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Blast of Winter to come to South Bend

Claire Stephens | Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Grammy nominated Johnny Winter will mosey onto Club Fever’s stage Saturday, stringing and singing Texas blues tunes for his South Bend fans.  

The Club Fever performance will come in the midst of a world tour that includes stops in Germany, France and Japan. Fellow bandmates drummer Vito Liuzzi, guitarist Paul Nelson and bassist Scott Spray will accompany Winter.

Winter has released dozens of albums over the past 50 years including what he calls “non-official” compilations of early singles he recorded as a teenager. Praise for Winter, who was ranked no. 74 on Rolling Stones’ 2003 list of “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time,” continues to pile up. Two of the albums Winter produced for blues band Muddy Waters won Grammy Awards and recently Winter and his brother were inducted into the Southeast Texas “Walk of Fame” in his hometown.

Winter’s love for music began at an early age. During his childhood in Beaumont, Texas, Winter, 67, experimented with the clarinet, ukulele and guitar and performed with his brother Edgar on the piano. Winter formed his first band, Johnny and the Jammers, at 14 and released the blues album “The Progressive Blues Experiment” in 1968.

The Texas guitar tradition runs deep in Winter’s music, Winter’s website JohnnyWinter.net said.

“From T-Bone Walker and Clarence Gatemouth Brown on through Albert Collins and Freddie King, Billy Gibbons and the late Stevie Ray Vaughan, the tradition of the Texas guitar slinger has lived on. The one name that ranks at the top of that exclusive list is Johnny Winter, an international ambassador for rocking Texas blues and still going strong,” JohnnyWinter.net said.

Rockabilly band The Blasters will accompany Winter at Club Fever. Band members Phil Alvin, John Bazz, Bill Bateman and Keith Wyatt’s mix of blues and rockabilly will bring what they call “American Music” front and center Saturday.