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Interview: ‘Uncle’ Guy Davis Part2


Guy & Chef going boldly where no one has gone before...

Guy & Chef going boldly where no one has gone before…

continuing on with my conversation with Guy Davis aboard the 2013 October Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise. We start talking about his one man play ‘Fishy Waters’ and then take a few twists and turns that will, undoubtedly, leave some people uncomfortable….
Part One can be found here.

……And that’s what I’m looking for when I get on the radio and start singing the blues and carrying on. It’s fun. I want people to believe that magic is found in the human heart. In the human psyche. And blues is a part of that for me. The blues is my way of digging up magic.

B411: You were saying that you like to tell stories, and you enjoy it. Tell me a little about “Fishy Waters” (his one-man play).
GD: “Fishy Waters” – that is hobo. And he’s a man of the old cloth. The story I tell takes place in 1959, so he’s talking about things that have gone on in his life from years before that. “Fishy Waters” is a reflection, to some extent, of people in my life. I had an uncle named Tommy, who was my mother’s brother. And he told me one time that he could live out in the woods, and that he could catch a wild turkey and kill it and wrap it in tin foil, and dig a hole in the ground and fill it with charcoal and throw that turkey in there in the tin foil and cook it in the fire pit and have it come out of there tasting just as good as the turkey my momma pulled out of the oven on Thanksgiving. And I was there for every word that he spoke. And he had all kinds of other stories too. About traveling thru Central America and South American in this old Rambler and running the odometer around completely back until it zeroed out and then kept going. And these stories are in me. So much of what I sing about, what I talk about are not things that I’ve necessarily lived, I think my gift, if you want to call it that, is for dialogue. For hearing words and speaking words that affect myself, affect the people that hear them. Words that appeal to the senses, the site, sound, taste ,touch, smell, that kind of thing. So “Fishy Waters” I say is a teller of tales and singer of songs. And there’s no tale so tall that he can’t tell it, nor song so sweet that he can’t sing it.

Now this doesn’t mean that I have one of those sweet Ronnie Isley kind of voices, but I’ve got the voice I have. And this is the voice I sing with and the voice that I tell stories with. And so Fishy goes from town to town and he shares the stories that he’s heard and he tells about his adventures on the road. And this reflects a lot of the magic that I’ve had in my life as a kid meeting people who’ve come thru town and maybe sitting in my dad’s living room. I’m talking about writers and actors and various kinds of craftsmen and union organizers and some celebrities, and lots of non-celebrities. And I would hear things and I would see things and I would observe things. And they’ve all become a part of my life. They’ve become part of who I am. And I think maybe I just wrote the Fishy Waters stories so that I could be everyone’s Uncle Guy. And everyone would want to invite me over for Thanksgiving. They’d just sit and listen to me tell stories while I stuff my face with their Turkey and slap yams on my tongue and swallow them down. Cause I’m a yam eatin’ kind of guy.

Live on stage with Fishy Waters.

Live on stage with Fishy Waters.

So Fishy Waters, he is fiction and thru the entire work, with the exception of some legitimate blues songs like “Dust My Broom” and “Candyman” and stuff that I’ve included, it’s fiction. But it’s meant to tell a kind of truth. Fishy Water’s biggest story is of him leaving home and wandering into a hobo camp. And how that changed his life. But on the way to that story, he tells lots of tall tales that feature giant flies, talking silk worms, and all sorts of fantastical little creatures there. The kind of creatures that probably in the Christian religion, they talk about turning water into wine, and all the miracles that Jesus did, well if you can turn water into wine, I can tell you it makes all those other miracles so much more possible. Like raising the dead, curing the lame and the deaf and the blind. Oh yeah. You drink enough of that hooch, man, you’re going to be all over with those miracles.

So there is Fishy Waters. He’s there to bring that magic. And he tells tales that tales that have to do with horror and death and lynching. And the first talk he tells, having to do with lynching is a very poignant and deep and raw kind of story. And I think it’s told on very human terms. So that audiences of all races and ethnicities and communities can relate to it. Because it’s told on very human terms. But then the next stories, that have to do with lynching or threats of beatings – are told from a humorous prospective, like the guy who is going to out run a train to get away from an ass whoopin’. And you know, out run various speeding objects. This is just another way of saying that a human being will do anything to survive. You can say it seriously or you can say it with humor. But the message is the same. There is no speed that I could not obtain to get my ass away from a bullet coming my way. That kind of thing.

