Johnny Winter makes rare in-store appearance in Houston
Even though we’re a few months out from Record Store Day (April 21) we thought we’d give a little love to Cactus Music, Houston’s biggest independent music store. Not only is it one of the country’s last few real record stores – yes, they also sell vinyl – but Cactus goes out of its way to book some really cool people to show up and play live music.
In the past year at Cactus Music I have seen such great acts such as Los Lonely Boys, Girl In A Coma, Peter Case, Robert Earl Keen and the great Steve Earle, performing from just a few feet away and in person – all for free. They hand out free beer at all of these (ice-cold Saint Arnold, from the local brewery) and in many cases the artist hangs out and signs autographs.
Last week Cactus hosted a true Texas legend: blues guitarist Johnny Winter, who did a rare autograph signing session to support his latest album Roots. People started lining up about a half hour early and by the time Winter and his band showed up a line snaked through the store, full of people carrying old LPs and guitars for the man to sign.
I didn’t get anything signed but I was impressed by the number of fans who turned out for the chance to meet this legendary musician. The most recent Cactus Music newsletter reported that an estimated 1,000 people attended the two-hour meet and greet.
Winter is of course the Beaumont, Texas, native who made his name in the late 1960s with a blazing guitar and an authentic blues style. He played at Woodstock with a band that included his brother Edgar, drummer Uncle John Turner and bass player Tommy Shannon (later of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Double Trouble). Winter also helped resurrect the career of blues great Muddy Waters in the late 1970s, most notably with the Grammy Award-winning Hard Again album.
Roots is a collection of classic blues numbers that helped shape Johnny’s love of the blues. The CD features such notable guests as Vince Gill, Warren Haynes, John Popper, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi and others. At age 67, Winter shows the miles and physical toll the years have taken on him (he was once a heroin addict) but his guitar playing is still pretty sharp. Check out this appearance on “Late Night With David Letterman” from January:Vodpod videos no longer available.
Anyway, thanks Cactus Music. Check out the store’s official website for upcoming in-store performances (Dr. Dog next month!).