Interview with Skylar Rogers: Blues has given us an understanding of the past: Video, Photos

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Interview with Soul Rockin’ Blues singer Skylar Rogers – strong, passionate, and energetic artist.

How has the Blues, Soul and Rock music influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

I tend to feel the vibes of music, as in the physical sound waves. It helps me understand that yes, the world sucks right now, but these genres in particular have taught us well that though times may be bad, we’ll get through, and brighter days are ahead. I’ve dealt with some of my darkest times with the help of music. It’s my therapy. I truly do believe that music survives the worst, and celebrates the best.

How do you describe your sound, music philosophy and songbook? Where does your creative drive come from?

It took some experimentation for me to find my sound! I would describe it as complex as life itself. It’s a never back down, unafraid sound. Hard Headed Woman is an example of this: she knows it’s going to cost her everything, but she refuses to back down. All of my songs reflect something personal. You can’t sing any form of the blues if you haven’t had the blues. Even in future projects, I will still be drawing on personal experiences, even if they’re in the third person.

Are there any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

One of my favorite moments with my brothers (Blue Diamonds) was the final show before the shutdown, in Springfield, IL. I truly discovered who I was that day. You can see the difference in the pictures from previous shows, and look at the pictures from the Springfield show. Another time was when I was down from having a major surgery. I told the guys that I knew they had other obligations, so I told them if they wanted to go, I wouldn’t have blamed them. Every last one of them said they were with me no matter what. My eyes got sweaty from the onion cutting ninjas. We became more than just a band…we were a family.

What do you miss most nowadays from the blues of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

I miss the originality. Sounds harsh, but while at the IBC in Memphis, I heard Bobby Rush say, ‘There’s nothing new anymore. It’s all been done before.’ There is so much truth in that. We are simply building on the foundation that the pioneers built for us. Sure, we can rearrange styles, combine genres, add different sounds, etc., but we will never be able to reinvent the wheel. One hope I have for the future is that our blended styles of blues become more acceptable. The genre lines are so blurred at this point, that you can’t hear a song and say, “that’s not blues.” I know there will be purists out there who will look on us with disdain, but if we all played the same thing, how boring would that be?

What would you say characterizes Chicago blues scene in comparison to other local US scenes and circuits?

The Chicago blues scene is all about keeping it simple, and in more intimate settings, one of the exceptions being the House Of Blues, of course. There’s something about that amped harp and guitar being right in your face, and the interaction with the audience that early Chicago blues artists were known for. It’s a party, and everyone was invited!

What does to be a female artist in a Man’s World as James Brown says? What is the status of women in music?

My mother was in a male dominated industry (commercial roofer). I worked in male dominated industries for years: military, truck driver, municipal bus driver, even security. There’s a very delicate balance of hanging with the boys and maintaining your identity as a woman. I watched my mom do it, and learned it from her. Women in music have had to maintain that same balance, and it’s even harder now more than ever: we basically have to fly to get to where a man can walk to. I am proud to say that we ladies are holding our own, and are definitely a force to be reckoned with!!

What is the impact of Blues on the civil & human rights, feminist, political and socio-cultural implications?

Wow, that’s a deep and slightly loaded question. Blues has given us an understanding of the past, which we can use to unite in the present. We truly need to listen to the voices of the past, and listen carefully. It gave the black man a way to voice his struggles that he otherwise would not have the chance to speak of so freely. Blues has shown us that the ladies have paid their dues and have earned the right to stand side by side with the fellas. They’ve done so since the times of Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Gladys Bentley. Now we have Samantha Fish, Annika Chambers, Shemekia Copeland, and, well…lil ol me. Unfortunately, there is an undercurrent of tension between white and black blues artists. I was going to jam with a band on Beale, and was told I better know some black standards. I walked away, angry. What the heck was the difference between a black band and a white band? WHY was there a difference? I was listening to a show on Bluesville, and the dj classified the artist he’d just played as ‘one of the greatest of the white blues players.’ Disgusted, I changed the station. There will always be the debate of who the blues is for, who has the right to play it, and who shouldn’t. My take on it? BLUES IS FOR EVERYONE! Young, old, white, black, polka dotted. Acknowledge where the music came from, and respectfully play to that.

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?

I’ve learned that this is NOT for the faint of heart!! You’re either all in, or you need to get out. Also, no matter what, you HAVE to be true to who you are. You can’t be afraid to do what you really want. You do it, and people either like it or they don’t. If they don’t oh well…it simply wasn’t for them. I’ve also learned to not take things personally. There’s no time to. You process, decide if it makes you better, great. If not, out the other ear it goes. This is your little company, and YOU are the CEO. You will make bad decisions, after all, you’re human. But you learn, and keep it moving, And lastly, NEVER get comfortable. EVER. Always reach for something higher.

Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really want to go for a whole day?

Just one day? Let me sit and learn from 1990’s Tina Turner. She was the epitome of the overcomer. I would love to hear her talk about how she decided to do something no one would expect her to do: become the Queen of Rock and Roll. I’d love to know what her thought process was, if she immediately walk in her truth, or did it intimidate her? So many questions!!!!! If you ever see this, Queen Tina, let me pick you brain for a day!

Interview by Michael Limnios / Photos by Kay Marie

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Interview with Joanna Connor: There is a big concern that the blues is whitewashed in a sense: Video, Photos

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Interview with Chicago-based slide guitar virtuoso and singer-songwriter, Joanna Connor – one of the reigning Queens of blue rock guitar.

How has the Blues and Rock culture influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

I’ve lived the life of a musician for almost my entire life. My views of the world were always inclusive, and curious and fascinated with cultures and art and spirituality, so bring an artist fit into that life view. I have seen a lot of sexism in my business and experienced a lot of it when I was younger, it’s a very me dominated field. The younger generations have brought new abs I believe, better and more accepting attitudes and more women and girls are making music abs in the business.

How do you think that you have grown as an artist since you first started and what has remained the same?

I have grown as an artist, as I have grown as a human, what is inside is reflected in my music and creative process. I know myself more, I have untangled parts of myself, so I feel as artist o am more expressive.

How do you describe 4801 South Indiana Ave. songbook on Joe Bonamassa’s new independent blues record label Keeping The Blues Alive on February 26, 2021? What has made you laugh from album’s sessions?

