Some of my first memories are hanging out with my Dad and uncle playing baseball, softball, wheeling and dealing or watching and helping him when he would play music in the honky tonks. When I was very young, he would allow me to follow him around like his little roadie. I actually knew how to setup his steel guitar assembling the legs and peddles. This would always freak his fellow musicians and other folks out! because I was so young. He also played Guitar and Bass and I would help with that as well. I can remember his bands playing at Griffith Motors and Sherwood Chevrolet in Johnson City, for special events on Saturday afternoon, even Sportsman Speedway in the 70s. They would have these bands play and offer free cokes and hotdogs to try and sell cars. As a kid, I had this huge imagination and that one day, I would be just like my father and play in a band with him. I was always trying to get him to let me do something when it came to music. I just wanted to go and some places would not let me in. His brother Boyd was also a musician, in fact the entire side of my fathers family were bluegrass and old time pickers from the mountains. I can remember riding to Mountain City, to my uncles for a afternoon into the night of jamming as I lay on the floor with crayons and a coloring book gazing into a day dream with traditional bluegrass blaring in the background. At the age of nine, I asked God for the gift of music in church because I could not figure out how I was going to be like my father, like all of these people kept telling me. “One day you will grow up and be just like your Dad! a great musician” Some of Dads other band-mates and friends also played in church.. A Pentecostal church! not your normal boring church music. It was a little wild church without the snakes although we did play in a couple of those (More on that later). The drummer Johnny Roland, had Lung Cancer and could not play much longer. He showed me how to hold the sticks like buddy rich, a few beats and Dad bought me a set of 62 Slingerlands mother pearl with original calf skin heads. It was really crazy! the next thing you know, I took Johnny’s place in church playing with my fathers band in just a few weeks, with some of the same honky tonk pickers. My father loved country music and my uncle was into bluegrass and both ventured into Elvis and rock & roll because it was part of their generation. So.. their record collection was my record collection growing up. Dad and and his brother also liked to drink and gambled in the pool halls and honky tonk’s they played in. He was always trading, wheeling and dealing on the street with shady characters. I was there every step of the way learning the ropes from both my Dad and Uncle. I would watch them at times gamble away their entire paycheck on nickle machines. One story I can tell about from some of the things I witnessed, Dad loved to gamble playing nine ball. In 1979 He was playing this guy at Earls Grill on Market Street, that was a pretty rough joint in those days. Dad’s friend and band-mate Wayne Hensley, was running the place at that time and they were the house band there as well. The guy Dad was gambling with was getting very angry because he had lost 4 games in a row to my father and it was time to pay up! 100.00 bucks a game. This guy wanted to play another game after losing and was getting very loud.. Dad said “ok! and looked back at Wayne for the nod, Dad said ..“I have a title to a house on Wilson Ave, I will play you one game for what you owe me and your Mark 5 Lincoln Continental that is outside in the parking lot” The guy hesitated and said.. “ok fine”. My father ran the table and the guy flipped out wanting to fight and started throwing pool balls and sticks. Wayne, my fathers band-mate and bar manager, walked out from behind the bar and pointed a 357 at the guys face and said “Hand him the keys mother fucker, you lost”. The guy handed my father the keys and Wayne told the dude to leave, get his shit out of the car and never come back. So at 14 years old, Dad handed me the keys and said “Son, drive this car to the house” that was just 5 blocks away on Wilson. It was crazy things like this.. that prepared me for the music business and the people* affiliated with the gutter and honky tonks. I learned the hard way and although it may not sound like a very respectful lesson to most people..it is what it is! and I’m thankful to my father for opening my eyes early in life to the ways of the gutter. It has literally saved my life many times. More to come!!
Reunited with old drummer Gregg Black! and will be auditioning bassist to join us to do some live shows and tracking for my next release “Critical Thinker” Gregg Played a role in some of my early demos. We played on the road through the same booking agency’s in different bands over the years and have been friends since the 80s. Good to be hooked up again! Lets rock!!!!!
I will be attending Summer NAMM today in Nashville, Tennessee and visiting Cakewalk, Gibson Guitars, Native Instruments, SKB, GHS Strings and others with friend and Sound Engineer Alan Prince, networking “for S.A.B In November”! I hope to see you there! Check out some of the above mentioned companies for some of the coolest gear on the planet!
I’m very happy that “In November” was reviewed by producer Stuart Epps. (From Wikipedia) “Since 1967, he has worked with many artists, including: Elton John, Led Zeppelin, Oasis, Twisted Sister, Bill Wyman,Kiki Dee, George Harrison, Robbie Williams, Mark Owen, Paul Weller, Cliff Richard, Bad Company, Barry White and Chris Rea. He has contributed to many records and has been associated with many popular hard rock records by such bands as Twisted Sister, Wishbone Ash, Bad Company, Vandenberg, The Firm, Jagged Edge UK and Shooting Star. Besides his work with Led Zeppelin, Epps has been involved in other projects with their guitarist Jimmy Page as well as on many occasions with Rolling Stone member Bill Wyman. He now dedicates his time to producing Independent artists and nurturing new talent.” I submitted the CD for review through Musicxray. I wanted to get some professional feedback and possible advice for future work. Stuart gave “In November” high ratings! he stated the CD was well produced and engineered and that it was a good Rock and Roll album with nice guitar hooks. He offered advice on some of the backing vocal harmonies where he stated they “sounded strange at times” lol.. but was all good. Stuart really liked Peter’s drums and sound on the CD and added that he would change nothing if he had produced the album and it was ready to be heard. His last statement of encouragement was, “get it out there for people to hear, Its good rocky stuff”. As you can imagine, I’m very pleased with his comments and appreciate his time for the review. My head has swollen quite a bit.
This release is two years in the making! I have written and composed several songs over the last 15 years and a few songs on (In November) are from that catalog. In the past I have worked with several musicians and Gregg Black on drums to get demos ready for production and changes. This release was a complete work of labor. It was recorded at Newbirth Studios in Jonesborough, Tennessee. The entire production was created with Cakewalk Sonar versions X1 X2 & X3. I would like to thank Cakewalk and Jimmy Landry for their support and friendship! It has made life easy engineering this album. This work was very personal to me, not only my first release as a solo artist, I Engineered, Produced, played every instrument and sang all vocals on the album. The title “S.A.B | In November” also has a very special and personal meaning of identity. The first part is not hard to figure out, basically the initials to my name and brand. My brother, two son’s and grandson also share the same initials. Strummer Abraham Blevins, was born November 8th 2013 and this album was named after him and dedicated to Strummer and my father McArthur Blevins. There were two other elements to this release. Nashville session drummer Peter Young, played all drums on the entire CD and was recorded in Studio 19 Nashville. He is an awesome musician and has shared the stage with many great artist over the years. Peter, was the perfect drummer for this project with his jazzy hooks he reminded me of Anton Fig of the David Letterman Band/ Ace Frehley. Peter did work with some of the old demos that Gregg Black played on and added his own style. I’m very happy with the result! Ty Tabor of King’s X mastered the CD at Alien Bean Studio’s in Katy, Texas. I’m very happy with Ty’s mix and will hopefully work with him again very soon. The Album was released today January 13th 2014 on my fathers birthday through Newbirth Records. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did creating it! You can purchase “In November” here.
Peace Love & Happiness