BACKTRACK BLUES BAND INTERVIEW
For our readers who have never heard your music, explain your sound in 5 words :
Blended Chicago and Texas blues .
How has the reaction to your latest CD been ?
The band is very pleased with the response to our new, live album , " Make My Home In Florida" . It's amazing to see how far away from Florida , USA , our music has traveled. And it's highly gratifying to know that the music we love is also being enjoyed by folks all around the world ! We are receiving radio play in far away places like Tasmania , Australia and Manila, Philippines. Plus there's been heavy radio play in the USA, Canada , UK , Europe , Scandinavia and South America . So it's been a huge success, thanks in large part , to our amazing publicity team .
We've also been blessed with some very favorable album reviews from music critics around the world . This positive feedback keeps us energized and devoted to our brand of blues music !
How long did this CD take to make from start to finish ?
We recorded our live show at the Palladium Theater on January 6 2017. Our official album release date was January 26 , 2018 , so the entire project took about a year. It is a double disc , with both CD and DVD and the film editing was rather time consuming . It was really fun mixing the music , and our producer , George Harris , did an exceptional job . The music captures our live show , and there are no overdubs or studio edits. It's as real as music gets !
Please inform us about your favorite songs and lyrical highlights ?
I enjoy all the tunes on the record , and I can't say any one is my favorite . I like the title track , " Make My Home In Florida " , which pays tribute to our home state , with its beautiful oceans and tropical weather. I always like singing " Shoot My Rooster " because it brings back fond memories of my times in the Caribbean. I live part time on St John , US Virgin Islands, and we have lots of wildlife there , including feral chickens who freely roam the island. That song recounts a humorous time when my friend urged me to " shoot that damn rooster " . His crowing was disrupting the entire neighborhood. Of course , I never shot the bird !
On radio , we've noticed that our Sonny Boy Williamson song , " Checkin On My Baby " and Kid Royal's version of the B.B. King tune , " Woke Up This Morning " are getting lots of airplay. So we like those cuts a lot too.
Who are your influences and heroes ?
As a blues harp player , I love the great harmonica artists from the past . Little Walter was a true musical genius, and has heavily influenced my music . The Paul Butterfield Blues Band really got Chicago style blues going strong in America back in the 60's and 70's , and I love Paul's singing and harp playing. Sonny Boy Williamson II , Kim Wilson , Rod Piazza , William Clarke and Charlie Musselwhite are all among my favorites.
I also dig the great blues guitarists like Albert King , Stevie Ray Vaughn , T -Bone Walker and Ronnie Earl . I just love blues music and prefer the styles that stay more true to the masters. I'm not as big a fan of the " blues rock " sounds , that in my opinion , seem rather " busy " and aggressive , without the nuances of the best blues artists.
What music are you listening to ?
Well I'm still enjoying the music of the artists that influenced me during my career , as noted above. As far as new recordings , I've been enjoying Kim Wilson' s new release , Beth Hart and Ronnie Earl's record , " The Luckiest Man " . There are lots of good blues albums coming out now and that makes me happy !
What advice should you have taken but did not ?
We have released six albums and most of them were original songs of the Backtrack Blues Band . I was told that we needed a good " radio promoter " and publicist to make an impact , but in the early days we couldn't afford much . Of course , now we have a great team of radio and media publicists and it's made a big difference for us . I wish we'd had more of that professional help earlier in our career.
What should people know about you ?
Well , that's a tough question . I'm not sure there's any particular thing that folks should know about me. I do have a very diversified life . I produce a large American blues festival , The Tampa Bay Festival , in St Petersburg , Florida. That takes a lot of my time and energy .
I love the people, culture and geography of the Caribbean islands , especially the US and British Virgin Islands, and I have a home on St John , USVI. I really dig the weather and pristine seas there , and plan to spend more time there in the future. I must confess I've had a good life , and hope there's more good times to come.
What has been your most significant achievement you've had with your music so far ?
It's hard to select a single achievement. I am very grateful to be able to play music with the nicest bunch of guys around . It's hard to form a band that has the high level of talent you need , while also getting along so well with one another. Our band is blessed , because we are all great friends and genuinely enjoy one another's company . That's the greatest gift of all.
Beyond that , I'd say we have been incredibly lucky to perform in concert with many of our musical heroes, and those memories are fabulous . We've opened shows for Stevie Ray Vaughn , BB King , Buddy Guy , Gregg Allman , Johnny Winter , Robert Cray , John Lee Hooker, Koko Taylor , George Thorogood , Kenny Wayne Shepherd and many more . Not many band get that many opportunities to work with the greatest blues bands . That has been a real honor for us .
What does the next 6 months look like for you ?
Well , we'd sure love to tour in Europe and would hope to get over to the Netherlands ! We do have a tour in Canada lined up for August of this year . We are hoping that the success of our new live record , which accurately shows what we sound like , will open doors with festivals and promoters in Europe . Please let them all know we are ready to bring our music overseas soon.
We are playing lots of shows in Florida and writing new songs to be released on our next studio record down the road. We are having a great time playing our music and the fan base seems to be growing steadily. We feel privileged to have played blues music for over 30 years , and we still feel like there is a lot left to accomplish.
The Backtrack Blues Band is in a really good place these days. We are all happy about our live shows , and excited to see our new album doing so well, especially outside of the United States , where we hope to reach a new audience. We hope to be performing in your home town soon !