We chose the album title ‘4801 South Indiana Avenue’ because it was the actual street address of the hallowed funky blues sanctuary ‘Theresa’s Lounge.’ We want the listener to open that door, walk in and feel to their core some of the magic that a place like that brought night after night. It was an honor to bring this to you, the listener.. Joe Bonamassa has a dry and quirky sense of humor, which I adore. The songbook is a variety in styles of blues and nit typical covers, it’s a bit deeper in the artists catalogs

Which meetings have been the most important experiences? Are there any memories which you’d like to share?

I was supposed to go backstage abs meet Stevie Ray Vaughan at what turned out to be his last show, and o declined, saying, no I will meet him when we play on a fest somewhere together. And then- he’s gone, so as I was sitting next to Reece Wynans in the studio, where he was absolutely laying it down so beautifully, I stayed to cry. It hit me- I never got to play with Stevie, but here is his keyboard player playing on my album, and he’s set up next to me. When Reece saw me, he said something like Girl, I’m not that good!! I kinda laughed. I didn’t tell him why I was crying,

What would you say characterizes Chicago blues scene in comparison to other US local scenes and circuits?

Chicago is still the Eli center of blues. It’s still dominated by black musicians. And I’m sorry, but they bring the fire, the soul, the sensuality.

What do you miss most nowadays from the blues of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

Most of the greats are gone, headliners and side people. The level of musicianship is weaker, less inventive. I have no thoughts on the future because of this pandemic. We are living in intense times.

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?

I have learned that you need enough ego or confidence to play and perform, but ultimately you have to get your ego out of the way and let the music flow out of you as a gift to the listeners abs other musicians you are playing with

What is the impact of blues on the racial, political, human rights, feminist, and socio-cultural implications?

There is a big concern that the blues is whitewashed in a sense….

Interview by Michael Limnios

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Interview with Joseph Mojo Morganfield: I think Blues can be a happy song as well: Video, Photos

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Interview with blues singer Joseph “Mojo” Morganfield – Muddy Waters‘ youngest son is a rising star on the Chicago blues scene.

How has the Blues music influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

Having Blues at an early age, seeing my father’s trials and tribulations, seeing current events happening in the world…the Blues has made me stronger, with a thick skin, I have learned to hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

How do you describe your music philosophy and songbook? What was the hardest part to be Muddy’s son?

My music is definitely influenced by my father, with a more up to date approach. I don’t necessarily like “old fashioned” Blues – I think Blues can be a happy song as well.

The high expectations of being Muddy’s son – people compare me to Muddy. They need to realize there is only one Muddy Waters. I am trying to make a way for Mojo Morganfield.

Which meetings have been the most important experiences? What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?

Bob Margolin – knowing him as a kid and performing with him as an adult – we have an unbreakable bond.
Best advise was from my father – he taught me to be true to myself – to be me – people are going to like you or they’re not but you have to be true to yourself.

What do you miss most nowadays from the blues of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

I miss the stories and comraderies – when a musician was a musician and didn’t have to be in your band to perform on stage. I miss traveling with my band – now there are bands waiting for you. My dad would have never gone for that. His band went everywhere with him.

That the Blues will continue – we need to reach out to youth, to continue to find and encouraged young talent.

Why do you think that Delmark Records continues to generate such a devoted following?

It is the oldest American Jazz/Blues record label, and its right here in Chicago. With that recognition they can reach a lot of people. That is why I chose Delmark to release my new single “It’s Good to be King”.

What would you say characterizes Chicago blues scene in comparison to other US local scenes and circuits?

Chicago Blues is the capital of Blues – founded in Mississippi, but different in St Louis and Tennessee, made more of an urban sound in Chicago. My dad changed the dynamics – Chicago doesn’t use horns, we use a harp instead. Two guitars, a rhythm and a lead, we added a piano. That’s the Chicago way.

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?

Always have a rehearsal with a new band. Encourage others – especially younger – you never know who is the next Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters, or Howling Wolf. Stay humble.

What is the impact of Blues on the racial and socio-cultural implications? How do you want it to affect people?

The Blues changed. When my father was a young man the blues was a black audience, but when Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones, and Johnny Winters introduced the world to my father the Blues became white overnight. But the Blues is the foundation of music and crosses cultural borders – no boundaries – meaning age or race.

Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really want to go for a whole day?

1941 – Clarksdale MS to the day Alan Lomax recorded a young Muddy Waters for the Library of Congress. I also want to find Robert Johnson to see how great he was.

Interview By Michael Limnios / Photos by Connie Carroll

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Rehearsal 🎤🎵🎤🎵🎤🎵🎤🎵 - Joseph Mojo Morganfield | Facebook

Rehearsal 🎤🎵🎤🎵🎤🎵🎤🎵 - Joseph Mojo Morganfield | Facebook

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Interview with Gregg Martinez: Bayou Blues, Creole Soul: Full concert video, Photos

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Interview with Gregg Martinez: A rhythm and blues singer and purveyor of the south Louisiana genre called Swamp Pop.

How has the NOLA music and heritage influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

I live and I am based out of New Orleans, but I was born and raised in Lafayette, heart of the Cajun country so my heritage is that. The majority of Cajun people never move away from their native region- been that way for many generations. I, on the other hand, did relocate a couple of times and have traveled extensively both statewide and abroad, but that heritage was always a huge part of me wherever I went. However, the music of New Orleans has had a huge impact on me, especially blues and New Orleans funk.

How do you describe your sound, music philosophy and songbook? Where does your creative drive come from?

I describe it as Bayou Blues/Creole Soul, which means Soul/Blues with a distinct Louisiana flavor and personality. My music philosophy is very simple. Heartfelt, sincere, authentic, organic music that tells a story and paints a picture. My songbook is very diverse: I am a product of my influences which includes most of the Soul legends (Cooke, Redding, Pickett, Aretha, Al Green, Bobby Bland,) but also an eclectic list of others including Linda Ronstadt, Nat King Cole, Luther Vandross, Delbert McClinton… I have recorded standards such as September Song, That Lucky Old Sun, to R. Kelly songs, even a Merle Haggard song. My creative drive was always there, I don’t remember ever not singing. I started publicly at eight years old in church, but the old folks told stories of me singing well before that.

Which meetings have been the most important experiences? What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?

Meeting jazz musician Joe Ambrosia in 1984. His influence with a prominent booking agency set me on a new career path of national touring. Which led to meeting Keith Benson, session drummer with the legendary MFSB- the Sound of Philadelphia (O-Jays, Teddy Pendergrass, Spinners, Patti Labelle…) Learned a great deal from Keith. Best advice was to treat everyone, no matter their station, as important, and no matter where you go or how far, never forget where you came from.

