JOHNNY WINTER Winter in Winter Returns! at Times Square
Type: Music & Concerts
Johnny Winter is a guitar hero without equal. Signing to Columbia records in 1969 in what has been called the largest solo artist deal of its time, he immediately laid the blueprint for his fresh take on classic blues. Constantly shifting between simple country blues (in the vein of Robert Johnson) to all-out electric slide guitar blues-rock, Winter has always been one of the most respected singers and guitar players in rock and the clear link between British blues-rock and American Southern rock. Throughout the '70s and '80s, he was the unofficial torchbearer for the blues, championing and aiding the careers of his idols like Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker.
Growing up in a rough-and-tumble town populated by oilfield wildcatters and shipyard workers, Winter formed his first band, Johnny and the Jammers, in 1959 at the age of 15. His big breakthrough came a few years later in 1968 when Rolling Stone writers Larry Sepulvado and John Burks featured him in a piece on the Texas Music scene, which prompted a bidding war among labels that Columbia eventually won. Winter's self-titled 1969 disc announced loudly that there was a new guitar-slinger on the national scene. He stayed with Columbia and its boutique Blue Sky label for more than a decade, turning out such well-received platters as Johnny Winter And (1970), Still Alive and Well (1973), and John Dawson Winter III (1974). He also helped to introduce blues giant Muddy Waters to another generation of listeners by producing and playing guitar on the Grammy-winning Hard Again (1977), as well as the Grammy-nominated I'm Ready (1978), Mississippi Waters Live (1979), and King Bee (1981).
Winter joined Alligator Records in 1984, and when he released Guitar Slinger later that year, it was widely hailed as his best (and bluesiest) album ever; it charted in both Billboard and Cashbox as well as earning a Grammy nomination. The next year, the powerhouse follow-up Serious Business won Winter his second Grammy nomination. Third Degree, his final Alligator release, came out in 1986. Today, Winter is enjoying an unparalleled resurgence performing to sold-out audiences worldwide even after a long life full of honors and accomplishments. He recently enjoyed another Grammy nomination for I'm A Bluesman (2004), and he celebrated the release of his newest album, Roots (2011), at B.B. King Blues Club in September. Performing now with a renewed vigor and fire, to say that Winter is "back" would be an understatement. In fact, he never left - he's just better than ever.