Keith Wyatt 20th Anniversary Interview Issue

Latest News:  -- Dave Alvin has played guitar on the debut album by Marissa Gomez and the Ghosts of Echo Park. The band's sound is described as a mix of "jazz, bordello blues and honky tonk," according to the group's Facebook page. The album will be released in May. -- Cindy Cashdollar, guitarist in the Guilty Women, is profiled in Issue 35 of Fretboard Journal, a guitar players magazine. During an extensive interview, she talks about working and recording with Dave Alvin. --  Concord Bicycle Music has announced the purchase of the HighTone Records catalog from Shout! Factory. Dave Alvin recorded for HighTone between 1991 and 2002. HighTone, which operated between 1983 and 2008, also reissued the Blasters' American Music album in 1997 and the live Trouble Bound album in 2002, as well as Phil Alvin's County Fair 2000 CD in 1994. The deal was announced in January and could lead to additional reissues. --  Dave Alvin's West of the West train trip will take place Aug. 19-28. Musical guests for the trip will be Phil Alvin, Rick Shea, Christy McWilson, Mary Gauthier, Peter Case, Eliza Gilkyson, Cindy Cashdollar and Butch Hancock with a special guest appearance by T. Scott Wilburn and the Shut Up and Play boys. The trip is sold out, but there is a waiting list. Visit -- The Mike Eldred Trio, including John Bazz and Jerry Angel will release a new studio CD called Baptist Town on May 6, 2016 featuring guest spots by David Hidalgo, Robert Cray, and John Mayer. You can pre-order from iTunes on April 8th and get an immediate download of HUNDER DOLLAR BILL. THE CD is distributed worldwide by CEN/RED Distribution, a SONY owned company. -- Country legend Merle Haggard died on April 6, 2016. He was a major influence on Dave Alvin and their association goes back to Dave's organization of the 1994 Tulare Dust tribute CD (HighTone Records) to Merle. Dave has included Merle's KERN RIVER in many of his acoustic shows over the years. Dave said this on his facebook page: "Sad and in shock. Merle Haggard meant a lot of different things to a lot of different people but to me he was THE songwriter of California. Not the California of Malibu, Silicon Valley or Beverly Hills but the California of Highway 99, migrant workers and the struggle to survive in the promised land. All the political ambiguity and one dimensional stereotypes aside, Mr Haggard was one of the giants of modern American Music (not just Country) along with Ray Charles, Miles Davis and Bob Dylan. Merle was a brilliant balladeer, soulful bluesman, guitar wrangler, musical trailblazer and one of our greatest songwriters/poets in the Roots tradition. In his way he was also a true, fearless rock and roll rebel. Rest easy from the long highway, Mr. Haggard. It's been a hell of a ride."   -- AM

In This Issue:  The Keith Wyatt 20th Anniversary interview and the return of the Blue Shadows.

Flashback Excerpt: Rolling Stone magazine 1981

Chris Morris has been a longtime chronicler of the Los Angeles music scene. He is the author of Los Lobos: Dream of Blue (University of Texas Press) and a contributing writer to John Doe's Under the Big Black Sun published in April 2016 by Da Capo. His book on the music of Bob Dylan, Together Through Life, will be published in May 2016 by ROTHCO Press. Chris penned the liner notes for The Blasters Collection, a 1991 anthology, and wrote one of the first, if not the first, stories about the Blasters in a national publication. It originally appeared in the March 19, 1981 issue of Rolling Stone and is copyrighted by Straight Arrow Publishers Inc.

New Faces: The Blasters          by Chris Morris   

    You can call the Blasters L.A.'s hottest club band - which they are - but don't call them rockabilly. "We play American music," says lead guitarist Dave Alvin. "If you want to call us a blues band, you can say we're the only blues band that plays blues in all its incarnations.
     Indeed, the Blasters - Dave and his older brother, lead singer-rhythm guitarist Phil Alvin, drummer Bill Bateman and bassist John Bazz - make music that cuts across the spectrum of American roots music. Their robust live performances showcase the rockabilly of Sonny Burgess and Ray Campi, the rock & roll of Bill Haley, the blue yodels of Jimmie Rodgers, the swamp sound of Slim Harpo and the R&B of Otis Redding.
     The quartet's original material, crafted faithfully in the American idiom and virtually indistinguishable from their obscure covers, has won them international attention. Dave Alvin's Chuck Berry-style "Marie Marie" has been covered in Great Britain, Germany and France; Shakin' Stevens' version cracked the English Top Twenty. Their sole recorded effort, American Music, is a hard-to-find item done in two days in a garage and released on the Rollin' Rock label.
     The band members learned their lessons firsthand as teenagers in the L.A. suburb of Downey, where they listened to and played with such renowned musicians as singer Big Joe Turner, saxophonist Lee Allen, and guitarist T-Bone Walker. They first came together as a regular performing unit in 1979, and called themselves the Blasters in emulation of Oakland bluesman Jimmy McCracklin's Blues Blasters. Their big break came last summer when the English band Queen caught their act at Flipper's, a local roller disco.
     "The Blasters had a genuine feel for basic rock & roll," says Queen drummer Roger Taylor. "We decided the next day we wanted them to open for us." The Blasters thus hit the road, playing eight shows for sometimes unappreciative Anglophile audiences. At year's end though, they were named L.A.'s best band (up from forty-eighth the year before) by a musicians' poll in the local trade Music Connection. Today, the Blasters are weighing offers from various independent labels. If the major record companies are unsure about the Blasters' salability, the band itself is convinced of the potency and universality of their passionate American music.
  "You can put me anywhere in the world," Phil Alvin says. "I don't care if they speak my language, they'll listen!"