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International Blues Family

the groovemaster - CD

Gut Bucket Blues stumpdown acoustic - CD

Tortured Mind - CD

Texas Thunder Blues - CD

Red's Blues - CD

a long way home  - CD

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This rockin' blues guitarist from Texas turns in a good performance. He has his wits about him, whether employing slide or pick, avoiding pretense and overstatement in his playing.

               - Blueswire, Boston, Massachusetts


[Interview]   Cradle Magazine, Portland, Maine

    He tells me that they started calling him Lightning Red when he was younger because he would play his guitar as fast as he could. "GO RED" They would yell. "Play like LIGHTNING" they would say. Lightning Red does play like lightning...and thunder -- with style and grace - boogie and taste.

Guitarist extraordinare Lightning Red, who has picked and played with the best blues musicians all over the world, has moved from his long-time home of Texas to Vacationland - the state whose motto is steadily changing to, "Maine -Land Of The Blues." Lightning brings with him to Maine an arsenal of talent he has been exercising for the past twenty years. He was playing in Austin when Stevie Ray was still referred to as 'Jimmy's' little brother and prior to that Lightning Was living in Chicago - this was when B.B. was recording live at The Regal Theatre. Now, for us, Lightning Red will play all his blues.

Cradle: What sparked you to move to Maine?

LR: Things were pretty slow in Texas. My wife is a psycho-therapist and she was given this opportunity she couldn't turn down.

Cr: Were you living in Austin?

LR: Actually we were in Houston right before we came here.

Cr: Referring to Austin, what do you mean when you say its pretty grim?

LR: Well, other than Antone's, there really are no record companies in Texas. There really is no music industry in Texas, although people may be surprised by that. Everyone who has done anything has had to leave. And the one other label in Houston - Justice Records - isn't signing Texas artists. I had been talking to some music people up here - a promoter was setting up shows and I knew about the blues scene in Boston.

Cr: What had you heard?

LR: The Thunderbirds' drummer, Fran Christina, was from Nova Scotia and their bass player is from Rhode Island. The are some clubs and small labels -- Morganfield's and The Big Easy here in town - The Tradewinds up in Rockland...and the radio stations up here - that's another thing that drew me - I'm played now on WCLZ. Nick Seneca who does the 501 Blues says he really likes the disc and I'm played on many of the college stations throughout New England regularly.

Cr: Since you moved, who have you met?

LR: There's been some players I've met since I moved here. Ani Azoto went with me to Europe playing bass. He's excellent. He studied with Jeff Berlin in L.A. The drummer is the fellow who is playing with Jimmy & The Soul Cats. Maucheen Seoighe...he is a very young player but he has the blues down. He knows it. And Phil Veril with The Rhythm Gypsies - he's an excellent player. He can play anything. And then there's D.W. Gill...

Cr: Where did you grow up?

LR: Outside of Chicago. Growing up I was in and around the City. Then I moved to Ann Arbor for three years and then to Austin for the next seventeen years. This was in '76.

Cr: Did you move to Texas to play music?

LR: Yes I sure did. I put a band together right away with some cats from the Golden Triangle area - Beaumont - Port Arthur - around that area. We recorded a demo for Huey P. Meaux. He's the guy that discovered and promoted and took advantage of and helped all at the same time Johnny Winter and Janis Joplin and Doug Sahm. We sent a tape to him and almost got a package deal with Freddie Fender but this was right before Freddie declared bankruptcy.

Cr: Were you touring?

LR: There was a little circuit through Louisiana and eventually up the east coast - but not much.

Cr: This was in the seventies?

LR: Yea, there were a few clubs in Texas but not that many at that time.

Cr: That's so hard to imagine. After living in Austin and traveling extensively throughout Texas, the image that I have is of barbecue and music - blues abundance. And you're saying blues was almost scorned as a viable music form?

LR: There was very little airplay and hardly any clubs playing it.

Cr: What strikes you about Texas music.?

LR: It's a certain feel that's different than Chicago or the East or West coast. It took me a while to get used to it. It's a little more hard edge. They tend to play straight on with not much dynamics - rather than Chicago- style's crashing crescendos. I've noticed here there's a lot of Jazz influence. In Texas it's more straight ahead - one volume and hard edge with the real back beat. When I first went down there I wanted to hear the band crescendo but now I can't help it - it's in me and I can't get it out, full tilt boogie!

Cr: What is it about Texas music - and musicians from Texas - that seems to have captured the intrigue of the contemporary blues and music culture in general: I see and hear so many aspects of Southwestern American music and culture. There's barbecues opening up on every corner in Portland.

LR: Texas music is appreciated because the players are expected to develop their own style...and you have to suffer to do that. You have to be able to say, "I do what I do" when people come up to you and say "You didn't play 'The Thrill Is Gone' just right." I would say, "Right!" It's a double-edged sword though - like Joe Ely for instance. That cat is a major talent but no radio station knows what to do with him. He's not exactly country and he's not blues - exactly. And he's not rock - exactly. In this country, it's very defined. The industry wants labels. Like Stevie (Stevie Ray Vaughan) for instance, the guy used to sleep in his van 'cause they couldn't afford motel rooms...until the key people saw him - outside of Texas.