Are there any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

First time at New Orleans Jazzfest was a dream come true, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia was memorable, Festival International in Lafayette, LA with my heroes in front of thousands of friends and family. Opening for BTO in TX- crowd was farther than I could see, and opening for Bobby Blue Bland. Recording in Muscle Shoals, AL was also a dream come true.

What do you miss most nowadays from the music of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

Don’t get me started. I’ll just say I miss everything about the music from the past- today you’ve got rap.

What would you say characterizes Louisiana’s music scene in comparison to other local US scenes and circuits?

Easy one. Louisiana is the most musical state in the country. No other state has the various cultures that we do. Many states have no culture of their own at all. LA has several, and the music scene reflects it.

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in music paths?

Everything is relative to the amount of work you put in. When I was in my twenties, I was mostly interested in the lifestyle that being a music artist brought. I didn’t take it serious or begin to work at it until mid-thirties. By then I had squandered many opportunities that don’t come around again. You need to have a vision for your career, set short term and long term goals, and work like hell to achieve them…

What is the impact of music on the socio-cultural implications? How do you want it to affect people?

Music has had a tremendous impact on social awareness and pop culture. Two cases in point when I was growing up: Bob Dylan had a huge impact on raising awareness during the turbulent 60s that still resonates today. The Beatles changed the way young men looked worldwide. I believe music should inspire, uplift, invoke depth of feelings, and at times bring joy to peoples’ hearts.

Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really want to go for a whole day?

Assuming you mean from a musical aspect I would say January 24, 1967- the day Aretha Franklin recorded her first hit I Never Loved A Man in Muscle Shoals, AL. By all accounts it was a tense, yet electric, and ultimately historic recording session to witness.

Interview by Michael Limnios / Photo by Gus Bennett

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Interview with Michael Kaeshammer: Boogie On The Blues Highway: Video, Photos

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Interview with Canada-based pianist/singer Michael Kaeshammer: Boogie On The Blues Highway

How has the Blues and Jazz Counterculture influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

Through my father’s record collection and his constant ragtime and Boogie Woogie piano playing at home, Blues and Jazz music has been a part of my life as far back as I can remember. The music and its lyrical content mostly touch on everyday life and is a direct reflection to what’s going on historically in a country and era. It’s this honesty to say and stand for what you believe in and what your daily life consists of, that has influenced not just my own writing and music but my life in general. Over the years, it becomes so much a part of you that you don’t identify it anymore as Blues and Jazz but just as music that lives within yourself.

How do you describe your sound, music philosophy and songbook? Where does your creative drive come from?

I’ve had many musical interests from the time I was a child until today, and I continue to search and grow (one of the most important aspects of being a writer and musician). My sound is a reflection of all the music that I have shown an interest to in my life, from Ragtime/New Orleans Jazz/Kansas City Blues to R&B/Memphis Soul/Early Rock’n’Roll to Pop Music/Hard Rock/70s Rock, even Classical music. It’s all music and it all has a part in my sound because I have immersed myself in these styles at one point or other in my life. The way I play the piano is the way I want to hear the piano played, that’s why I play it that way.

Which meetings have been the most important experiences? What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?

Two come to mind. First, a recording session with Art Neville and Eddie Bo in New Orleans. Simply listening to their stories and becoming their friends taught me more about music than any university or other teacher ever could have. Second, backing up New Orleans singer Marva Wright at Storyville on Bourbon Street changed my life as a musician. Her approach to finding a deeper meaning to be on stage and connecting with an audience has stuck with me to this day.

Are there any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

Besides the two mentioned in answer number 3, a recording session with Curtis Salgado and another with Cyril Neville for my “Something New” record come to mind. Drummer Johnny Vidacovich’s approach to music has also left a lasting impression on me.

What do you miss most nowadays from the music of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

I think it’s important to stay with the times. Real music and real art has always been a reflection of the times they were created in. Today we live with lots of technology and electronic gadgets, so it’s a good thing that these things get incorporated in today’s music (although I don’t do it and it’s generally not done in the Blues and Jazz genre). My point is that innovation and change in music is healthy and even necessary. The problem with this is that a musician’s ability (or lack thereof) can be altered to anything with this technology in the studio, and so what I miss the most from music in the past is that recordings are not about capturing a performance anymore as much as they are about making someone sound good who actually doesn’t. Although the best music today is still about capturing the best performance.

What touched (emotionally) you and what are the secrets of 88 keys? What do you love most of playing piano?

Life is the single most important inspiration and the easiest way to let your emotions reflect in your music. The secret to the 88 keys (and I think to any instrument) is that you transcend the fact that you are dealing with styles, key centres, 12 notes or an instrument that is generally considered a furniture piece. You have to get to the point of letting the instrument be a part of you, not to sit at the instrument and play it but rather become one with it. And that is what I love the most about playing piano. It’s like having a whole symphony orchestra at the tips of your 10 fingers.

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?

Be yourself and stay true to it. Do what you do and try to do it the best way and let an audience gravitate towards you. Don’t try to please an audience because you think they like something that’s not fully yourself.

What is the impact of music on the socio-cultural implications? How do you want it to affect people?

Music for a listener is a vehicle to let emotions come out and run free. The style of music is completely irrelevant; lucky so many people love so many different styles of music, it would be terrible if everyone would be the same. Music can soothe you when you’re going through challenging times, music can inspire you when you need to lifted up, music can bring you joy when you’re happy, music can be romantic when you’re close to another person, music can be political when you’re trying to make a stand, and so on. Music if life. Life is music.

Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really want to go for a whole day?

1824 in Vienna to be part of the first performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.

Interview by Michael Limnios / Photos by Tine Acke

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Interview with Sass Jordan: Rebel Moon Blues: Video, Photos

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Interview with Canadian vocalist Sass Jordan: a pioneer of powerful, gritty female-fronted rock and blues performer released her album “Rebel Moon Blues”.

How has the Blues and Rock Counterculture influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

I would say that those things gave me a outlet to express myself, and to know that I am not alone – and an opportunity to make others feel less alone. Music is a very healing thing, and it crosses all kinds of barriers, be they cultural or geographical.

How do you describe your sound and songbook? What characterize new album’s music philosophy?

I don’t describe my sound … I let other people do that! I have no idea, really. I just sound like me, to me. The new album’s musical philosophy is to interpret the love and joy that I want to transmit, and have a fantastic time doing it!

Which meetings have been the most important experiences? Are there any memories from gigs and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

I think one of the most important meetings in my life recently is getting to work with David Bowie’s piano player, Mike Garson, who is like a mentor to me on many levels. Also, working with some of my childhood idols, like Joe Cocker, and Steve Miller.