Sweet lullaby

Sweet lullaby

B411: Sometimes humor works better. It relaxes you. It releases the endorphins and all that stuff they say happens when we laugh and smile.
GD: Brother – endorphins are good! To those reading this, endorphins are wonderful. And humor – I highly recommend it because there is so much going on in the world, it make you want to cry and bury your head somewhere. And you can’t tell stories about the evils of racism and lynching and continue to tell those stories and try to point your finger at one whole group of people and expect them to be able to sit there without squirming and trembling and wanting to be elsewhere. It’s got to be laid out in human terms and sometimes humorous terms. Because life is like that. I had a teacher once who said that suppose you were feeling great sadness, and that sadness was represented by a puppy, in a little tiny room with a closet with a glass panel. So you’re looking there and you could see a little brown puppy and the little black one and the white one and the red one and the spotted one and the gray one. And there are puppies all in that room. And the sad one is the one in the corner. But if you open the door, they all come out. All the sadness, all the humor, everything comes out. That’s what makes it human. That’s what I’m after as a story teller. It doesn’t make me a great one or an expert, but it makes me who I am. It’s the path that I’m on. And I recommend that people tell their stories to each other. Find ways to tell them. I recommend that students in schools when it comes to write a paper, write about something that you know. Write about your life, or if your life is too sensitive, make up a fictional one. But write it as if you wanted people to visualize it as you were writing it. Write in terms of sight, sound, taste, touch, smell. And then ask your teacher for help when it comes to grammar and sentence structure and paragraph structure. All that kind of stuff. But you’ll be motivated. You’ll find you’ll really be communicating.

Notice that I went to school, and they just had us writing about the periodic table of elements. What is aluminum? Anybody see aluminum? AL, are you here?

B411: Al U. Minum probably lives over 127th and Lenox Avenue.
GD: Yeah, bring him down. Send for him. It was quite dull. I guess they were trying to teach us ultimately how to organize our thoughts into words, into coherent, cohesive messages that we would write or create. And that takes time. And that’s not everybody’s strong suit. But if you write about something you’re interested in, you can have more fun with it. And then on top of writing, you have got to read it to each other. People need to communicate more without the internet. Maybe use the computer to write it up. People, especially young folk, have got to learn how to communicate without the mechanical aids. Not that you should never use them, but someday, man, if the NSA gets its way, they will pull the plug on the internet and everything else, what you gonna’ do when they come for you bad boys.

B411: You need the personal experience because we all share that. That’s in us, that the “one note”. The John Lee Hooker, that’s the E – boom, boom, boom. You take that away, it gets removed thru daily life and now thru internet – which I use a lot of – but this (I didn’t touch you!) this conversation.
GD: There’s not a camera in this recorder is there?
B411: Ahh, no what camera, that’s the power indicator…ahem. The further we’re removed from each other, the more isolated we become, the more mistrust. We become all foreigners. We’re not part of the world community; we’re part of our own community. I don’t know why we’re going so deep here.

Potent & veristile as an artist.

Potent & veristile as an artist.

GD: It’s all right. You say the word community – on this ship there’s community, there’s blues community. Some are performers, some are listeners. And the performers must continue to humbly realize that we need listeners. I mean yes, it’s great to jam. It’s great for us great professionals to sit amongst each other and play. Play like geniuses. If I was Watermelon Slim, [Guy says talking like Slim] “you could have Sonny Sharrock, you could have Jimi Hendrix, have Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton all sitting there playing, and they would play like geniuses. But you let one woman walk up in that room, why they’d tear those guitars to pieces. I tell you they rip them. They’d bite the strings off. Where’s that bourbon?” If I was Watermelon Slim, that’s how I would have said that.
B411: Absolutely. He probably would have thrown a few more $5 words in there.

