2017 was a heck of a year!  I did over 220 dates from Coast to Coast, as well as dates in Toronto, Calgary, Chile, Russia, the UK, France, Sweden… you get the idea.   I closed it out with a show in Occidental, CA at the Union Hotel with blues legend, songwriter and piano man Nick Gravenites.  Below I’ll highlight some recent happenings and what’s coming right up.

THE NOVEMBER WEST COAST MEETS CHICAGO CHILE TOUR w Aki Kumar was a blast!   At left is a pic from our sold out show at Puerto Montt Jazz Festival.  I can’t wait to go back!

On Dec 8,  I had a rare night off so I went to see Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio, featuring Bob Welsh and Willie Jordan,  at the Fox Theatre in Redwood City, CA.  Elvin graciously invited me to play a couple of songs, pictured above,  at the end of the night.   Elvin Bishop just knocks my socks off and joining the Big Fun Trio onstage was the cherry on top of a great year.

The OTHER cherry on top was getting to record on 12.11 with Charlie Musselwhite and the gang pictured above:  from right, Kid Andersen, up-and-coming Salt Lake City harpman Tony Holiday, Aki Kumar, guitarist Landon Stone, Charlie, and myself.  This is for an upcoming project produced by Tony Holiday featuring music recorded on front porches across America.  Click here to hear the song we did there.   I have known Charlie for a few years now but never thought I’d be lucky enough to record with him.  Watch this page for further news on this project.


 TEXAS TOUR AND RECORDING w Quique Gomez!  For the last few weeks, I teamed up with this original and cool harpman and singer, Quique Gomez.  I have always loved his jazzy approach, original songs, and great showmanship, and we’ve toured together in Europe off and on since 2010.  We are finished recording a CD we started back in late 2016 in Toledo, Spain with a recording session in Austin TX, featuring guest artists Greg Izor and Josh Fulero as well as Christian Dozzler on piano and accordion, Steve Dougherty on drums and Eric Przygocki on bass.   Along the way we hit Fresno, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Albuquerque, the historic Antone’s in Austin, and Dallas– where we jammed with the fine guitarist Mike Morgan and a cool local bluesman, Dialtone recording artist Ray Reed.    Quique is very well known in Spain and South America, and has toured with Taildragger, Jimmy Burns, Bob Stroger, Eddie C. Campbell, and many others, come see why!
Cool Podcast!:  Click here for an interview with Roberto Hernandez for his The Unstarving Musician podcast.   He produces in-depth artist interviews from all genres focusing on the changing nature of the music business.

My latest CD “NEOPRENE FEDORA” made “Making a Scene’s” list of the top 50 recordings of 2017 and it also made noted blues critic Tom Hyslop’s Top Ten of 2017– see the list here.    This CD currently available on CD Baby,  Bluebeat Music and Bear Family, and at my shows.  It’s 70+ minutes of music, and is chock full of original tunes and exciting guest appearances.   It was recorded at Greaseland studios, and features Kid Andersen on guitar, keyboards, baritone guitar and bass; Aki Kumar on harp, percussion and vocals; Bob Welsh on guitar and piano; June Core and Stephen Dougherty on drums; Vance Ehlers and Chris Matheos on bass; Nancy Wright on sax; Billy Wilson on rub board, and Steve Willis on accordion.  Here are some recent reviews:

Just in from Making a Scene: Click here.

From The Cascade Blues Association: Click here.

From Reflections in Blue by Bill Wilson: Click here.


And this from Chicago Blues Guide:  http://chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/rockin-johnny-cd/rockin-johnny-neoprene-fedora-page.html

This one’s from Roots Time in Belgium:  http://rootstime.be/CD%20REVIEUW/2017/JULI1/CD17.html I got a great live review from my recent show in BMan’s Blues Report, click here.  

Click here  for a great live review from my recent 50 Dates in 17 States tour featuring great live clips.

“HOWLIN’ AT GREASELAND” nominated for a BMA for Best Traditional Blues CD in 2017!  This tribute to Howlin’ Wolf was produced by Stephanie Tice and has made several “Best of 2017” lists and received rave reviews.   Here’s the story of how this unique recording came to be: THE PLACE:  Guitarist and recording engineer Kid Andersen started Greaseland Music Services in San Jose CA as a humble home studio to record and rehearse with his musician friends.  In the last five years, Greaseland has grown to be a locus of exciting blues activity that is known to blues lovers the world over, with a client list including the best in the business such as Chris Cain, Elvin Bishop and more– that’s where I did my last two CDs!   The consistent stream of exciting and notable recordings from Greaseland garnered Kid Andersen a Keeping the Blues Alive Award in 2016 from the Blues Foundation.   THE MUSICIANS:  Over the last few years, a core group of loosely affiliated Bay artists became a sort of blues “wrecking crew” — regular players for sessions which seem to go on practically every week, year-round.  These players have an easy camaraderie that comes from working with each other consistently in various combinations, and many of them are featured on “Howlin'”:  Alabama Mike, Rick Estrin, Terry Hanck, Aki Kumar, myself, Johnny Cat Soubrand, Vance Ehlers, long-time Robert Cray pianist Jimmy Pugh, John Blues Boyd, D’Mar Martin and many others.   Each of the participants has always been inspired by the gripping voice and haunting music of the Chicago blues legend Howlin’ Wolf.  To collaborate with this group and bring the music and spirit of Howlin’ Wolf back to life and back on disk, producer Stephanie Tice brought in two legendary blues singers, Taildragger and Henry Gray.  These two artists have deep personal and professional connections to Howlin’ Wolf.  Taildragger started singing in the early 70s under Wolf’s strict mentorship, and has since performed much of Wolf’s material in addition to his own.  Henry Gray played piano on many of Wolf’s most famous recordings and at 92, he’s considered a national treasure.

Best of all, the tape kept rolling as the musicians  spoke among themselves, informally and between takes, about personal remembrances of Howlin’ Wolf.  These unguarded anecdotes turned out to be precious spoken word histories.  Interspersed through the songs on this CD, they illustrate in a unique way the impact Howlin’ Wolf and his music has had over the decades.  This CD is available on CD Baby– click here— as well as Bluebeat Music and Bear Family music.
BLUE MOON HARMONICA ENDORSEMENT/BLOW ME AWAY ENDORSEMENT:  I’m happy to say I’m now endorsing Blue Moon harmonicas, crafted by Tom Halchak in Clearwater, FL.  For more info, please see www.BlueMoonHarmonicas.com.   I find these harps to be very responsive, easy to play and to be a huge improvement over my stock Special 20s.   I’m also an artist endorser for BlowsMe Away harp mics and racks.  I’ll post a video of me using a great, original design by Greg Heumann at BlowsMeAway Productions for a harp rack device with a bulletini mic inside that allows one to get amplified harp tone while playing with a rack!   How did people live without this?  In the near future I’ll post of video of this device– which was printed with a 3-D printer!– using a blue moon harp.