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Interview:
Johnny Winter explores "roots" on new album
 

By GARY GRAFF
for Journal Register Newspapers

» See more SOUND CHECK

Johnny Winter’s a man of few words. He refers to let his guitar do the talking.



And the instrument has a lot to say on “Roots,” a new album coming Sept. 27 that finds the veteran rocker and bluesman “just playing songs I’d grown up being influenced by and liking a lot,” with a guest list that includes Sonny Landreth, Blues Traveler’s John Popper, Vince Gill, Allman Brothers Band associates Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks, Trucks’ wife Susan Tedeschi, John Medeski, Jimmy Vivino and Winter’s younger brother Edgar, who plays saxophone on the instrumental “Honky Tonk.”



“I’ve been wanting to do something like this for a long time,” says Winter, 67, who grew up in Beaumont, Texas, and came to fame during the late ’60s. He ranks 74 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 100 greatest guitarist. “(The album) actually is my manager’s idea, but I love it. They’re songs I love to play by people who meant a lot to me” — a list that includes Elmore James, T-Bone Walker, Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry and more.



“Chuck Berry pretty much made me want to start playing guitar,” Winter says, adding he’s in “great shape” since he gave up drugs and alcohol several years ago. “I heard ‘Maybellene’ when I was, like, 11 years old. That pretty much made me want to start playing guitar, and I started a year later.”



In addition to “Roots,” Winter is also featured on upcoming albums by Sly Stone and William Shatner.



Johnny Winter performs Tuesday, Aug. 2, at Callahan’s Music Hall, 2105 South Blvd., Auburn Hills. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $60 in advance, $75 day of show. Call 248-858-9508 or visit www.atcallahans.com.



Web Site: www.atcallahans.com

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