Quarto Valley Records releases “Mean Town Blues” today, the 2nd single off the upcoming Brother Johnny, an all-star tribute to Johnny Winter organized by his brother Edgar Winter. Sharing this song so close to what would have been Johnny’s 78th birthday on February 23 is fitting as “Mean Town Blues” highlights the truest version of his early blues writing and unique slide guitar style. The album is now available for pre-order.
“Johnny’s most highly respected authenticity was as a blues man, particularly his style of slide guitar, and if there’s one song that best epitomizes and brings all those elements together to represent the many aspects of who Johnny was in the early days, it is “Mean Town Blues”. Every time I hear it I think, ‘Now that’s Real Johnny Winter’. It just captures the essence of everything he was,” Edgar explains in the albums’ liner notes.
STREAM “MEAN TOWN BLUES” via https://lnk.to/MeanTownBlues
“Mean Town Blues” features Edgar Winter singing, Joe Bonamassa on slide guitar, Sean Hurley on bass, and Gregg Bissonette on drums. Edgar recalls, “To me, this is one of the most important tracks on the album, and probably the most difficult to replicate the original feel on. I wanted only guitar, bass, and drums, exactly like Johnny’s original blues trio. But I didn’t know of anyone out there who naturally played slide the way Johnny did. I thought Joe Bonamassa did such an incredible job with Johnny’s regular guitar style, I wonder if he could do the same thing with the slide? And amazingly, HE DID IT”
Brother Johnny is a powerful sonic journey, traveling the course of Johnny’s musical life, impeccably directed, as only his brother Edgar could. The guitar-driven album celebrates the expansive styles Johnny was known for – the 17 tracks were carefully curated by Edgar and producer Ross Hogarth to represent Johnny’s evolution as an artist, honouring his great legacy while also incorporating a personal tribute from brother to brother, and for which Edgar penned two new songs.
Joining Edgar on the inclusive project is an impressive array of renowned musicians who knew, or were inspired by Johnny, including Joe Bonamassa, Doyle Bramhall II, Robben Ford, Billy Gibbons, David Grissom, Taylor Hawkins, Warren Haynes, Steve Lukather, Michael McDonald, John McFee, Keb Mo, Doug Rappoport, Bobby Rush, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Ringo Starr, Derek Trucks, Waddy Wachtel, Joe Walsh, Phil X, Bob Glaub and Sean Hurley on Bass, and Gregg Bissonette on Drums. There were also invaluable musical contributions from Kenny Aronoff, Tim Pierce, Billy Payne, Doc Kupka, and David Campbell.
Brother Johnny will be available on CD, vinyl and digitally across all platforms on April 15, 2022.
The album’s first single, “Johnny B. Goode”, was released on January 7, 2022, and features Edgar, Joe Walsh, David Grissom, Bob Glaub ,Gregg Bissonette and Phil X. Listen to it here.
Mean Town Blues, from Edgar Winter’s liner notes for Brother Johnny:
“Now when I think about Johnny, his authenticity as a blues man (reflected in his early writing), and particularly his style of slide guitar—if there’s one song that best epitomizes and brings all those elements together to represent the many aspects of who Johnny was in the early days, that song would have to be “Mean Town Blues”. Every time I hear it, I think, now that’s Real Johnny Winter. It just captures the essence of everything he was.
To me, all this made it one of the most important tracks on the album, and probably the most difficult to replicate the original feel on. Although my intention was Never to make a Johnny sound alike or copy album, I wanted this one song to be as authentic as possible.
I wanted only guitar, bass, and drums, exactly like Johnny’s original blues trio. But I didn’t know of anyone out there who naturally played slide anything like the way Johnny did. I thought Joe Bonamassa did such a great job with Johnny’s regular guitar style, I wonder if he could do the same thing with the slide? So, I called Joe saying I didn’t know where else to turn, and that he was our last and best hope. Joe said it would be a real challenge, but one he was up for. Don’t worry; I’ve got you covered. I think he viewed it as an adventure that would add a new dimension to his playing.
We scheduled the recording for a few weeks later to give Joe a chance to study. When the session rolled around he said he was ready, and man, was he! As soon as he started playing, I knew we were home free. Joe rose to the challenge and beyond. I swear I’ve never heard anyone (other than myself) able to get inside Johnny’s playing the way Joe does. He nailed it—dead center Johnny Winter! When I put on our version, it takes me back to the first time I heard Johnny play it. I get that same old feeling, and I hope you all will too. Joe, I don’t have the words to thank you. What you brought to this album goes beyond words. When I listen to the songs you did, it’s as though I can hear and feel Johnny’s spirit and presence in the music. Call it mystical, magical, some kind of bizarre channeling, or just great heart and soul musicianship. Whatever it is, you got it, and I thank you for giving to the world on this album.”