This Weekend's Highlights

Shaw Squared

Shaw Squared

Road 1 South

Road 1 South

Cinelli Bros Review

         Authored by Chris Berry


I don’t normally start a review with a disclaimer but the truth is, I got this assignment over 6 months ago. For various reasons it took a long time to get to it. It is not because there is anything wrong with this band. 
I first became aware of the Cinelli Brothers when I noticed that they seemed to dominate the same Blues Radio Station Play Lists as my own band The Swamp Poets, (They were always number 1 and we were somewhere closer to the bottom). I don’t remember exactly when but I know at some point I thought “I should probably check out the competition!” 
Holy Smokes! The first time I listened to them I was blown away! I couldn’t believe that these were a bunch of Young European guys and I couldn’t understand why they weren’t already famous in the United States, (Lord knows they’re already huge in Europe and the UK). The Cinellis recently won the 2022 UK Blues challenge so it may be sooner than you think that they’ll be making a big splash stateside as they will be competing at the IBCs in Memphis, TN in January. 
Being an elder American born Bluesman myself, I often hear criticism of “newer” blues musicians, (especially non-Americans), as being “inauthentic”. Not so with these fellows. If you close your eyes and listen to just about any Cinelli Brothers album you’ll swear you’re listening to 100+ year old Mississippi Delta Bluesmen at the top of their game. It astounds me that the Cinellis are European, (Two Italians, A Frenchman and A Brit). In reality, though, I personally might never have discovered the blues if it hadn’t been for the “British Invasion” bands of the 60’s reintroducing us Americans back to our own unique, original and homegrown musical heritage so I’m all for hearing their take. 
To put it into perspective: I currently have 5 “newer” blues based acts as my favorite bands. They are Larkin Poe, Blackberry Smoke, Gov’t Mule, Tedeschi Trucks and the Cinelli Brothers. Guess who is number one? 
On their website the Cinellis state that they have a deep affection for 60’s American Blues. I venture to say that the influence goes much further back than that and These guys have definitely done their homework. They cover just about everything from smouldering swampy blues to jump blues, big band blues/swing, Stax soul, a little Americana and just about every other blues sub genre in between. When it comes to all of the different versions of American Blues these guys are “all over the map”, playing a myriad of styles but always with at least one foot deep in the Delta. 
On both of the albums I am going to review here, there are no “fillers”. Each song stands on its own. Each one is pleasant to listen to and each one pays homage to the respective styles they are emulating. In short, You can’t go wrong with any Cinelli Brothers song or 
album For the sake of keeping it short, and although I’m going to break the albums down by song, (and I may even compare it to another preexisting song, suffice it to say that you owe it to yourself to give the Cinelli Brothers a listen. So, without further Ado:…............................... 
“No Country For Bluesmen” - The Cinelli Brothers 
This “Tour De Force” by the Cinellis features guest appearances by many “up & coming” European blues artists. The truth is although it was really nice of the Cinellis to showcase and expose us to other acts they didn’t have to. These fellows are perfectly capable of “knocking our socks off” without any outside help. 
1. Make you mine – Featuring Connor Selby on Lead Vocals this one is reminiscent of a very tight mash up of American Country and Early British invasion. 
2. High Time We Run – Featuring Julian Jones on Ld. Vocal. This is a nice, New Orleans “second line” style, horn driven, Swing romp. 
3. Deep Down Devil – A 20’s-30’s era jazzy, Juke Joint/Speakeasy feel featuring the harmony vocals of Alice Armstrong and Marco Cinelli 
4. Together Is Better – A solid danceable rocking tune. 
5. So Far So Good – With Big Joe Louis holding down the lead vocal seat, This is a rocking and upbeat, funky, blues that is guaranteed to have everyone up and dancing. 
6. Dish it out – Tommy Hare delivers some excellent Staxx, Soul type vocals on this rocking blues number. 
7. No Place For Me – Ian Siegal on Lead vocals. This is a slower blues with some beautifully rendered Delta style slide guitar. In my mind, I could hear this being played late at night down at the Juke Joint. 
8. Dillon – Great Organ/Trumpet instrumental featuring Mark Kanuma on trumpet. (there wasn’t a lot of info about this one in the liner notes). 
9. Careful What You Wish For – This one has a long but pleasant guitar and intro that features Dana Gillespie on Lead Vocals. It has a pleasant, guitar driven, Jump Blues feel. 
10. Leave It All Behind – Zac Shulze on Lead Vocals. Zac delivers a very soulful, (reminiscent of Marvin Gaye), feel to this Staxx style Soul tune. 
11. Much Too Much – Lead Vocals by Stuart Maxwell. This is a really fun Jazzy, Juke Joint, Jump Blues style, Party Song with comedy lyrics. 
12. Gotta Find My Baby – It's really hard for most drummers to pull off this “swing style, backwards shuffle” but Nanni Cinelli nails it! With Lead vocals by Dexter Shaw. 
13. Blues Worldwide – This is a great 12 bar format blues tune with excellent Blues Harp and Lead Vocals by Giles Robson. 
“Villa Jukejoint” - The Cinelli Brothers 
Now this is your excellent, quintessential, straight ahead blues, Cinelli Brothers album. On this album they stick closer to a standard blues format than they did on their “No Country For Bluesmen” album. Again, there are no fillers. Every song is strong and either one could be the “feature song” of the album. I could close my eyes while listening and hear them right alongside all of my favorite “old time” blues artists. One minute I swear I’m listening to Little Walter’s, B.B. or Albert King’s little brothers and I’ll even bet that if they were alive they’d feel the same way. The blues are in pretty good shape if these guys are in charge. If you are a blues afficianado, about the smartest thing you could do is add their albums to your collection. This is the future of the blues folks! I hear they are coming out with a new album soon and I for one can hardly wait. 
1. Choo Ma Gum – An upbeat, rockin blues number with great blues harp reminiscent of Little Walter. 
2. Save Me – This is a strong, guitar driven blues that kind of reminded me of the Sonny Boy Williamson song “You Gotta Help Me”. 
3. Dry Spell – To me this song sounded like Ray Charles playing Piano with Marvin Gaye on vocals. The song structure kind of reminded me of the Pharrel Williams song “Because I’m Happy”. 
4. Wanna Have A Good Time – A good, rocking blues tune with great blues lead guitar. 
5. Last Cigarette – When I listened to this slow, smokey blues I could envision a late night at the juke joint and this was the last song as they were closing down. 
6. I Believe – This one had a nice walking bass line with a nice groove. 
7. Chop The Line – I think I know where the name came from on this one. When I listened to it, I could envision Albert King via Stevie Ray Vaughn playing his signature “Up Chop” strum. 
8. Married Woman - This one is a nice and slow, swampy style blues with backing vocals that sort of reminded me of the Persuaions. 
9. Just So You Know – This was a great piano driven, jump style, blues with a serious nod toward traditional sounding blues. 
10. Grandchildren Of The Blues – A great modern version of a standard 1-4-5 blues pattern with outstanding B.B. King style lead guitar. A great homage to historic blues. 
11. Wolf Whistle – A dark yet rocking blues with haunting delay on the blues harp. 
12. Hairy Armpits – A fantastic “Big Band Swing” mixed with Jump Blues style song overlayed with tasty B.B. King style lead guitar and funny, comedy lyrics. Who doesn’t want a woman with Hairy Armpits?