What do you miss most nowadays from the music of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

I don’t really miss anything – I think music is timeless in a lot of cases. The most important thing to me in music is the energy and intention of the people playing it.

Make an account of the case of Rock n’ Blues in Canada. Which is the most interesting period in local scene?

I’m not sure that there was any one period in particular. There are always interesting things going on, you just have to find them. Also, I don’t necessarily see music as having geographical borders.

What touched (emotionally) you from Janis’ music and life? What does to be a female artist in a Man’s World as James Brown says? What is the status of women in music?

Interestingly enough, I was never really a fan of Janis Joplin – but after I did the show of her life, I gained a huge respect and admiration for what she was dealing with, and her emotional intensity. Being a female in rock music has never been particularly easy, because it is not something that has ever been hugely popular on a large scale. I think the more aggressive nature of rock has always been more acceptable as a man, although that is changing now.  Women have a far greater presence and status now than they ever did before.

What is the impact of Blues and Rock music and culture on the racial, political and socio-cultural implications?

That is difficult for me to say, as I can’t say if it was the influence of the music, or if it was the other way around. People have always used art forms as a way to comment on the culture of the day, and music is an excellent way to do it.

Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really want to go for a whole day?

WOW – cool question!!! But SO HARD to choose! I think I would love to go to the future, say the year 3000, and see what is going on musically in that time frame!!

Interview by Michael Limnios

Photos by Gernot Mangold & Derek Sharp

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Interview with Jim Roberts: Blues – Rock – Americana highway from Detroit city south to Mississippi: Video

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Interview with singer-songwriter, slide guitarist Jim Roberts – his new album “A Month of Sundays” takes us once more down the Blues-Rock-Americana highway from Detroit City south to Mississippi.

What do you learn about yourself from the blues music and what does the blues mean to you?

When I started playing guitar as a teenager, it was mostly about learning licks from cool blues/rock guitar players and wanting to play like them. I had little understanding of where the blues came from or what it actually meant…just a lot of adrenaline. I had no sense of any history then. I am much older now and have had my share of life experiences, from the joyous to the tragic. For me “Blues” is about the human life experience set to music. In that sense, all musicians who play from the heart and soul are playing “the blues.”

Where does your creative drive come from? Do you consider the Blues a specific music genre or it’s a state of mind?

For me, any creative drive simply comes from the sheer love of music and all of life’s experiences (from joyful to tragic.) The influences and stories of friends and musicians, also help to shape what I do. My studio is a laboratory of sorts. Ideas are cultivated there – just like a painter, colors are added to a musical canvas and songs are created and developed. It’s a process which drives me to leave my personal musical legacy in sound. Regarding “The Blues,” as a genre – I understand the need for people to put music into easy to categorize boxes. But I like to combine different musical elements. I play the Blues, but I’m not a Blues purist in any sense. History aside, for me the blues is more of a state of mind.

What would you say characterizes “A Month of Sundays” new album in comparison to other previous two albums?

There’s more collaboration going on. My musical partner, Rick Hollander has co-written half of the songs on the new album and his contributions bring interesting elements to the table. Rick is a stringed multi-instrumentalist and a masterful bass guitarist. I like to say that he brings a certain urban sophistication to my rural influences. My good friend Grant Cihlar has also contributed to this project. He co-wrote Miss Motor City 1963 on which he also played slide guitar.

Are there any memories from “A Month of Sundays” studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

Just having all the musicians dropping by to add their parts in my little home studio was memorable. It got a little crowded sometimes! Bringing together all the musicians, creative elements, songwriting, recording, mixing and doing most of it myself. There was a time when I was afraid my computer skills would not be up to the task. It’s been a bit of a learning curve, but I must say that I enjoyed the engineering part immensely and I’m proud of the end results.

How has the Blues and Rock n’ Roll culture influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

Playing the blues has allowed me to connect with music lovers all over the world. I am currently in France promoting the new CD. Music is indeed the universal language.

What are the lines that connect the legacy of Roots, Blues, Rock and Americana from Detroit City to Mississippi?

Americana seems to be the category that best encompasses Blues, Roots and Rock music together. It all began with Blues singers from the delta playing on solo acoustic guitars and ended up in the amplified Rock bands of the 1970’s. Growing up in the Mid-West, I was influenced by it all. You can hopefully hear it in the following songs from the album: “Miss Motor City 1963” (a real rocker co-written by Grant Cihlar and myself) and “What Her Evil do,” an acoustic Mississippi Delta type tune with Cigar Box Guitar, Mandolin and Harmonica are two examples…thus the reference from Detroit City down to Mississippi.

Which acquaintances have been the most important experiences? What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?

Well I would have to say that my father had the greatest influence on me becoming a musician. He had been a professional accordion player in Chicago back in the 30’s and 40’s. When I was growing up, he was always playing music and singing around the house. He would entertain folks who came over to visit and was always the life of the party. My mom also sang (although not professionally,) so I grew up surrounded by lots of music. However, my Dad was a child of The Depression and he wanted me to have a better life. So when I saw the Beatles as a teenager on The Ed Sullivan Show, I (like so many other red blooded teenagers) wanted to play the guitar. I don’t think my Dad really wanted me to pursue a music career. He knew how tough it was to be on that road. He tried to get me to pursue other possibilities over the years. As the saying goes: Don’t quit your day job!”

Are there any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

I fell off the back of the stage once, but let’s not go there!

What do you miss most nowadays from the blues of past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

Everything is a snapshot in time. I love listening to the old blues records. When Charley Patton, Son House, Muddy Waters, etc were learning their chops and playing in the South, they were taking the music they had heard from other musicians and recreating it…making it their own. The same is happening today. However, we must be careful. We need to step back from technology and get back to playing music made by people, not machines. I am an optimist by nature. If creative real musicians keep making music from their heart and soul, and that emotion is conveyed over whatever the latest technology is, then I think we will be OK.

Make an account of the case of the blues in L.A. What characterize the sound and philosophy of local circuits?

West Coast Jump Blues, Rockabilly stuff, Chicago sounds are a few examples. But you can find all types of Blues in Los Angeles. There are lots of great players with crowds of people and traffic everywhere. It’s exciting and intoxicating, but easy to get distracted. There are a lot of “pay for play” venues (especially in Hollywood.) I would argue that today’s LA is not necessarily the best city to play “live” music in. Los Angelenos have so many options of what to do at any given time, that it’s hard to get their attention. This is of course my opinion only. I have lived in LA for over forty years now and discovered I’m basically a country boy at heart. I think Memphis or Nashville would be better choices for musicians looking to play live music. That being said, there is a small dedicated and growing Blues community in Los Angeles. Music is alive and well at many of the jam sessions and gigs in the city.

