them and jammed a lot together. There was
a lot of musical friendship between the two
bands. I knew them so well that it was a
natural, easy progression to walk into that
band. I respected Jimmie’s playing a lot,
you know. It was a fun period for me – I did
miss doing my own thing, but I enjoyed it
and I’m glad I did it.
You’ve earned quite a lot of recognition and awards over the years. W.C.
Handy Awards, Best Blues Guitarist
four times out of five. B.B. King has said
that you’re one of the great players.
2006 and received a Rhode Island Pell
Award for Artistic Excellence in 2007.
Has it been difficult to live up to such
high standards and expectations on a
You know, it’s great to win all of these, and
sometimes you wonder if you deserve all
of this. Why is this all coming together in a
close period? You wonder about all of these
things, especially if you feel like me, as
I’m developing kind of an arthritic physical
handicap. I start thinking, Geez, when I was
really going strong and I had all of the facility
ously. But it certainly is a great thrill to be
honored in all of these ways.
I’m quite fond of “Blues-A-Rama” from
your 2006 release, Guitar Groove-A-Rama. It’s amazing how you went
through the different styles of these
great guitarists and influences – I don’t
think many players could have pulled
that off as well as you did. Did a lot of
time and effort go into that, or did it
just come naturally?
Well, it was kind of a one take thing. It’s
something that I’ve played a little bit over
“ Whatever works is the way to go – there are things that you blend that don’t work sometimes, and there are
things that do work. For me, it’s been fun to touch on all of the bases, mix up the stew, and put my own twist on
things. It has been a great thing for me, and it has kept me very excited about music over the years.”
The Houston Post declared you “one of
God’s guitarists.” The New York Times
labeled you “a soloist of stunning force
and originality.” You were nominated
for a Grammy for Best Traditional Blues
Album for Guitar Groove-A-Rama in
in the world, I never got these awards. Of
course, everybody ponders things like that.
Am I deserving of this? I think any artist has
a tendency to second guess himself and
reevaluate his talent, what he’s doing with
it. It’s a serious thing, and I take it very seri-
my career, on certain nights when I had
my trio. I could easily take any direction
because of the three-piece setup, without
worrying about tripping up other musicians. It was something I’d do occasionally off the cuff.
J. Geils & Duke at the Boston Premier Guitar Festival