Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Hot weekend for guitarist at Anti-Freeze Blues Festival

Rattlesnake Shake -- clockwise from bottom left, Tony DeNardo, Brett Lucas, Danny Methric and Todd Glass -- perform a tribute to Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac. (Submitted photo)
It will be a hot weekend for guitarist Brett Lucas at the Anti-Freeze Blues Festival.
Lucas will perform in the Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac tribute band Rattlesnake Shake in support of headliner Ana Popovic on Friday, and then will play with singer Bettye LaVette at the top of the bill on Saturday night.
“It’s great,” Lucas said. “I’ve actually been part of the festival a number of times, one time with Rattlesnake Shake and a couple of times with Thornetta Davis.
“It’s a cool festival and it’s great to see the crowds come out there. It will be a hometown gig (for LaVette) and it will be one of those Detroit moments.”
The Rattlesnake Shake performance will be the band’s final one in a string of three local early winter appearances, following a gig at the Cadieux Café and an upcoming New Year’s Eve show with four other bands at Captain Jack’s Lakefront Bar and Grill in St. Clair Shores.
The band plays tribute to early Fleetwood Mac, before the group morphed into the better-known version featuring Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie. Rattlesnake Shake includes Lucas and guitarist-singer Danny Methric, bassist Tony DeNardo and drummer Todd Glass, all from The Muggs.
Rattlesnake Shake formed over 10 years ago, took a hiatus for a number of years while DeNardo recovered from a stroke, and then reformed.
“It keeps changing and evolving, which is wonderful,” Lucas said. “We’ve  added new songs, although there are a limited amount of songs we can do because they have to be Fleetwood Mac tunes, but it keeps evolving, which is exciting. We’re not just playing the same tunes. It’s exciting for me because Danny and I play guitar together and we lived together for about 5 years as roommates.”
The early version of Fleetwood Mac, which formed in 1967, included bass player John McVie and drummer Mick Fleetwood, guitarist Peter Green (who had played with McVie and Fleetwood in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers), and slide guitarist Jeremy Spencer. Guitarist Danny Kirwan joined the band in 1968.
Lucas, 37, wasn’t even born when Green left the band in 1970, but the group’s influence has been far reaching.
“They were one of the only English bands that truly played the blues in a pure way. Clapton and Cream had blues in there, but Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer were really playing blues in a pure way and that was pretty remarkable,” said Lucas, who co-produced Spencer’s 2012 recording “Bend In The Road” (Propelz). “They did a lot of obscure tunes, and it was so brave of them to get up there and not follow suit with the psychedelic thing, which they did get into later. Their guitar playing was brilliant …
Bettye LaVette
“When they added Danny Kerwin, Green and Kerwin did the duo guitar thing that influenced Santana to get Neal Schon. Santana, of course, did (Green’s composition) ‘Black Magic Woman,’ and Schon went on to form Journey.”
On Saturday, Lucas will back up R&B singer Bettye LaVette, a native Michigander who was raised in Detroit.
She hasn’t forgotten her roots. Members of her backup band, which also includes keyboardist Al Hill, bassist James Simonson and drummer Darryl Pierce, are all from Southeast Michigan.
“Even our tour manager, Robert Hodge, lives in the Detroit area,” Lucas said. “He makes everything happen.”
LaVette is known as an emotional singer who has the power to make audience members cry.
“She will bring down the biggest guy to tears,” Lucas said. “I’ve never seen anybody else able to do that. She really just puts so much into her show. Many times, I have seen her walk off the stage completely exhausted.
“There is a quote, ‘Tough times don't last, tough people do.’ For me, that sums her up. She’s tough and she never gives up.”
Lucas is looking forward to the festival, from which a portion of proceeds benefit the Detroit Blues Society.
“It’s quite an honor,” he said. “It’s great to be a Detroit musician.”

The Anti-Freeze Blues Festival runs Friday and Saturday at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale.
On Friday, performers include Ana Popovic, the Bobby Murray Band, Rattlesnake Shake, and Erich Goebel and the Flying Crowbars. Tickets are $25.
On Saturday, performers include Bettye LaVette, Laura Rain & The Caesars, the Greg Nagy Band, and RJ's Gang featuring Kenny Parker. Tickets are $35.
Doors open at 7 p.m. each night. A portion of proceeds benefit the Detroit Blues Society.
Tickets are available at ticketweb.com.