What touched (emotionally) you from your tour in France? What are the differences European and US scene?

The Auvergne region in France is now my second home and I love it there. French audiences in particular and European audiences in general are most appreciative and treat American musicians with enthusiasm and respect. The language is a struggle for me, but a smile can go a long way! It’s a musical adventure there: the food, the wine, the history, village life, the peace and solitude of the countryside. It’s exactly where I want to be at this time in my life.

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in music paths?

That music truly is the universal language. Life is precious and short…be as happy as you can be. Smile and share the music. Spread the love and follow your heart. Prepare to succeed…Don’t let anyone dissuade you from following your dreams. Cliche I know, but absolutely true. Don’t let “A Month of Sundays” pass you by.

What are the lines that connect the legacy of Southern Music from Blues, Soul and Rock Jam to Country and Folk?

It was the marriage of Black African music and European music brought together over time…played by countless musicians and passed on generation to generation that has brought us to where we are now. It’s all connected. I believe too much emphasis is placed on categorizing and labeling everything. Good music is just good music and I like it all. Musicians bring their individual personalities and creativity into the mix and that gives us the diversity in music that we label: folk, rock, blues, etc.

What touched (emotionally) you from the Resophonic and box-guitar sound? What are the secrets of slide?

The sound of glass (or metal) over steel strings has a vocal quality that I just love. Vibrato and pitch can be manipulated to sound more like the human voice. The resonator guitar has a sweet hollow sound that I really like and of course slide on the electric guitar can scream at you. The 3-string Cigar Box Guitar I play slide on is a primitive instrument. Simple in construction, but possessing a haunting sound that captures the imagination. As far as the secrets of slide…damping is very important. Damping is when you drag your index and middle fingers of your slide hand over the strings behind the slide. That helps to minimize overtones and makes what you play sound cleaner. Of course, pitch and vibrato are ever important and it takes time to get your notes sounding clean and accurate. Most people pick up a slide, run it across the strings a few times and give up. It takes a long time to develop good slide technique. Don’t give up!

What is the impact of Blues and Rock n’ Roll music on the racial, political and socio-cultural implications?

Wow … that sounds like politics! I don’t try to influence anyone to think like me… too many arguments and disagreements these days. I’m gonna stay away from that one!

Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really want to go for a whole day?

Musically … How about the Allman Bros at the Fillmore East when Duane was tearer it up on slide or Muddy Waters in his prime in Chicago. I could definitely spend a whole day there. Tell “Doctor Who” to drop by and pick me up!

Interview by Michael Limnios

Photos by Madeline Besson

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Interview with Rae Gordon: Blues and Soul Experiences: Video, Photos

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Interview with Oregon-based singer/songwriter Rae Gordon: serves up a potent stew of gritty blues and heartfelt soul – soaring vocals with searing guitar counterpoint, high-energy horns and a hard-driving rhythm section with the power of a freight train.

How has Blues and Soul music influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

I love how music can make strangers into friends. Music brings people together from different generations and backgrounds and can be a relationship healer. I’ve seen for myself that people can connect with each other on a deeper level using music as a conduit. I have always loved the lyrics of blues and soul songs; they offer some of the deepest and moving words that evoke real feelings in the listener. Recognizing yourself in a song can help you feel not so alone anymore.  When I’m onstage singing one of my original songs and I see someone in the audience singing along to it, maybe thinking, “Yeah, me too” – there’s nothing as sweet as that!

How do you describe your sound and songbook? Where does your creative drive come from?

The sound of our band is always swaying back and forth between blues and soul, often creating a potent mix of the two. We try to be fun, danceable, emotional, gritty – but always focusing on a strong groove and attitude. For the songs on our new CD, “Wrong Kind Of Love,” we wanted to deliver a lot of different styles, the same way we do in a live performance. So, we put a lowdown barroom blues on there, a funk tune, a soulful ballad, a slide-drenched uptempo song – the whole range.

My drive to create comes out of my life experiences and having something to say about what I’ve been through. I used to feel like I needed to prove something, but more and more now I realize that I have just as much to say as anybody else, and that my stories are worth telling. So, I try to tell them, and with the songs on “Wrong Kind Of Love” we tried to maybe go deeper and more thoughtful than we had on previous albums.

Are there any memories from gigs, jams, opening acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

In 2017, our band found ourselves on the stage of the historic Orpheum Theatre in Memphis during the International Blues Challenge finals. We’d spent three days watching incredible performances by acts from all over the world in both intimate and big venues on and around the renowned Beale Street. We made new friends, became new fans and experienced the wonderful camaraderie of a community that knows no borders. It was a surreal experience, and placing 3rd is a memory that I will cherish forever – not just because I got to perform in front of an international crowd, but also because I got to experience it with some of the best bandmates I have ever worked with.

What do you miss most nowadays from the music of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of music?

I hear from local musicians who started in the profession way earlier than I did that they once could make a really good living. They owned homes, had families and were full-time musicians. These days, though, most people say that you can’t do only music and still survive; you have to supplement it with other work. A bass player friend of mine calls it the “crazy musician quilt” – odd jobs patched together so that you can afford to do your music. It would be great if local musicians could make ends meet solely by playing music. I’m grateful for my own “crazy musician quilt” to be able to do this as my main living, but I hope that in the future there will be more opportunities to do solely music and survive.

If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

I really wish that music got as much emphasis in our schools as math and language do. When I was in elementary school, music class really grabbed my attention and I enjoyed it so much, but then the school decided to discontinue the music program and I was so disappointed. As a result, I ended up embracing music much later in life. I know that there are a lot of passionate people working hard to bring music back into the schools, and I’m grateful for the kids who do get to discover the magic of music earlier on.

What does it mean to be a female artist in a “Man’s World,” as James Brown says? What is the status of women in music?

Well, women are frequently at a disadvantage compared to men, and the music industry is no exception. There are unfortunate stereotypes about female singers and players, it’s tougher for women to get signed, festivals often don’t book many female artists, things like that. But in the blues world, we’re lucky to have advocates who help showcase women in blues locally, nationally and internationally. I became a board member of the National Women in Blues organization last year. I was so inspired by Portland musician and club owner Sonny Hess and her work to support and showcase Oregon women in blues that when the opportunity came from Michele Seidman at the national level, I took it!  Don’t forget, we also have had tough, courageous icons like Etta James, Koko Taylor, Big Mama Thornton and so many others who really blazed trails and showed us how to get it done. So, I’m inspired by their success, and then I look at younger artists like Annika Chambers, Shemekia Copeland, Lisa Mann, Samantha Fish, Terrie Odabi, so many others I admire – and I feel like things are just getting better and better for us all. I’m proud to be part of that trend. It may have been a “Man’s World,” but “it wouldn’t be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl!”

