Rick Keene Music Scene – ‘Happy’ 76th Birthday Keith Richards

Elegantly wasted.

The man voted number one as ‘mostly likely to die’ for a decade and a half. The writer and co-writer of over 400 songs. The guy responsible for keeping Rock n Roll guitar alive in the keyboard driven decade of the eighties.

Keith Richards or Keef as he is very affectionately known is a man of musical and life integrity. ‘Black and White’ is how he sees most things and his wisdom on ‘Life’ as he let us know in his book of the same title – has no equal.

Please listen below to a few selected tracks from Keith’s solo work and a couple of classic Stones’tunes.

Visit Keef Here

The Rolling Stones Here

Smoke Meat Pete Here

Rick Keene Music Scene – 2018 Montreal International Jazz Festival Picks. Part Two

The biggest in the world.

The Montreal International Jazz Festival is looming around the corner. From June 28th until July 7th, musical tastes for all will invade our city for ten days of rhythms from all corners of the globe.

The Indoor portion of ‘ the show ‘ was announced this past week and as usual , patrons are pumped to preen and prance in and around La Place des Festivals.

All acts are worthy of your attention yet here are my choices to feed your delight.


July 7

Ian Anderson presents: Jethro Tull

50th Anniversary Tour

Every once in a while, something comes along that requires celebrating. The Tull tunes – one of them.


July 2

Chris Botti

A Jazz trumpeter whose is slowly becoming a legend. Louis Armstrong would be proud. It is a  ‘wonderful world’ after all.



June 28

Snarky Puppy

Opening act:Tunnel

If you have never witnessed Snarky Puppy live, understanding creative and improvised brilliant musicianship is out of your grasp. Their recent Grammy award for Best Contemporary Instrumental album is proof.


July 6

Jack Broadbent

Opening act:

Tavis E. Triance

There are so many pretenders thinking they know the art of the Blues. Riff following the same old riff. Broadbent’s originals and covers are filled with the pain of suffering. Just like the forefathers of The Blues.



July 1

Emma Frank

American born – Montreal musically raised Emma is a rare combination of originality and grounded Jazz schooling. R&B, Jazz and Folk leave the audience pleased and intrigued.





Stay tuned for more of my picks!

Visit the Jazz Festival Here !


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Rick Keene Music Scene – 2018 Montreal International Jazz Festival Picks. Part One

The biggest in the world.

The Montreal International Jazz Festival is looming around the corner. From June 28th until July 7th, musical tastes for all will invade our city for ten days of rhythms from all corners of the globe.

The Indoor portion of ‘ the show ‘ was announced this past week and as usual , patrons are pumped to preen and prance in and around La Place des Festivals.

All acts are worthy of your attention yet here are my choices to feed your delight.

June 28

Cécile McLorin Salvant with the Aaron Diehl Trio
Opening act: Christian Sands

Cecile McLorin Salvant is a rare gift. Powerful vocals with a heart of music. The best gift to Jazz in many years.

June 29th

Ry Cooder
Opening act: Joachim Cooder

Ry Cooder is one of the ten best guitarists on the planet and is legendary. Lays claim that Keith Richards of the Stones ‘ borrowed’ his Open G tuning from him. Richards denies it and the two haven’t spoken for years.

July 9th

Beth Hart

If you want to know how to sing R&B, Soul and Blues to make hairs stand on end – Hart is your gal.

June 30th

Dee Dee Bridgewater & The Memphis
Soulphony, Memphis Yes I’m Ready…

Opening act: Davina and The Vagabonds

Time to go to school if your are thirty years old or younger. The almost complete catalogue of essential R&B for the serious musical student

July 1st

Béla Fleck and the Flecktones
Opening act: Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio

Before Jazz, Blues and Country music there was Bluegrass or Folk music. The roots of music is on display by the finest Banjo player in the past twenty years.

July 1st

George Thorogood and the Destroyers,
Rock Party Tour 2018

If you have never experienced Lonesome George live – you must now go to the corner and face the wall until I tell you to come out. Rock n Roll the way it was meant to be played.

July 2nd

Herbie Hancock | Thundercat

Aside from Stevie Wonder, a musical genius is among us. Act accordingly.

Stay tuned for more of my picks!

Visit the Jazz Festival Here !

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Rick Keene Music Scene – Jethro Tull Influences Smoked Meat Pete’s Blues Band The Devil Dawgs !

The Devil Dawgs.


Swampy , Bluesy and unique.

How often do you have a flute injected into old time Blues and Rock n Roll?


Aside from their regular gigs at Smoke Meat Pete, the band are becoming more and more busy on the heels on their new album. A disc which combines cheekiness with the Blues.

Please listen below to my chat with Mike Sanders about the new record and his influences as Montreal’s only Rock / Blues flutist?

Mike? What’s up?

Visit The Devil Dawgs Here !

Tune in every

Thursday 7 – 10 pm on Rock FM.ca as I play Music That Matters and Interview clips.

Rick Keene Music Scene – Kristian Gravenor Spins Montreal Music Tales

Montreal has a long and musical history …

At one time on any given evening, a music lover could walk downtown and visit numerous clubs. All of them hosting bands and / or DJs. You wanted Jazz? No problem. Rock n Roll? Check.

Montreal writer and author Kristian Gravenor has unearthed quite a few tales of the Montreal music scene is his book; Montreal 375 Tales of Eating, Drinking, Living and Loving.

Please listen below to my chat with Kristian about some music venues long vanished and many artists both local and foreign who have graced the stages in Montreal.

