I consider myself blessed not only that I came of age during a time when music was changing and maturing but also because I was living in an area where many wonderful and talented musicians lived and played.
My love of music began at The Boston Tea Party nightclub on Berkeley Street in Boston back in the late 1960's where I discovered many famous and soon to be famous bands and players like The Who, Mountain, Jethro Tull, Ten Years After and Eric Clapton. Paying sometimes only $3 for a seat on a pillow 5 feet in front of Pete Townsend and Roger Daltry, swinging his microphone out over my head....I mean, really...how can you beat that?
My love of music led me to discover the blues in the 70's when I saw the great Muddy Waters at Paul's Mall on Boylston St. in Boston. This was the beginning of my passion for the blues that continues to this day. During the late 80's with the opening of Nightstage in Cambridge there was a continual parade of wonderful artists almost every weekend to satisfy my endless craving for new musical experiences. From Jazz-Jimmy Smith, John McLaughlin, Dizzy Gillespi, to Blues-Albert King, Albert Collins, Gatemouth Brown, Robert Jr. Lockwood, not to mention wonderful local artists like Duke Robillard, Sugar Ray and the Bluetones and David Maxwell.
It was at this time when I first saw Ronnie Earl who had taken over the guitar seat for Duke Robillard with Roomful of Blues at a performance at Nightstage. I had never seen a guitarist play with such passion and soul and made up my mind right then and there that I had to meet Ronnie and somehow try to unlock the secret to playing guitar like that. With a lot of luck and some determination I finally managed to sit down with Ronnie in his small apartment in Waltham to learn some of the basics. We spent many hours on his couch playing blues and listening to his record collection. Sometime we were joined by Jerry Portnoy, who lived upstairs, on harp during our impromptu jams. I am eternally grateful to Ronnie for taking the time to start me in the right direction.
I met many other wonderful artists through my association with Ronnie-Albert Collins, Wayne Bennett, Duke Robillard, David Maxwell, Sugar Ray Norcia, Anson Funderburgh, Sam Myers, Jimmie Vaughan and Stevie Ray Vaughan...what wonderful and talented musicians!! Each of these people widened my appreciation of the blues and some even gave me advice or something new to learn on my instrument. I have fond memories of having Ronnie and Wayne Bennett over to my home, talking with Jimmie Vaughan about his influences in his dressing room at Lupo's, sharing a laugh with Hubert Sumlin during Ronnie's recording session of Healing Feeling, and standing in the hallway backstage at Great Woods (now The Comcast Center) with Stevie Ray Vaughan talking about our mutual love of the music of Jimi Hendrix. I want to thank all of them for their generosity.
This was a journey that I began over twenty years ago. I consider myself truly blessed and grateful that I have been able to meet and be around such wonderful artists. I continue this journey and love affair with not only blues but all types of music daily and hope that I will continue to grow musically and as a person in the future. I hope that you will join me and other musicians so that together we can all bring some light into our world.
Lil' Stevie and The Westsiders
Gardner Ale House, 74 Parker St, Gardner, MA
Come join Lil' Stevie and The Westsiders at The Gardner Ale House for some great rockin' blues.
Private Birthday Party
XO on Elm Restaurant, 827 Elm Street, Manchester, NH
This is a private birthday party for a fan of the band.