Generations of guitar players come together for blues-inspired summit
In the beginning, there was blues. And it was good. Eventually, blues begot rock ’n’ roll, and that was good too. So even though rock is relatively new in the pantheon of music, its roots run deep.
“A lot of rock ’n’ rollers, they tend to go back to their blues roots, because they all have blues roots,” said Seth McNally, a spokesman for The Flying Monkey in Plymouth. “Rock ’n’ roll is sort of the baby of the blues.”
Tomorrow, The Flying Monkey will bring generations of performers together for the Rock-N-Blues Guitar Summit. The show will feature The James Montgomery Blues Band; Barry Goudreau, formerly of the band Boston; George McCann, formerly of the Blues Brothers; and New Hampshire’s own Brooks Young Band.
Known mostly as a rocker, Goudreau said he actually learned to play guitar to the blues.
“That’s why I really like doing these shows,” he said. “They really get me back to my roots. . . . It’s really a lot of fun for me. It feels pretty damn good.”
Goudreau played on the first two Boston albums, Boston and Don’t Look Back. The album Boston was the fastest-selling debut album of all time and went multiplatinum. After Boston, Goudreau formed Orion the Hunter, RTZ and released two records with Boston singer Brad Delp.
As for Montgomery, he’s always been a bluesman. He grew up in Detroit, learning firsthand from masters like James Cotton, John Lee Hooker and Jr. Wells.
“James is one of the real guys,” Goudreau said. “He’s played with James Cotton and knew Muddy Waters and played with Buddy Guy. He’s the real thing.”
McNally said Montgomery may play the blues, but he’s electric on stage.
“He’s a blues artist, but he’s a really high-energy blues artist,” McNally said. “It’s pretty interesting to watch because once his energy level amps up, which is pretty high to begin with, the rest of the band . . . brings it up a notch and it’s exciting.”
And as for these kids today, Brooks Young will represent the future of rock ’n’ blues tomorrow.
This 31-year-old New Hampshire native already has an impressive resume, which includes being invited to play with B.B. King and the Dave Matthews Band. Not to mention, his band was the first to play at The Flying Monkey. That said, he pays his respects.
“Sometimes I get nervous (playing with blues and rock greats), depending on who it is,” Young said. “If it’s someone that I look up to, you know, taken their musical direction and it’s influenced me. . . . It’s not like I’m nervous like, ‘oh I’m not going to play well,’ it’s more like you get up there and you’re not sure what’s going to happen or what they’re going to do. So you just go with the flow.”
As for the guys he’ll be playing with tomorrow, though he’s played with Montgomery many times before, it will be a learning experience playing with Goudreau and McCann.
“I’ll be the youngest guy there,” Young said. “And it’s different because I have different influences, but I’ve played with B.B. King and all of those old blues legends. So I have that in my back pocket, those licks I can play. So I can pull that stuff out as well, but I still like to have my own sound that comes from what I have inside.
“I just kind of go on faith, and I try to be myself, and hopefully it works with what the other guys are playing.”
The show starts at 7:30 p.m. The Flying Monkey is located at 39 S. Main St. in Plymouth. Tickets to the Rock-N-Blues Guitar Summit are $29, and $35 for premier seats. For tickets or information, visit flyingmonkeynh.com or call 536-2551.