Archive for Steve Winwood

70 Years Out: Jimi Hendrix

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , on November 27, 2012 by 30daysout

Jimi Hendrix would have been 70 years old today.

A few weeks ago, during his concert in Houston Paul McCartney paid tribute to his friend Jimi Hendrix. At the end of “Let Me Roll It,” McCartney’s churning rocker, he appended some surprising lead guitar work in the form of “Foxey Lady.”

How awesome is a musician who has earned a tribute even from a Beatle? When Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood toured together, the finale of their show was a fiery guitar duel on Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” and ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons regularly rips into “Hey Joe,” in the style of his mentor.

Hendrix was, as you can see, a musician’s musician. He was only in the spotlight for a short time – he gained international fame in 1967 at the Monterey Pop Festival and died in 1970 – but the recordings he made have influenced thousands of other guitar players and songwriters.

Had he lived, it’s inconceivable what Hendrix would be like today. It’s also hard to fathom what rock music would be like today as well, because wherever Hendrix went, music followed.

Jimi Hendrix would have been 70 years old today. Happy birthday, Jimi!

YouTube: “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)”

YouTube: Jimi Hendrix interviewed in England just seven days before his death in September 1970.

Jimi Hendrix official web site

New album coming from Robbie Robertson

Posted in News with tags , , , on January 5, 2011 by 30daysout

Robbie Robertson - Photo by David Jordan Williams

Robbie Robertson, former guitarist and songwriter for The Band, will release his first solo record in more than a decade this spring.  On April 5, 2011, 429 Records will release How To Become Clairvoyant, Robertson’s fifth solo album.  Guests include Eric Clapton (who co-wrote three tracks with Robertson), Tom Morello and Robert Randolph, Steve Winwood, Trent Reznor and vocalists Angela McCluskey, Rocco Deluca, Dana Glover and Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes.  Bassist Pino Palladino and drummer Ian Thomas lay down the groove throughout.

On his last two albums, Music for The Native Americans (1994) and Contact from the Underworld of Redboy (1998), Robertson explored his ancestry.  Now, with How To Become Clairvoyant, he takes on his rock heritage, delivering his first-ever song about leaving The Band, the evocative “This Is Where I Get Off.”  You can preview “When The Night Was Young” off the new album by clicking here.

Live: Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood, Houston

Posted in Review with tags , , , , on June 25, 2009 by 30daysout

WinwoodWith just a handful of shows left on their current tour, 60s rock gods Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood turned in a sometimes surprising show in Houston’s Toyota Center on June 24.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was that the show seemed to spotlight Winwood a bit more, with Clapton taking a secondary role more often than not.  Now let’s put that into perspective – Clapton didn’t address the audience and he didn’t perform many of the more famous numbers associated with his career, but he let his guitar do the talking.  And it was eloquent indeed.

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Better Than Clapton? Blasphemy!

Posted in Rock Rant with tags , , , , , , , , on June 24, 2009 by 30daysout

budo3

Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood roll into Houston tonight for a stop on their current tour.  It’s always a pleasure to see Clapton, particularly when he’s not in one of his blues modes, or his unplugged modes.  Nothing is better than being in the same room with this awesome guitarist when he cuts loose on a rock song – you certainly want to agree with that classic 1960s graffiti: “Clapton Is God.”

But is Eric Clapton the best guitarist in rock?  Most people would agree, others (particularly those who like to start fights in bars) would disagree.  A few years ago Rolling Stone magazine listed the “100 Greatest Guitarists in Rock,” and Clapton wound up No. 4 on their list.  That list alone could start about a million bar fights, but anyway… Who could believably be considered a greater guitarist than Clapton?  Let’s take a look at five candidates.

1. Jimi Hendrix – During only a few years in the international spotlight (1967-1970), Hendrix managed to accomplish more than many other guitarists do in a lifetime.  Rightfully named No. 1 on Rolling Stone‘s list, nobody has ever come close to this guy – not even Eric Clapton.