New section

Homegrown Blues, The Rhythm Room, and Friends 

   By Mike Todhunter

Prescott blues lovers are blessed, and perhaps don't know it, to be in close proximity to a true jewel of the blues world in Phoenix's Rhythm Room-a mere hour and a half south of Prescott. On that note, Ginny and I constantly pull up the Rhythm Room's calendar to see who has been booked, and with so much top talent touring the Phoenix metropolis, imagine our excitement to discover that Prescott's bluesmen, Segal and Epoch, were scheduled for Dec. 16 along with IBC winner Eric Ramsey and Poppy Harpman and the Storm . We had to go. 

     Cruising and grooving south on the I17 while listening to CD's by "Mississippi Heat" and the Nick Moss band with Dennis Gruenling, we arrived early just in time to catch Cottonwood's Garry Segal and "Taul" Paul Epoch tuning up outside the club. Some blues talk exchanged, and some photos later, Garry unveiled his teaser that at this show he would disclose his nickname/street handle. A seasoned bluesman of some 40 years and having played with the likes of Bo Diddley and J. Geil's harpist Magic Dick, Gary actually began his blues journey as a harpist. Today Garry has been seen playing the bass for the Dennis Herrera Band and lead guitar with the Chicago Bob Band. Garry is a true talent. Paul Epoch of the Swamp Poets can be found on alternating Sundays at the Windsock Lounge blowing his Mississippi saxophone in his vibrant energetic style. 

     The show was a three hour blues odyssey with a homegrown theme scheduled by the Rhythm Room's owner, Bob Corritore, famed harpist and entrepreneur. All tunes this evening were required to be original compositions. Eric began the show demonstrating his musical diversity that had earned him a spot on the Legendary Blues Cruise this past November. He masterfully played both the lap slide and the slide guitar, the acoustic guitar and the banjo. Our friends from Prescott, Diane " Dancing Machine"de Sophia, Big John Johnson and Plana Carstensen thoroughly enjoyed his banjo riffs. 

     Enter Garry and Paul, sharing the stage. Both artist worked vocals and harp riffs. Paul with his passionate harp heat balanced Garry's vocals and acoustic energy. To our surprise, Paul sang several tunes solo. We had no previous knowledge that Paul had been holding back on his Prescott fans by not revealing that, yes, he can sing and with much credibility. Thank you, guys.  

     Garry finally got around  to the big unveiling and his promise to make public his nickname mystery, "Chopped Liver"- Garry "Chopped Liver" Segal! Garry is officially left the closet! The truth be told though, Garry's performance at the Rhythm Room was no chopped liver, but a glimpse of a true local talent. Ditto that for Paul Epoch as well.  

     We discovered that evening that our Prescott duo have an ingratiating sense of humor, Paul remarking that he'd been drinking Smart Water, but it wasn't working. Garry left us with that classic line from"High Plains Drifter" that he "left the backdoor open and the wrong dogs came home", a reference to be careful of whom you trust when opening the door to your life.  

     The show ended by 9pm with all three acts collaborating in a jam that saw each bluesman featured,  highlighting their unique talent, and bringing the evening to a fun-filled conclusion. 

     The trip into Phoenix was well worth it. Sincere friendship grew stronger and new ones were seeded. Diane danced her dance to our homegrown blues. I got to know better Big John Johnson, a Prescott blues enthusiast and fellow John Nemeth fan, while Garry and Paul made us all proud to be from the Prescott area. There will be fond memories for a lifetime. Long live the blues.  

