No More Worlds to Conquer Robin Trower

No More Worlds to Conquer Robin Trower

No More Worlds to Conquer Robin Trower

No More Worlds to Conquer

Robin Trower 

As he draws nearer to the age of eighty, guitarist Robin Trower just gains more momentum with consistent studio releases. Remaining sidelined from live performances in the last couple of years due to the pandemic, Robin just uses the downtime to go into the Provogue studio to record the endless number of compositions he keeps writing.

The man responsible for the classic rock 1974 opus Bridge Of Sighs has a special place in the hearts of those of us as teen-agers who had blacklight posters wearing headphones letting songs like “Day Of The Eagle” and “Bridge Of Sighs” transport us to that special place that was an adolescent comfort zone.

Other reviewers have coined the phrase “psychedelic blues” in describing Trower’s music. It’s an old cliche but it best describes Trower’s approach to his Hendrix infused pedal/reverb guitar lines that deeply resonate with soul he imbibes

Letting vocalist Richard Watts sing the tunes that fulfill his vision, the Strat tones shimmer and ride the groove immediately from the onset. The medium paced “Ball Of Fire” opens the party and can become a live staple in Trower’s live sets. The title track can do the same thing with Robin coaxing his reverb drenched notes awash in an elixir he can create.

It’s a long way from the seventies in which he reigned strongly in the concert arenas. Since then, Trower has become comfortable in his role as elder statesman of the blues. Never one for speedy deliveries or a thousand note attacks doesn’t hinder him from transmitting emotion that is strong in his single note attacks. It’s the stuff guitar geeks can soak up when they purchase their Fender guitars and Marshall amps. Add a pedal board to the mix and you have the tools of trade.

While his tunes don’t headbang with the fire and fury of his classic rock yesteryear, Robin lays down his psychedelic blues smoke in the hazy “Birdsong.” The tempo picks up with Robin’s lyrical lines in “Losing You” that segues into the same paced “Waiting For The Rain To Fall.”

These tunes follow the same blueprint. Slow approaches undercut by Robin’s ethereal spacy notes that serve the purpose of creating atmosphere. Not disrupting it.

“Cloud Across The Sun” can be a great addition to Trower’s live sets as it gallops with rocking urgency that recalls a younger Robin in his heyday. Then it’s back to the slow crawl of “Fire To Ashes” with Robin’s ghostly guitar riding the bedrock of rhythm fleshed out by soulful keyboards.

“Razors Edge” with its lyrics pointing fingers at the politicians taking the world in a downward trajectory is the package of blues rock histrionics that could have found a home on Trower’s earlier work. Blues awash in psychedelia that only Robin can play.

The Hendrix influence is strong within the love song “I Will Always Be Your Shelter” that can lull couples into a warm embrace with Trower’s airy guitar painting broad strokes across the canvass.

If one wants to think of Robin as blues of the twenty first century, then it’s an honorable designation to live with.

  • Gary Weeks

 

President’s Message for April 2022

President’s Message for April 2022

President’s Message for April 2022

What a weekend – don’t know about you but I need a week to recuperate from the Tampa Bay Blues Fest! So much great music and what a turnout – folks were obviously hungry for live music, and they were well fed! 

Your Suncoast Blues Society was there of course, and we want to thank all our loyal Blues lovers and supporters who bought merchandise and memberships (almost seventy!!) – we had a blast talking with everyone that stopped by. 

We could not have done it without our wonderful volunteers that helped us: Beverly Moribito,  Julie Deschaine, Mark Thompson, Warren McDougle, Mike Hennesey, Vinny Marini, John Herzog, and Liz & Doc Pennock – you were amazing!

Also want to thank Chuck Ross for supporting Youth Sunday again this year – about twelve young people and their chaperones had the opportunity to hear live Blues for the first time. This is a collaboration we do with Chuck every year as part of our mission to share Blues music with future generations.

