A Few Minutes With… Paul Nelson of the Johnny Winter Band

October 30th, 2014, 2:00 pm by Greg
Paul Nelson and Johnny Winter (photo: Greg Olliver)

Paul Nelson and Johnny Winter (photo: Greg Olliver)

Interview and story by Don Wilcock

“He wasn’t just playing it. He was living it.” That’s the way Paul Nelson remembers Johnny Winter. Nelson was Winter’s lead guitarist, band leader, songwriter, album producer and perhaps most importantly, the man who brought the albino blues rocker back from the brink of a lifestyle that threatened to kill him a decade ago. Winter finally succumbed to pneumonia on July 16.

“I made my first records when I was 15,” says Winter in the film documentary, “Down & Dirty: The Johnny Winter Story.” I started playing clubs when I was 15, started drinking and smoking when I was 15, sex when I was 15. Fifteen was a big year for me.”

That documentary will open the Johnny Winter Remembrance Concert on Saturday evening (November 1) at The Egg. This show headlines Johnny’s band under Nelson’s direction with guest guitarists Sonny Landreth, Ronnie Baker Brooks and Debbie Davies, all blues-based artists who, like Winter, know how to put a kick into blues guitar.

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LIVE: The Johnny Winter Band/Savoy Brown @ The Egg, 1/14/12

January 19th, 2012, 2:00 pm by Greg
Johnny Winter

Review by Fred Rudofsky
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Maybe there should be instant replay at concerts?

What should have been an electrifying night of the blues fell short of the mark. Upon further review, there were many reasons why, for this newbie to one band and a long-time fan of a Texas legend.

Savoy Brown (featuring Kim Simmonds) drew a strong contingent and played a competent but unspectacular hour-long opening set. Simmonds, who shared lead vocal duties with Joe Whiting (who played occasional sax) dialed in a tone derivative of Eric Clapton’s early Cream-era recordings and moved about the stage like a man half his age. “Meet the Blues Head On,” a uptempo blues-rocker, opened the show but seemed more appropriate for an arena rather than a theater; the riffs were predictable, and the lyrics melded every cliche imaginable.

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LIVE: Johnny Winter and James Cotton @ The Egg, 6/25/10

June 29th, 2010, 4:11 pm by Sara

James Cotton

James Cotton

Johnny Winter and James Cotton’s appearance at The Egg was a legitimate “check-off show” – that is, a concert that lets hard-core music fans check one name (or, in this case, two names) off the list of legends they’d like to see perform live. The show was also a do-over, as the original date was postponed due to health reasons… and frankly, it was hard to tell which performer caused the cancellation.

The 67-year old Winter was hunched and frail as he walked onstage, his face half-hidden by a black, wide-brimmed hat. Cotton came on and off stage under his own power, but the 75-year-old Hall of Famer did a post-set CD signing from a wheelchair. Both players sat for their respective sets, and Cotton needed ex-Ronnie Earl sideman Darrell Nulisch to handle all the vocals because Cotton’s voice is effectively gone. But while neither player was anywhere near his best, they each had the ability to make the capacity crowd holler their brains out.

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James Cotton, What Was the First Album You Ever Bought?

June 24th, 2010, 12:03 pm by Greg

James Cotton“The first album I bought?

Hmmmm, I think it was Sonny Boy. Yeah, probably Sonny Boy Williamson.”

Harmonica master James Cotton teams up with guitarslinger Johnny Winter for a double-barrel blast of the blues at The Egg in Albany at 7:30pm on Friday. Tix are $29.50.

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