The old Willie Dixon adage, “blues is truth,” perfectly describes the searing, contemporary blues-rock of world-renowned guitarist and vocalist Coco Montoya. Taught by the “Master of the Telecaster,” Albert Collins, but with a hard-edged sound and style all his own, Montoya mixes his forceful, melodic guitar playing and passionate vocals with memorable songs, delivering the blues’ hardest truths. He earned his status as a master guitarist and soul-powered vocalist through years of paying his dues as a sideman with Collins (first as a drummer) and then with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, before launching his solo career in 1993. Continue reading
American Songwriter describes Eilen Jewell as one of America’s most intriguing, creative and idiosyncratic voices. The Boise, Idaho songwriter is one of a kind.
That singular voice springs forth from a woman of more than one mind, and she taps into many of them on Gypsy (August, 2019 Signature Sounds Recordings). By turns personal and political, pissed off and blissed out, Jewell’s first album of original material since 2015 expands brief moments of joy into lifetimes, and distills epic sentiments and persistent doubts into succinct songs. Continue reading
PAUL BIELATOWICZ (OF CARL PALMER’S ELP LEGACY) & DAVE BAINBRIDGE (OF STRAWBS)
UK guitarist Paul Bielatowicz and multi-instrumentalist Dave Bainbridge are best known for their virtuoso work with some of the biggest names in progressive rock. Collectively they’ve played, recorded and toured the world with Carl Palmer (ELP), The Strawbs, Neal Morse (Spock’s Beard, Transatlantic), Lifesigns, Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater) and Iona… Continue reading
The Moody Blues’ Justin Hayward – ‘All The Way and More!’
With Special Guest Michael Dawes
Having chalked up over fifty years at the peak of the music and entertainment industry, Justin Hayward’s voice has been heard the world over. Known principally as the vocalist, lead guitarist and composer for The Moody Blues, his is an enduring talent that has helped to define the times in which he worked. Over the last forty-five years the band has sold 55 million albums and received numerous awards. Commercial success has gone hand in hand with critical acclaim, The Moody Blues are renowned the world over as innovators and trail blazers who have influenced any number of fellow artists. Justin is honoured with the Moody Blues on the Rock Walk Hall of Fame on Sunset Boulevard and this year the band will be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Continue reading
For over 30 years, The Fabulous Thunderbirds have been the quintessential American band. The group’s distinctive and powerful sound, influenced by a diversity of musical styles, manifested itself into a unique musical hybrid via such barnburners as “Tuff Enuff” and “Wrap It Up”. Co-founder Kim Wilson, the sole original member, still spearheads the group as it evolves into its newest incarnation.
“We started as a straight blues band”, vocalist and harmonica player Wilson says. “We now incorporate a mixture of a lot of different styles. We’re an American music band and we’re much higher energy than we were before.”
In addition to Wilson, the current Thunderbirds line-up features Johnny Moeller on guitar, Steve Gomes on bass, Kevin Anker on keyboards, and Wes Watkins on drums.
“To be in the T-Birds, you need to understand the different styles of music and different ways of playing,” Wilson comments. “You have to be willing to adopt a more contemporary style. The guys we have now are able to do that.”
The band continues to tour extensively, in both the U.S. and Europe. Wilson is currently writing songs on his own, with band members and other writers.
“I’ve primarily been a solo songwriter, but I’m looking forward to experimenting with the guys in the band,” Wilson says.
The thread throughout the T-Birds career has been the respect the group commanded for its peerless musicianship and devotion to the sounds of blues, R & B and rock ‘n roll. In fact, Muddy Waters called Wilson his favorite harmonica player and vocalist. “Muddy Waters was very good to me,” Wilson says. “He almost adopted me. I’ll never forget him.”