So, let’s keep the music coming! YOUR Suncoast Blues Society has been busy working with venues to book shows for you. Here is a list of our upcoming events – mark your calendars:

  • 4/25 – Doug Deming & the Jewel Tones @ Masaryk Winery
  • 4/26 – Giving Challenge – Live Broadcast from the Music Compound & Bayboro Brewery
  • 5/1 – Memphis Lightning & Trey Wanvig @ Gill Dawg
  • 5/3 – Red Star Live Blues Night w/Damon Fowler & ‘Ed Zepplin’
  • 5/7 – RJ Howson Band @ The Florida One-on-One Doubles Championships!
  • 5/20 – SBS 25thAnniversary Party @ Skippers   
  • 5/31 – 9thAnnual Myakka River Blues Festival @ Snook Haven
  • 6/7 – Red Star Live Blues Night w/Damon Fowler & Ed Zepplin
  • 6/24 – EG Kight Trio @ Masaryk Winery
  • 7/15 – Alastair Greene @ Palladium Side Door
  • 7/16 – Tom Craig Band @ Masaryk Winery
  • 8/28 – SBS Annual Beach Bash!

 

Brother Johnny – An All-Star Tribute to Johnny Winter

Brother Johnny – An All-Star Tribute to Johnny Winter

Brother Johnny – An All-Star Tribute to Johnny Winter

Brother Johnny
An All-Star Tribute to Johnny Winter

Oh, have I been waiting for this one! And it was well-worth the wait.

When writing this review, I found it hard to separate the music of John Dawson Winter III from my life. Understandably so because Johnny Winter shaped much of my musical interests. It’s no stretch to say I would not be writing this review or even a member of Suncoast Blues Society without the influences of Johnny. So, when I saw the press release for the musicians coming together with Edgar Winter to record a tribute to his brother, I could not wait!

Right from the downbeat of this 17-song recording, Joe Bonamassa explodes with a wonderful rendition of Mean Town Blues. Playing in front of Edgar’s vocals Joe is faithful to Johnny’s original. A song these ears first heard on what I consider to be the best live recording in blues rock history, “Johnny Winter And Live.” On “Still Alive and Well” Kenny Wayne Shepherd plays virtually note for note the song Johnny issued on the 1973 album of the same name, shortly after recovering from his well-documented heroin addiction.

Keb’ Mo’ and Edgar paired well on Lone Star Blues and provide a moment to reflect on what a great slide guitar player Johnny was. A point reinforced when Billy Gibbons and today’s premier slide player Derek Trucks turn the heat up on, I’m Yours, I’m Hers. The original was Johnny at his raucous psychedelic best. Hearing this version my mind recalled blowing out speakers in my bedroom on this song.

I am so happy that Stranger made the recording. This has forever been my favorite slow and poignant song from Johnny. In high school I submitted these lyrics as an example of poetry. The teacher was not amused, as my grade attested to. Proving forever to me that poetry is however one defines it. As one who stays away from recordings featuring Michael McDonald, I must complement his vocals on this version. The pairing of Michael with Joe Walsh and Ringo Star is genius.

Both Johnny B. Goode and Highway 61 Revisited are my least favorite songs on this recording. Phil X performed the former in the style of The Rolling Stones, and the latter with “KWS” truer to Dylan’s original. Understandable as recreating the blistering incendiary version of “Highway” that Johnny recorded on “Captured Live” is beyond the capabilities of mere mortals.

Steve Lukather pitches in for a version of Rock ‘n’ Roll Hoochie Koo that brings the mind back to the days when Johnny and Rick Derringer were, in my opinion, the best blues rock guitar duo in existence. Great backing vocals accompany Edgar’s vocals on this one. Doyle Bramall II  performs When You Got A Good Friend in honor of Johnny’s 1969 self-titled recording. Traditional blues, and it’s something that Johnny returned to later in his career. More on this topic shortly.

The familiar licks to Guess I’ll Go Away explode off the guitar of Doug Rappaport and include marvelous vocals by the Foo Fighter’s late Taylor Hawkins. This version sounded as fresh as when first released on Johnny Winter And (studio version).

Edgar takes center stage singing a version of Drown In My Own Tears done in the style of the Charles’s – Ray and Ezra. Another example of the deep blues that Johnny is normally not associated with, but a song that he faithfully recorded on his self-titled album.

Joe Bonamassa returns with a true rendition of Self-Destructive Blues, a song Johnny artfully recorded on ”Scorchin’ Blues.” This song may have my all-time favorite Johnny guitar lick, and I suspect that Johnny is smiling over this version. Well done, Joe, especially recreating the lick that Johnny included in many of his song. “When I get through boogyin,’ they’ll be no more blues around.” Indeed.

Earlier I mentioned that Johnny paid homage to the blues masters. Winning three Grammy Awards for production work with Muddy Waters cemented his legacy with traditional blues. It was through Johnny that I received introductions to both Muddy and James Cotton. Back to the recording, Got My Mojo Working features Bobby Rush, and is evocative of “Muddy ‘Mississippi’ Waters – Live.” I closed my eyes and felt Muddy and James on this one.

Thank you, Quarto Valley Records, and Edgar Winter, for bringing this recording to life. I won’t be drowning in my own tears, but this recording brought a tear to my eyes, a happy one. Most excellent. Heartily recommended for fans of Johnny. And if you are unfamiliar with Johnny’s work this is a great jump-of point to embark on a marvelous journey of some of the best blues-rock licks every recorded.

  • Scott Morris

 

 

 

2022 Giving Challenge

2022 Giving Challenge

2022 Giving Challenge

2022 Giving Challenge

Special Events for a Special Occasion

 

From April 26th 12:00pm until April 27th 12:00pm, you will be able to make a huge difference supporting blues. The Giving Challenge 2022 is back! And your society has some special events planned for this edition of the challenge.

April 26th will have two free events for your enjoyment. Starting at 12:00pm – the kickoff time – Suncoast Blues Society and Music Compound on Cattleman Road will kick off a day of activity.

At 12:00 the staff at Music Compound will host a blues “lunch and learn” session. Activities planned include a blues-based fingerstyle guitar lesson.

The music will heat up beginning at 5pm, and the schedule follows:

  • 5pm – Blues Jam with Sly
  • 6pm – Bodie Valdez and Trey Wanvig will be onstage presenting blues as practiced by Suncoast Blues Society member musicians
  • 7pm – the Music Compound band SouthBound is onstage. 

For members north of the Skyway Bridge, Suncoast Blues Society is happy to present Brian Leneschmidt and Sarasota Slim at Bayboro Brewery in St. Pete!

Wherever your ability to donate rests, this 24-hour online giving day is a chance to spread many positive vibes displaying your generosity and help grow blues in our community. As in past years there will be targeted donations available for you to direct your generosity towards a goal. Last challenge your donations funded a workshop where Suncoast Blues Society provided cigar box guitar kits to young aspiring guitar players! We hope to do something similar this year.

The Patterson Foundation is turning every ($25 to $100 per person) donation an individual makes to Suncoast Blues Society on www.GivingPartnerChallenge.org into twice the gift amount so this is the perfect time to “give”.

 

John Mayall Interview

John Mayall Interview

John Mayall Interview

John Mayall Interview

Blues Blast Magazine has an excellent interview with John Mayall. Written by the former President of Suncoast Blues Society, Mark Thompson, the piece contains many points of interest about John, former band members, and his songwriting process. Mark’s interview left me wanting to perform a deeper dive into John’s catalog!

You can read the interview at Blues Blast John Mayall.

Recently, SBS published a review of John’s latest (according to John’s discography the 67th!) recording of his career.

The Sun is Shining Down review can be found here SBS CD Review.

When writing about John I would be remiss without remembering our friend, Mike Shivvers. Mike was a huge fan of John Mayall and was all set to film a performance of John’s at The Capital Theatre in Clearwater. A show cancelled due to the pandemic. Forever I will link Mike’s memory with John Mayall and his music.

Mike’s skill as a videographer is evident with a video captured in 2016 of John’s show in Stuart, FL. This show featured Jay Davenport and Greg Rzab – both mentioned by John in his interview with Mark. Mike’s YouTube site has this video, and others of John.

 

  • Scott Morris