Want more? Buy the book !

Kristian? What’s up?

Buy Montreal 375 Here !

Rick Keene Music Scene – A Chat with Kim Mitchell. Part One and Part Two

Kim Mitchell has two thirds of the tales in the naked city. He also possesses quite a few of the songs to go along with them …

Kim Mitchell is a Canadian music legend. Starting with Max Webster ( a band that could have rivaled Rush if they had stayed together) and ending with his very successful solo career – Kim has planted his feet firmly in Canadians’ hearts.

Please listen below to my chat with Kim as we touch on a variety of subjects including his recovery from a near fatal heart attack two years ago …

Kim? What’s up?

Visit Kim Here !

Get Tickets Here !

Tune in every

Thursday 7 – 10 pm on Rock FM.ca as I play Music That Matters and Interview clips.

Rick Keene Music Scene – A Chat with Kim Mitchell. Part One

Kim Mitchell has two thirds of the tales in the naked city. He also possesses quite a few of the songs to go along with them …

Kim Mitchell is a Canadian music legend. Starting with Max Webster ( a band that could have rivaled Rush if they had stayed together) and ending with his very successful solo career – Kim has planted his feet firmly in Canadians’ hearts.

Please listen below to part one of my chat with Kim as we touch on a variety of subjects including his recovery from a near fatal heart attack two years ago …

Kim? What’s up?

Visit Kim Here !

Get Tickets Here !

Tune in every

Thursday 7 – 10 pm on Rock FM.ca as I play Music That Matters and Interview clips.

Rick Keene Music Scene – An Exclusive Look Into The Band Behind the Greatest St. Patrick’s Day Celebration !

They are a reclusive bunch of guys …

The band rarely make appearances. They seldom do interviews. Occasionally they will release new songs. Somehow, despite all this – they remain on top.

The leader of the band ( for this article to remain anonymous we shall call him Jack) roams the barren landscape surrounding his mountainous retreat. The serenity of the grounds provides him the time required to ensure his vocals are in top form. The air injects the power needed to pitch all the tones essential for a three hour show.

I sat down with Jack in his garden.

Rick Keene Music Scene; Jack, how does it feel to be wanted so bad yet remain almost invisible?

Jack; It’s a great feeling. My Mom would be proud.

Rick Keene Music Scene; So your Mom was worried about your safety? Being attacked by the hoards of fans?

Jack; No she would be proud because I am featured on the internet.

Rick Keene Music Scene; Um ..sure but the success of the band and to remain on top all these years would not make her proud?

Jack; She hated the band. She wanted me to pursue other careers.

Rick Keene Music Scene; Of course, that’s natural, every parent wants their kids to be the best they can be. Like a doctor or a lawyer.

Jack; My Mom wanted me to be a rodeo clown. I have a fear of horses, cows … well actually all things with four legs. That is why I’m one of the only guys I know who does not eat hamburgers.

Rick Keene Music Scene; So you chose to be an entertainer to act out the clown role on stage?

Jack; No. I chose to sing and front my band because I did not have to buy equipment. Then at gigs, I get free beer and food and I got lifts home with girls. Well ( he laughs) their homes at night and mine in the morning.

Rick Keene Music Scene; So the success of the band and you as a front-man was accidental?

Jack; Yes because I never sought it out but no because once I was involved, everything was planned by me.

Rick Keene Music Scene; So you take full credit for the success?

Jack; No.

Rick Keene Music Scene; I’m confused …

Jack; The success of the band is because we are four guys who have fun and the crowds were drunk and kinda trapped. At the beginning, in the place where we started, the bartender took everyone’s keys. We kept ours though. Mostly in C or A …

Rick Keene Music Scene; Once the word got out, the band and the music took off?

Jack; Yes. I think Pete went to Florida for a week, Steve went to Maine and George visited his Aunt in Des Moines Iowa.

Rick Keene Music Scene; If you guys took a break, how did the popularity grow so fast?

Jack; The mystery of it all. Where did they go? Who were they? That is when we decided to play gigs once every five years. You can’t miss us if we don’t go away …

Rick Keene Music Scene; How have you grown in the past twenty years?

Jack; For me, about three inches. The rest of the guys I cannot say but I believe Pete has shrunk a bit lately. Either that or he wears flatter shoes …

Rick Keene Music Scene; So you guys have some rare gigs coming up on March 16th and 17th? St. Patrick’s Day weekend?

Jack; Yes. We used to play at this place many years ago but following the ‘beetle incident’ – a break was necessary for both parties involved.

Rick Keene Music Scene; Does the band have the same line up all these years?

Jack; Pretty much. Unless there is an armed robbery or something then there are different guys next to us at the police station.

Rick Keene Music Scene; The beauty of your shows are the obscure songs you choose to play. Will these songs be included this coming weekend?

Jack; Define obscure? To us or the audience?

Rick Keene Music Scene; To the audience ..

Jack; Yes.

Rick Keene Music Scene; Well, I know your publicist told me that I only have ten minutes. I have one final question. People can go to your site to find out about your gig and information about the band?

Jack; This is true ..

Rick Keene Music Scene; What is true?

Jack? Jack? Where did you go ????

Visit St Patrick’s Day Here !

Kim Mitchell Up Next on Rick Keene Music Scene.com

Tune in every Thursday 7 – 10 pm on Rock FM.ca as I play Music That Matters and Interview clips.

Montreal En Lumiere – Jack Broadbent Introducing Real Blues To Montreal. Concert Review and Interview

Once in a lifetime …

That is how often a guy like Jack Broadbent comes along. The feel inside, the wisdom inside – cannot be taught. No technical know-how can soar so high and scream so low.

Broadbent, born in England and now a Montrealer, displayed his wares last night at L’Astral as part of Montreal En Lumiere.

Jack is a throwback. As the slide and the power commence, one can easily imagine Robert Johnson on stage. The same lanky body and the same lanky fingers are poised to attack. Add the Whiskey banter and the Whiskey shots – the Filmore West and the infamous Chicago nightclub Theresa’s are banging at the door. The police, not far behind ..

There is something about Englishmen and The Blues. Aside from the likes of Muddy Waters, Elmore James and Willie Dixon ( the original American Blues players) – it appears only the English truly understand how to play it right.

Long John Baldry. Alexis Korner and now Jack Broadbent.

Within original tunes such as She Said, Gone Gone Gone and Without Warning; Broadbent lays Folk, Country and Blues. Most importantly, the Englishman’s songs contain spaces. Something which has been replaced in the past ten years by Blues players shredding or playing Rock n Roll and calling it The Blues.

Broadbent doesn’t want any crap or ‘show’. That aspect, a truly English way of life, was apparent Saturday night in songs such Along the Trail of Tears and Holdin. Broadbent more and more disappearing into his world and his ‘space’ as the show went on. Zoning out and zoning in to the long and winding voyage of The Blues within his own music. Within his own soul.

A once in a lifetime show with several encores to follow …

Please listen below as Jack and I talk about Saturday’s show and The Blues.

Jack? What’s up?

Visit Jack here !

Visit Montreal En Lumiere Here !

Artist Example

Rick Keene Music Scene – A Song for Markov, The ‘Mooch’ and Jack Black Recites Carl Sandburg

Everyone needs a break once in a while. Noise pollution is not good for the musical soul.  



Please enjoy some real tunes in the meantime. Rick Keene Music Scene will be back before you can say Andrei Markov !




Listen to my interview with Lawrence Gowan of Styx below !




Visit Styx Here !

Visit Strangers in the Night Here !



Visit Jarrett Lobley Project Here !


Rick Keene Music Scene – Montreal Jazz Festival Preview. Men without Hats

You can dance if you want to …

How many songs in Canadian music are recognizable by a few words? How many Canadian tunes are responsible for creating a non – dance dance craze?

Say what? 

Please listen below to  my chat with Ivan Doroschuk – the writer and composer of ‘The Safety Dance’  and every song released by ‘Men without Hats’. 

Ivan? What’s up?




Part Two



Men without Hats are part of The Montreal International Jazz Festival. 


The Montreal International Jazz Festival 

Click Here for Tickets










Rick Keene Music Scene – What’s Going On ?

As usual – a lot going on …

From 80’s Pop to R&B and Soul – Montreal and The Montreal Jazz Festival has a lot to offer.

Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir


Please listen below for some upcoming shows and some great tunes.

Thank You !



Listen to my interview with Cliff Stevens Here !



Visit Cliff Here !


The Montreal International Jazz Festival 

Click Here for Tickets










Cliff Stevens – The Prodigal Guitarist Returns to Montreal to Prove ‘Grass Won’t Grow’.

Cliff Stevens’ hands aren’t slow.


Despite many years portraying Eric Clapton as means to meet the ends, Stevens’ is on his way to ‘bucking’ the label.

‘Grass Wont Grow’ – Stevens’ new album, is an accumulation of years of practice and years of being on the road. Easy going riffs compliment easier going melodies as Cliff reaches into his soul to evoke feelings which most musicians can relate to.

Please listen below to my chat with Cliff Stevens on the eve of his album launch at Bistro a Jo Jo  June 8th. 

Cliff? What’s Up?




Visit Cliff Here !


The Montreal International Jazz Festival 

Click Here for Tickets










Rick Keene Music Scene Jazz Festival Preview – An Extensive Chat with Dr. Trevor Payne

Dr. Trevor Payne is a Montreal institution. He may only be realizing it now.

Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir


Dr. Payne and his Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir have soared to heights not imagined by anyone. Considered to be one of  the top choirs in the world, Trevor Payne is ending his tenure as their leader. Something which is causing great angst inside him.

Please listen below to my extensive interview with Dr. Payne as he opens up on many subjects.






The Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir is performing on July 2nd as part of The Montreal International Jazz Festival 

Click Here for Tickets










Bonnie Raitt in Montreal – Like a Fine Wine …

Sometimes – people require a good slap in the face. A shock to make them understand what is purposeful and what is not.

Bonnie Raitt, her music and her band are purposeful. And then some …

Raitt was in town last night in support of her new disc; ‘Dig in Deep. The tour ( named for the record) kicked off it’s Canadian leg in Montreal. Ontario – born, musically- raised Royal Wood was the opening act and will continue that role until the Canadian portion winds down on June 19th in Vancouver. Judging by last night’s performance , Westerners in B.C.  should be in for one heck of a hoedown. After all – Raitt, her band and Wood are just ‘warming up’.

Modern music derives primarily from Blues, Jazz and Country. Three chicken-before-the-egg scenarios which built the foundations of everything good ( and bad ) escaping through speakers everywhere. Listening to Raitt and her mates at L’Olympia before a sold out audience gave argument that Raitt could very well be ; the definitive Mother Hen.

Combining two of three genres listed above along with an offspring named Rock n’ Roll – the sixty-seven year old Raitt ‘slid’ her way back and forth through time and arrived truthfully ‘on top’ of the present.

James ‘ Hutch’ Hutchinson (bass), Ricky Fataar (drums), George Marinelli ( guitar) and Mike Finnigan (keyboards ) were Raitt’s usual gang of suspects. The foursome without Raitt?  Worth the price of admission. Worth their weight in gold. Worth the wait …

Happy to be here ‘ is a term ubiquitously overused. Polite and with purpose. When Raitt uses it as a welcome back slogan, her band and herself are truly  ‘in tune’ and content to be ‘back on the road’.

The evening commenced with an interesting version of INXS’ ‘ Need You Tonight ‘. Shocking some and elevating others to a zone within Raitt’s zone. Marinelli and Raitt from the get – go, dueling and glancing with riffs both cutting and feathery soft. Exchanging slide roles yet never lending their personal gifts to one another. Similar styles yet uniquely​ individual. 

Many artists visiting from the States these days are vocal and apologetic towards the craziness which politicians in their country seem to be inflicting us with on a daily basis. Raitt? No different ..

‘The Coming Around is Going Through’ from the new disc ripe with a message and ripe with power. Added to ‘ I Knew and Undone’ , also new, Montreal quickly aware of Raitt’s neverending songwriting skills.

John Prine’s ‘Angel of Montgomery ‘ was heavenly. Raitt’s vocals strong, soft and heartfelt. Notes and tones touching and pushing hearts into dimensions reserved for few. A song covered by many yet somehow it belongs to Raitt. A showstopper leaving everyone wanting more.

The Blues would not currently  exist without people like Raitt and her band carrying on the tradition with such integrity. Elements of the Blues were displayed all night with soul yet it was a version of B.B. King’s ‘Dont Answer the Door’ which gave the audience ‘ something to talk about’.

Mike Finnigan, keyboardist for the ages – put on a lesson.

Through soulful powerful vocals and an expertise created through fifty plus years of experience ( he played with Hendrix) on Hammond B3, piano and keyboard, Finnigan almost stole the show. Alone with occasional compimenting riffs from Raitt, Finnigan tingled spines musically and vocally. Finnigan the real deal and a professor in music.

Raitt’s ‘ pirates’ also paid tribute to Chuck Berry in a roundabout kinda way …

‘I Believe I’m in Love with You ‘, a tune penned by Kim Wilson of The Fabulous Thunderbirds – an obvious fit for Raitt. Hard rocking with a wisp of Country; the tune all parts Berry. The song – all parts Bonnie Raitt.

‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’, the icing on the evening’s proverbial cake.

If one song represents Raitt’s soul, if one song must be representative of all her pain and joy housed inside her road wary ‘traveller’ – this ballad is it. ‘ Pin drop ‘ material matters in a world where human emotions sometimes are hidden by atrocities.

Humanity needs a slap in the face every once in a while …

Visit Bonnie Raitt Here !









Juno Award Winner Steve Hill Talks Volumes!

 Steve Hill has come a long way …


Starting with his Solo Recordings Volume One out of necessity, Steve’s one-man band mentality has become the talk of the country. 


Please listen below as Steve talks about his latest offering Solo Recordings Volume Three, his new-found success and his guitars of choice.


Thanks for listening ! Talk soon !


Steve shows



Buy Tickets Here !
Buy Tickets Here !




What Do Jesse Jack, Abandoned Animals and Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine Have in Common? Have a Listen – Won’t Ya?

Montreal’s Jesse Jack had an eye-opening experience as he travelled to Nashville to work on his new album.


Jesse gained knowledge which many musicians never do. Equipped with the new found smarts and some great original tunes, Jesse Jack will display his experience on Feb.6th at The Firm ( see link below) to help Gerdy’s Rescue and Adoption Fundraiser. 


Noelle Hannibal, one of Montreal’s best known off Broadway producers and Rollin’ Tunes DJ services will also be performing to raise money for all the poor animals which need homes and medical care.


Please listen below as Jesse speaks of his Nashville adventure and hear some of The Jesse Jack Band‘s great tunes !

Talk soon !



Visit Gerdy’s Rescues Here!


Visit The Facebook Page Here!



A Review of Keith Richards’ Documentary ‘Under the Influence’

Most people have dual citizenships. Keith Richards has dual personalities.

In the documentary ‘ Under the Influence ‘ ( available on Netflix) – the lines are blurred with orgasmic pleasure for a true music fan.


The general population love Keith Richards. The masses also know very little about the man.

They know the myth. They have read the tales of decadent behavior and the seemingly endless nine lives which appear to pursue Richards on and off the stage. Everyone loves a survivor. Especially one who has written the songbook of Rock n Roll with a middle finger left off the fret and pointed straight at the powers that be.

Keith Richards at seventy – one years of age, can do no wrong. He has earned the right to captain the Black Pearl.

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‘Under the Influence’, the documentary which coincides with the release of Richards ‘ first solo album in over twenty years (Crosseyed Heart), is a showcase of Richards’ mindset in the studio as he lays down tracks with his ‘Xpensive’ mates.

Instead of this documentary being solely a marketing tool to help sell copies of an album made by a Grandfather who ( in Rock n Roll history) should be passed his prime, the film instead utilizes the celluloid moments to open the drapes and let the rays of American music display Richards’ crevasses on his worn face as valleys of knowledge. In short – ‘Under the Influence’ is a proper documentary.

In short – Keith Richards is a proper musician.


The Stones’ guitarist has forgotten more than most know. The Stones’ guitarist happily has not forgotten more than most know.

Director Morgan Neville takes that knowledge and places it elegantly into a history class. Not a Blues class. Not a Rock n Roll class. Not a Country music class. Not even a Great American Songbook class.

Neville and Richards deliver a top of the line University music class with the above ingredients both separate and blurred together. Just as elegantly as Richards himself.

The best thing? Lazy people need not apply …

Robert Johnson

In the 1960’s, the Beatles reinvented popular music. They too were influenced by the same men who laid the foundation for the Stones’ songbook. The Beatles remained white British boys while the Stones transformed into a bunch of Black kids playing the Blues to anyone who would scream. The Rolling Stones with Brian Jones , Mick Jagger and Keith Richards leading the way, introduced American Blues to America white folks.

In 2015, in glorious irony, at a time when the music business and an entire generation of musicians appear ‘lost for words’, along comes Keith Richards ‘under the influence’ once more.

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Satan, God or whoever runs the show – every once in a while sends Richards into the forest as a musical Robin Hood.  A rich man giving back to the poor.

In the eighties, when Rock n Roll and all it’s edgy guitars took backseat to synthesized drums machines and keyboards, it was Richards’ ‘Start Me Up’ riff that kept Chuck Berry sane. While Mick Jagger was experimenting with every sound heard by dogs and people as a solo artist, Richards angrily released the album ‘Talk is Cheap.’ A project that is held in highest esteem by any musician worth their weight in music.

Richards’ kept the Rock n Roll/ Blues and R and B barge afloat without a ‘Life’ jacket.

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Here is where the dual personality kicks in.

Richards’ has also kept Country music in people’s consciences. From ‘Country Honk’ off of Let It Bleed’, the entire Beggars Banquet album and into ‘Dead Flowers’ off of the Stones’ classic 1971 album Sticky Fingers and everything in between, Richards continues the tradition and love of Country on his new album Crosseyed Heart. Keith Richards along with Hank Williams, George Jones, Gram Parsons, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Wanda Jackson and thousands or millions more – have kept the world balanced within the structure of ‘Rock n Roll’.

No Country music equals no Blues or vice versa. No Blues / Country  means no ‘Roll’ in the Rock.

Richards likes his Roll … thank you very much.

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There is so much in Keith Richards songwriting than meets the bloodshot eye. ‘Under the Influence’ gives a glimmer of what makes one half of  The Glimmer Twins glimmer.

Hogey Carmichael and the Great American Songbook were a huge part of Richards’ post – war English environment. Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Solomon Burke and all the Soul and R and B men are the foundations of Richards’ indestructible frame. Mix them all together within a man with the backbone of a lion? The main ingredient of Richards’ and the Stones’ longevity. The ability to place a song ahead of the solos.


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‘Under the Influence’ is a thoughtful insight into an ageing man’s psyche. Musically and as a human being.

Many times during the film Richards’ is on the cusp of melancholy and wistfulness. Tears are welling up behind the shades as much as his influences are masked by the shades of Rock n Roll. The documentary – a rare peek into Keith Richards as a man who has conquered everything on his own terms and has no idea how he has ended up as one of the most – loved people on the planet. No idea how he has ended up still ‘ on the planet’ for that matter.

It is called integrity Mr. Richards. See you at The Crossroads ….

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Visit Keith here!
















Ladies and Gentlemen – The Rolling Stones in Quebec

Keith Richards can no longer play guitar like the Richards of old.



Any Rolling Stones review post – coconut tree (shrub) incident must include this fact. Stones’ fans know it, newer fans and people seeing the band for the first time must be educated. A combination of arthritic fingers / memory loss and / or years of living dangerously have left Keef a ‘moonlight mile’ from his former self.

Why is this important information for a ‘Zip Code’ Tour that has generated rave reviews leading to the finale in Quebec City?

Believe it or not – The Stones were better when ‘the engine’ operated on all cylinders. Believe it or not – The Stones are currently better than bands half their age who are operating on all cylinders. The Stones are ‘ that good’ .

The 2015 touring Stones whose four members’ collective ages reach a high decibel of 282 years, put on quite the spectacle in Quebec City on Wednesday, July 15th on The Plains of Abraham as part of Le Festival d’ Ete . As part of history.

Setting an attendance record is one thing. Setting a record at their age – a tip of the ‘tongue’ for the boys who are commencing their 52nd year as a band ( Charlie Watts joined in 1963 and for the band, the official start of their career).

Several factors ( aside from the songs) make the Stones as popular as ever879bc02607d427cd8cc4740919adfd5d

Their legendary mystique continues to add more and more generations of fans with every tour. Everyone must see the Stones at least once and with Grandfathers, Fathers, Uncles and Older Siblings passing the message along, a Stones’ show is always going to be filled with excitement. A sense of anticipation that no band can generate like The Rolling Stones.

Here’s the funny part.

That sense of danger. That increasing heartbeat. That insatiable desire to be fed raw unadulterated Rock n Roll has been with the Stones for fifty years. It was there on their first tour of America in 1964 and has festered in every show since. When The Stones are coming to a city, the urban buzz precedes and predates the concert by weeks. An uncanny sense of rebelliousness sets in because ‘the Stones fought the law and the Stones won’ – why cant we? Every city and every citizen welcomes the ‘pirates’ of music with open abandonment and for a couple of sinister weeks, generations have carte blanche to live vicariously through the Stones and their ‘satanic’ mentality. Generations create an invisible mutiny against their bosses, spouses and government.