 

New section

Epoch, Segal Headed To Rhythm Room This Weekend 

By John Johnson 

Managing Editor 

Two local musicians who've played all over Northern Arizona in recent years as part of various ensembles will head to Phoenix this weekend for a gig at the iconic Rhythm Room. Paul Epoch and Garry Segal will take the middle slot in a three-act show highlighting Copper State talent performing original compositions. 

The 6 p.m. show on Sunday will be led off by Eric Ramsey, the winner of the 2022 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tenn. in the Solo/Duo category. Poppy Harpman and the Storm will close out the festivities. 

It'll be the debut appearance for Epoch, a harmonica player who also dabbles with the flute, on the Rhythm Room stage. Segal, a versatile musician who'll primarily play acoustic guitar and handle most of the vocal chores for this show, has played there once before as a harmonicist for Big Daddy D and the Dynamites. 

"It's THE cool place to play," exclaimed Segal. "It's a real blues room and all that stuff on the walls is amazing. Man, if walls could talk!" 

Harpman, the organizer of the show, originally planned to book the Swamp Poets Duo (Chris Berry and Epoch) for the gig. However, Berry had already been scheduled for a heart bypass operation (which was performed recently) and the date wouldn't allow for sufficient recovery time. 

Epoch, who's known by the moniker "Taul Paul," suggested filling the vacancy with Segal, whom he's played with several times locally in duo settings. That was fine with Harpman. 

It'll be a big thrill for both to play the venue that's hosted many of the world's most renowned blues acts over the past four decades. 

"Garry and I talked about this and we still get nervous before we play," said Epoch. "We hope that melts away just trusting the work that we've put in. You want to keep things from getting inside your head and play with your heart. That comes from the time you've dedicated to the craft." 

Their hour on the stage will consist of approximately 10 songs – seven composed by Segal and three by Epoch. They plan to perform a "harp duel" during the second-to-last song. 

"It's kind of unique to get to play a whole set of original stuff and that makes it a little extra fun," said Segal. "I've got songs that I haven't played (for an audience) in a long time. I'm just honored to be on the bill with Eric Ramsey and Poppy Harpman, who are both killer players." 

Epoch is pumped that he'll be accompanied by Segal for his maiden Rhythm Room appearance. 

"He's one of my local heroes, for sure," Epoch said. "He's a great player with all of his instruments."

An Interview with Dennis Herrera

We had the good fortune to be able to spend an hour with one of the Premier Musicians in Prescott (Maybe I should say Arizona?) and it was a far ranging conversation. Here ya go... Mr. Dennis Herrera

Tom Pallen 

Mr. Dennis Herrera. How are you? I'm glad you could make it. This is a PrescottBluesNotes.com interview with Mr. Dennis Herrera, Thursday, October 13. And we want to thank Colleen and Kyle at the Attic for hosting the interview. Here's to Kyle and Colleen.  So Dennis, you're a blues man 

Dennis Herrera 

Guilty as charged 

Tom Pallen 

Guilty as charged eh, why the blues? 

Dennis Herrera 

Initially it was when I was listening to the radio. My mom really liked the old rock and roll I mean, the music was huge on am radio where I was living in San Jose. So I was influenced in terms of music. And there was a point in time when my grandfather helped me with learning how to play the guitar, because on the weekends, the family would get together.  We have a Hispanic background, slash Italian. And on my mom's side, it was Mexican. So on the weekends, we would have get togethers and there's music and Mariachis and tacos and refried beans and it was good time and my grandfather and his friends would always play. 

Tom Pallen 

Was your grandfather a mariachi? 

Dennis Herrera 

No, but he enjoyed playing guitar, okay. Singing Mexican songs. And it was great. I loved it. And as he saw, I was very interested in that. So he pulled me aside. He says this. This gets you on the guitar. So he started with some old Mexican songs. And then he bought me a guitar, it had cowboys on it. It was an acoustic guitar and I started to learn. And from that point mostly I was leaning towards rock and roll. Like, you know, the Stones, Animals and those kinds of groups. But what I found out was the groups that I enjoyed listening to, they learned from the old blues guys, and they're covering things from you know, Muddy Waters. And Sonny Boy, Little Walter. Howlin' Wolf and they were covering their songs. So I looked into that. And the whole world opened up. The Blues world opened up. I'm buying Jimmy Reed records. Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, and I was learning those songs. This was approaching my high school days and it just segwayed from Rock and Roll to Blues. So then I learned those riffs and those songs 

Tom Pallen 

Back in high school? 

Dennis Herrera 

High school? Sophomore, Junior. My first ever performance was in high school. In my senior year, I was flunking music if you will… 

Tom Pallen 

You!? Laughter, flunking music? 

Dennis Herrera 

Music class you know, I wasn't the best student, you know, not an all-American devoted student to studies school in general. 

Tom Pallen 

So you were kind of a screw up. 

Dennis Herrera 

This teacher knew that I played guitar and my friends played guitar and a lot of times during school during lunch we would get together strumming whatever. So my teacher offered that he would pass me if I performed for the school in the school auditorium for I forget what it was end of the year talent show or what have you. So I did get an A. Then me and my buddy went and we did Freedom. Who was the Artist that did that song? 

Tom Pallen 

Richie Havens? 

