Big Head Blues Club to Release '100 Years of Robert Jonson' Tribute CD
May 8th, 2011 marks the 100-year anniversary of blues legend Robert Johnson’s birthday. In celebration of the most influential bluesman that ever lived, the Big Head Blues Club – an ad-hoc collaboration featuring Big Head Todd and The Monsters and special guests Hubert Sumlin, Honeyboy Edwards, Cedric Burnside and Lightnin’ Malcolm – has been touring coast to coast playing the material of Johnson. The tour, which has been garnering rave reviews, wraps up on March 8, just after the studio album, titled 100 Years of Robert Johnson, hits the streets on March 1, 2011 via Ryko/Big Records.
100 Years of Robert Johnson is a stirring collection featuring 10 potent interpretations of some of the most vital and durable music of the past century. In addition to the above-mentioned artists, 100 Years of Robert Johnson includes performances by blues greats B.B. King and Charlie Musselwhite, as well as keeper of the blues flame Ruthie Foster. The album was recorded at the legendary Ardent Studios in Memphis, and produced by Grammy award winning blues producer Chris Goldsmith (Blind Boys of Alabama).
For Todd Park Mohr, who founded Big Head Todd and The Monsters with Rob Squires (bass) and Brian Nevin (drums) nearly a quarter-century ago, the project has served to re-introduce him to the iconic music of Johnson, whose songs provided many of the pioneering blues-rock bands—Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, The Grateful Dead, Cream, Canned Heat, etc.—with some of their most popular material.
100 Years of Robert Johnson features several inspired takes on Johnson’s best known compositions. For Mohr and Goldsmith, the challenge in recording the tribute was to give new voice to Johnson’s music, to avoid copying the countless cover versions already extant. “In so many of the takes on Robert’s stuff, you don’t get the depth of emotion that’s in the lyrics and in Robert’s voice. That’s one thing that Chris and the band and my voice were able to bring to it. Chris had great ideas about how to represent the stuff, and all the musicians were just so good at what they did, the unique arrangements just came naturally.”
BLUES AT THE CROSSROADS: THE ROBERT JOHNSON CENTENNIAL CONCERTS tour featuring Big Head Todd and The Monsters and special guests David “Honeyboy” Edwards, Hubert Sumlin and Cedric Burnside & Lightnin’ Malcolm is as follows:
Jan. 28 San Francisco, CA Regency Ballroom
Jan. 29 Costa Mesa, CA Orange County Performing Arts Center
Jan. 30 San Diego, CA (2 shows) Anthology
Jan. 31 Santa Barbara, CA Campbell Hall / UCSB
Feb. 04 Austin, TX Paramount Theatre
Feb. 05 Dallas, TX Lakewood Theatre
Feb. 10 Ann Arbor, MI Hill Auditorium / U of M
Feb. 11 Chicago, IL Orchestra Hall
Feb. 12 Kansas City, MO Uptown Theatre
Feb. 13 Meridian, MS Riley Center / MSU
Feb. 16 Chapel Hill, NC Memorial Hall / UNC Chapel Hill
Feb. 17 New Bethesda, MD The Music Center at Strathmore
Feb. 18 Boston, MA Berklee School of Music
Feb. 24 Ridgefield, CT Ridgefield Playhouse
Feb. 25 Princeton, NJ McCarter Theatre
Feb. 26 Blue Bell, PA Montgomery County Community College
Feb. 27 New Bedford, MA Zeiterion Theater
March 4 Milwaukee, WI Potowatomi Casino
March 5 Omaha, NE Holland Performing Arts Center
March 6 Minneapolis, MN Orchestra Hall
March 8 Urbana, IL Krannert Center – Tyrone Festival Theatre
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