That sense of ‘kicking authority in the teeth’ – front and center in 95,000 music fans’ fantasies on Wednesday night.

From the opening Richards’ ‘Start Me Up’ riff, Jagger et al hooked the ‘virgin’ and seasoned punters. It’s one thing to tire of the tunes on disc but hearing it live makes it important once more. Hearing the ‘ancient art of weaving’ as Wood and Richards challenge one another within the structure of a song is unique and priceless. Weaving with open tuning is the Stones. Part Blues, part Country and all their own.

Charlie Watts’ Jazzy crisp snare and a nanosecond removed from Richards’ relentless rhythm is also the Stones. A sound once again unique and definitive of the Stones’ ragged musicianship.

Jagger’s unchallenged  talent of vocal mimicking. Blending Soul, Blues, Country, R and B and every style he has ever enjoyed into drawls and connotations which cannot be mimicked by anyone else.  The ultimate showman and the unchallenged front-man of Rock n Roll.

Together – an initiation into the Stones’ ‘club’. The entrance fee? Your soul …


Everything is never rosy in a Stones’ show. Organized chaos has forever been their motto and the band can never be accused of choosing perfect set-lists. Lately, one or two songs are altered on any given evening. For a Stones’ fan – boring. For a new (er) recruit? Blissful. A ‘Beggar’s Banquet ‘ of sounds supplicated live.

What ‘Start Me Up’ does to open things, the sophomore song ‘It’s Only Rock n Roll’ could easily stop the excitement in it’s guitar strings. Never a great song live as  the song only allows Richards’ weaknesses to shine through. A glorified Berry riff void of it’s studio cousin’s charm. A rhythmic warm-up for the band – nothing more.

Then – things get interesting …A pair of songs written in the basement of a former Nazi headquarters in the South of France. 

‘All Down the Line’ and ‘Tumblin’ Dice’ from the Stones’ most complete album; Exile on Main Street. The real Stones start to emerge within the rawness of the former and the groove of the latter. Disjointed sloppiness gives way to the classic pocket of a Stones comfort. A feeling which ‘once upon a time’ gave title to their ‘Greatest Rock n Roll Band in the World’ moniker. A title which in 2015 remains intact.

‘Street Fighting Man’ – the request song of the evening introduced in the past few tours via internet as a fan friendly ‘ keep up with the Jones’ gimmick, remains a no-frills Rock song. No ad- libs by Sir Mick. No flashy solos by the  ‘almost out of tune’ guitars. A relentless repetition of chords which increase intensity as the tune echos Jagger’s lyrics and Watts’ hard pounding metronome. The Stones have nothing to do but to play in a Rock n Roll band so why fight the simplicity of what any garage band does when their managers and record executives are looking away.

‘Wild Horses’, the only ballad of the evening, was shocking. With eyes closed, it was Mick in the 1960’s with Marianne Faithful on his arm.  His voice on the Plains of Abraham as fresh and crisp as a man half his age. The entire evening was proof of Jagger’s amazing vocals yet somehow, Wild Horses from the album Sticky Fingers was special. The song, on a cool Wednesday evening under the stars, was transformed to a turntable in front of 95,000 basement party guests. To steal a Pink Floyd title; the guests were ‘Comfortably Numb’ and the band became the evening’s dealers.

Throughout the Stones’ career, they have obtained legendary status based on their unmatched circus-like live shows. Over the years, a myth has spread that they have always been great musically on stage. To set the record straight, they can be the worse band one night and the best group the next. This is the legend of the Stones. The band that never acts or attempts to fit into preconceived ideology of how a band should act.

‘Bitch’ was the Stones at their worst on Wednesday night as the Sticky Fingers’ song defined sloppiness. Jagger’s vocals losing their way in choruses and the horn section while Wood and Richards fought to keep it all together. The tune sounded like a riff looking for a home on a Stones ‘ album but could not make the cut. A bootleg which demonstrated Richards’ 2015 weakness on the guitars and perhaps – proving former sax player ( deceased) Bobby Keys’ absence is profoundly missed by the band and his partner-in-crime Richards.


‘Honky Tonk Woman’ came next and in 2015 – the song is a conundrum. An audience ‘guilty pleasure’ and the ultimate party -with-chicken-wire-around-the-band song. Richards’ can still perform his trademark riffs and the opening of ‘Honky Tonk’ makes the hairs on anyone’s neck take notice of the ‘gin soaked bar room Queen’ about to take the stage. Sadly – in recent years, the song has become too generic. Too clean for Rock n Roll’s original punks and their decadent fan base. It starts as a journey into a crack-house but quickly becomes a corporate reality show.


Ladies and Gentlemn – the home run trot now begins ….

Commencing with the band introductions and a chance for fans to say thank you through applause, it is also the introduction of Keef’s opportunity to shine. The generic ‘two song’ showcasing of Rock’s most elegantly wasted human being.

‘Before They Make Me Run’ and ‘Happy’ took center stage on Wednesday evening amid cries of adulation, respect and pride. The prodigal son is alive and standing with cockroaches within earshot of Richards’ maniacal laugh.

