John Mayall + Bill Carter$28.50 - $48.50 Buy Tickets
Often referred to as “The Godfather of British Blues,” John Mayall has an impressive musical career that spans over 50 years. The English blues singer, pianist, harmonica player, guitarist and songwriter founded the band, John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers in the 1960’s—a band whose members included many celebrated blues and blues rock musicians, such as: Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Jack Bruce, John McVie, Mick Fleetwood, Mick Taylor, Walter Trout, Coco Montoya and Buddy Whittington.
Attracted by the West Coast climate and culture, Mayall then made his permanent move from England to Los Angeles and began forming bands with American musicians. Throughout the ’70s, Mayall became further revered for his many jazz/rock/blues innovations featuring such notable performers as Blue Mitchell, Red Holloway, Larry Taylor, and Harvey Mandel.
Throughout the last three decades, Mayall’s popularity continued with a succession of dynamic albums including the Grammy-nominated “Wake Up Call” that featured guest artists Buddy Guy, Mavis Staples, Albert Collins and Mick Taylor.
Today, John Mayall reaches a creative pinnacle with, in his opinion, the best band he’s ever had with Rocky Athas on guitar, Jay Davenport on drums and Greg Rzab on bass.
Austin-based singer-songwriter Bill Carter’s list of bona fides is so long, it’s hard to decide which credits to note first. We could start with his first big songwriting score, “Why Get Up,” heard on the Fabulous Thunderbirds’ breakout album, Tuff Enuff.
There’s a breakfast cereal commercial that earned the about-to-be-evicted Carter and his co-writer wife, Ruth Ellsworth, a then-huge $25,000 payday. Then there’s “Crossfire,” the No. 1 hit they wrote with Chris Layton, Tommy Shannon and Reese Wynans — a.k.a. Double Trouble, the band who backed T-bird Jimmie Vaughan’s little brother, Stevie Ray. Or there’s “Anything Made of Paper,” penned for the West Memphis 3’s Damien Echols, which Carter recorded with pal Johnny Depp and performed on the Late Show With David Letterman. Featured in the West of Memphis documentary and on the accompanying soundtrack, it’s also an award-winning animated video.
Carter’s songs have been covered by scores of major artists, from John Mayall and Ruth Brown to Robert Palmer and Waylon Jennings. Among his accolades is a BMI Million Air award for more than three million “Crossfire” spins. But Carter has also released several albums of his own, the latest of which, Innocent Victims and Evil Companions, bowed last February, on Forty Below Records.
On this one, the artist took blues, soul, country and rock into realms both far-reaching and familiar, aided by several A-team Austin players. They included guitarists Charlie Sexton and Denny Freeman (Dylan’s current and former, respectively) and David Holt (Joe Ely, the Mavericks, Storyville); drummer Dony Wynn (Robert Palmer, Charlie Mars); keyboardist Mike Thompson (the Eagles, together and solo); fiddler Richard Bowden (Maines Brothers, Austin Lounge Lizards); the Tosca String Quartet (everyone from David Byrne to the Dixie Chicks) and brass/woodwind player/string arranger John Mills.
But it’s his resonant tenor and just-right production — and songwriting and performing chops, including his six and twelve-string acoustic guitar, harmonica and percussion work — that drive the release from the first track, “Black Lion,” to the 14th, “No More Runnin’.” Musically and lyrically, Carter references a rich past while rooting himself firmly in the present.