Dennis Herrera 

We did that and killed it. It was fun. It was great. I loved it. And then I was sold.  So, I just continued to play and gathering groups, getting guys together. Where I lived my dad had had enough of his boys, me and my brother. And he built a little house behind our house. And that's where we were all the time playing and jamming and going to concerts together. So I was from the Bay Area, San Jose. And so I would be at Fillmore. All those places in San Francisco and Oakland in the Bay Area listening to music just all the time. All the time, all the time. It was a problem for my dad. So I would get guys together and we would have to do with playing parties to play wherever we can play. And that's what happened 

Tom Pallen 

So, at that point in time that was more of a rock and roll kind of thing for you? 

Dennis Herrera 

We played rock and roll. We played Stones covers we play Savoy Brown covers, we would play Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker. 

Tom Pallen 

Oh, okay, so you're doing blues in high school 

Dennis Herrera 

Lot of Jimmy Reed let me say it was lots of Elmore James a lot of that. And then I started working on the slide guitar at that time, too. I don't play a lot of that now on stage these days, but I think I might start that up again. 

Tom Pallen 

How'd you get interested in music? Just to summarize, it was your grandfather. It wasn't the girl's staring at you wide eyed when you were playing. 

Dennis Herrera 

Oh, well that came later. (Laughter) 

Tom Pallen 

Then you discovered the power of the guitar. 

Dennis Herrera 

It was very fun. It was great. We really enjoyed ourselves all the time. 

Tom Pallen 

Do you play any other instruments? 

Dennis Herrera 

A little piano. I started off actually with the harmonica before I had the guitar at home. But I played harmonica for a while there too in the beginning. 

Tom Pallen 

Do you still pick it up? 

Dennis Herrera 

No, today there are so many better harmonica players out there 

Tom Pallen 

Tell me, do you still practice? Every day? 

Dennis Herrera 

Not every day.  I'll be here at the Attic again soon. Right? So maybe a week or a week before I practice every day in preparation. But not every, not every day. Do I practice like I did when I was younger. I was always practicing. So now it's just like, I'm working on new stuff. And I'm working on the old stuff. I actually have an unfinished CD that I'm going to Los Angeles to finish next month 

Tom Pallen 

Tell me a little bit more about the trip to Los Angeles and what's gonna happen... 

Dennis Herrera 

We're five songs in and I'm going to the same studio that I recorded last two. And it's in Torrance, Los Angeles. And the owner of the studio is a good friend, and he's a keyboard player, as well as the owner and engineer. Studio. So it's a slam dunk. He gets it all done. He's doing the piano and the Wurlitzer organ are all the CDs that I've recorded there. And so, like I say, we’re five songs in and I have another six that I have to go and record and then do this master and all that stuff. We're cool. Get it out there. And I have great guys that I work with Los Angeles. 

Tom Pallen 

Now, could you tell me about your musical Odyssey? You were in San Jose in the Bay Area. Okay. And sort of playing music and rock and roll and blues. Where did you go after San Jose? 

Dennis Herrera 

There were a few pitstops. But I eventually migrated to Los Angeles in the 90s. Maybe '96 Something like that. I had some good friends that were working in Los Angeles, so I moved there. I stayed until 2019. That's when I moved here to Prescott 

Tom Pallen 

Oh, so you've been you've been in Prescott for a while. Since 2019. 

Dennis Herrera 

2019. So when I was in Los Angeles, I was gigging where you can, a few different venues. Pretty much the same guys in the band and recording. And we would go elsewhere we get on the road to other cities. Played in Santa Cruz played in Florida, but we came here to play the Rhythm Room. And we played here in Prescott at what's now the Whiskey River Tavern. 

Tom Pallen 

Oh, the downstairs. Yeah, Whiskey River. 

Dennis Herrera 

And we mainly came to Prescott because my wife and as you know, she's the band manager and she's also the creative director of CD covers. So her mother lives here. And she's lived in New River for many years. And she lives in her and her husband have a cabin in Highland Pines. We decided to come here to live and we started looking for a place in 2018. And we wanted to be near her. And so we kept looking. And it's funny, too. We're working with this real estate agent and he was taking us to hell and gone. We want to be up in the mountains, we want to be at this area. We want a good view. And finally, either Denise and I, we saw something online because we were looking also so much as he was taking us to places and we found this place and it has a spectacular view. And it has two balconies, the top balcony go up there you can see this, this whole area you can even see like San Francisco Peaks. It's an awesome view. At some point we're gonna have barbecues there. You'll be invited to one of our barbecues up there it's really great place so in 2019 we purchased it and we figured we'll stay in LA, slowly migrate and move to Prescott. Then the pandemic hit so we said "we're done, let's get out of here". 

Tom Pallen 

Sadly, there's nothing left in California 

Dennis Herrera 

So we packed up. 

Tom Pallen 

Well, that’s very good for Prescott. What is it about music that stirs your soul? What is it that that moves you? 

Dennis Herrera 

It's invigorating it's fun. And it can be like a personal journey not only me but other peoples happiness to have a solid groove going. Watching people respond and dance. 

Tom Pallen 

Like the other night, when that big guy was turning the women upside down. They were having a ball. They were having a great time. 

Dennis Herrera 

And of course, you know having people come up to and say "you’re really good". You know, that's fulfilling. We accomplished something. 

Tom Pallen 

It made people happy; you entertained them. You did what you do so well. It's all good. 

