Tuesday, March 22, 2011

RIP Pinetop

I just read on the BBC news website that Pinetop Perkins has passed away.

Pinetop played with many greats over the years, most notably was his long run with the great Muddy Waters.

He will be greatly missed. Rest in peace Pinetop.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Japan's Sorrow

My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Japan in this time of great sorrow and increasing anxiety as it seems to becoming more likely that they will be subject to radiation leaking from it's damages nuclear facility.

Please give generously in the relief effort.

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Monday, March 7, 2011

B.B. Still the King

On January 15th 2011, I went with a buddy to see B.B King at the casino in Windsor, Ontario. This was the second time I saw B.B. and he put on a hell of a show both times. (Btw- If you happen to be in Windsor go for a Jumbo corned beef sandwich at Malic's Deli)

His guitar playing is not what it once was, I think even B.B. himself would acknowledge that, but he can still shake the rafters with that golden voice of his. His story telling skills were as sharp as ever as he drew on his 50 plus years experience of entertaining people.

It was a great night and a real pleasure and honor to see one of the greatest performers of all time.

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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Blues Guitar Heroes

I recently purchased a collection of magazine articles from the publishers of the UK based Guitarist magazine called Blues Guitar Heroes.

Although a little on the pricey side (it being an import) it's a very entertaining read for the blues guitar enthusiast.

It begins with a brief history of the blues from it's Delta roots to the state of modern blues. The meat of this collection is the collection of articles and interviews of various blues guitar players spanning several generations. Many great players that you are familiar with are featured here as well as many you may not be so familiar with. It's always great to discover a musician that blows you away that was previously unknown to you. This collection is chalk full of such players.

The collection ends with a brief history of the slide guitar as well as a countdown of the greatest blues guitarists which is guaranteed to raise your blood pressure. Lists of these sorts always get on my nerves and spark debate amongst other blues fans- which is part of the fun I suppose.

Finally there's a brief look at some of the classic guitars that are responsible for the glorious notes that have flown from the fingertips of the great blues players over the years. A fitting end to a very well written and entertaining book. I highly recommend picking up a copy.


Friday, August 13, 2010

Lightnin' Hopkins CD Release

On Monday August 16th Future Noise Music will be releasing a 3 CD compilation of the works of Texas blues great Lightnin' Hopkins.

The cover will feature a scratch-board painting of Hopkins I did in 2009. I'm simply busting.

I'm always a little nervous when someone requests some artwork of mine and I know they're going to crop it and/or add text. In this case the worry was unwarranted as I think they did a ripping job.


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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

New Otis Rush Painting

Well I finally got around to painting a portrait of my favorite blues singer all time- Otis Rush.
This baby went through several transitions as I tried to fit biographical elements into the painting. Since this is a young Otis I avoided some of the health issues he's been dealing with over the last several years- namely his stroke.

I fit the bio elements into the ominous moon hanging in the sky. The crow, who has become a fixture in several of my latest paintings is the trickster character. The raven is a trickster character in many Indian and Inuit mythologies-much like the trickster character Legba in African mythologies. That's why he's always looming as a character in my blues paintings.

The woman is obvious as I've more then once heard Otis talk about the heartbreak he has endured over the years. I'm thinking specifically of a clip on Youtube where he gives an interview and articulates his experiences with the opposite sex. he sounds as if his heart had been through a meat grinder. Fortunately for Otis he found his true love in a Japanese fan who sought him out. I plan to include this when I do a painting of Otis as an older man someday.

Finally the snake is coiled into the shape of a dollar sign9hopefully not too obviously). Otis has had his share of sour business relationships with record companies over the years -which led him to putting his guitar down altogether at one point in his life. It has also resulted in very few recordings for such an influential and important artist. Otis has seen his share of greedy snakes over the years I'm sure. I think most blues artists have.

The gathering clouds have also become a fixture in my latest paintings. In this painting they take on a more significant role (other then just looking cool). I've read in several articles and books that Otis can get down. Real down. Some have even gone so far to suggest that he might suffer from depression. I find that easy to believe when I hear him sing-it's a blue as you can get. I'm not romanticizing depression- I'm just saying I hear a genuine pain in some of his performances.

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Lightnin' Hopkins CD Cover

I can't give very many details as the CD is still in the production stages but it appears my scratch-board painting of Lightin' Hopkins will be featured on the cover of a new CD compilation.

Although I'd like to maintain an air of professionalism I have to admit I'm absolutely giddy with excitement.

When I receive a copy I'll post it.

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