This has been one of the most perfect trips ever, to Norway, or overseas, for that matter. Everything went very smoothly and was really fun! This country, and all of Scandinavia, still loves the blues as much as I can remember when I first began coming over here about 25 years ago. The blues cruise was only two days long, like a little mini Legendary Blues Cruise! The ship was smaller but still had the big showroom and all of the music was inspired and top notch!
I was so thrilled to see my old homey, Linwood Slim, performing and in great voice and high spirits after all he has been through! slim is another one of our “Super Heroes” folks, along with Candye Kane, Kid Ramos, Juke Logan, and so many more battling cancer and worse, and fighting through the Chemo, the radiation, and near death, to return to performing! I am so much stronger now from knowing them and getting next to their courage! Slim was backed up by an extraordinary band from Brazil; the Igor Prado Band. Igor is the band’s leader, singer, and guitar player! This band is seriously swingin’…I mean like deep, big band, swing when they want to! Igor’s brother, Yuri plays drums like a cat from the ’30′s when he swings…and of course they cover many other blues styles, too! One of the best bass players I’ve heard in a long time, Rodrigo Montavani is powerful, and very deep in his knowledge and brings killer energy and vibes to the stage! The youngest member of the band is about 20 years old, Denilson Martin plays both Baritone and Tenor saxes and I can’t remember hearing anyone as fluid soloing on a Bari sax! and he’s go all the cool moves on stage!! Slim is able to croon like the best of ‘em with this band behind him! He pulls out his harp on the low down blues numbers, and sometimes even plays his flute! Now that’s too cute!!
It’s so exciting hearing players from all over the world playing American music!! and sometimes, even better than many of us!!
Sven Zetterburg is one of the most talented musicians on the planet. He’s been well recognized by his native country of Sweden with multiple awards and is a true blues man! He sings from his heart and sole and when he plays his 335 is reminiscent of Otis Rush. Then he will pick up one of two guitars set up for slide and do a deep Muddy Water’s style tune. He also plays harp….really well! And he writes his own stuff! What a soulful cat! We had a very cool hang after his set the last night there, and i feel like he is a new brother!
JT Lauritson always blows me away with all of his multi-talents! He’s a great singer, and also plays as he puts it, a “Squeezebox!” He has this real custom made beauty that he brought on the ship! Did I mention he plays harp, too? And these cats all had first rate bands! Sven’s second guitar player was a monster, too. I believe his name is Anders Lewen and he had the west coast style down so well I knew Rod Piazza would be smiling!!
Lots of new friends and musical pals, and then of course my old buddy, Larry McCray and his band performed! I hadn’t seen Larry and his brother Steve, on drums, since the LRBC blues cruise quite a few years back. Larry is one great singers and guitar player of the blues! And what puts his band a cut above so many, for me, are the killer arrangement with 3 part harmonies! Now who is doing that any more? I hope I can have that goin’ on one of these days!! His bass player’s name is alluding me right now which is so embarrassing….but if it pops into my head or anyone knows his name…please contact me! A real showman, strutting a 5 string bass with orange strings!!….talented and uber entertaining!!
My band was the Billy T. Band, a multi-award winning Norwegian blues band. But Billy is originally from NYC! With him on bass, Freddie Johannessen on second guitar, and Alex Pettersen on drums, we rocked the boat each night on the cruise, and then Sat. night at Buckley’s in Oslo!
But I must digress…I was to travel into town with Linwwod Slim and Igor and his band when we got off the cruise, but young Denilson never got off the boat! We waited and waited, but of course they won’t let you back on the ship to search…so the crew had to search every nook and cranny for him…Not speaking a word of English or anything but his native Portuguese, we could only imagine what happened. Slim was lookin’ on the bright side and says “Gee, I hope he didn’t fall off the ship!” and Igor said “I told him at 5:00 in the morning that we needed to be off the ship at 10:00 AM!” So finally Igor stayed with one of our Norwegian fan/helpers and we made our way to Buckleys and the Hotel next door. Turns out they finally found him! He was so deep into sleep that when the crew opened his door he screamed at them in a language they could not understand, so they figured he was staying on the ship for the next trip over to Germany….this was a real close one! But that afternoon, there he was, on stage for their set at Buckleys! and I was thrilled to jump up and sit in with them!! All’s well that ends well!