Dennis Herrera 

And, you know, for me, okay, rock and roll is good. It's fun. Country is really good. I'll listen to stuff that's middle of the road. Like, Doobie Brothers, things like that. But Blues music is just very strong for me. In terms of interpretation. playing and enjoying and listening. That's the music that I enjoy. 

Tom Pallen 

How would you how would you describe your blues? The blues that you play? 

Dennis Herrera 

It's a combination. You know, it's I've been I've been influenced by T Bone Walker. I've been influenced by Jimmy Reed, BB King, all the Kings. Albert Collins. I've been influenced by Jimmy Vaughn and especially Anson Funderburgh. Do you know of him? 

Tom Pallen 

A little bit yeah a little bit technically very proficient if I remember 

Dennis Herrera 

He's actually on my third CD. Oh, he's really a friend of mine. We play golf together. Sonny Boy, Little Walter, Robert Lockwood all their music has just influenced me so greatly so what I like to hear a lot of my things I confess that my music, my compositions and stuff on my CDs has roots in them 

Dennis Herrera, Kim Wilson, Anson Funderburgh

Tom Pallen 

Everything is derivative? 

Dennis Herrera 

That's saying now it's just all been played before and all been sung before and it's all been said before. I'm honoring them and putting my spin on some of the some of the things that I enjoy listening to like the shuffle or Chuck Berry's type... 

Tom Pallen 

Describe your creative process. When you're creating music 

Dennis Herrera 

The lyrics come last. I'll go to the studio with song compositions more or less right? Riffs and put them on tape. Then I'll figure out the lyrics. I have ideas with what I'm thinking about what the songs are gonna say and what the words will be. But it's for me, it's the music 

Tom Pallen 

Music first. Okay, that's interesting because that's a little bit different from some of the other creators I spoken to. So do you lay in bed at night thinking about riffs? How does it happen? 

Dennis Herrera 

I used to but these days if I'm in bed I'm sleeping. I'll be honest. The energy has diminished in terms of activity. You know because of my age and of course I play a lot of golf. And that takes up a lot of my time. Also, I enjoy being with Denise and I like to take care of the house. We travel. We like to travel. Every year we go to Tampa, her son and grandson who she is in love with course. We like to go there during downtime during the winters here. And when I'm there, I know a couple of venues that I play at over there and I have some equipment there so that's fine too. And you can bet we bring our golf clubs. 

Tom Pallen 

Let me change tack a little bit. Who's your favorite musician? 

Dennis Herrera 

Jimmy? Jimmy Vaughan. 

Tom Pallen 

Okay, tell me why? 

Dennis Herrera 

He's got a lot of history and his Fabulous Thunderbirds. Back in the day in Austin they were the house band. You know, you're familiar with Antones in Austin, that legendary blues club that had everybody in there 

Tom Pallen 

They were the house band? 

Dennis Herrera 

Yeah. So Jimmy and Albert Collins, are a very strong influence on me and T bone Walker too. 

Tom Pallen 

I'm a big T bone Walker fan. I saw T Bone Walker a million years ago. In Boulder. There was a small club. And it ripped it up. He just ripped it up. 

Dennis Herrera 

That's a feather in your cap. 

Tom Pallen 

He was getting older. He was slowing down a little bit. That was a great show. So Jimmy Vaughn, okay. Now, along those lines, and maybe Jimmy Vaughn is one, but what musicians inspire you? 

Dennis Herrera 

They all inspire me. All the greats. And they have their turn. I'll be listening to this one great, and then the next week, I'll listen a lot to another one. And I just go back and forth. Of course, my friend, Anson Funderburgh, he's an inspiration to me too. I had the pleasure of recording with him. Actually, one time, Kim Wilson, Anson and I played a course in San Diego. I went one time when Anson was in town, of course. And so we went out and tore up the course a couple of times. Which was so much fun with these guys and the stories that they told that some of the old guys have just so fun, so fun to just ramble on. 

Tom Pallen 

Kim Wilson is going to be at the Rhythm Room in December? 

Dennis Herrera 

No they cancelled. He was going to be there with his solo project. But the Fabulous Thunderbirds are on tour and there was going to be a conflict. So they had to cancel. 

Tom Pallen 

That's a damn shame. A bunch of us were planning on going. 

Dennis Herrera 

I haven't seen him since his birthday. We went to his birthday party in California. And you know Kid Ramos? So Kid was in the backyard, munching on barbecue, whatever we're eating. But Denise was hobnobbing with some of the ladies. Those guys have the best stories going back and forth with some of these stories and I was just soaking it in. The greatest, funniest stories like "when Albert came into Antone's one day”...? And they would tell us about how Muddy Waters would school them. Talk to him about music talked about his stage presence talked about what he's doing wrong? Well, he'd pull them aside "listen boy, you can't be doing that” or "this what you got to do". Are you giving them advice? Do you take it the right way? Oh, yeah. Okay. They're heroes. 

Tom Pallen 

Yeah good memories Sure. Who's your who's your favorite female performer? 

Dennis Herrera 

Lou Ann Barton. I loved watching her. Josh Sklar was her music director and guitar player is a friend of mine. And so I would see her a lot. You know, with him too. I would go see him. She just killed every time. There is no one better. She killed it every time. So she's probably my favorites. She passed away. 

Tom Pallen 

But the music lives on right? Oh, yeah. What's the favorite performance of your entire career? 