GD: It’s about community. You just brought up that word. We gotta start thinking in terms of the whole world as a community. We’re getting semi-deep as we speak here.
B411: That’s what attracted me to the blues. I grew up listening to Sinatra to Little Richard. I had a fairly broad rock and roll base of knowledge. Then The Beatles, Stones, Yard Birds, Animals,
GD: It’s a wide pallet.
B411: Indeed, and a wide pallet can hold a heavy load! Yea, so all this stuff starts to come in. And then Rock and Roll and music sort of died. There wasn’t anything to listen to. To me, past that, I found XM radio. And there’s Bluesville. The first thing I turned on, it happened to be a show called “Front Porch” with acoustic music.

Guy talkin' the straight talk.

Guy talkin’ the straight talk.

GD: Speaking of XM and Sirius, they better get Bill Wax back on that show. I’m gonna kick down the door and knock…I’m sorry. I’m back.
B411: But that, I started writing to Bill. Instead of saying “Bill, play Guy Davis”, it would be “Bill, I heard you interview Guy Davis. He’s an incredible story teller, I loved it. He did a song that was about something, and I related to it. And could you play that song because I really didn’t catch the whole thing.” Then Bill starts to respond. He starts writing me back. He says, “Wow, that’s…” A relationship developed from that. And I don’t know this man from Adam. He embraced me. I go to the BMAs. I go on the Blues Cruise. I’m overwhelmed by the talent, the humbleness. And that community. And I said that’s what I’m doing. That’s my calling baby.
GD: Let me tell you about the first time I met Bill Wax. A human being who I think deserves a lot of credit when it comes to keeping the blues alive. Who’s no longer employed by Sirius/XM, and I think it’s a big mistake. When I walked into the Sirius/XM building in Washington, DC, it’s like being inside the Starship Enterprise. It’s like very long corridors with few pictures on them. And these huge open windows, Plexiglas windows on each side, inside of each was sort of a studio a kind of table area and maybe a little bit of recording equipment here and there. Mostly there were laptops in there. There was one sort of grand preforming area, but it looked like you were just walking along in a space ship and wondering where the Klingon lived. You’re there and you’re looking around. Bill made it human. He showed me this laptop. He didn’t even have to come in to work. He could just email himself tapping one button, it had this pre-programmed list of songs to play. And Bill could just sit home and sniff his flower pots. But no, he liked to be there. He liked to interview people. He liked to ask questions much like yourself. He liked to get some human feeling cooking. Finding out where he’s at with the community and stories. He invited me to do that. He recorded me doing “Going Down Slow”, a version that I didn’t think I did very well with. And years later, I heard that interview played on XM and the “Going Down Slow” sounded good! I said damn man, I didn’t realize it was that good. Because I was connected and I didn’t realize it at the time. Maybe it’s a performers job to be in the moment.

*As Watermelon Slim would say again [Guy says talking like Slim] “In case your deciding that you want to perform, you’ve got to be in the moment. It means if you’ve got bourbon bottle in one hand and you’ve got to have a glass in the other and that’s being in the moment. Dag gummit’. Can you wrap brain pan around that?”
And Watermelon Slim is gone from the room now – he stepped out the door. I tease him because I love him.

B411: I love Slim also. He’s another storyteller. His music, his stories. There are some great stories. These are the guys that keep it alive. Cause the blues in essence is the spoken word. Well it was the chants. I don’t mean to get all educational with my history here, I’m just a baby. It was field chants, which then translated into stories and sounds that passed along to the children and into music. And you can correct this, but it’s sketchy, but it’s what I’ve learned

GD: You’re saying it fine. Field hollers, the blues came up out of that stuff. [Said in a field holler/sing song voice]

Ah, Rosie, o’lord care,

Ah Rosie, o’lord care when she walk she really rocks behind

When she walks she really rocks behind

Ain’t that enough to worry convicts mind.”

