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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Showing posts with label Interview. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Interview. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Exclusive Interview with Chris Duarte

Bman: Hi Chris. Been a fan for a long time. Glad to be finally catching up with you. I reviewed your newest release, Lucky 13 back in November and it cooks! I see that you're touring coast to coast. How is the new release being received?

Chris:  I think it’s going pretty good. Units are moving from the merch table and on this album I wrote a lot of songs that can be played live. In the past I just went a bit crazy on some things and layered too much so that it was nearly impossible to recreate even with two guitars. Try to keep is simple and come up with easy accessible hooks for the songs. People are digging Lucky 13 at the shows and on-line so I’ve been real happy with the response.

Bman: That's great! I remember when I first started to listen to you that my impression was you had a Texas flavor with a taste of Hendrix. That was what first attracted me to your music, that cocky guitar attitude with a lot of sting. A lot of water has crossed under that bridge. Your newest release, Lucky 13 maintains that cocky stinging playing but it goes so much farther.

Chris: I’m always trying to find new and different ways around the blues form. Tone of course is still of paramount importance, it’s my identity sometimes, but there’s still different ways to express myself melodically and sonically. I still want to be intrepid and adventurous when it comes to how I get my ideas out and what I’m trying to say on my axe.

Bman: I can see that. Crazy For Your Love is a particularly hot Texas style number. Is it hard to maintain your own identity when so many people relate your own style to that of SRV because of his popularity?

Chris: It doesn’t bother me a bit to have those comparisons anymore. I’m proud to be attached to SRV. I know I have my own thing from Stevie. I still use it to partly describe my sound so people can grab onto something in their mind and shape some kind of idea for what to expect from a show. I’m pretty sure when they come out and see one of my shows they’ll see that I’ve got Stevie in me but a lot other voices and inspirations I draw off as well.

Bman: You're right. I'm certain that the fans love to hear that familiar sound. Who Loves You has a whole different feel with Gatemouth Brown like guitar riffs. He was always one of my favorites and of course the comparison is more for listeners to understand what they may expect. What got you into this frame of playing?

Chris: That’s me trying to mimic a horn section and play like I’m kind of an old school type swing player that’s definitely got blues roots but dabbles a bit in some jazzy licks that have been acquired over the years. The fun part was trying to get the horn section together. Not bad for my first attempt at horn recreation and arranging. I thought about that just days before we recorded it. I would love to have had more time for more lines from the horns but alas it was not in the cards.

Bman: No, that's exactly right! I can see that. One of my favorite tracks on Lucky 13 is Let It Go. At over 9 minutes, your playing never seems tired or stretched. Is it hard to dig deep for that kind of gut wrenching soloing night after night?

Chris: Seems like I’m always putting on a minor blues on my albums and I have for the last 4 or 5 cd’s, so I’ve got such a complex about sounding like I’ve got nothing new to offer so I went for the ‘smoky vibe’ ala retro Nina Simone kind of nod on the vocals and phrasing. If I had to do it again, I wouldn’t have had an emotional peak with the guitar getting intense in the solo. I always do that and at the time of recording this song I just went with the usual template. Let It Go was one of those songs that I wrote while we were recording the album. The rhythm tracks and scratch guitar came first then the concept for the vocal styling. We had already crossed the Rubicon on that one.

Bman: It comes off really well. Not Chasing It has a certain looseness that I haven't heard from you before. Only a few players that I know play with "reckless abandon". Is it hard to get into that frame of mind and sustain spontaneity?

Chris:  This was another concept song that I was trying to make it boisterous and heavy at the same time. I wanted really distorted drums and a nasty guitar tone to fill out the sparse bass line I assigned the player to. Start off with that short snakey opening line then it breaks into a heavy riff dominated form. We just didn’t have time to dial in all the sonic embellishments on the song. I do bite off more that I can chew sometimes. I am pleased with the ‘way-over-the-top’ lead guitar tone we achieved. Like anything being recorded now, clever editing and cut n’ paste is done from time to time but when it’s done well you can’t argue with results. I wanted to convey a reckless and manic feel to go with the subject matter of the song.

Bman:  You definitely hit it! I really dig the Meus Via Vita Suite. This goes places that most blues people don't know. Are we going to hear more of this?

Chris:  I hope so. Over the years Mike Varney has slowly let out the artistic reins on me and I’m free to explore different avenues. This was one of those times. My blues fans shouldn’t worry, I’m not going to go out and do a ‘full-on’ concept album that Bob Ezrin would be proud of, but I do like this type of songs and stylings that are strung together telling a story. I had the first song, Let’s Go For A Ride completed and in my head, the other two in the suite had to be written there. Minefield of My Mind is trying to evoke the crazy emotions and terrible decisions that are made when you take part in deleterious behavior, then Setting Sun is saying goodbye to all the craziness. So as you walk this new road you see the sun setting on that part of your life that was with you for so long. Once again I’m happy with what we ended up with for the limited time frame we had to work in. I can play so much better inside the chords of Minefield now rather than how I played it on the album. I just wasn’t that used to the form and my ideas hadn’t any legs under them yet. It sounds OK but I’m so much more complex in the chords now.

Bman:  I'm looking forward to see how it's changing. Jump the Trane is a really cool shuffle finisher. I personally think that Lucky 13 is your most comprehensive work so far. Are you turning the corner into something a bit more different or was this just an experiment?

Chris:  I still want to explore new avenues and to expand my musical boundaries. I’ll always be working on getting to be better with my song forms and lyrics. I’ve still got such a long way to go as an artist. I’ll always have the blues in me and I’ll always try to be looking ahead.

Bman: Thank you so much for your time. Do you have anything in particular that you want to share with your fans?

Chris:  Thank you for having me on here and know that I will never take my fans for granted. Every time they see me I’m playing with all I’ve got. No mowing the lawn here. Never.

Bman: Continued luck with your tour and hope to hear from you again soon.

Chris: Happy to be here and I hope we can do this again in the future. Sincerely – chris duarte  

If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! ”LIKE”</ 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Exclusive With Interview - JW - Jones - VizzTone Artist

Bman: Hi JW. I appreciate you taking the time out from what little time you must have right now to talk with me. You just released your new cd, 'SEVENTH HOUR', on March 27, 2012. I had a chance to review it and it was quite good. I noticed a departure from what I percieve as you style on earlier releases. Tell me about your new cd.

JW: The main focus for this disc was to not put limitations on the music. I wrote songs that feel good to me, and if they are not 100% traditional blues, that's just the way they came out. I think it's a great mix that pleases both camps, but the more contemporary/different material will appeal to a younger audience. Steve Dawson mixed this record, and it was the first time since working with Kim Wilson in 2004 that I've had a third-party do mixing. It was a great experience and the results are amazing, Steve knocked it out of the park!

Bman: Yes , you both did! It may just be me but did you hold back a little on guitar for this recording and push a little harder on the vocals?

JW: I try to play whatever feels best for the vision of the song. On a song like "So Long I'm Gone", it was more melodic where as on "You Got Caught", I let loose more and let the passion flow.

Bman: What has the initial reception been to this new release?

JW: So far it's received great reviews, and fans tell me it's their favorite yet!

Bman:That's what it's all about!! I know when we spoke 6 months or so back you were working on the recording. How do you feel about the final product. Would you change anything?

JW: Each recording is a snap-shot of where I was in my life and as an artist. So, the way it comes out is exactly as it should be. Already, I feel like I could make a better record next time, and it's that constant desire to out-do the previous release that keeps things challenging and growing.

Bman: It takes so long to get stuff done and the artistic juices continue to flow. Once we've done something we move on. I had heard that you are getting ready to hit the road. Europe is it? Is there a schedule that I can share for this? Do you have other bands that you are set to tour with?

JW: We're already one show into the tour, dates are all on facebook page and website. Last night I jammed with Raphael Wressnig and Alex Shultz, their organ trio is amazing. I've seen Raph once before, and I grew up listening to Alex on the Rod Piazza and the Mighty Flyers recordings. Always an amazing experience to play with my heroes, and especially when they are such nice guys too!

April in France, Germany, Belgium, Italy
Apr 14 Ambon Music Festival - Ambon, France
Apr 15 Le Bacardi - Callac, France
Apr 16 --
Apr 17 Taverne L’Hotel de Ville - Chatelet, Belgium
Apr 18 Herzog Ernst - Celle, Germany
Apr 19 Savoy - Bordesholm, Germany
Apr 20 Café Tach - Nettetal, Germany
Apr 21 --
Apr 22 Caf' Conc' - Ensisheim, France
Apr 23 Stile Libero - Cento, Italy - ITALY IS THE 18th COUNTRY WE'VE TOURED!

Bman: Are you going to hit the states? Is there a schedule for that?

JW: Next US tour will be January/February 2013... keep your eyes on the website for details!

Bman: Are you already working on material for your next release or do you knuckle down and do it in spurts?

JW: Right now, I am in the mode of gathering ideas for the next album, but mainly want to make sure I put the focus on getting this one out there first.

Bman: I appreciate you taking the time to talk with me. Is there anything else that you'd like to share with your fans?

JW: Thank you! Without all of the support we get from audiences, media, and venues everywhere, I couldn't live this dream. I consider myself very fortunate, lucky, and grateful for being able to do what I love. Readers should keep in touch on the facebook page - - I post photos and stories on there several times per week... a little insight to life on the road! - JW

If you like what I’m doing, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! - ”LIKE”

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Long Road of a Young Musician: An interview with JL Fulks

I recently became acquainted with a very talented musician and after some discussions thought that his story may not only help his journey but also may help others who are traveling a similar path. JL Fulks grew up in Greenville , South Carolina and recently relocated to Boca Raton, Florida.

Bman: Hi JL. Thanks for taking the time to talk with me. How long have you been playing guitar?

JL: Not a problem, I have been playing guitar for about 7 years now

Bman: So give me the story. How did this all begin?

