Scaggs Shuffle

A master of his unique craft, in whatever way that craft may be defined

Boz Scaggs

It’s likely that the moment little William “Boz” Scaggs met a new friend, Steve Miller, at their highfalutin Dallas boys’ preparatory school, neither knew that a page was turning in American rock history.  Each of them, 15 years old, had messed around with guitars throughout their little-boyhood, and they found they shared an impassioned interest in the blues — a trait rare amongst their demographic that would inform their musical trajectories. Continue reading 

A Life in Song

Jackson Browne

Jackson Browne

You love Jackson Browne. I guarantee it. Forget about his most recognizable soft-rock radio staples (though, like any self-respecting listener, I’d always prefer Browne’s “Take It Easy” over that “More Than Words” song). Forget even Browne’s tries at activism. Lives in the Balance, his 1986 album condemning U.S. policy in South America, is a strikingly admirable use of his talent, but this consciousness of the greater good is only a symptom of an even more powerful quality. Continue reading 

Blues Legend Blues

John Mayall isn’t particularly in the mood to talk

John Mayall

“People come to our shows because they want to hear what we do. It’s irrelevant what we play,” the 80-year-old Brit bluesman says, circumventing any specific commentary on his tour, his band, his audiences — anything. Mayall’s live shows, famous for their classic grit and wild improvisation, have been the defining characteristic of his career, but he isn’t keen on discussing even that. Continue reading 

Wide Open Spaces

Great Lake Swimmers

Great Lake Swimmers

Originally from Wainfleet, Ontario, neo-folk quintet Great Lake Swimmers play music as idyllic as their scenic rural hometown. Frontman Tony Dekker’s light, sweet voice and melody-driven songwriting is partnered with familiar bluegrass backing instruments: acoustic guitar, banjo, upright bass and violin. Dekker tells EW, though, that “as a group, we have a deep respect for the folk tradition, but I wouldn’t exactly call us a traditional folk band.” Continue reading