Two songs which define Keef more than others. An insight into kicking his heroin habit and authority away. Happy’s ‘never kept a dollar past sunset’ and ‘ always took candies from strangers’ biographical lyrics frightening in their reality of a survivor’s ability to stand true. Riffs uniquely Keef-isms. Riffs as pleasant as they are unpleasant. Defining moments on display of the reason the Stones remain apart from every band. Once more – garage band stuff littered with oil (blood?) stained hands. Richards walking before he ran …


In Quebec, ‘Paint it Black’, ‘Get Off of My Cloud’, ‘Ruby Tuesday’, ‘ ‘Cant You Hear Me Knocking’, Love is Strong’, ‘Fool to Cry’, ‘Angie’, Emotional Rescue’ and ‘Star Star’ were not played. Nor were some of the greatest songs in the past five decades displayed. Not many bands can leave the very songs which defined the decades of their success on the sound-check floor. Unless …

Midnight RamblerMiss YouGimme ShelterJumpin’ Jack FlashSympathy for the DevilBrown SugarYou Can’t Always Get What You Want and (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction are part of the soundtrack of humanity for the past fifty years. In the words of Jagger; ‘people want to hear these songs live and we can’t displease our fans …’

If any song in the Stones’ arsenal proves undeniable they are the best of all time – it’s Midnight Rambler. No matter the decade, the stage or state of the band, Rambler combines everything into one epic story of the history of The Blues blending into modern day Rock. It allows a journey from Robert Johnson’s crossroads through Sonny Boy Williamson’s harmonica and into Muddy Waters’ Checkerboard Lounge.  It allows Richards to demonstrate no nonsense riffing and Jagger’s only ‘pure’ character to emerge from within his may personas. It allows an insight into why Mick and Keef met at the Dartford train station and to this day – remain on the same train. Rambler also unites the crowd into a mass of unsolicited focus. The demonic presence of the Stones and / or the demonic presence which watches over the Stones takes control. In every Stones concert since that fateful day in Altamont California, ‘Rambler’ means the Stones are getting serious.


‘Miss You’ – the band’s biggest commercial hit, makes  the most demur sisters dance. A non fan dragged to a Stones show against their will starts to groove. Jagger, the original ‘prince of darkness’ struts his feminine / masculine self across and into the crowd like the piper he is. The wettest of rats will survive Jagger’s emotional rescue as Mick sets the tone for how people will behave. Like a magician in satin sheets, Jagger controls if, when and how the orgasms will play out. Rambler and Miss You – Michael Phillip Jagger’s wands of magic and manipulation.


‘Gimme Shelter’ not only showcases Lisa Fisher’s vocal talents and enables her to get work outside of the Stones with ease, it is also a defining moment for many punters in attendance. No song within the Stones’ artillery belt ( Paint it Black a close second) represents the closeness of evil versus good. Richards’ opening ascending riff combined with Jagger’s warning of impending doom symbolic of every generation being ruled through fear. Consciously or unconsciously, the Stones created a timeless tune which hovers above any musical act with a sense of irony, realism and fear of the political monster that gives no shelter but promises safety. The Stones had an insight in the sixties and sadly society has not changed. The Stones had an insight in the sixties and gladly for the people in attendance, the Stones’ message has not changed.

The rest of a Stones show is gravy on top of a delicious piece of steak.

‘Flash’ and ‘Sympathy’ are covered in Brown Sugar. Each timeless ‘drink and shout’ party song belongs to someone in the crowd. Energetic songs with riffs unmatched. As pleasing to a seventy year old’s ears as to an eighteen year old. Sing-a-long choruses as simple as smoking a joint or sipping a hidden drink inside a tongue-adorned flask. It’s no genius behind the Stones’ most loved songs. It’s a relentless in-your-face sound which grabs the primal instincts and awakens the dormant demons. Masks are discarded and it’s a gas, gas, gas …



In Quebec, the Stones delivered a two hour and fifteen minute show which would have been longer if the good folks of Le Festival d’Ete could / would have lifted the curfew. The final pair of songs, the encores, left everyone content. All smiles as the 90,000 plus left the Plains of Abraham anything but plain …

‘Can’t Always Get What You Want’ (sung with Le Chœur des Jeunes de Laval) was  a pleasure. Once more Jagger conducting his orchestra, the crowd and a timeless message. Witnessing Jagger alone on the catwalk with a noir backdrop and sporadic glimmerings of light is historic. The Stones and Jagger somehow have managed to grab the pulse of every sick aspect of society, all the hopes and dreams which never change and capture the imagination of anyone and any age. Under the stars in Quebec, Jagger and the Stones ‘tried’ and the fans got what they needed including ‘ satisfaction …’


Satisfaction was sung in unison by 95,000 people to end the night. A remarkable thing. It was not sung for pleasure. It was not sung because the crowd could. It was sung with a forcefulness and conviction. It was a crowd, five generations of people and a Rock n Roll band agreeing on a simple fact of life. No matter how hard people try, satisfaction is never obtained.

Maybe one day – the Stones will be as satisfied as the 95,000 people who saw them for what may be the last time on such a grand stage.

Doubtful or the Stones would not have been in Quebec on Wednesday evening driving around the world tryin’ to meet some girl …




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Rick Keene Music Scene Presents; ‘ This ‘ 70’s Show!

The 1970’s were a strange decade but a good one.


Mood Rings, Pet Rocks, Disco, CB Radios – it was a definable decade of different dimensions.

Leisure suits, shag carpeting and waterbeds. Trends which were all the rage while listening to The Carpenters, Heart, The Eagles, Peter Frampton  and hundreds of bands and solo artists who made their mark in that ten year period.


It was also a strange decade for commercials. Whether it was Barbara Streisand ( yes – Barbara Streisand) doing politically incorrect TV spots or little kids singing about Bologna, the 1970’s were – at the very least, entertaining.