JL: I joined Unsought Rejection with some friends in high school. We had some minor gigging success, and it was the first time I contributed to writing original music. We also won my high schools battle of the bands. We ended up recording a 5 song demo in a pro studio that came out decent. Everyone in the band stopped playing music shortly after that but me, but it was a good experience for me at that age.

Bman: Then about a year later you formed “Until Next Time” which won a Battle of the Bands contest and a few contract offers. I’m guessing that you really weren’t convicted with your band or with what you were playing.

JL: I formed Until Next Time with some other musicians that I thought were some of the best in Greenville at the time. I wrote 70% of the music and we ended up making a very solid set list. Having that set list and good original hard rock songs took us to Gorilla Productions battle of the bands. We won both rounds and were voted the best hard rock band in Greenville, SC at that time. Winning that opened up a lot of doors to contract offers and gigs. All of the contract offers were inadequate offers but it was a great experience learning about the music business and the law. The band had minor success and everyone else again quit playing but me.

Bman: I think that is the time people either start to get serious or find something else to do. So you got serious and started taking lessons from an instructor at University of South Carolina. How did that change your perception of music and what you were playing?

JL: After that band I really wanted to create music on my own and not depend on other people’s commitment. I wanted to get better so I could hang out and play with the best musicians around. I started taking private Jazz lessons from Adam Knight, a professor at USC Upstate. He really changed my thought process of creating music, and fixed a lot of bad habits. He helped me in my process of auditioning for Berklee, reading music, my blues song writing, my improvisation, and many other great aspects that are used in creating great music.

Bman: It's pretty obvious that you were a serious study and he was a good teacher. So now you’re starting to get opportunities to play with national talents and a few recording opportunities. I’ll bet that lit you up!

JL: Since I have moved to Florida I have played with many top notch musicians. I hit many of the Pro South Florida Blues jams at BB Kings, The Backroom, The Blue Boar, The Funky Buddha, etc. While attending these jams I have had the opportunity to play with International Blues Challenge winner JP Soars, Muggie Doo from Buddy Miles Express, and Julius Pastorius, the son of the great Jaco Pastorius. Also since I have been here I've had the opportunity to record with a pro reggae artist named Uncle Sam Di Foreign man on his 4th album.

Bman: Sounds like you're on your way. So now you’ve moved to Boca and are continuing your studies with Berklee Music, doing session work and giving lessons. And you’re looking for some mates to gig with who compliment you. Can you articulate who you’re looking for? Maybe they’re reading this!

JL: Studying at Berklee has really helped me become a better player. It has given me the discipline needed to sit down an practice 6-7 hours a day. I am looking to form a band with adequate musicians that have the same commitment to excellence. I really want to keep the blues alive with a new age rockin' South Florida blues band. I want to have many other styles mixed in as well such as rock, funk, and jazz. Unfortunately I have not come across the musicians I am looking for to create my dream band. I have been holding out, and in the mean time I plan to be involved with a few projects on the side such as a reggae band, and a duo acoustic act.

Bman: I know that it can be tough to find the right mix. Playing different styles and just staying active in the music scene... and keeping your writing juice going is huge.
My favorite guitar player in the world ,who shall remain nameless for this interview, indicated a few years back that he gets a sound in his head and just walks around the city trying to find someone who sounds like they have it. Now he has the fortune of being the best guitar player in the world and usually has one of the top few bass and drummers in the world in his band. But it always has to be a good match. If you watch him in his most recent (not current) band on Crossroads you can see the chemistry between his rhythm section and him …and how he is as much in awe of them as they are of him. That has to be a great feeling!

JL: It is a great feeling to master your instrument and get to share your heart and soul through music with the world. The more you practice, learn, hear, and play the better musician you will become.

Bman: Spoken like a true musician. I love it! I’ve heard a few tracks of you playing and I feel confident that once you connect with the right crew you’ll be unstoppable!

JL: Most of the tracks online are jams I have done all over south Florida with different musicians with no prior rehearsal before. I feel confident that when I get with the right people, I will be able to write more structured, theoretical, and progressive music. Having the right band will definitely put my foot forward in the music business.

Bman:I certainly agree! You recently had a special unplugged appearance on an Internet Radio station. How did that go?

JL: I was a special guest on the American Biker Talk Radio show. It is the biggest biker talk radio show in the world. I was able to perform 4 of my newly written original songs live on the radio. It went very well and to my surprise many people called in supporting me music, including the famous Jesse Ventura. There were 20,000 people viewing online, which marked the biggest crowd I have ever performed in front of.

Bman: I shared your link about the show on Facebook. Will you have access to a digital copy of the video of the show. I think it would be really cool to see for those who didn’t catch it!

JL:I have a video with no audio right now. I will be getting a professional audio copy of the whole show. I will upload it on my Youtube channel as soon as it get it!

Bman: I'll keep an eye out for that. I really appreciate your time. Your music sounds great. I hope that you find some mates soon. I know that a lot of my readers are ready for the next step!
Is there anything else that you’d like to share with your fans?

JL: Thanks a lot for interviewing me. I hope a lot of readers can use my advice to their advantage.

Bman: Best of luck pal and keep up the good work. Talk to you soon!

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