Yes, it is enough. These men on the chain gang were singing what they knew and what they wanted to know. To sing about them women.
Ah man, there are some aspects of the blues and the early blues and the pre-blues. And the use of the N word. I don’t think should be forbidden or outlawed as much as it need to be introduced by someone like Bill Wax who can give a context to the word and it’s use and the way things were sung about. There’s an aspect of the blues that I’ve heard reflected. Especially in work songs something “I don’t want no jet black woman, she’s too mean lord, lord, she’s too mean.” Such a line, is not considered politically correct because it’s hurtful. It’s like looking at a group of beautiful women and telling them, that you’re not on this list, you can’t get on this line kind of thing. But it was something that was going on, and being sung about in the prisons. I would love to know is there was some kind of research to indicate where that, who started that line? I imagine that it came post reconstruction. Back when they had the, I think they’re called the Black Laws, when slavery ended, they no longer had slaves as a source of labor to build this country. So they turned to prisons. And what I’m calling the Black Laws, I’m not sure if that’s the right term, ensured that if a Black man and a White man stood before a judge, charged with the same crime, the Black man would do more time. And his labor would be continued to be used to build the country, to hoe the fields and harvest the plants and to build the buildings and dig the ditches. So, these are the people that the blues is written about. Even if the blues didn’t come into its recognizable form to us until 19 what ever – WC Handy said 1907, but you know it’s somewhere back there. These are the people that the blues are being sung about. The dispossessed people, those people hijacked from the street, and thrown into prison.

B411: It’s the same horse, but a different color. You can call it what you want, it’s slavery. It’s indentured servitude.

Singing and teaching, the Blues is oral history.

Singing and teaching, the Blues is oral history.

GD: I guess I just wanted it to never be forgotten that I don’t want the word, the N word to necessarily vanish from the face of the earth and imprison anybody who uses it. It just has to be used with a certain clear understanding that it is a word that riots have been started over, blood has been spilled over. And rappers seem to use indiscriminately sometimes. I’ve even hear white rappers use it to each other. So the whole thing gets kooky.

B411: It’s morphed.
GD: It has morphed. But I don’t want it to morph so much that people forget where the blues came from.

B411: Well, do you want to end here?
GD: I think we about got to the end.

*Click here to listen to Guy impersonate Watermelon Slim & sing his “Oh Rosie” song….

Love, Peace & Chicken Grease


©Blues411.com 2014
photos by: Leslie K. Joseph
Where Blues Thrives


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Office Music: Post Thanksgiving Chill with Some New Men of the Blues

Well we visited the ladies at about the onset of the official holiday season, so now that we are in full grip of the season I thought it might be nice to meet at a bar after work with some of the guys who can make the Blues sound like no others. So tell the bartender what yer having, pull up a stool and let’s chill with the boys.

Tip Of The Top: From Memphis to Greaseland (Delta King Records)

Hailing from the San Francisco Bay Area these guys were the 2011 Golden Gate Blues Society IBC competitors and did well – bowing out as semi-finalists. Featuring a solid cast of veteran blues-men Jon Lawton (guitar/vocals), Frank DeRose (bass), Aki Kumar (harp/vocals) and Carlos Velasco (drums). Together they have put together 13 high energy tracks with 7 of them originals – which is always good in my book.

Tip of the Top is not just a cover band that you see at the bar every weekend going through the motions and calling it the Blues. These cats got the feel and groove that sets them apart from the aforementioned posers to the throne.

‘I Ain’t Worried’ is a call and response good time shuffle that starts off the disc and sets us up for what becomes a party on a disc. Written by Mr. Lawson this track has the feel of a Rod Piazza west coast swing number and excellent harp work by Aki lets us know they are here to play.

Nice harp work is an essential element here with Mr. Kumar displaying a proven ability to play in various styles and tones. Not just a draw & blower he especially does justice to the Little Walter cover ‘Rocker’. Definately one to get the feet moving. He provides added depth fronting the vocals chops on Sonny Boy Williamson’s ‘Fattening Frogs for Snakes’. Tasty guitar work by Mr. Lawton adds to the classic feel of this cut. Other covers include a surf/rumba version of “One Way Out’ that while paying tribute to the previous versions comes up original and tasty as pie. The disc ends with a slowed down version of the Brownie McGhee classic ‘The Sportin’ Life’. Mr. Lawton provides well paced vocals and guitar work over the stage setting bass of Mr. DeRose.