Dennis Herrera 

OK, that was easy. So my first my first concert ever was James Brown and I was in ninth grade. And my neighbor, my next-door neighbor was older than me. And he was he was Mexican. He was kind of like a gangster, a bandito. And he loved soul. Soul music. So he comes to my house and he says, I'm taking you to a concert and what you're gonna see is gonna change your life. I mean I was the only kid there you know. The only Mexican kid in the audience. A Mexican made no nevermind. People are just so into James Brown on such a fabulous shows this amazing. 

Tom Pallen 

Isn't that the great thing about music? I mean, music overcomes so much craziness in this world. That anybody and everybody, you know, any background, any financial situation you get together and it all gets boiled down to the way the music moves your soul. And it's just that simple as all the rest of it's just bullshit. You know, just it's just not. It doesn't count. 

Dennis Herrera 

Like I mentioned before, we would always go to Fillmore. One time we went in and we thought we'd see Johnny Winter and someone I forget. And so we get there and we're in line. And we get our tickets. We go inside. We're all geared up for Johnny Winters or maybe it was Traffic. One of those bands, one of those headliners that were happening at that time. We were shocked when we were in line. And we're seeing all these people dressed platforms and sparkly hair and leotards painted faces. And lo and behold who comes on stage but David Bowie. 

Tom Pallen 

No kidding, David Bowie 

Dennis Herrera 

Think glam to no end. We had never heard of David Bowie before and we're looking at each other. What's going on here? It's hilarious. I think we stayed midway through the show and then we left. 

Tom Pallen 

Then it wasn't a very good show - not you're kind of music 

Dennis Herrera 

We were fascinated with the whole thing. 

Tom Pallen 

So what performance of yours? Which of your performances is your favorite? Gotta be one. 

Dennis Herrera 

Yeah. I think my performance or being onstage because a friend of mine, Tom Castro... 

Tom Pallen 

Tommy Castro? 

Dennis Herrera 

He's better than I am 

Tommy Castro, stoked

Tom Pallen 

I love Castro 

Dennis Herrera 

In Santa Cruz, one time back in 2014 or 2015 so he was playing with Mose Allison in Santa Cruz. And he called me up on stage. 

Tom Pallen 

Did you say Mose? Allison? 

Dennis Herrera 

Yeah, Mose Allison in Santa Cruz. Okay. I got called up. Because at that time, I was visiting my sister who lived in Sausalito. And my brother, my older brother lived in Santa Rosa. So we had a little family thing going on. But Tommy was in Santa Cruz playing. So me and my brother went over there and Tommy invited me on stage. That was awesome. It was awesome. Great. had the best time and a picture somewhere on stage. 

Tom Pallen 

Could you forward that picture to me. Because I'd like to put it in the gallery. 

Tom Pallen 

Tommy Castro called you up on stage. Very cool. 

Dennis Herrera 

Well, he had done it before too. But that was that was a great night. 

Tom Pallen 

Dennis, what skills have you picked up over the years that make you a better musician? 

Dennis Herrera 

I think in the Studio, mixing 

Tom Pallen 

That's hard to do. You got to be flawless 

Dennis Herrera 

Doing the overdubs. Listening to the track, and then figuring, okay, we need a little more of this right here. More of this there. Rich, who's the engineer helped me a lot in that area. I learned a lot. And I learned a lot from people that I've played with. teachers out there if you're open. 

Tom Pallen 

Yeah, my teacher tells me he's got a favorite saying. "When the student is ready, the teacher appears". So do you think you can get any better as a musician? 

Dennis Herrera 

Yes, like how to do different things, different ways of playing. Adding, doing more of that learning. new and different progressions to guitars. 

Tom Pallen 

Yeah. So you're still you're still growing? You're still developing as a musician? 

Dennis Herrera 

I don't think a musician will stop growing musically, 

Tom Pallen 

I don't think that a good would stop. There are bands that come through town, and they're tired. And  I guess I can understand that, you know, maybe these are the guys that are playing 300 nights a year and they're playing the same stuff. And so they get up there and they're a little bored. Okay, you, you're not bored. I know. The people I've seen you play with aren't bored. But I've been... 

Dennis Herrera 

I do my best and getting a hold of guys that are solid, that are on the same page musically. Trying to do my best beginning number one, I don't I don't have a lot of time here Prescott. In the short time that I've had here I think I've met some good players. And I mean Major League players. I'm meeting new players as well like Steve Willis. That was the first time we played together. He's really good. I've been looking for a keyboard player in Northern California. I would do a trio with some piano players. Sigmar and some really good piano players, keyboard players. Can we do a trio? Trio mixed in with the full band always. And better money. 

Tom Pallen 

Yeah, you got three instead of five 

Dennis Herrera 

I've been searching for a great keys guy. Someone had said to me, because I'm always putting it out there, let me know. Somebody told me get a hold of Steve Willis 

Tom Pallen 

When I saw you at the Attic Steve Willis was on the keys. And Garry Segal was on stage too. I know Garry personally, he's a friend of mine. I was really happy to see him up there with you. I thought you guys all did great. You were very tight. Very solid even though you've never played together. 

Dennis Herrera 

Isn't that something? It did work out well 

Tom Pallen 

That's professionalism. 

Dennis Herrera 

I'm very impressed with Garry's bass playing you know, initially it was someone else that person was not able to and Darryl Porras who I gig with (Big Daddy D) Garry came and played harmonica. Because he's a friend of Darryl’s. So I did this gig. I was doing a golf course where I played. So that clicked. That worked, that was fun.  It worked out. That worked out great. 