How would you describe the state of the blues in Oregon? What characterize the sound of the local scene?

The Portland, Oregon blues scene has an amazing variety of players, people who are great at traditional blues, contemporary, soul music, R&B, funk – they’re all here. Our blues community has such a solid reputation that we see a lot of top-notch players relocating here from out of state to be part of the scene. Any night of the week you can find a good music act to dance to at multiple venues in the Portland metro area; and if you need inspiration, the professional blues dancers of our community can often be found on the dance floors of small and large venues.  But most importantly, our blues community is made up of good-hearted people who welcomed me when I first moved here and helped me find my musical footing in the Northwest. When I travel out of state, I frequently meet musicians who tell me the great things they’ve heard about the Portland blues scene. Maybe it’s something in the rain?

What are some of the most important you have learned from your experiences in your musical paths?

The biggest lesson that I learned in my musical path is that I don’t walk it alone. I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing and living my dreams without people who took the time from their own experiences to share with me and help me learn and grow. And I’m always learning.

What is the impact of Blues and Soul music and culture on racial, political and socio-cultural situations?

Commenting on something like this can take you into pretty sensitive territory, but I would just say this: People are feeling a lot of strong emotions these days, and there’s a lot of division and very negative commentary over current events. We tried to touch on this a bit with the song “Get Right With The World” on our new CD; it talks about the importance of taking action over the things that matter to you instead of only talking about them. There’s an emphasis on acting NOW and coming to terms with the world: “Reach out a hand to those who can use it; live your life before you lose it.” I go back to what I said earlier about how music can be a healing force, and a way for people to come together over a common love for what moves and inspires them. That’s what we’re trying to do as musicians.

Let’s take a trip with a time machine – where would you really want to go for a whole day, and why?

There is a video out there of Janis Joplin singing “Ball and Chain” at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967.  It’s a gut-wrenching, emotional roller coaster of a performance that you can see and sense from her head down to her toes. It was a pure example of everybody in on it, from the audience to stage, one big ride everyone is on together. I wish I had been born early enough to be there. But Janis’ performance isn’t why I want to be there. It’s Mama Cass Elliot sitting in the audience with her mouth wide open, unable to contain her amazement. Look it up and check it out. I would love to board that time machine and hang with Cass.  How cool to experience the moment when a musical legend become an über-fan!

Interview by Michael Limnios

Photos by Alex McDougall

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Interview with Janiva Magness: Truth, Hope and Protest: Photos, Live full concert video 2019

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Interview with Grammy nominated artist Janiva Magness: new album “Change in the Weather: Janiva Magness Sings John Fogerty” is at the nexus of re-invention and tradition. “We are strong and solid as women in the Blues. I find many very talented women coming thru the ranks and find this very hopeful.”

With her new Change in the Weather: Janiva Magness Sings John Fogerty (2019), the Grammy®-nominated artist is at the nexus of re-invention and tradition. The album, released by Blue Élan Records, reframes 12 songs curated from the Creedence Clearwater Revival leader’s catalog in Magness’ soaring, soul-centered style. It also places her within the lineage of classic singers who have made albums devoted to exploring the work of a single writer within the Great American Songbook – a process that has yielded such historic recordings as Sarah Vaughan Sings George Gershwin and Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Songbook. A seven-time Blues Music Award winner, Magness has more than earned her right to sing the blues. Her life story comes straight out of a blues song. As she recounts in her soon-to-be-published memoir, she was born in Detroit, and among the fondest memories of her childhood were the sounds of her father’s blues and country record collection. Childhood was short lived for Magness, however; as an adolescent she lost both parents to suicide. She spent the next several years bouncing around the foster care system, a traumatic experience that inspired her adult advocacy involvement with a variety of foster care programs. As a young woman, her life was seemingly spiraling out of control. She was saved one night in Minneapolis when, underage, she snuck into a show by bluesman Otis Rush. She started down the path of a music career, working as a recording engineer before being coaxed out in front of a microphone as a backup singer and finally forming her own group in Arizona.

He has become her key songwriting foil and is the primary architect of the album’s gorgeous textural sound, which blends acoustic and electric instruments, flourishes of Latin percussion, horns and an enlightened approach to the studio to create perfect settings for her vocal prowess. And there’s more than range and craft to Magness’ voice. Her singing rings with sincerity. Since launching her career with 1992’s More Than Live, she has grown to become an accomplished storyteller and diviner of the heart, allowing songs like the title track, “Doorway” and “Say You Will” to reveal life’s potent truths. Magness explores her own turbulent youth, her rise to stardom and more in her just-finished, yet-untitled memoir—a book that took three years to write and has already inspired an in-the-works musical. Today Janiva Magness is one of the most beloved figures in the Americana, blues and roots music world. She’s reached a larger and more diverse audience with each succeeding album and developed a reputation as a live entertainer that’s made her a staple of the international festival circuit.

How has the Blues and Rock Counterculture influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

The Blues culture has had a deep and profound influence on my world simply because it is the music of the common man and woman. The working man and woman. The culture of the music itself has helped me understand in a deeply personal way that I am not alone in my struggle to survive and ultimately thrive against the odds.

Rock has had considerably less of an influence on me personally although I was exposed at a young age to the Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and some earlier rock bands like Led Zepplin. It is important to recognize of course these bands were greatly influenced by earlier blues music and musicians. Strangely for a young girl at age 14 years old I was far more interested Blues than any other music. That turned out to be great fortune in my case. Lucky me!

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your paths in music circuits?

To stay true to the music one must be true to themselves. Otherwise there is no connection between the music and audience. It becomes meaningless without that connection. And also, that persistence is critical. Keep pushing! Stay connected to the audience through the music!

How do you describe Janiva Magness sound and songbook? What characterize your music philosophy?

Blues, Memphis and Detroit Funkified Soul grooves and beautiful ballads. Tell the truth. Bring yourself to the music. The music is the vehicle, the job is connection.

