Thursday, January 6, 2011

My Kind of Guys

I've listed some of my favorite blues guitarist before now and a few of these cats are listed and a few others I've mentioned in prior posts, but I thought I thrown down a list of some guys who know how to back the hell out of  blues harmonica players and just may be flying under your radar. Some have made a name for themselves and some are not quite as well known. What I'm doing is just giving a shout out to these guitarists who are my kind of guys. I'm sure not dismissing the big boys like Kid Ramos, Junior Watson, Henry Carvajal, Rick Holmstrom, or Alex Schultz; just want you to google some of these fellows for some fine and tasty blues guitar playing.

1. Johnny Moeller--He's an official Fabulous Thunderbirds backing the best damned blues harp guy on the planet, but he's back up a slew of harp dudes. He blew my mind a few years back playing a gig with Rob Roy Parnell. Does (or did) a lot of session work for Severn Records, backing folks like Darrell Nulisch. He'll also slide into The Moeller Brother's act with his drummer bro (and T-Birder) on ocassion. His solo release last year, Bloogaloo, was one of my favorites.
2. Mike Keller--He's Moeller's T-Bird partner in crime at the moment. There just ain't another pair of guitarists sharing a stage, playing the blues like these two do. He kicked butt backing Gary Primich at The Big Easy in Houston, which was recorded and has yet to be released. I've confused The Keller Brothers with The Moeller Brothers more than once--both sets of siblings were impressing people like Clifford Antone at just about the same time.
3. Kid Andersen--I think that this cat's probably the man of the hour right now as one of Rick Estrin's Nightcats and having just left Charlie Musselwhite's band. Has an eclectic streak in him and runs Greaseland, one of the best danged recording studios in existence.
4. Jonn Del Toro Richardson--Got his name out there playing the IBC with Diunna Greenleaf and then touring with Otis Taylor, bands that a not harpcentric, but I've been to his jams and watched him back Sonny Boy Terry, Dave Nevling, Steve Schneider and other Houston harpers with immaculate taste, tone and talent. He's belongs in the national spotlight. Just reviewed the stupendously tasty Time Slip On By collaboration with Rich DelGrosso.
5. Paul Size--Wowed me backing Lester Butler's Red Devils on King King. Love the story that has James Harman recommending him to Lester Butler and Paul sends him a demo to get the job. He didn't mention that the demo was his Denton playmate Johnny Moeller's guitar playing. Resides out on the East Coast as one of Johnny Hoy's Bluefish.
6. James Bridges--Part of Ian Collard's Aussie trio Collard Greens and Gravy. Fabulously keeps the rhythm driving with just drums and blues harp to bounce off of. He really impresses me on their latest release Juke Joint Boogie, which channels a Sun Records vibe.
7. Nathan James--Knocked my socks off as a 19 or 20 year old touring with James Harman. Doing a duo thang with Ben Hernadez now.
8. Aaron 'Chainsaw' Moreland--Teams with harp dude, Dustin Arbuckle for some greasy rootsy rockin'/Mississippi Hillcountry stompin' stuff. They mix it up acoustically and electrically as a duo with a drummer thrown in at times.
9. Little Ray Ybarra--Got a lot of Anson Funderburgh in him, along with Jimmy Vaughn, and plays that Texas swagger blues well. Part of The Sonny Boy Terry Blues Quartet for quite awhile. His work there  can best be heard on Live At Miss Ann's Playpen. He's got his own band cookin' over in the Port Arthur area.
10. Charlie Hilbert--Only heard him play on one album--some live, street stuff with Nat Riddles as part of their El Cafe Street duo act that Adam Gussow sells from his website. His playing went every place that Riddles wanted him to go with some for real blues playing.


Anonymous said...

Moeller, oh yeah, he's definitely tops in my book. Everything I've heard from him is filled with a slick combination of complete emotional abandonment and balancing-on-the-knife-edge control.

Thanks for the other guitarists' names, I'll be checking them out.

- Joe

Ricky Bush said...

These guys know how to do it behind harp dude. They can all bring it. Moeller can back anyone at any time in most any style. And he has.