 To send info to JB Blues, please email Joe.Ballor@dailytribune.com

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Howard Glazer celebrates release of ‘Stepchild of the Blues’

Guitarist-singer Howard Glazer’s new CD, “Stepchild of the Blues,” is the result of a successful mix of the old and the new.
On the CD, Glazer performs with several old friends. On the production end, it is his first recording completed at his home studio.
“It is the first one I’ve done all by myself,” said Glazer, who admitted to quite a learning curve as he experimented with his new software. “I engineered it and mixed and produced it myself.”
Because he had complete control of the recording and mixing process, Glazer was able to get the exact sounds he wanted.
A couple of his previous recordings – “Brown Paper Bag” and “Liquor Store Legend”  -- were done quickly.
“Especially ‘Liquor Store Legend,’” he said. “That was done in a couple of sessions because we needed to get it done on time before I went on a Scandinavian tour.
“On this one, I had a little more time to think about how I wanted the songs to be presented.”
On “Stepchild of the Blues” (which debuts at a CD release party on Saturday, Dec. 21 at the New Place Lounge in Dearborn), Glazer chose to redo three songs from his prior CDs. The first track, “Don’t Love You No More,” was on “Brown Paper Bag,” and he redid the title track and “Gas Pump Blues” from the CD “Liquor Store Legend.”
“Gas Pump Blues,” which features Glazer on resonator guitar, is one of two songs on the new CD recorded with Harmonica Shah. Shah, who was honored by the Detroit Blues Society as a Lifetime Achievement Award winner in 2000, is one of several of Glazer’s former musical partners who appear on the CD. Glazer played guitar in Shah’s band for five years before they parted ways.
Harmonica Shah
According to Glazer, both of the songs with Harmonica Shah were recorded in one take. It was their first recording together in 10 years.
“We’re closer friends now than we used to be,” said Glazer, who will be performing with Shah as a duo at Cliff Bell’s in Detroit on Dec. 29. “Everything is good with us.
“It’s fun to play with him. He is really into Delta blues, which I love.”
Glazer’s current band members, bassist Chris Brown and drummer Charles David Stuart, perform on the new CD, as do several special guests.
Chuck Bartels, bassist with R&B singer Bettye LaVette’s band, plays on three tracks. Glazer asked if he was interested in participating, but Bartels was going on tour. Glazer waited for him to return.
“He’s a good friend,” Glazer said. “We played together in the mid to early ‘90s. He’s a really nice guy and a great friend. I think the world of him as a person and a player.”
Organist Larry Marek, who lives in Hawaii, was another major contributor to “Stepchild of the Blues.”
“I’ve been playing with him off and on since we were going to Wayne State University and played in the jazz band in the late ‘70s,” Glazer said. “It’s the first CD we’ve done together, although we have played a lot together over the years.”
Vocalists Maggie McCabe and Stephanie Johnson, who both performed on Glazer’s last CD, “Wired For Sound," return and sound fantastic.
The cover art was done by another longtime friend, photographer Dennis Matea.
“It was a lot of fun,” Glazer said. “Everyone who contributed to the record was a pleasure to work with. Every last one of them had great vibes and great performances.
“Even when we took the band photo for inside the CD (cover) at Maggie’s house, we had a really fun time.”
The camaraderie translates on “Stepchild of the Blues,” Glazer’s fourth recording. He has also been featured on two Harmonica Shah recordings, several by singer Sweet Claudette, and Emanuel Young’s “Live In Detroit with Howard Glazer And The EL 34s.”
Glazer recently dropped “The EL 34s” from the band’s name, due to media and fan confusion. An EL 34 is a vacuum power tube used in amplifiers, but non-musicians didn’t understand the reference.
“I am happiest about this record of all of them I have done so far,” Glazer said. “I was able to do it the way I wanted, as far as production, guitar and vocal tones and drum sounds.
“I’m happy with the end result.”

A CD release party for “Stepchild of the Blues” (Lazy Brothers Records) will be held at 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21 at the New Place Lounge, 22723 Michigan Ave, Dearborn. (313-277-3035). There’s no cover charge. For more information on Howard Glazer, click howardglazer.com.

Peter Green tribute
Rattlesnake Shake, a side project of The Muggs and guitarist Brett Lucas (Bettye LaVette), performs a tribute to Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac on Friday, Dec. 20 at Cadieux Café in Detroit.
Admission is $5.
Rattlesnake Shake will be one of five bands performing at a party at Captain Jack’s Lakefront Bar and Grill in St. Clair Shores on New Year’s Eve. Also on the bill are the Jody Raffoul Band, The Detroit Daggers, The Muggs, and the Billy Raffoul Band.
Rattlesnake Shake is also on the bill at the two-day Anti-Freeze Blues Festival at the Magic Bag on Jan. 3, 2014.

To send info to JB Blues, please email Joe.Ballor@dailytribune.com