechil was –  a two song virtuoso.

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Ricardo Bacardi

” I knew how to play ‘Wish You Were Here’  by Pink Floyd and ‘Stairway to Heaven‘ by Led Zeppelin.” States Rechil with a hint of pride.

” My favorite artist was Jimi Hendrix. To this day – when I listen to his songs. I still discover something new in them. I still cannot understand how someone could be that creative musically. Hendrix was not just a great guitar player, what made him stand out was his songwriting. He was a genius …”

Texarillo’s new album – ‘Black Satin Blues’, was a year in the making. All songs were composed by Rechil and he would create demos and play them to Ken and Ricardo. Three times a week, the trio would get together to  practice and record them. Unfortunately yet fortunately, gigs interrupted the process as the band did not want to play any new songs live. According to Rechil, there was no point having a CD launch if everyone has heard the new stuff.

Otherwise – everyone in the band would get the blues …

Which is exactly what  Rechil requires for happiness!

Texarillo Official Site

http://www.texarillo.com/index.html

Frank Marino; Anti -Establishment 101

He was once and still is referred to as the white Jimi Hendrix. Something which Frank Marino disperses as something he never attempted to be …

It is also something the Montreal – born drummer turned guitarist extraordinaire cannot figure out.

Even after all these years …

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” It all started with a journalist who wrote that I was visited by Hendrix’s spirit and he reincarnated himself through me.” Marino says. ” What’s funny is that Hendrix was still alive at the time. I mean … really!”

Although Frank Marino may not have been the second- coming of Mr. Hendrix physically, the now fifty- eight- year-old is a throwback to the love generation. An integrity of love and peace which has been his best companion through four decades.

“During my time ( seven albums ) with Columbia records, I was always arguing with ‘the corporation ‘ over things – petty things. Details such as album art, length of songs. It was an ongoing battle.” Laughs Frank.

A battle which started the very first day he signed his first contract with the company.

” We were all in a meeting. All the bigwigs, myself, friends, family and members of the band. All set to sign this huge contract” Marino explains.” All of a sudden, this guy points to my friend who had been acting as the band’s manager and says – he has to go! I was floored!”

Marino told the executive that if his friend goes – he goes too. The ‘suits’ would not budge so Marino walked out and went home. A record deal and all that money left sitting on the table.

” Did they think I was fucking joking?” Asks Marino. ” They soon found out I was not …!”

Six weeks went by and Columbia called back. Your friend stays they told him. Frank Marino -1, Corporation – 0.

“Thats the problem with life and the way it is in the music business. A marketer figured out if you take ten bands which sound alike, put them together and give the tour a name, some sorta theme – money can be made. What happened to the music?”Asks Frank.

Marino comes from the ‘hippie generation’, Woodstock and music were his classroom as Marino spent a grand total of sixty- nine days in high school.

“I come from a family with older siblings and the whole peace and love era. I started experimenting with LSD at a young age. Unfortunately, I took too much too often and was ‘ trapped’ in a different world. I was hospitalized for a long time at the age of thirteen and when I came out, music was my life.”

While in the hospital, Marino …, out of sheer boredom, learned to play the guitar. An instrument which was lying around for kids to play with.

“It was a small guitar and I thought, why not? It was after all, the instrument of the sixties !”

Following his release, Marino discovered himself, along with some musical buddies ( some of whom would become Mahogany Rush ), would soon pay $1.00 to jam in a room at 2424 Ste. Catherine St. in Montreal. A house which is currently an old folks home. Instruments were not provided yet it was a place to hang out with people who shared the same interests. Similar to kids of today bringing their Xbox to a place where others share their games. A place where Marino plied his craft and made friends who are still in his life today.

What a life it has been …

“Imagine, I was a seventeen year old kid who had signed a huge record contract at a time when kids- especially not Canadian kids, made it big in music and the United States. I was a pioneer who used distortion to the max. At one time, my guitar was hooked up to twenty- two pedals. Only Hendrix had done it before and that is probably where the Hendrix references commenced. Add all this to the fact I just came from a major acid trip – who else was I going play like? Pat Boone?”

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Marino also says the guys who followed him, guys like Robin Trower – never claimed the Hendrix influence even though it was so obvious.

“I always said I was influenced by Jimi. My first album was dedicated to him and the song ‘Buddy’ was about him. I think guys like Trower and Stevie Ray Vaughn did not pump the Hendrix influence because they saw what happened to me and all the negatives it had.”

Marino also never wanted to be a star. The only reason he agreed to his first record contract was for the access to equipment.

“Robert Nickford had a company named Ko tai Records and he says here! Make a record and you can use this amp and these peddles. What kid do you know would say no …?”

Nickford then made a deal to merge his company with a record company in Detroit. The company was named Nine Records. Marino then became part of Twentieth Century Fox until joining Colombia in 1974.

Even now, Frank does not understand how musicians are considered some sort of gods.

” I felt uncomfortable getting In limos …” Adds Frank. ” I would rent a car and drive to the next gig. To me – Jesus is the only God I know …!” He also does not understand when musicians say their lives are hard.

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” You get free food and free booze. If you are young you have girlfriends everywhere. If you think getting on a plane a few times a week is tough, try packing boxes for some asshole every morning at six. That’s tough!”

What amazed Frank and continues to amaze him, is how he was always left out of the Canadian music scene. A factor which the guitarist attributes to his fame in the U.S. and being a native Quebecer.

” Whenever there was a Canadian ‘We are the World’ or something like that, I was never called and asked to participate. One – people assumed I was American and two; the Quebec music scene was like a seperate entity.Especially in the seventies.”

Montreal was rocking during that decade with artists such as April Wine, The Dudes, Nannette Workman, Offenbach and many others lighting up the city’s nightlife. Marino is good friends with many of them including Myles Goodwyn – which led to Frank playing on the April Wine song; ‘So Bad’ off of the album ‘The Whole World is going Crazy.’

” When April Wine was hitting it big, their manager – Terry Flood, came and asked me how to penetrate the American border and make it big. Terry and other Canadian bands came to me because I was huge in the States. In fact, to this day, aside from Montreal, I have still not played very many gigs in my own country. I told them – don’t ask me! I just stumbled into this …!”

Bands like Supertramp, Genesis and The Police are great examples of the type of love affairs nestled between French- Quebecers and musicians’ pillows. An amorous connection which made these bands more popular in Quebec than anywhere else. Frank Marino is part of that list.

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“If not for the support of the French-Quebecers, I don’t think I would have gotten so big.” Says Marino.” To be able to sell out the Montreal Forum three times you have to be good and at the same time – have loyal followers.”

One of the reasons Francesco Marino did not gather a flock of English Quebec fans was the lack of support from the English media. Notably the radio stations …

“If I had a cover song, like Purple Haze for instance, places like Chom – fm would play it. Aside from one original song; Dragonfly, the English radio stations would not play my tunes. I think its because they wanted to be ‘safe ‘. Another reason was my music was not vocally pleasing. In a five minute song, I would sing for a minute.”

Marino had many loyal fans in the States and his popularity happened so fast, Marino admits his career went backwards.

“Most bands play bars and clubs when they start out. Work their way up. In my life, it wasn’t until a good thirteen years later that I saw the inside of a club. Up until that point, I had been doing arenas and open air festivals. I had a billboard on Sunset Strip before I was twenty…”

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It was backstage at these festivals where the reality of the music business set in. Marino encountered many musicians who would talk of money only. Marino’s visions of a Woodstock setting, a situation where music would be the topic of conversation, were shattered. It was at this point he realized be was not in Kansas anymore. According to Marino, it was more like ‘Oz’.

“I was and continue to be anti – establishment.” Says Frank. ” For me, there is no room for business in the music business.”

He continues.” If you think about it, the music business is the only business where people suceed because others fail. Musicians want other musicians to fail. This is the mentality. You can always pick out a musician at a concert. Everyone is dancing and boppin’ and having fun. Not the musicians. They are usually in the back row, arms crossed and thinking; lets see what you got Marino or whoever happens to be on stage.”

Marino’s battles with Columbia continued over artistic ideas. Culminating with the album Juggernaut. According to Marino, halfway through their deal, Columbia had chosen the album cover art for his record; ‘The Power Of Rock And Roll ‘ – which seemed to be straight out of Playboy. When they started to play games during the next one, Juggernaut, Marino decided that enough was enough. Frank ended their partnership after seven albums in an eight album deal. A stipulation in Marino’s contract allowing him to do so.

Frank Marino then began the happiest period of his life. After a brief sojourn into the music business in the mid- eighties, a period which brought the same b.s. , Frank finally said ‘screw it!’ Starting in 1993, he fathered three lovely ladies with his partner of thirty- three years. According to Marino – there has not been one day since, they have not made him smile.

“Go figure?!” Says Marino. “All three of them are musical!”

Frank’s eldest daughter (19) is a classically trained soprano vocalist and the two youngest ones – (16 and 13) both play acoustic guitar. It is no wonder as Frank brought the kids on every tour since the day they were born.

Marino, always a technological ‘geek’ – started to run a small business on the side helping people to program and fix their computers. Sometimes people would recognize him and freak out but for the most part, Marino was just another dude fixing computers.

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One day, Frank ventured onto the Web and came across a fansite for Mahogany Rush. He did not realize there were so many fans talking about him and his guitar playing. Marino soon joined ‘the chats’ as himself. It took a while for people to believe it was him and it made him want to play music again. For the music …

“Now – we go on the road for thirty gigs or less when we feel like it. When we are fed up – we go home. There is nobody telling me do this – do that. No record company telling me I have to make a record. It is freedom …”

Just like Woodstock …