This release was recorded at Chris ‘Kid’ Andersen’s Greaseland Studios in California and Mr. Kid adds some of his well-appointed brand of guitar work on ‘She’s Fine’ as an added tip on the tip of the top.

Dave Keller: ‘Where I’m Coming From’ (self release)

I first met Dave at the 2011 Blues Music Awards in Memphis, a gentle spoken unassuming young man who is one hell of an R&B Blues-man. To quote Mr. Mose Allison ‘white boy sings the blues’ – it isn’t just that – it’s way better than that. So here’s this guy who is up in Montpelier, VT., yeh the Blues Capital of…
As the first strains of ‘More Than I Can Stand’ hits our unexpected ears, we are thrust into a swirling world of horns, lap steel & percussion that makes one want to jump up and dance. It’s like a Stax/Volt party for a new generation. We get a little feel of Jackson Five on ‘If I Ever Get You Back’ with ringing guitar and a percussion of horns that creates a wall of funk about 6 inches deep.
Mr. Keller is backed by The Revelations, an R&B band that usually backs up soul singer Tre’ Williams. It is Mr. Williams who shares vocals on ‘The Things We Have To Do’ a soulful countdown of these things we have to do in life. Both reaffirming and inspirational this cut reminds me of some of the old school duets from the late seventies that featured black and white soul singers working together.

Mr. Keller’s voice has a depth and soul to it that has to make him one of the most talented unsigned artists around. His guitar playing has the edge and grit to it that fits right in with the sound and landscape. His version of ‘Pouring Water On A Drowning Man’ recalls an early Van Morrison meets Otis Redding. Throughout this release The Revelations along with a cast of horn players provide ample room for Mr. Keller to work his blue-eyed soul and address his funkiness at all the right levels, good job !

With ‘Where I’m Coming From’ we are treated to the sound of Motown/Memphis soul stew and so tasty folks. If you cut your R&B teeth with these sounds you will slip this release on like a comfy pair of Cons, and sit back in your Member’s Only jacket, and open up that 40 oz bottle of Olde English 8oo and get the party started.

Now wait, if you didn’t grow up with that sound, don’t be dismayed or turned off here. These are not re-treads like K-Tel, but an artist with a deep love of and respect of this music taking it to the the next level, contemporizing it, yet paying serious homage to the roots and those who came before. This is a communal form of music, danceable, movin’ to the groove and shake your hips and roll your ackie-dackie.

Toronzo Cannon: Leaving Mood (Delmark Records)http://web.me.com/toronzocannon/Toronzo_s_Website/Home.html
Mr. Cannon grew up on the South Side of Chicago not far from Theresa’s Lounge. From an early age the blues held an attraction. Yet it had laid dormant for many years till he started jamming around town where he rediscovered the music of his youth and family and hasn’t dated another muse since.

I first saw Toronzo at the 2010 Chicago Blues Festival, an unknown playing on a big stage while we waited for Carl Weathersby and Larry McCray for the heavy weight throw-down. Well I was hoo-dooed, this cat blew me away. Passion, joy, showmanship and talent all there for anyone to see, all they had to do was look. I have been a fan ever since.

This, is his first release for Delmark Records, he pays tribute in his own way at those who have inspired him and makes a strong statement in doing so. He gives us ‘Chico’s Song’ which is an ode to the late Chico Banks. He opens the disc with ‘She Loved Me’ which deals (as many of these songs) with a gritty reality built around a driving rhythm and visceral lyrics – these are the blues of today. How things can get away from you and turn upside down in a moments notice, how one sacrifices their life for another and the ramifications of actions. The barrel of reality is not only pointed at the area of personal relationships but also at the system that exists. In ‘Open Letter(To Whom It May Concern)’ Mr. Cannon aims his flying V and poignant lyrics at certain people in the current blues scene and the environment that is more than dog-eat-dog. The vocal treatment is akin to a corner preacher on his soapbox pitching fire and brimstone and telling us of the evils around us.