MP3: “Little Wing” (alternate version) by the Jimi Hendrix Experience

2. Jeff  Beck – Clapton’s successor in the Yardbirds, Beck certainly has a style and technique that is all his own.  He’s managed to graft jazz fusion into a ferocious rock style.  Beck has often sacrificed commercial success for experimentalism, which makes for some fascinating (and sometimes boring) albums.

MP3: “Sweet Little Angel” by Jeff Beck w/ Rod Stewart & Ron Wood 

3. Jimmy Page – The third Yardbirds guitarist and the mastermind behind Led Zeppelin, Page is a powerful guitarist – and the sides he cut with Zeppelin in the late 1960s-early 1970s still wield a mighty influence today.

MP3: “Achilles Last Stand” by Led Zeppelin

4. Peter Green – The troubled genius from the first, bluesy incarnation of Fleetwood Mac may actually be a better pure blues guitarist than Clapton.  He was no slouch as a songwriter, either; he wrote the song attached here.  Nobody played like Peter Green – and today, neither does Peter Green.

MP3: “Black Magic Woman” by Fleetwood Mac

5. Stevie Ray Vaughan – This Texas boy thrilled audiences before leaving us way too soon but he left behind some classic recordings and live shows.  It may a take a few listens for newbies to figure out what makes this guy so great; listening to a Stevie Ray performance is like unwrapping an unexpected Christmas gift.

MP3: “Pride and Joy” (live) by Stevie Ray Vaughan

BONUS: “Little Wing” (live) by Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood

Rolling Stone 100 Greatest Guitarists Of All Time list

Photo courtesy of Eric Clapton’s official website  

Review: “Live From Madison Square Garden,” Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood

Posted in Review with tags , , , on May 21, 2009 by 30daysout

Front

Two rock legends in a sold-out series of shows from New York City?  If that sounds even remotely interesting, then Live From Madison Square Garden is for you.  There’s something comforting about the presence of Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood on the concert trail – maybe it’s just that the old guys can get up there and give the young folks a good run too.

Because this is kinda a reunion of the two superstars from the short-lived 1960s supergroup Blind Faith, you get a handful of those numbers (“Can’t Find My Way Home,” “Had To Cry Today,” etc.) as well as some choice numbers from Winwood’s Traffic days (“Pearly Queen,” “Dear Mr. Fantasy”) and some nice Clapton solo choices (“After Midnight,” “Cocaine”). 

This stuff rocks – still – and Clapton plays like a man possessed.  His blues showcases, including “Double Trouble” and the Robert Johnson acoustic chestnut “Rambling On My Mind” both feature astonishing guitar work and are the best cuts here.  This is one of the best sounding live albums I’ve heard in a while: vocals and guitars (Winwood’s no slouch, either) are crisply recorded and right up front, and it’s all served up on a bed of tasty Hammond organ from Winwood.  If we have to relive the 1960s, this is certainly the way to do it.  (This concert is also available on DVD, with some extra tunes.)

MP3: “Double Trouble”

Eric Clapton official website

Steve Winwood official website

Review: “Nine Lives,” Steve Winwood

Posted in Review with tags , , on May 1, 2008 by 30daysout

Steve Winwood is one of the most respected of rock’s elder statesmen.  Since emerging in 1965 as the teenaged lead singer of the Spencer Davis Group through his work with Traffic and Blind Faith to his solo success in the 1980s, Winwood’s music epitomizes the work of a supreme craftsman.  On the new Nine Lives, you get more of this but it may not be as interesting as some of Winwood’s past work.  The nine songs here are put in a sort of extended jam setting – much like the tunes on those old Traffic albums – and it works about half the time.  “Fly,” propelled by a smooth sax line, uses its mellow groove to produce a soulful highlight.  “I’m Not Drowning” flirts with acoustic blues and the album’s centerpiece, “Dirty City” is a straightforward rock tune with a dirty guitar solo from guest Eric Clapton.   That song crystallizes the bridge between Traffic’s sound and Winwood today, and even though it’s an echo from the past, it’s a highly listenable one.

MP3: Dirty City (with Eric Clapton)

Steve Winwood official website