Tom Pallen 

A musician at your level shouldn't have a hard time finding good musicians to play with. You're going to own this town. It won't take long. 

Dennis Herrera 

Only problem with that idea is my genre. And this is why I'm so happy with meeting Kyle and being associated because he's an avid blues fan. And as I said before, you know you have a lot of venues but if you're not really hiring... 

Tom Pallen 

Traditional blues? 

Dennis Herrera 

Yeah, a band that every song is a blues song. A lot of bands now, I'm certainly not knocking any, any band that's working currently now, a lot of what I hear is other types of music in the set. I only do blues. And so that might be a detriment to my... 

Tom Pallen 

Okay, I'll tell you a quick story about the Birdcage. There was band, they got, you know, a lot of blues bands come through. And so there was a band called CatBone. And they got up there and they were a blues band. This part may not go in an interview. We may not publish this, but we're just shifting the ship now. I introduced myself told him what we did. And the the lead said that, well, you know, we're not playing all blues because we were told not to play all blues. So that's interesting. Then a couple of weeks later, there was a band by the name of Dirty John. And they played all blues. And then a couple weeks after that, where it was Orphan John. And he played all blues. Yeah. So I don't think being of being a blues guy is gonna hurt you. 

What's the what's the best piece of advice you could give to another musician? 

Dennis Herrera 

Don't get caught up in the adulation 

Tom Pallen 

Interesting. Interesting. 

Dennis Herrera 

You know sometimes it's not heartfelt. It's not genuine. It's just a passing thing. Some folks say "you sounded really great". And then they move on. So I wouldn't put a lot into what you hear and just stay true to yourself and to your music. Words that people say in passing isn't something to live by. Gotta live by your own commandments, goals and dreams 

Tom Pallen 

 Be true to yourself. What's the best piece of advice a musician ever gave you? 

Dennis Herrera 

Think that's a good question. Anson told me “don’t overplay". 

Tom Pallen 

Don't overplay. Okay. 

Dennis Herrera 

Because we were at a club together. And there was a band on stage. And we both were familiar with the band and the guitar, shredding mats. And Anson turned to me and said, listen, “Dennis, you're on stage and you're overplaying”!! 

Tom Pallen 

There's a lot of that in Prescott. And you know what I think the differences I go to any and every Jam I can find. And there's a distinct difference. I'm almost at the point where I can listen for a few minutes, and I can tell if somebody's professional on stage and got the bruises and scars. And somebody who's, you know, perhaps a very competent musician, but not a professional musician, maybe self-taught. But there's such a difference. And the professionals that I've seen that have come through town, don't overplay. But a lot of the bass players I see do. And at some of the Jams. Think they're Jaco Pistorius and they're not. What would you do, not that this would ever happen, but what would you do if your audience looked bored or tired? 

Dennis Herrera 

I think I would ask what they want to hear? 

Tom Pallen 

What can we do for you? Laughter 

Dennis Herrera 

Okay, something's not working here folks. Not really into what we're doing. Well, what do you want? What do you want us to do? 

Tom Pallen 

What are your strengths as a musician? What's the strongest part of you as a musician 

Dennis Herrera 

Well listening, listening to everybody on stage. Keeping it together and one of my strengths is not talking down to anybody because I could very well and I have "no don't do that" or “you're too loud". "You're not in the group", you know being like that on stage. So I would think I'm pretty difficult. I think that's a strength. 

Tom Pallen 

Okay. And what's your biggest weakness? 

Dennis Herrera 

Focusing on the mistakes 

Tom Pallen 

Focusing on mistakes. So, now you've been focusing on... 

Dennis Herrera 

Missing notes. 

Tom Pallen 

Well, you're the only musician that ever happens to. (Laughter) Nobody else misses no one else screws up the beat. (Laughter). So what's the what's your favorite song that you've done? Do you have a favorite? 

Dennis Herrera 

That I've made? on record? 

Tom Pallen 

Any tune that you have performed? What's your favorite? 

Dennis Herrera 

 There's a couple in there. And they're written for my wife. I shared with you that she's the Manager and she manages so well. She's the creative force. I mean she creates all the artwork on the CD websites, T shirts and flyers and other flyers. So I liked I really enjoyed that 

Tom Pallen 

 And outside interests, besides being a golf fanatic, then you play golf with three, four or five times a week. 

Dennis Herrera 

Three times, three times a week because I'm in a men's club over there. We play Monday when we're in a tournament right now actually. And we play Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and then I plan the weekends with Denise 

Tom Pallen 

So I guess you'd like to play golf.? Laughter 

Dennis Herrera 

My dad got me into Golf 

Tom Pallen 

What's your index? 

Dennis Herrera 

It is 13 right now. 

Tom Pallen 

So I have the ability to put to put a track on the PBN page. When people open it up they can hit the button and listen to the music. I'd like to put one of your tracks on the page. Which one? 

Dennis Herrera 

I guess "you stole my heart". And you know what? Listen to that one and listen to "All this funs for free". And you choose their both up-tempo and really fun. 

Tom Pallen 

OK, I'll figure it out. Have you been a professional musician all your life or did you have separate career? 