But dour and dark is not the only places he visits. He offers a sexy, steamy low down version of Nina Simone’s ‘Do I Move You’ with a back beat that puts it right on the G-spot and there’s no answer required. When Mr. Cannon serves up the funk he is quite adept at getting the honey to drip and the feet to move. A prime example is ‘Ernestine’ featuring Mr. Carl Weathersby on searing solos, Mr. Weathersby also treats us to his fine guitar work on ‘Hard Luck’. A modern tale of trying to get by that we all can relate to.

This is a fine release that showcases Mr. Cannon’s ability to play the blues in many forms, he is not a one-dimensional artist, not the standard shuffle king - he is an urban blues master who brings a lot of soul and feeling to the scene – jump on the bus now while you can get a seat.

Keith Patterson: Stone Cold & Blue (self released)

Out of South Carolina, Mr. Keith Patterson provides us with guitar driven, hard-edged blues music that fills venues and has people dancing like no one is watching. With the opening riffs (which have a feel of ‘School’s Out For Summer’) he sets the stage for a rollicking eleven cut release that has enough style and energy to please just about everyone.

‘Take Me Down To Charleston’ is a fast paced shuffle that hails the virtues of that town in South Carolina that is becoming the home for some seriously good blues bands and venues to hear them in. Some fine slide work provided by Todd Roth, serves us up a bit of grease otherwise provided by some pork BBQ and roasted oysters on the track.
A particularly fine track is ‘Keep The Blues Alive’ where he wears the title like a badge of honor and vows to do whatever it takes to do just that. Nasty guitar work that leads us to poignant lyrics and a visit over the edge of a failing relationship is served up in ‘Shades of Gray’.

Mr. Patterson’s song writing is emotional and heart felt, there is a passion to it that is amplified by the instrumentation and provides us with a solid sound scape. Though not all hard driving and fierce, the majority of cuts are. He does show us the ability to change gears and gives us a slower paced vocals and songs. From declarations of what is inevitable in ‘Time For A Change’ to ‘Fascination’ which is a more electric slow burner where he implores his lady to close their eyes and let the other become their fascination. This cut has a slight feel of some of the earlier rock-blues hybrids that came about in the late nineties early aught’s, but with a true blues spirit to it.

A solid release that gives us a glimpse at what Mr. Patterson can do and where his influences lie. Pat Travers, Joe Bonamassa, early Led Zep, as well as the likes of B.B. King, Jeff Healy and Eric Clapton and just enough funk to keep it dirty and original. With this solid first release I am looking forward to his next release, and if I he is playing anywhere near me in South Carolina I will most certainly go see him perform.

So while these artists might be new to some, or even all, of us they certainly are worth listening to. They are all adept at their brand of blues and their spirit level is on the rise. Would be a nice gift to turn someone on to some new blues folks this holiday season.

Until next time,
Love, Peace & Chicken Grease
©Blues411.com 2011
photos: Courtesy of artists

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The 411 in 15: Laurie Morvan Skinny Chick with Big Game !

B411: Was it/is it difficult for a lady who plays guitar to be taken seriously or to get work?
LM: At this point it is hard for everyone, it’s not just hard for woman. I don’t want it to sound like its women complaining – it isn’t – the music is so hard. Now woman do have a different flavor of trouble. When I started playing, this was in the late 80′s, there were people who treated you as a novelty, instead of as an artist, and nobody wants that. Yeah there have been times that I was frustrated – things that I couldn’t get, shows that I couldn’t get on.
There was this one club that I could just never get in, and I knew I belonged there. So I had one of my male friends try to book me in – ya know man to man. He came back and said to me that he never realized how hard it was for a female guitar player to get booked. He said it was so eye-opening for him, the guy told him women shouldn’t be playing – so I never got booked there till he sold it and BOOM I got booked.
Inappropriate things have been said to me, or you are not being taken seriously, but ya know what, as I said everyone has a different flavor of hardship that they go thru – it’s all blah, blah, blah – but once you do get on stage and you play your ass off, then who’s gonna argue with you after that?
Sometimes the doors don’t get opened for you and sometimes it still happens. There have been festivals where I have been told ‘we already booked our woman’ singular. I have been told that within the last couple of years. My lord there are like twelve male acts but there can only be one woman. I kinda shake my head, it’s like the woman are a genre ! That can be a little weird but all that being said there may also be a guy who can’t get on because they might have a guy who already plays a purple guitar – see what I’m saying, it’s all different flavors of hardship we all get them thrown at us in some form, but yes it is different in some cases for women.

