at Moondance Jam 13, Walker MN, July 2004 photo by Steve Loftness
A Little History I was born circa 1951 in Benton Harbor, Michigan - a town in southwest lower Michigan, on Lake Michigan, about 55 miles across the lake from Chicago - a little bit further if you forgo that shortcut and actually drive around the lake to Chicago instead (about 90 miles in that case). Picking up the guitar in the mid 60's my first influence was rock 'n' roll of course, but it wasn't all that long before I discovered blues (listening to East/West by the Paul Butterfield Blues Band down in Danny Gatchell's basement) and then jazz (hearing Twisted Blues by Wes Montgomery for the first time). I had two years of music theory at Lake Michigan College in Benton Harbor, and though mostly self-taught on guitar, two 'local' guitarists had a huge influence on me: Dick Curtis, with whom I did have a few lessons in '70 or '71 in South Bend, Indiana; and Bob Burford, who I met in '78 or '79. Dick taught me the basic jazz chord voicings and the rudiments of chord substitution; Bob introduced me to chord melody playing and chord solos in some enlightening sit-downs we had together and in some original charts he gave to me - not to mention some different picking techniques he showed Greg Horn and me (which has us both chasing our tails for weeks!). I'm sorry to say I've lost track of Dick since my lessons with him but I've recently reconnected with Bob who currently resides in Nashville. You can find Bob’s CDs on iTunes and at Rhapsody, and view videos of him playing solo guitar on the Bob Burford Channel at YouTube (which I watch Full-Screen trying to steal everything he does! (if I could)). Thanks Bob!
I moved to Minneapolis in '87 and since then have worked in a variety of situations: variety/top 40, funk, rock & roll, blues, r&b, jazz, a couple musicals (West Side Story, Funny Face, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat) and even a country band or two. I performed with the Minneapolis Symphony of the Lakes when an electric guitarist was required for their performance of the West Side Story Suite; spent several years as guitarist with two jazz big bands: Just Friends and the Twin Cities Jazz Orchestra; and did a short stint as guitarist for the Coasters, Drifters and Platters when various versions of those groups performed in Minnesota/northern Iowa. Currently I'm working with vocalist Willie Walker and his group We 'R', vocalist Big John Dickerson and in eclectic bassist Dick Kronick's Quartet; on occasion with Ronn Easton's All-Star Soul Revue, Barbara LaShoure's All-Star Blues Band and the 19 piece jazz big band Acme Jazz Company. Until they moved to more lucrative jazz environments others I’ve worked with recently are B3 organist Billy Holloman (aka: “The Legend”), drummer Curly Martin's Trio and Danish/American vocalist Mikhala Iverson. On 28 Apr 2007 Big John Dickerson was inducted into the Minnesota Rock & Country Music Hall of Fame (now called the Mid-America Hall of Fame). I was inducted (by shirttail) as a member of the Big John Dickerson Band.
Audio/Video Files
Some Very Pleasant News On 14 Jul 2013 Willie Walker and Barbara LaShoure were both announced for induction into the Minnesota Blues Hall of Fame: Willie for “Blues Performer”, and Barbara received the “Blues Legend” award. The Minnesota Blues Hall of Fame ceremony will be held Sunday, 6 Oct 2013 at the Minnesota Music Cafe in St. Paul. Congratulations Willie and Barbara! I “borrowed” a couple short biographies of Willie, Barbara and Big John Dickerson from the MN Blues Society website and have posted them HERE.
Willie Walker
Barbara LaShoure
A page of some audio (and some video) files from the last 20 years or so.