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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 Quinn Sullivan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Quinn Sullivan. Show all posts

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Quinn Sullivan Cruises Midnight Highway In The Studio And On The Road


Provogue / Mascot Label Group Debut Hits Retail January 27, 2017

Provogue / Mascot Label Group has announced the release of Quinn Sullivan’s Midnight Highway on January 27, 2017.  Sullivan has been a music professional for more than 75 percent of his life. He’s shared the stage with Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton, Los Lobos, The Roots, Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi and Joe Bonamassa, and he opened for B.B. King, who later invited him to play his treasured “Lucille” guitar. He has performed on concert and festival dates throughout the United States – including at storied venues like Hollywood Bowl, RFK Stadium and Madison Square Garden – traveled overseas – performing at both the Montreux Jazz Festival and India’s Mahindra Blues Festival – and played several editions of the Experience Hendrix Tour, backed by Jimi’s original bassist Billy Cox.  He’s also appeared on national TV, with guest appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Oprah, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Conan and twice on The Ellen DeGeneres show.
Yes, Sullivan has packed some extraordinary experience into his decade-long career, and that’s even more remarkable when you consider that he’s only 17. His third studio album, Midnight Highway, was produced by multi GRAMMY® winner Tom Hambridge - who also does double duty as Quinn’s studio and road drummer - and will be released on January 27th in North America, and on March 24th in the rest of the world.  The album is yet another milestone in Quinn's extraordinary journey, which began with him jamming with the kids music combo Toe Jam Puppet Band at age three, appearing on Ellen when he was six, and being taken under the wing of blues legend Buddy Guy at age eight, whose protégé he remains to this day.

Quinn’s age and enduring relationship with Buddy Guy is certainly notable, but so too is his total dedication to his craft. “I wanted to see how far we could get musically on this album. I had a lot more creative input on this one and was more active in writing, so it’s something of a mixture.  I didn’t want to completely break away from the blues - that’ll always be my home ground - but I just wanted to stretch out. Mastering the vocals was important too and was the result of a lot of playing and touring, and studying with a vocal coach.  I’ll admit I hit an awkward stage with my voice when it was changing a few years ago, but I like the way things have worked out so far.”

Quinn confides, “My major goal as an artist is to get into songwriting more,” and he’s well on his way with Midnight Highway, for which he had a hand in writing three of the stand-out tracks, “Eyes For You”, “Lifting Off” and “Going.”  One of the other songs that Quinn tackled is George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”  While Quinn will forever be rooted in the blues, he’s extremely passionate about The Beatles, so every effort was made to replicate the Harrison classic as faithfully as possible.  Producer Tom Hambridge remarked, “We really tried to make it sound like it was off the White Album, so we researched everything about the track, where the mic placement should be, how to get the organ to sound like the original. Quinn is such a huge Beatles fan so, of course, he really loved the process.”

The album was recorded primarily at Nashville’s prestigious Blackbird Studio with some of the greatest players in Nashville, including many of the same musicians who played on the Buddy Guy albums that Hambridge produced. These include bassists Michael Rhodes and Tom Macdonald, guitarist Rob McNelley, and keyboard player Reese Wynans, a veteran of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Double Trouble.  Hambridge notes, “Quinn was anxious to make an album the way I make those Buddy Guy albums, and he did, in fact, tear it up.  Quinn felt the mojo and he ‘brought it’ in a big way.”

As a young child, Quinn was brought to numerous festivals and concerts by his music-loving parents.  He was the “kid with the guitar “ in the audience, who would strum along with what was happening on stage.  Through videos, Quinn became enamored with Buddy Guy, so his  Dad made arrangements for him to meet his idol when Guy came to his hometown.  Backstage before the show, he asked Buddy to autograph his guitar which, of course, he did — but on condition that the boy play it for him.  That led to Buddy calling Quinn onstage to join him during his set and an unlikely, though solid bond was then formed between the great Chicago bluesman and the eager youngster from Massachusetts.

Tom Hambridge calls Quinn “a sponge who soaks up everything that’s around him,” adding, “he’s listening all the time and he just so happens to be around great artists.  Every time he plays, it’s a little deeper. Buddy Guy is, of course, his mentor, so he channels Buddy’s over-the-top reckless abandon.” That’s completely understandable, as Buddy has, more than once, advised Quinn, “Just go out there and show them why you’re here… make them remember you.”

