I’m a child of the 80s. Naturally, my ear has been bent towards a taste for slick production and playing.
As an only child, you don’t get much say or older-relative influence in the music you’re exposed to. On FM radio (AM until the late 80s for even the most adult contemporary stations) I was subliminally fed sweet harmony, chorused guitars and compressed walls of sound. I still love that today – Huey Lewis and the News, Little River Band, Hall and Oates, you name it.
So, I’m a little slower to warm up to music of the more ‘organic’ or raw-form kind.
With this, my earliest blues guitar heroes were Stevie Ray Vaughan, Robben Ford (who I still follow closely as a major influence) and the rockier edge of Gary Moore. Greats such as the three Kings – BB, Albert and Freddie – seemed distant to me, all because of grittier delivery, more sparse improv and their era origins.
But we all grow up. The latter artists are now my inspirations and yardsticks for measuring whether I’m engaging enough as a musician.
So it’s 2016– 23 years into my guitar life – and I finally absorb what it is to love this guy, rather than just hear about him from another drunken ‘purist’.
Clarence ‘Gatemouth’ Brown. The musical cities of New Orleans, Nashville, Chicago, New York, with a touch of LA from his rhythm sections, is all represented here. Even my Mum was hip to this guy before me!
There is also a great hour-long video on youtube of Clarence giving a blues workshop at a US university. Look for it, it’s sure to entertain and inspire.