Please listen below to some tunes and some clips from the ‘decadently’ delicious decade known for ‘Glam’ and ‘Punk’ Rock and everything in between.


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Take An Elevator Ride with Miles Davis and Discover What’s Happening at The Jazz Festival

The 36th Edition of The Montreal International Jazz Festival is heading towards the final weekend.

Photo Denis Alix
Photo Denis Alix

As the weather turns from frightful into delightful – head on down and enjoy the best festival of it’s type in the world!

Listen below to a few of the shows this weekend and click on the Jazz festival logo to access everything you need to know about the Festival.

Thanks for listening! Talk soon …



Joss Stone - July 5th
Joss Stone – July 5th


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The Kentucky Headhunters – ‘ John Bonham Dying Killed Our First Shot at Success …

The Kentucky HeadHunters are living proof – Country Music and Blues make up Rock n’ Roll …

Johnnie Johnston
Johnnie Johnston

Starting in 1968 as The Itchy Brothers – the band came oh-so-close to stardom. An untimely death ultimately killed their chances of becoming ‘America’s Greatest Rock n Roll band’ yet, like Rock n Roll itself – they came back with a vengeance …

Please listen to Part One and Part Two of my interview with Richard Young. Richard talks about working with Chuck Berry’s pianist (and friend) Johnnie Johnston. The greatest sideman in the history of Rock n Roll.

Kentucky Headhunters Live
Kentucky Headhunters Live




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Philip Sayce – This is Your Father’s Rock n Roll!


Philip Sayce did not just get off the Rock n Roll truck …

A Mini-Van perhaps – but not a truck!

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Fresh off a triumphant eight city tour of Canada that left fans and critics spellbound, rock guitar sensation Philip Sayce makes his major label debut on Tuesday, April 7 with the release of his album Influence.

Originally released in Europe in late August 2014 to critical acclaim, the Canadian version of Influence will include two new songs led by the first single, Philip’s incendiary version of the Ten Years After classic “I’d Love To Change The World.”

The video for “I’d Love To Change The World” is now live on Philip’s YouTube channel.

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Born in Wales and raised in Toronto, Canada, Philip Sayce’s love of the guitar started at an early age when his parents introduced him to all of the classics, notably, Clapton, Hendrix, and Beck. He started playing guitar as a teen and before long was winning admirers at blues jam nights at Grossman’s Tavern in downtown Toronto.

One such admirer was legendary guitarist Jeff Healey who invited Philip to join his band with whom he toured the world for the next couple of years. After a move to Los Angeles, producer John Shanks introduced Philip to Melissa Etheridge who recruited him for her band. Over the next several years Philip performed on Melissa Etheridge’s albums and was featured during her live sets on world tours.

Please listen below  to my conversation with Philip.


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James Green; Never a Bridesmaid – Always a Blushing Bride .​.​.

The Blushing Brides.

North America’s version of

‘The Greatest Rock n’ Roll Band in the World.’

Thirty-six years together as ‘The World’s Most Dangerous Cover Band’.


Lead guitarist James Green has been there from almost the beginning. He has been there since the band became one of the most sought after tribute bands in North America!

James Green has seen it all …

Please listen to James explain many things including the Brides’ original 1982 song; ‘What You Talkin’ Bout ..’



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What’s Happening in Montreal and The Greatest Half Hour of Music!

Lots going on in the city.

Lots of tunes, fun times and finally … warmth !


Please listen below to several upcoming concert announcements, what’s coming on Rick Keene Music Scene and several great songs – new and old.

What better way to start off your weekend?

Click on The Montreal International Jazz Festival logo as well as Evenko to discover and buy tickets to a whole bunch of great shows in and around Montréal.

Talk soon …




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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.


‘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.


‘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.


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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What’s Happening on Rick Keene Music Scene

Lots coming up …


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Have a listen to some of the artists I will be interviewing as well as some shows coming to Montreal

Talk soon …


*Apologies Styx is touring with Def Leppard not Journey. My mistake.


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Piers Faccini; No Melancholy Here …

Sadness is in the eye of the beholder …

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Art is very personal. Unique to both the artists and the ‘customers’. Like a painting ‘hung out to dry’ at the local art gallery – depending on the mood, the creation can be perceived and may be created differently on an given day.

Thank goodness for art.

Born of Italian heritage in England,  Piers Faccini‘s album; Between Dogs and Wolves is discussed below in an intimate fashion. A unique occasion to listen to the perception of art from an artist’s point of view .


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Rick Keene Music Scene – Number One International Interview of 2014

Don Felder just finished a tour with Styx and Foreigner.


don2For the former member of The Eagles – that means a small pause then right back on the road doing what he loves. Playing guitar.

It has been a long and winding road for Felder, beginning with playing in a band with Stephen Stills and ending up many years later as the co – writer of one of the most famous songs in Rock history.

Please listen to my interview with this legendary performer. An insight into the present, the past and the future.

An insight into the Hotel California. An insight into the number one international interview of 2014.






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    Leeward Fate - No Ordinary Kind iTunes cover copy

Joe Louis Walker; Full Interview

Joe Louis Walker just recently returned from a tour which brought him to Australia. He hooked up with some fellows who were schooled in the Blues. Mick, Keith, Charlie  – along with Joe’s pal Ronnie Wood, love talkin’ about the Blues.

Joe loves talking about the Blues also so a match made in heaven; a gross understatement …

Joe and Mick
Joe and Mick

Please listen as Joe discusses many topics including the present and the future of the Blues along with some very interesting insights.





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