Off stage, Quinn is well aware of the unique opportunity he’s been afforded and is focused on music as an ongoing pursuit.  He contrasts his experience with many of his contemporaries’ - “They’re struggling to come up with what they’re going to do when they’re out of school, but I’ve decided this is what I’m going to be doing for the rest of my life."

The track listing is: “Something For Me,” “Tell Me I’m Not Dreaming,” “Midnight Highway,” “Crazy Into You,” “Eyes For You,” “Lifting Up,” “She Gets Me,” “Rocks,” “Going,” “Graveyard Stone,” “Big Sky,” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” “Buffalo Nickel.”

Friday, May 22, 2015

13th Almost Annual Chesapeake Bay Blues Festival - Concert Review - Stilladog - Guest writer

This year’s festival started off under partly cloudy skies with Patty Reese rendering an acapella version of the Star Spangled Banner.  As she sang you could gaze out over the Chesapeake Bay and imagine, as I did, the British warships heading back out to sea after failing to capture Fort McHenry.  Then a moment of silence was observed for the passing of BB King.

The festival kicked off with the Marcus King Band followed by a female band of local DC musicians put together specifically for this performance called the Sisterhood of Soul.  Then a last minute substitute band, The Record Company, replacing the previously booked Davy Knowles.  The highlight of these opening acts, in fact one of the true high points of the whole festival, was the performance turned in by Little Margie Clark of Sisterhood of Soul. The little old lady (formerly of the 60s group The Jewels) packed a powerful voice. And when she ad libbed some serious scat she blew the lid off that place!  Man, I can’t even tell you what language she was signing in!!  The most outstanding version of an improvised scat vocal I’ve ever heard on a record or in person… and that’s counting Ella Fitzgerald!  The horn section for Sisterhood of Soul was outstanding.  I really wish they’d have turned those horns loose on their set finale Turn On Your Lovelight.

The meat of the lineup started when Tommy Castro and The Painkillers took the stage at mid-afternoon.  The set they played was clearly the best I’ve ever heard Tommy play.  I’ve seen him at least 7 or 8 times and have not come away impressed.  This time I came away singing his praises.  He dropped his horn section a couple years back and his new lineup has taken some time to come together.  But they are a tight outfit now!  The highlight of his set was his cover of the Wet Willie standard, Keep On Smilin’.

The Painkillers were followed by Bobby Rush making his second appearance at the festival.  His was the usual standard entertaining Bobby Rush set full of good music and a few laughs. 

Next up was Beth Hart who has the most amazing voice.  Extremely powerful.  She was holding the mic at her waist and it was picking up her voice like other singers who are damn near swallowing it!  I did not know what to expect from her as my only exposure was on some duet performances she recorded with Joe Bonamassa.  But she wowed me and pretty much everyone within earshot, which probably included some fishermen way out under the Bay Bridge!

Immediately after Beth Hart concluded her set the thunder and lightning rolled in bringing some heavy rain with it.  This delayed the start of the Gregg Allman set by more than an hour and 15 minutes.  Finally, with lightning still off in the distance and the crew squeegeeing water off the stage,I left for the evening.  By all accounts those who stayed were thoroughly impressed with Gregg’s band and his set.  Everyone mentioned his tribute to Dickie Betts and the quality of musicianship the whole band displayed.

Day two started off the way day one ended with cloudy skies and spitting rain.  But by the time the Chesapeake Bay Blues Band took the stage it had cleared.  They are another “festival specific” band featuring Mark Wenner on harp and vocals and Tommy Lepson on keys. It essentially consisted of what amounted to the “Old Nighthawks,” guys who once played in the Nighthawks of the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s.  They ripped through a very hot set of blues standards in which everyone got a vocal or two and they set the bar higher for the remainder of the day.

Next up was Jarekus Singleton.  I was looking forward to hearing him as I had heard mixed reviews on his first album and wanted to make my own decision. Some folks said he was great and the new savior of the blues.  Others said he was a highly overrated product of the music industry hype machine.  I found neither to be true.  A lot of folks really enjoyed his set.  I found it to be excessive and self-indulgent.  He has talent and a big upside.  But he is far from being the future of the blues.