B411: Yeh I understand, but I am not a women and I (and possibly other men) don’t know what it’s like. The very first time I saw Bonnie Raitt (in like 1978) since there was no other female that I could relate her playing to I said she played it like a man. I think that the lack of women guitar players created that thought in my mind – I had no where else to go with it, no prior experience.
LM: Yeah people say that to me ‘you play guitar like a guy’ and I say no I play like a girl – this is exactly how a woman plays a guitar. I am a woman and I play guitar so this is it !

B411: Candye Kane told me her response to someone saying that Laura Chavez played like a man, it was something to the effect that she’s playing it with her hands not her female parts, hands are non-gender specific !
LM: Great answer. You try to stay low key about that. I have been playing along time now. The Blues world might be just discovering me in the last four or five years but I’ve been pounding in the clubs. I used to play Rock & Roll and found my way to the Blues. I wish I could have been exposed to the Blues when I was eighteen, but I didn’t know anyone who was listening to it. I just wasn’t exposed to it, and that’s what it takes, you need to have access to it to know you love it.
That’s what the Blues was like to me, when I first heard it I was like ‘ahh what is this beautiful music that I have just never been exposed to’, and then I went after it.

B411: So you come from a Rock background ?
LM: I was in a power trio, it was the late 80′s early 90′s. Stuff like Heart, Pat Benatar, Jimi Hendrix, we did Eric Clapton, and it starts to point in that direction, then Stevie Ray Vaughn – who is this Stevie guy ? It’s such a wonderful musical palette all the forms of it. But what gets my heart pumping is the Rock & Roll influenced Blues, I just love it. My desert island music is Stevie Ray Vaughn. He was my gateway to the Blues so I will always love him and his style of Blues. It’s kinda like your first love which you never will forget.

B411: Any other influences that you found when you went back to the Blues?
LM: Bonnie Raitt, of course. But again, I came through Pop Music to discover it. So you listen to her pop tunes and then to some of her older stuff and realize how cool they were and want to learn more about all of it. I think one of the greatest songwriters in the whole wide world ever was Freddie King. To me the breadth of his songwriting and the influence it still has is just incredible.
I consider myself a songwriter first, and you know how much I like to play guitar, but to me music is all about the song. Without a real song the guitar playing would have no meaning. The guitar is there to serve the song and help energize the people. But I think the song will transcend and that’s whats gonna last. Sure Freddie King was a great guitar player, but what we remember are his songs. That’s what stirs peoples hearts, I’ve always admired that about him.

B411: He was the complete package for sure. It pays to be able to play and sing – to get that spirit level to a good balance, as I said the whole package.
LM: Yes, I sort of liken it to track and field where you can have the worlds greatest 100 yard sprinter, the worlds best shot putter, the world’s best high jumper and no one else can do these things better. But then you have the decathlete, people who can do many things and do it all well. They never will be the best at any one thing and that’s the way I look at musicians like me. You always find a better singer than me, or guitar player or business manager but I have to do ten things in my band and have to do them all well. So when you are going for that total package your brain has to multitask therefore you can’t specialize. It all kind of comes around to where in track and field you have the decathlete in the Blues you have the entertainer. You become the complete entertainer, can you talk to the audience? Can you relate to them, do you have stories behind your songs…..but there are only 24 hours a day, I am interested in a lot of things so being an entertainer is what I see myself as globally. I want people to have a good time, I want people to walk away from my show saying it was a good way to spend some time, they felt the fellowship with the band and their music. So all the other parts feed the main goal as being a great entertainer.

Visit Laurie on her web site:  http://www.lauriemorvan.com/

Until next time,
Love, Peace & Chicken Grease
©Blues411.com 2011
photos: Leslie K. Joseph


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