For Kim Wilson, the musical journey started in Goleta, California. At 17 he began playing the harmonica. His influences included Little Walter, George “Harmonica” Smith, Lazy Lester and James Cotton. At the same time, Wilson began singing and was deeply impacted by Bobby “Blue” Bland, B.B. King, Otis Rush, Jimmy Rodgers and Muddy Waters. In search of other musicians who shared his love of the blues, Wilson headed to Minneapolis. He stayed there for a year and a half, playing locally, before moving to the burgeoning music scene of Austin, Texas. It was there that he met Jimmie Vaughan and they founded the T-Birds in 1974. The band developed a reputation as a compelling live act and subsequently signed a record deal with CBS/Epic Records.
In 1979, The Fabulous Thunderbirds released their first self-titled album. Primarily blues influenced, it became a cult classic. “Things were wide open back then,” Wilson recalls. “There were hundreds of stages where bands could show what they had.”
In subsequent releases, the band started to incorporate more Cajun, rock ‘n roll and soul influences. The album “T-Bird Rhythm” marked a creative turning point for the group as it collaborated with noted producer Nick Lowe. In 1986, The Fabulous Thunderbirds reached a commercial peak with the album, “Tuff Enuff”. The single of the same title as well as the singles “Wrap It Up” and “Look At That”, all went top 40. The song, “Tuff Enuff” was featured in the film “Gung Ho” starring Michael Keaton.
For the remainder of the ’80s, the band continued to record and tour, and released the album, “Powerful Stuff”. Jimmie Vaughn left in 1989 but Wilson kept the group going, incorporating keyboards into the guitar-driven sound. Kim moved back to California in 1996, continuing to cultivate the T-Birds music.
“The thing about the T-Birds is that we can play both blues festival and rock venues,” Wilson comments. “We’re a diversified band now and everybody’s on the same page.”
As a side project Wilson formed Kim Wilson’s Blues Revue, a traditional blues band. He also owns a blues label, Blue Collar Music, that has released three albums – one by Kim, one by “Big Al” Blake and one by Fred Kaplan. Wilson has also recorded and written with noted session guitarist Danny Kortchmar and drummer Steve Jordan and may tour with them at some point. However his current focus remains The Fabulous Thunderbirds. “This is a great time for this band,” he says. “We’re looking forward to the future.”
“The road goes on forever…”
It’s not always easy to sum up a career — let alone a life’s ambition — so succinctly, but those five words from Robert Earl Keen’s calling-card anthem just about do it.
You can complete the lyric with the next five words — the ones routinely shouted back at Keen by thousands of fans a night (“and the party never ends!”) — just to punctuate the point with a flourish, but it’s the part about the journey that gets right to the heart of what makes Keen tick. Some people take up a life of playing music with the goal of someday reaching a destination of fame and fortune; but from the get-go, Keen just wanted to write and sing his own songs, and to keep writing and singing them for as long as possible. Continue reading
Lankum is a four-piece group from Dublin, Ireland with an alchemical ability to combine traditional folk roots with contemporary undercurrents to forge music that is dark, mysterious and transcendental. Continue reading
Amending the Past: “Teaching through Textiles,” the history of our nation
In the Spring of 2019, Artist Rhonda M Fazio, Art Specialist Karen Graca and her textile students from Kuss Middle School began a conversation to express thoughts on the 13th and 19th Amendments of the United States America. Continue reading
Thor’s Hammer is a socio-political exhibit based on Marvel Comics imagery. Each sculpture reimagines an aspect of Marvel Comics in the context of current issues. While the art was inspired by Marvel Comics, it’s not about the comics. It’s Marvel Comics with a twist. Continue reading
I use systems and mathematical patterns to make work about space, optics, and perception. I want to create spaces that embody a sense of the something sacred; spaces that transport. I’m searching for a sense of liminality, for spaces in flux that are questionable or invite questions about the real, the physical, and the metaphysical. In these spaces I gain a better understanding of materials, movement, and myself. I think a lot about balance, equilibrium, and harmony. These are impossible ideals to attain, yet I attempt it again and again and fail. I think these failures teach me the most about how to be a better artist and a better person. Continue reading