Music » Livewire

Johnny Winter

With Guitar Shorty. Thursday, September 21, at the House of Blues.

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Back in '69, the buzz was that the next big blues star was going to be a white man -- a very, very white man. Johnny Winter was tailor-made for stardom. With his snow-white locks, the Texas-bred albino cut the most mesmerizing guitar-god figure this side of Hendrix. While his command of the blues roots legitimized him with purists, Winter's penchant for fleet-fingered, high-energy solos also dazzled the legions whose gateways to the blues were Beck, Clapton, and Page. His self-titled debut showcased both dimensions, as Winters lit it up on electric and acoustic guitar with blues masters Willie Dixon and Shakey Walter Horton, as well as his band, which included Winter's stardom-bound, sax-playing brother Edgar.

Winter embraced rock and roll for a spell, but as mainstream stardom waned, he returned to the blues, as demonstrated on his Grammy-nominated '04 release, I'm a Bluesman. A laid-back vocal style may have supplanted Winter's raucous shouts, but his fingers are as nimble as ever.

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