Cr: Your CD. Red's Blues, did you record these songs in Austin?

LR: Yea, at Austin Trax with Gary Greer. He engineered and helped produce it with me.

CR: Your song, "Austin Boogie" is a passionate acoustic slide boogie blues. I really like that one. And "Big City Blues", what inspired this 1992 hit blues?

LR: I was just thinking back about Chicago - about driving up and down Wabash Street and all the funky blues clubs. Buddy Guy's moved next to the police station... Chicago's a unique place that's rich with music. All of those cats that moved up there from the south and created a music that in my opinion is our national heritage - it's music our country created.

Lightning Red will be headlining the N. E. Blues Festival in Whitefield N.H. August 26 as well as showcasing in theatres or clubs near you.

           - Marc Mencher CRADLE Magazine, Portland, Maine

 

"Texas Thunder Blues"
Bluzharp Reviews

Red on Guitar/Vocals
Steve Johnson on Drums
Jay Stevenson on Bass
Rick Peerone on Harmonica.

Red throws down with some tasteful guitar and vocals and Rick mops up with the icing on the cake harmonica.

Red has the voice that is seasoned from many bar gigs and living the life that he sings about.

I liken my view towards Red like John Lee Hooker, Red is not flashy but when he plays he means it and in turn you can feel it too! A (4) Harp cd!

          - BluzHarp's Recommended Bluz Recordings
            
Bluz Harp on the web

 

MORE QUOTES

 

Just wanted to say thanks for bringing some great music to this tiny town [Fredricksburg, Texas]. My friend and I had such a wonderful time. I'm not sure why someone of your talent was at Gould's, but I'm glad you were. My brother is a blues musician, so I can appreciate a tight performance and a guitarist of your caliber           - (A new fan!) email fan message

 

Something special...striking out across America and Europe...smoking, thunderous blues and boogie.

          - FREE TIMES Columbia, South Carolina

 

Versatile Austin-based blues guitarist. He's drawn rave reviews and radio airplay in Scandinavia and, of all places, Russia.

          - CREATIVE LOAFING Charlotte, North Carolina

 

Man, you're the hottest guitar player that's ever played here and I get the top-name acts from Austin all the time.

          - Frank DiSabatino FRANKIE'S, Baytown, Texas

 

Red, you and your band sound great. We'll have you back real soon.

           - Patrick Tracey-manager CHICAGO B.L.U.E.S. New York

 

Man, you're unbelievable! Where have you been? Have you been paying your dues, or what? You're one HOT guitar player!

          - Chip Pickard-owner BRAZOS BOTTOM, Richmond, Texas

 

Soundin' REAL good Red! Would you sign your CD [Red's Blues] for me?

          - Sugar Blue, Grammy Winner-Alligator Records
              Raleigh, North Carolina

 

OK Red! Don't be playin' that "Sweet Home Chicago" like that when I'm so far from home.

          - Sam Lay (Paul Butterfield Blues Band) Tallahassee, Florida

 

Red, sign your CD for me, and one for my daughter. I want you playin' Tuesdays at my jam sessions.

          - Joe "Guitar" Hughes (Texas Blues Legend) Houston, Texas

 

Red, you're dynamite on that guitar! You're really tearing it up tonight.

          - Grady Gaines (Little Richard's Sax Man), Houston, Texas

 

Lightning Red [Texas Thunder Blues], oooohhhh eeeeeee....The first 2 cuts completely interrupted my lunch...what a feast for the ears. Thank you very much for sending us some good and fun-to-play music.

          - Clancy Dunigan KSER (Seattle area radio host)

 

I was pleased. Red not only wrote the songs, he also produced the album [Red's Blues]...up tempo...a lot of creative energy...hard not to like.

          - NORTH OF THE BORDER, Houston, Texas

 

Tough, straight-ahead Texas roadhouse blues...getting very popular in Europe A must for Texas blues guitar fans.

          - THE BLUES CONNECTION, Eugene, Oregon

 

Versatile Austin-based blues guitarist. He's drawn rave reviews and radio airplay in Scandinavia and, of all places, Russia.

          - CREATIVE LOAFING, Charlotte, North Carolina

 

That 'Austin Boogie' sure sounds good. Let's play more cuts from your [CD] RED'S BLUES! I'll also play it on my Saturday night show on WCLZ [Portland].

          - Sharon Small WCDQ Radio, Sanford, Maine

 

Can a white boy play the blues? You bet! This man sure can... "East St. Louis", GOD this is great!

          - Kathleen Kern KPFT Radio, Houston, Texas

 

Best Blues Ever! [from Austin, Texas]

          - J. K. Forssell Radio Staplus, Tampere, Finland

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