Dennis Herrera 

My professional career started when I was in LA getting paid when I started in 96. We weren't paying bills and the rent wasn't being paid. And I wasn't in the Union. I did go back to school. I went back to college when I was 39 and getting married 

Tom Pallen 

What a standard story that is - “I got married and had to find a job" 

Dennis Herrera 

There was that so I went back college, and I started working on social work and I worked in the substance abuse field work with the homeless for a lot of years 

Tom Pallen 

That's got to be soul wrenching, to deal with those poor folks. 

Dennis Herrera 

It gives you a whole new perspective. Not all of them, but a couple of groups I worked with were nonprofit organizations so it wasn't really big money but it paid the bills musically kept me with new strings. (Laughter) 

Tom Pallen 

We're just about wrapped up here. Do you have a message for your fans? What would you tell them? What would it be? 

Dennis Herrera 

Super grateful that you give us a listen and enormously grateful and thankful to those that buy the recorded music, very grateful for those come to the show. Come and see us. 

Tom Pallen 

That's a great way to end an interview. Thank you very much. This ends our conversation with Mr. Dennis Herrera, consummate musician.

Calendar

Artists

BIG DADDY D    
         https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Musician-band/Big-Daddy-D-and-the-Dynamites-159634094130074/ 

DENNIS HERRERA

     http://DennisHerreraBand.com

DR. BOB 

         https://www.reverbnation.com/musician/robertsellani

CATBONE

     http://catbonebluesband.com/band-bios.html

CHICAGO BOB AND THE BLUES SQUAD 
         http://chicagobobandthebluessquad.com

CROS CHARLES MAC

         https://www.cros.rocks/

DIRTY RED AND THE SOUL SHAKERS

      http://dirtyredandthesoulshakers.com/index.html

FREE RADICALS 
       https://www.facebook.com/groups/237954696935175/ 

MOTHER ROAD TRIO

        https://motherroadtrio.com/

ROAD ONE  SOUTH

        https://www.facebook.com/RoadOneSouthBand

POPPY HARPMAN AND THE STORM 
       https://www.facebook.com/PoppyHarpmanAndTheStorm

SCOTT O'NEAL BAND 
       https://thescottonealband.com/

S E WILLIS

      https://sewillis.net/home

SIR HARRISON

       https://www.facebook.com/SirHarrisonBand

SHAW SQUARED

    https://www.facebook.com/shawsquared901/

SWAMP POETS
       https://www.facebook.com/ElectricSwampPoets/

TOMMY DUKES

    https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100031934606088

Venues

10/12 CLUB, CLARKDALE 

AD ASTRA BREWING COMPANY 

ALCANTARA WINERY

BACK ALLEY WINE BAR

BLUES BREWS AND BBQ, FLAGSTAFF

CHARLY'S PUB, FLAGSTAFF

CREEKSIDE LODGE AND CABINS

FOUNDING FATHERS COLLECTIVE

GRANITE CREEK WINERY

LAZY G's

MARK'S BEERGARDEN

MOGOLLON WINERY

OAKMONT GRILL, SEDONA

THE ATTIC

THE POINT

RAVEN

ROUTE 66 PLAZA, WINSLOW

SOUND BITES GRILL, SEDONA

THUMB BUTTE DISTILLERY

WINDSOCK

Gallery

Special thanks to Daryl Weisser for photos of local bands and memories from Doheny

Other Links

 

Northern Arizona Blues Alliance         https://nazba.com/home-page

The Blues Foundation                           http://blues.org

The HART Foundation                           https://blues.org/hart-fund/

Daryl Weisser Photography                 http://darylweisserphotos.com

PV Music                                                   http://prescottvalleymusic.com

Mercy Guitar and the Fiddle Doctor   http://www.thefiddledoctor.com

World's Best Cosmo Recipe                  https://youtu.be/7OmkFqy0-9I     

Grey Dog Guitars                                     https://www.graydogguitars.com/

Outreach

 

GEAR

         UPRIGHT BASS, $8000       https://prescott.craigslist.org/msg/d/jerome-beautiful-upright-bass/7458297732.html

                2008 Fender American Series Telecaster - $1,300     https://prescott.craigslist.org/msg/d/prescott-2008-fender-american-series/7457786927.html

                Gibson J-45 Standard with Upgrades - $2,200   https://prescott.craigslist.org/msg/d/prescott-valley-gibson-45-standard-with/7456479890.htm

GIGS

         BLUES BROTHERS     http://www.facebook.com/rich.hart.5059

MISC

               The Sax Doctor  https://prescott.craigslist.org/msg/d/prescott-valley-saxophone-repair/7454841435.html

               MUSICIANS (BEGINNERS to ADVANCED): 

                            (Blues & Country) GUITAR LESSONS - $30 per Session 

                            (Beginner) BASS GUITAR LESSONS  -  $30 per Session 

                            JAM with a Professional GUITARIST -  $30 per Session 

                                  Email your name & phone number for an interview @ YarMOUTHPublishing@gmail.com

              prescottbluesnotes@gmail.com

Who's the Best Bartender in Prescott?

 

M at the Windsock

Tiana at the Back Alley Wine Bar

JD at Lazy G's

Erik at the Thumb Butte Distillery

Kristen at the Birdcage

Ryan at the Attic

Sequoia at the Public House

Stacy at the Old Corral in Clarkdale

 

prescottbluesnotes@gmail.com

Archive

This link will take you to the PBN Archive - Features and Interviews

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ykvetcqztkoeub6/AACNO6j-gabvM1ZQUHf10FT6a?dl=0