What were the reasons that you started the Americana, Blues and Roots music researches and experiments?                                   Photo by Margaret Malandruccolo

Primarily as a way of spreading my wings creatively I suppose.  I was not thinking of it as an experiment as much as a stretching, creatively. And incorporating the latter musical influences which also encompass soul and funk as well as folk music. Then of course the writing began to come thru, and I believe the writing of new material, new songs is very important to the continuation of the music. I also believe it is very important to note that the “words” are simply that. Words that are used to define and quantify a craft. To quantify art so people can yes, find it possibly more accessible to the masses. However it can also be very confining and ultimately can do damage or even choke the music itself if we are not careful with how much importance we place on these “genre labels”. At the end of the day – at least to me the job is about connection. The vehicle is the music and I am grateful to be a part of the exchange with audiences. I consider it a blessing to be a musician – on most days.

What were the reasons that you started John Fogerty and CCR’s music researches and experiments?

I had covered a John Fogerty song – As Long As I Can See The Light only Grammy nominated album titled Love Wins Again and it was super fun to sing and reminded me of what a great writer Fogerty is. And doing a covers release gave me the mental bandwidth to also focus on finishing my Memoir – Weeds Like Us. Voila! Twins!

What would you say characterizes Fogerty’s songs in comparison to other American songwriters?

He has a great simplicity that is inherent in many of the greatest songwriters. Plus he straddles the Mason-Dixon line really well. Blues/Americana greasy flavors across the board. I love that stuff!

Why do you think that John Forgety and CCR music continues to generate such a devoted following?

Because he is just a stone great writer/artist! Because he was and still is writing about things that matter to regular working-class people. He seems to be unafraid to speak the truth in his writing and we need the truth more than ever before in times like these!

What touched (emotionally) you from Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, George Gershwin, and Cole Porter?

Personally, my favorite Ella Fitzgerald material is her earliest where she was doing very LITTLE vocal-ease. SO pure and simple and deeply moving. Gershwin and Porter are great writers and often write about the basic human experience in some very lush musical landscapes. It’s lovely!

“To stay true to the music one must be true to themselves. Otherwise there is no connection between the music and audience. It becomes meaningless without that connection. And also, that persistence is critical. Keep pushing! Stay connected to the audience through the music!”

Do you consider the Blues a specific music genre and artistic movement or do you think it’s a state of mind?

Well I think it is all of those things. The music business has quantified it as a genre, but those genre titles change over time. Originally the music business called bliss Folk music! Then rhythm & blues, now Blues. I do think to authentically write or perform Blues music one has to have or at least had the state of mind at one point in their lives.

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your paths in music circuits?

To stay true to the music one must be true to themselves. Otherwise there is no connection between the music and audience. It becomes meaningless without that connection. And also, that persistence is critical. Keep pushing! Stay connected to the audience through the music!

How has the Foster Care Alumni influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

Tremendously. It is impossible to articulate all of this to you but I can say that without the right placement in the Foster Care system I would have surely not have survived myself or the world.  As far as I am concerned I have the debt that cannot be repaid. So, my obligation and honor are to pay it forward as best I can. Our families are not always born of blood.

How important is the activism in your life and music? What is your dream and nightmare?

Very important on both fronts. My dream is to work less and earn more. My dream is for time to garden and a place to do that. A home that no one can force me to leave. Time with my husband a house pets. Peaceful nights and days. Time to do all the yoga I please!

My nightmare is a world in conflict that never ends. My nightmare is others suffering and being unable to help. My nightmare is not being able to take care of myself and suffering.

“Very important on both fronts. My dream is to work less and earn more. My dream is for time to garden and a place to do that. A home that no one can force me to leave. Time with my husband a house pets. Peaceful nights and days. Time to do all the yoga I please! (Photo by Margaret Malandruccolo)

What´s been the highlights in your life and career so far?

SO many it is difficult to count. Meeting Koko Taylor and her embracing me as an artist and friend. Taking a huge risk to begin to write songs and then stepping out onto a stage and seeing the audience mouth the words to my songs as I sing them! Being acknowledged by the Blues Foundation and given accolades for my work thru them including B.B. King Entertainer of the Year award given to me by B.B. King himself. Traveling so many places in the world to play my music including Mumbai India this year! I am STILL waiting to be asked to come to Greece and perform… Being nominated in the 2017 Grammy Awards for Best Contemporary Blues Album for Love Wins Again. Because I take my work so personally, this is priceless stuff to me.

What has made you laugh and what touched (emotionally) you from Otis Rush, BB King, and Koko Taylor?

All three had such raw passion for their craft and during performance. Otis had unbridled intensity to his playing. Energy that was truly wild to me. BB King had an ease and sophistication that compared to none. Koko was intense and joyful and very funny.

How do you describe your 2018 album “Love Is An Army” songbook and sound? Are there any memories from studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

It is a collection of original songs that we hope encourage and inspire others to stand and speak their truth. To stand up for other people in need. The world is in much trouble these days and the only way to get through these troubling times that I know of is to do that TOGETHER. We have greater power than we imagine and there is great strength in numbers. Wonderful feeling overall that there was a great synergy happening while we were recording it. This was true of not just the musicians but also the engineers and all there. It was a lovely time.

What does “Love” mean to you?

The taproot of the soul. the place we connect with each other internally and the reason for life is to manifest this in all its many ways. Through connection, through art, through being of service to another in need.

“It is one of the greatest modern musical art forms that introduced African American early cultures to the wider world and therefore has resonated beyond time – therefore influenced all modern musical genres from that point moving forward.” (Photo: Janiva Magness & B.B. King)

Which acquaintances have been the most important experiences? What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?

Certainly Otis Rush, BB King, Koko Taylor and Carrie – my final Foster Mother. Keep trying. Never give up. No prisoners taken.

What do you miss most nowadays from the music of past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

I miss the majority of musicians really respecting their craft and the history of the music. I would love to see more of that and less popular TALENT shows that focus on fame and more focus on the CRAFT of being a musician. I hope to continue to make records and play live, to more people as long as I am wanted. My fears of course are for some reason having to stop playing music which would leave me heartbroken.

What are the lines that connect the legacy of Blues with Soul and continue to Roots and Rock music?

Blues is a great America art form that was originating from field hollers of slaves and gospel music. That music then developed into a variation of styles moving forward. However all of this is tap rooted in the survival of peoples that came thru great struggle and hardship. THIS to me is why Blues in its many forms is so universal in its message and connection to the masses of the world. That became much more commercial when it was electrified and then performed by a white audience (Rock and Roll).

Why do you think that the American Roots music continues to generate such a devoted following?

