Jay Willie from the Connecticut-based Jay Willie Blues Band here - thank you for considering to buy our music! It is a pleasure to be working with the New York area-located ZOHO Music label and to be part of its distinguished Roots artists roster. Jochen Becker, President of ZOHO, asked that I write these liner notes. I have a collection of vinyl records from my youth and recall the anticipation and excitement of not only hearing the music without any previous sampling, but reading the liner notes and getting more personal with the artists whom I so admired while the music was in the forefront.
Times have changed, and in a digital society much of the music can be purchased via internet one song at a time. Regardless how you came to listen and enjoy our music, I think it’s considerate to tell you about, and give credit to everyone involved in the creation of this recording. I would like to express my gratitude to the performers, writers and others involved in creating a release that we are very proud of.
This recording is a combination of original and cover songs which are a mixture of Texas Blues, Rock, and ballads. Our featured guest artists are Jason Ricci and Marlou Zandvliet. I first met harmonica player Jason Ricci in 2008, performing at the Green Parrot in Key West, FL. Jason is an extraordinary talent and like Bobby T Torello, our drummer, he puts his whole being into his performance. Jason’s contributions to harmonica design and techniques have had a great influence on many players worldwide, and he has expanded the boundariesand perceived limitations of a great instrument. He performs on tracks Hollywood, The Wobble, You Hurt Me and New York Minute. Because of his passion on the song You Hurt Me, we decided to eliminate the initial vocal track and let the harmonica speak for itself throughout the entire song. I had just finished reading an older interview about Jason where he talks about some of his life challenges, and I felt every one of them through this compelling performance. Jason was very cool about doing the project and he is totally about his craft and there was no ego to deal with. He recently signed with a major talent booking agency and will be extensively touring in the USA and Europe.
YouTube is a great resource for music sharing, and I happened upon Marlou Zandvliet from the Netherlands, a stunning young singer performing a quirky rendition of Steve Marriott’s Black Coffee. Steve was one of my favorite performers, and I love his version of the song on the BBC television music show "The Old Grey Whistle Test". I was totally impressed with Marlou’s singing and stage presence, particularly after viewing her other posts. It's amazing that someone her age has developed such a profound understanding of the blues. Marlou has a unique musical style and we will be seeing more of her performances in the future.
Band members include Bobby T Torello, Bob Callahan, and me.
Bobby T Torello is a good friend, an incredible drummer who has an extensive musical resume which includes performing, touring and recording with Black Oak Arkansas, Thunderhead, Johnny Winter, Grace Slick, Junior Wells, and a host of others. Bobby has some hilarious and funky stories to tell from his world tours with Johnny Winter. He was interviewed and quoted by author Mary Lou Sullivan in her Johnny Winter biography "Raisin’ Cain". There are three tracks on the CD which Bobby wrote or co-wrote, two of which Bobby sings with his unique raspy vocal style. These tracks include Hollywood, Watch Pocket, and Devil Bones.
Bob Callahan is also a good friend, and he continues to impress me with his overall knowledge of music, and his vocal, guitar, bass guitar and writing abilities. Bob is responsible for writing the track Hoodoo on this recording, and he was very supportive and influential during the mastering process. Bob also has shared the stage with some prominent musicians including James Cotton, Matt Murphy, Colin Tilton, Andy Powell, James Montgomery and others.
Dave Polley is an accomplished bassist who plays live venues with us when his schedule allows. He plays bass on tracks New York Minute, It’s Your Thing, and Tattooed You.
My aim is that our music has a connection to the early R & B artists but is performed with our own, contemporary spirit. Two examples of this are You Hurt Me and The Wobble. You Hurt Me was performed by Little Willie John in the 60s. He was a very important figure in early R & B with many hits. He passed in 1968, at the young age of 31. In long overdue and well deserved recognition, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. The Wobble is a Jimmy McCracklin song. Jimmy is another prominent R & B pianist, vocalist and writerpre-dating Little Willie John. Jimmy has been cited by Bob Dylan as a favorite and early influence. McCracklin was born in 1921 and has continued to tour and produce and perform until 2007. It gives me great pleasure to be able to express the significance of these treasured artists to modern audiences.
Many reviews from our previous release, "The Reel Deal" on Blues Boulevard Records have compared my style to Johnny Winter's. There is good cause for that. These reasons include our energetic, powerful drummer and prior Johnny Winter band member Bobby T Torello, and the fact that I play open tuning slide guitar. Johnny has been my greatest influence not only with respect to his guitar playing, but also in terms of the vintage blues repertoire he has covered. Johnny probably forgot more about guitar playing than I will ever know, but I am pleased to have that connection. I consider myself fortunate and grateful to have had these musical performance and recording opportunities, and it is a direct result of collaborating with these amazingly talented musicians that we have been able to come up with this emotionally satisfying recording.
Thank you for reading these liner notes, and hopefully it will give you a better listening experience to our music. One final tip: don’t be afraid to reach out to show your respect and appreciation to the early R&B artists and their families. I spoke to Jimmy McCracklin’s daughter Sue a few weeks ago, and she said her father was grateful to know that we have an appreciation for his work. He is 91 years old.