THE BILL JOHNSON BLUES BAND GETS BACK TO HARPO’S
TONIGHT 7:00 P. M., SUNDAY, JANUARY 16, 2011
BILL JOHNSON: STILL BLUE:
But heading to Memphis…
The Bill Johnson Blues Band wants you to help them celebrate the release of their new CD, Bill Johnson Still Blue.
The festivities get under way at 7 p. m. on Sunday at the Upstairs Cabaret (formerly Harpo’s), 15 Bastion Square, or 1127 Wharf Street.
Doors open at 6:30 p. m. and tickets are available in advance at Lyle’s Place, Darcy’s Pub and Island Audio.
Local bluesman Bill Johnson has been selected by the Victoria Blues Society to represent the city at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis next month.
His Sunday night gig will send him off in style.
Copies of Johnson’s most recent CD, Still Blue, will also be for sale at the show.
- Mike Devlin, Times Colonist music scene writer
The musical future is bright for Bill Johnson, but the local bluesman has a few things to sing the blues about.
This Sunday’s “An Evening at Harpo’s” gig acts as both a CD release for Still Blue, the latest from the Bill Johnson Blues Band and a bon voyage for their upcoming gig in Memphis, Tennessee, where they will be competing in the International Blues Challenge.
But while things are looking good sonically for the longtime blues musician, Johnson says things on the personal front aren’t so rosy.
“I have a lot going on in my life at the moment, so it’s exciting but it’s also really difficult for me,” he admits.
“My wife at the moment has cancer, so we’re dealing with this nightmare at the same time.
“Luckily, she’s healthy and she wants to go to Memphis.”
The Maple Blues Award-nominated Johnson says Victoria is “a very unusual place to be a blues musician” because the form isn’t really indigenous to the area – he spent some time as a blues guitarist in Calgary, where he’d play backup for Chicago artists who would come north and front the band – but he’s stuck with it over the years.
“Being a star was never my priority.
“I wanted to have a normal, happy life,” says Johnson, who got more serious about his music when his kids moved out a few years ago.
“I’ve always played blues in Victoria because it’s really the most challenging thing.
“Rock and roll and pop music, most of them have some element of blues with the songs.
“I thought I’d cut to the chase.”
Catch the Bill Johnson Blues Band at 7 p. m. at the Upstairs Cabaret, 1127 Wharf.
Check the MonBlog for a chance to win tickets.
- Monday Magazine
January 13 – 19, 2011
BILL JOHNSON… with his well-travelled guitar