Mingo Fishtrap wrapped up the afternoon with a mixed bag set that was well received.  Their set included everything from a New Orleans second line to country blues to straight ahead gut-bucket. And then the rain came.

As Shemekia Copeland took the stage she announced “Here I Come!  And Here Come The rain!”  Shemekia is the absolute Queen of the Chesapeake Blues Fest and has appeared more times than any other artist.  The fans love her and she loves playing this festival.  It was the usual high energy, superb performance we’ve come to expect from Shemekia.  As always she paid tribute to her father Johnny “Clyde” Copeland, but this weekend she also paid tribute to the late B.B. King who had passed just two days day before.

The artist I most wanted to see was Charlie Musselwhite.  I had never seen him perform and I was not disappointed.  In fact, I liked seeing him live more than I liked him from listening to his albums.  He had an outstanding playlist of his older stuff, newer stuff, blues classics.  A thoroughly enjoyable set.

Jonny Lang came on.  Pleased many people with his guitar antics.  He was largely popular.  I have however grown weary of his faux ”pain with every note” stage act.  He is another hugely talented guitarist who can’t decide whether he wants to play rock, blues, prog, or Christian music.  All I can say is constant thrashing may entertain some, but it becomes tiresome to me.

And finally the incomparable Buddy Guy closed out the show.  His was a rip snortin’, hell raisin’, string stetchin’ masterful performance.  It was his usual act complete with a walk through the audience during an extended version of “Slippin’ Out,”  The entire set was done with precision, and on this night, extreme passion.  I think Buddy felt the need to set the record straight about who the premiere guitarist at that festival was and was also feeling a pain in his heart about the loss of his friend, BB King.  Those elements combined to yield the best performance I’ve ever seen of Buddy Guy.  Ironically the first time I saw him perform was as part of BB King’s Blues Revue (with Koko Taylor) back in the early 90s and thought his performance that night could never be matched (he absolutely cut Eric Johnson’s head off that night!).  When Buddy brought out his young protégé Quinn Sullivan to help close out the festival I believe we came closer to seeing the future of the blues then than ever.

As I’ve probably said in previous reviews, this festival has probably one of the most beautiful settings as any in the country.  It’s right on the Chesapeake Bay with the Bay Bridge as a backdrop.  The festival is non-profit and all proceeds go to charities that actually get the money!  It’s a good time, it’s a good place and it’s a good cause.  If you ever get the chance to come on down to my place, the largest estuary in the United States, please check out this festival.

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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Buddy Guy & Quinn Sullivan - House of Blues Boston Oct 1st 2010

Quinn Sullivan (born March 26, 1999) is an American child prodigy from New Bedford, Massachusetts who plays the guitar. He released his debut album Cyclone in 2011.
Sullivan began taking guitar lessons at age five. He has studied with Brian Cass of The Overclock Orchestra and the Toe Jam Puppet Band as well as Stan Belmarce. The first original song he wrote with Chris Waters was titled "Sing, Dance, Clap Your Hands". Sullivan first gained national media attention at age six when he appeared on The Ellen Degeneres Show. He garnered more attention when Buddy Guy asked him to come on stage and play during a performance at the Zeiterion Theater in New Bedford, Massachusetts in 2007.

Quinn has since performed on stage with Guy as well as with B.B. King and has played in venues such as the Beacon Theatre in New York City, the Orpheum Theatre in Boston, and Buddy Guy’s Legends in Chicago. In 2008, Sullivan appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show and was featured on NBC's The Today Show in July 2009. In 2009, Sullivan opened for Buddy Guy on his East Coast tour during the summer, played his own set at the popular summer music festival Lollapalooza, as well as the Austin City Limits Festival in October.[. In 2011, he appeared on the Jimmy Kimmel Live! show.

Sullivan made a guest appearance on Buddy Guy's Grammy-nominated album Skin Deep, released in 2008. His solo can be heard on the track “Who's Gonna Fill Those Shoes”. His single, "Summer of Love", was released in 2009