Nanaimo blues musician David Gogo is promoting his 13th CD and that includes a couple of Central Island gigs.
Gogo and his band perform at Nanaimo's SimonHolt on Oct. 26 at 9 p.m. and in Duncan the night before, showcasing the tunes from Come On Down as well as many familiar favourites.
While the CD has received rave reviews and has been No. 1 for seven weeks on the National Campus Community Radio charts, reviews, for Gogo, what makes a great album is the inspiration behind it.
Before writing and recording Come On Down, Gogo and his wife, Shiloh, made a pilgrimage to the roots of the blues, visiting Memphis, Miss., Arkansas and Alabama, travelling the Blues Trail and soaking up the atmosphere that shaped some of the best music to come out of North America.
"We visited a lot of recording studios, bars and clubs where some of the early blues musicians performed, went to listen to Al Green preach in his church and to see the grave of Robert Johnson," said Gogo, noting that he poured Bourbon on the legendary's bluesman's grave in honour of his work.
"Just to go to those places, to be in those rooms, hearing the music, meeting the people, playing with local musicians, eating the food and just breathing the air, all of that was the inspiration for this album."
One the highlights of his tour was dropping by Sonny Payne's renowned King Biscuit Radio Hour, a show that Payne has been doing for more than 60 years from the Arkansas station.
"It's broadcast now out of a heritage music museum and before the show we got to talk to Sonny and he listened to my CD and said, 'we gotta get you on the air'," said Gogo. "So I got to play a little, my wife read ad copy on the air and we just had so much fun."
Following the Blues Trail on his phone app, Gogo said he really felt he got more deeply in
touch with the music that's influenced him all his life than ever before.
The app also led the Gogos to The Shack Up Inn in Clarksdale, Mississippi where old sharecropper's shacks have been made into hotel units for guests and he was able to get up in the bar that evening and jam with local musicians.
After his southern tour, Gogo wrote six new original tunes and added them to a half-dozen new versions of classic blues covers to create this latest album which, he said, honours the traditional blues but also gets the listener up and dancing with some rock influences.
He describes Come On Down as the place where Robert Johnson meets the Rolling Stones and Fleetwood Mac meets Ray Charles.
To reserve a spot in the Simon-Holt show, call 250-933-3338. For tickets to the Duncan venue, go to: http://www.duncangarageshowroom.ca/about/buytickets/Come On Down is now available in stores, on iTunes and at the SimonHolt gig.
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