Landreth’s slide guitar among blues' best 

Sonny Landreth 8:15 p.m. Sunday Triple-S Alarm Stage Something magical and profound happened to American blues guitar when some innovative early-20th-century blues players, taking a cue from Hawaiian guitarists who used steel bars with their instruments, used necks from bottles or kitchen knives to manipulate the strings. It created a whole new sound for the blues genre, and its master craftsmen include notables such as Charley Patton, Muddy Waters, Robert Nighthawk and Johnny Winter. Many say Louisiana-Delta-swamp blues roots player Sonny Landreth earns a place among these greats. No less than Eric Clapton has been quoted as saying that Landreth is “probably the most underestimated musician on the planet, and probably one of the most advanced.” Landreth fielded our recent call during a brief stop at his home in Lafayette, La., where he had just finished a tour that included England. Clapton sat in with Landreth and his backup band —Landreth calls them “great musicians in their own right” — bassist David Ransom and drummer Kenneth Blevins. The tour was in support of Landreth’s first–ever live recording, “Grant Street,” a follow-up to 2003’s Grammy-nominated album “The Road We’re On.” “The time was just right,” Landreth said of the live record. “We wanted to capture the immediacy, the heat of the moment of our live show. The audience is part of the whole energy.” The album’s energetic nature is evident with the opening song, an instrumental titled “Port of Calling.” The album, named after the Lafayette club where Landreth earned his chops, contains 11 original songs and showcases Landreth’s frenetic fretwork, extraordinary minor tunings and a trance-like marriage of blues and zydeco. The Cajun touch is not surprising considering Landreth was mentored by Clifton Chenier, who took a young Landreth under his wing and inspired him to “hit the road” at age 17 and “never look back,” Landreth said. The list of musicians whom Landreth has worked with is long: some are John Hiatt, Dolly Parton, Jimmy Buffett (Landreth is featured in Buffett’s new album, “License to Chill”), Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown and the late harp player and vocalist Junior Wells, who was known for his rather gruff treatment of the people he worked with. “It was incredible working with him. I miss him a lot,” Landreth said, then added with a laugh, “He was cantankerous.” His other albums are “Down in Louisiana,” “South of I-10,” “Levee Town,” “Blues Attack,” “Prodigal Son: The Collection.” Riverfest will not be Landreth’s first time playing in the Little Rock area -– he called a six-day stopover years ago at North Little Rock’s Checkmate Club. Even if festival-goers can’t appreciate the difficulty involved in the execution of Landreth’s instrument, trust Eric Clapton and the other artist who have shared the stage with Landreth and will testify that the music simply rocks. Hear Amy B’s blues show on KABF-FM, 88.3, every Wednesday at 3-5 p.m.

From the ArkTimes store


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

More by Amy Brawner

Most Shared

  • So much for a school settlement in Pulaski County

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Cynthia Howell got the scoop on what appears to be coming upheaval in the Pulaski County School District along with the likely end of any chance of a speedy resolution of school desegregation issues in Pulaski County.
  • Riverfest calls it quits

    The board of directors of Riverfest, Arkansas's largest and longest running music festival, announced today that the festival will no longer be held. Riverfest celebrated its 40th anniversary in June. A press release blamed competition from other festivals and the rising cost of performers fees for the decision.
  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.

Latest in Top Stories

  • Good for the soul

    The return of Say McIntosh, restaurateur
    • Jun 1, 2010
  • Robocalls are illegal

    Robocalls -- recorded messages sent to thousands of phone numbers -- are a fact of life in political campaigns. The public doesn't like them much, judging by the gripes about them, but campaign managers and politicians still believe in their utility.
    • May 31, 2010
  • Riverfest winds down

    With Cedric Burnside and Lightnin' Malcolm, Steve Miller Band, Robert Cray, Ludacris and more performing.
    • May 30, 2010
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »


2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation