Archive for the ‘Blues’ Category



OK, so I’ve just had my mind blown by DAVID GRISSOM last night at the “SAXON PUB” in Austin TX, when my friends and family tell me I have to go and see VAN WILKS, who happens to be on at the same bar the next night.TALK ABOUT HAVING YOUR MIND BLOWN !!!! This is the man who, when he has a birthday, ERIC JOHNSON and CHRISTOPHER CROSS come to play with him onstage !!

This is the man  to whose house BILLY GIBBONS of ZZ TOP goes to for jam sessions, leading to songs like DRIVE BY LOVER ( see  full story below)


When you think Texas blues-rock, you think Van Wilks. There are few names that have lasted and flourished within the Texas music scene like Wilks. Fads come and go, but Van Wilks is here to stay, as evidenced by his latest release, 21st Century Blues.

Like the steam engine on the cover, 21st Century Blues, his first studio album in 10 years, is a powerful beast that keeps on rolling from start to finish. Recorded at studios in Austin and France, 21st Century Blues is the real deal. This diverse collection of songs highlights Wilks’ impressive guitar styling with his striking lyricism to create a contemporary blues-rock masterpiece.

As Wilks says, “This is not a typical “blues” record. This is “MY BLUES” and even though the songs jump from one feel to another the common thread that holds it all together is my guitar. It’s just that ‘Low Down, Wound Up, Rockin’ Texas Blues.’”

Born in Galveston, TX, Van Wilks began playing guitar at a young age as a youthful refuge while his family constantly moved around Texas. Influenced heavily by the British Invasion, Wilks began to hone in on his sound early on. He moved to Austin in the early 70s, a time when guitar was defined by volume and power. Combining previous influences and his own style, Wilks brought his guitar muscle and class to the people of Austin through his popular band, Fools. Wilks’ distinct and unique ability caught the attention of many notable industry names, including ZZ Top manager, Bill Ham. In 1979, he signed with Mercury records and released his first record, Bombay Tears, in 1980.

Since his first release, Van Wilks has built an illustrious career that includes six solo albums, one live album, and multiple globe-spanning tours with acts such as ZZ Top, Heart, Van Halen, Journey, Aerosmith, and countless other. His career has led him on a scorched earth path from Texas to Moscow, the Virgin Islands to India, and everywhere in between. Along with that, Van Wilks was featured on ZZ Top’s Live at Montreux Jazz Festival DVD.securedownload-8

Throughout the years, Wilks has acquired an impressive trophy collection, winning multiple Austin Music Awards, being voted best electric and acoustic guitarist in the Austin Chronicle Readers Poll, and being inducted into the Texas Music Hall of Fame. In addition to that, Wilks guitar prowess has been featured on albums such as the Geezinslaw Brothers’ The Eclectic Horseman (w/ Willie Nelson), The Texas Christmas Collection (Duet w/ Eric Johnson), Texas Guitarslingers Volume I, Double Trouble’s Been A Long Time, and KLBJ-FM’s Local Licks.
Van Wilks credentials highlight his successful and storied past. 21st Century Blues lets us know that Van Wilks will continue to be a trendsetter that is here to stay.

Take a listen now, to some of the songs that show just how great VAN WILKS is.!!


As described by Wilks, the path to having “Drive By Lover” on the album was long and winding. “We played around with the idea for years in late night hours at my house on Elizabeth St. in South Austin. It was forgotten until Billy asked me if I could revive it or even remember it! I sent him a few vignettes from a barely working cassette and a few hours later he played me the track from a LA studio. ‘Whip up some words, Dusty’s ready to give it a go’, he said. So I put the pen to the paper and the, long in the making, tune ends up on ZZ’s ‘La Futura.’ Billy came out to the studio and we “messed it up” just right for my take on our tune.”

Just Walk Away

Beautiful guitar tones and chords in this tune, evoking a smokey lonesome night in some faraway jazz/blues nightclub.Van Wilks gets all the deserved accolades for his songs and guitar playing, but he also possesses a great singing voice, showcased here on Just Walk Away.As you would expect, the guitar breaks  ooze feel and emotion.


Very authentic old blues intro, sounding like a lost Robert Johnson song, but then things really take off and the song morphs into a furious slidefest of a rocker, featuring another stunning guitar solo, after which the song takes another twist and turn before kicking back in with the main guitar riff.Glorious stuff.What I love about Van Wilks is that he takes great care in keeping things interesting.There is always a surprise in store just when you start to get easy in the song.


Explosive track from the album TEXAS JUKIN’ kicks off in half time guitar bass and drums then hammers into a full steam ahead rocker which matches THIN LIZZY at their peak of powers I kid you not !!Superb drumming on this too and yet another killer solo section from Van Wilks with its customary twists and turns to keep up the interest.Killer track which I cannot stop listening to.


Another track from TEXAS JUKIN’, this is all instrumental which I would describe as  a slow Fusion Blues featuring stunning guitar work from Van Wilks who manages to keep the interest at its peak with his trademark twist in the musical plot.If JEFF BECK came from Texas it would sound like this !!Breathtaking.


Title Track from the latest Van Wilks album, and what a cracker it is.A slow paced blues boogie tune that rocks along with gorgeous guitar tones and sumptuous slide breaks.

Truth is I could have featured every track on every album by Van Wilks and you would not be disappointed.The Man has a knack for crafting perfect guitar tones within an endless supply of great songs which are much more than cobbled together riffs.These are real songs composed by a master musician who also possesses a great voice, and, like all true Greats of the music business, is a genuinely engaging man to boot.

If you do not have a VAN WILKS album in your collection , you need to rectify that right now, and if you ever visit Austin Texas, you simply have to track this man down at one of his shows to see how he does this in the flesh !! And tell him I sent you !!!!!!!

Facebook. Twitter

Downloads at

iTunes   Amazon   




Posted: December 5, 2016 in Blues, ROCK



Hi David,
Thanks for taking the time to conduct this interview today
When was the moment you “knew” you had to get an electric guitar?

When I heard “Got to Get You Into my Life” off Revolver

What was the first record you bought ?


Who was the first major band you saw live ?


Who performed the greatest live gig you saw ?

Hard to pick one….but, Jeff Beck at a club in Austin around 1999…….

What are the landmark records that shaped your guitar playing?

BB King Live at the Regal

Allman Brothers at Fillmore East
Wes Montgomery Movin’ Wes
Roy Buchanan 1st two albums

Which musicians most influenced your learning curve?

Duane Allman, Wes Montgomery, Norman Blake, and Jeff Beck

How did your Family react to you not pursuing the perceived  “proper job”?


What was the break that allowed you to turn Professional?

Moving to Austin, getting into Lucinda Williams band which led to Lou Ann Barton’s band then Joe Ely

How and why did you make the transition from sideman to frontman ?

I just wanted to play my songs, and at the same time, the sideman thing started to change. I still love doing sideman gigs, but the good ones are not as prevalent. And……Really getting to stretch out on my own tunes is so rewarding

As a musician, which records are you most proud to have been part of.?

I’m proud of most everything I’ve played on, but the ones that come to mind right now are the 4 Buddy Guy records I played on, all the Joe Ely, James McMurtry, and John Mellencamp stuff, John Mayall, and my solo records

How does musical inspiration come to you ?

Without any rhyme or reason…….randomingly…….yet all the time if you’re really mindful. For me it’s a practice and process of being open to whatever the muse sends you that day. 

As a songwriter, which of your songs are you most proud ?

What Passes For Love and Good Day For The Blues have held up really well, and I think What Passes is more relevant now than when I wrote it. I really like Never Came Easy To Me, Gift Of Desperation, Final Rendezvous, Skimming the Surface, and Satisfied (which I wrote with Chris Stapleton).

How does your Recording rig differ from your Live rig?

More pedals 🙂

What is your studio approach to recording guitars?

Keep it really simple. Good amp and cab, one good mic and pre. My 30 watt PRS DG Custom amps have made getting a good tone even easier.

Any guitars you wish you still owned ?

Yes……I had a ’59 burst and a ’57 start that got away…..c’est la vie

What is the best advice you have been given?

“Play gigs, just play gigs” from Pat Metheny

Have you had any spinal tap moments onstage?

Of course……Recently doing an ACL taping they tested some pyro at sound check and some kind of residue got on my guitars. When the taping started my hands started sticking to the neck and strings. That was a bit of a challenge 

Who has made you starstruck when you met them ?

Maybe Mick Jagger…….

In these difficult times to be a musician, how do you keep your career going?

What else am I going to do? I do this because I have to……I love it

OK David, last question:
all family are safe, but your house is burning down!!You can only save ONE item….what would it be?

Family photos or my main PRS DGT  guitar, which has become more valuable to me than anything vintage

Huge thanks to DAVID GRISSOM today for answering my questions, and I hope you the readers enjoy the answers as much as I do.It has been a huge honour to have worked with David on the “Best Band of the Day” and the “STAR INTERVIEW”

Go to the website DAVID GRISSOM.COM and buy his cds, go and see his shows and immerse yourself in the music of a Master Craftsman.

Interview by ADRIAN FISHER