That to me is very simple. American Roots music – as a broader umbrella of a category is the largest growing category of music today.  This is music that is focused largly on the songs (the stories) of other people, played on real instruments by real musicians. This is an experience that I believe we all crave whether we realize this or not. Because music is such a powerful medium. It speaks to the place where there are no words. I have always needed that kind of dialogue, like millions of other people. People want to hear songs with depth and meaning. Something personal to them to relate to and help carry us thru the day, week or month. American Roots music encompasses the elements of folk, blues, soul, bluegrass and early country music allowing for these kind of experiences.

“The Blues culture has had a deep and profound influence on my world simply because it is the music of the common man and woman. The working man and woman.”

What do you learn about yourself from the blues music and culture? What does the blues mean to you?

I have learned that Blues music knows no boundaries of race, religion or finance and that it will take all who embrace it as a healing force. It is home and it has held me for many years for which I am eternally grateful.

How do you describe your previous BLUE AGAIN (2017) EP sound and songbook? What characterize album’s philosophy?

This is a return to my taproot in sound and song selections. It is raw and right. My Producer Dave Darling and I, for some time now have talked about making a recording that represents a return to the taproot for me as an artist. The opportunity came this year and so we jumped on it. To make a very potent and to the point recording of some of my personal favorite traditional style Blues songs by some of my favorite artists. Then we thought we should add a few guests for fun so I asked Kid Ramos, Sugaray Rayford and TJ Norton to help us out. I think it worked out very well – yes?

What has made you laugh and what touched (emotionally) you from BLUE AGAIN studio sessions?

Laughing lately has been difficult. The world is in such troubling times. I have had to resort to cartoons and The Muppetts. Silly things and videos of animals that are fun to watch which helps lighten my mind for a moment or two. The sessions for Blue Again were very “live” and in that way where we played the songs a few times and hit the RED button to record and voila! The music was largely made. I am grateful for my band  – Gaary Davenport on Bass, Zach Zunis and Garrett Deloian on Guitars and Matt Tecu on Drums – all who play on the record and my Producer Dave Darling of course as well as the help from our dear friend Arlan Schierbaum on Hammond organ and various piano and Wurlitzer type instruments. Then as I already mentioned the special guests. It was a fantastic and very live experience and I am moved by how quickly it came together and the joy in playing the music itself.

What moment changed your life the most?

Hahaha! I wish it was a simple as one moment. There have been a series of miracles. True miracles in my life that have changed my heart and mind for the better. Countless gifts that have brought me to the place I am in now which is mostly joy and peacefulness. Music is certainly one of those!

“I have learned that Blues music knows no boundaries of race, religion or finance and that it will take all who embrace it as a healing force.” (Photo: Janiva & The Blues Connection, 1980)

What does to be a female artist in a “Man World” as James Brown says? What is the status of women in Blues?

Work twice as hard, be twice as smart and do not take other people’s problems personally (their sexism) is not MY problem, even though they may try to make it so. We are strong and solid as women in the Blues. I find many very talented women coming thru the ranks and find this very hopeful.

If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

That music would be reinstated into ALL early schooling programs as a requirement.

What is the impact of Blues and Soul music and culture to the racial, political and socio-cultural implications?

It is one of the greatest modern musical art forms that introduced African American early cultures to the wider world and therefore has resonated beyond time – therefore influenced all modern musical genres from that point moving forward.

What is the biggest revolution which can be realized today? What do you think the major changes will be in near or far future of the world?

We all need music more than ever before. These are very troubling times every where in the world. My hope is that we are able to rise up and overcome these issues we are all so concerned with for our lives and the future of children and grand childrens lives. The environment and the world economy. The quality of living we can access, healthcare, many many things we need to join together and rise up to help each other and fight the corporate greed that is a sickness in this world we live in. I believe we can do this, but we must join together in cause.

Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really want to go for a whole day?

Greece. For several months please!! With my husband and on tour for some of that time. Truly Greece is one of the two places I long to be before my end of life. I have great hope for this.

Interview by Michael Limnios

Photos by Paul Moore

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Interview with Angel Forrest: Blues will take over for the empty music: Video, Photos

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Interview with Canadian energic vocalist Angel Forrest: stays true to her country and blues roots.

How has the Blues and Rock counterculture influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

I have always been a 60’s child … born to late. I have much older siblings and have been raised listening to blues and late 60’s and 70’s music.  The influences from that time run deep. I time when expressing yourself fully was a good thing. I have always made music that is real to me at that moment in my life…whether it be blues, rock, country…or folk or in another language even. I am not one to kneel to pressure of any kind. So, my decision making is not always informed with what is expected of me. And that goes not only in music but life period.

How do you describe your songbook and sound? Where does your creative drive come from?

I have a varied songbook… Blues is the way I express myself … because it’s freeing and spiritual almost to me. No matter the style of record I make there is always that thread of blues through it all. Life is an incredible canvas of influences…

Are there any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

After 32 years on the road and 11 albums …you can be sure there are stories…but the same one repeats its self…and that is making music with friends and it taking us to a level of bliss fulness not found anywhere else….

What do you miss most nowadays from the music of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

The music I am exposed to today … I find lacks depth and heart. Like most of what’s going in in the world … I fear the loss of human connection. Hopefully the Blues will take over for the empty music we are feed on commercial radio. People are hungry to feel and be moved.

If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

Digital … computer music! Return to making music with old school instruments … reel to reel … experience live music!!

What touched (emotionally) you from the local Canadian blues scene? What characterize the sound of?

Canadian Blues has a very international sound…I love this blues society for it’s diverse sound and the true camaraderie of the players … very supportive and respectful of each other.

What does to be a female artist in a “Man’s World” as James Brown says? What is the status of women in music?

I don’t see nor feel a difference … we all kick ass!

What is the impact of Blues music to the socio-cultural implications? What is the legacy of Janis Joplin’s music?

I have always believed that the ones who make the decisions of who hears what and where … are frightened of music that stirs people up emotionally. Meanwhile those that don’t buy into the pop culture are working very hard to keep blues music alive … and slowly but surely a younger generation of listeners is getting a taste of this freedom music … we just have to help nurture the next generation.

Janis sang from her guts … her heart … she felt every note and sent it off to the listener to absorb. People are never forgotten when you have been touched emotionally by them.

Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really want to go for a whole day?

Woodstock 1969 … The last day when all the electric acts played … I am so influenced by the artists and their music … I would love to experience all the magic that day possessed!

Interview by Michael Limnios

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All images & transcripts are of Fair Use and copyright to their respected & collective owners. Some images copyright AP, Clipart.com.