Two revolutionary blues artists and a converted rock stand-out are about to converge on stage for the first time ever…and they’ll be making the historical performance on the stage in downtown Visalia.
Though he’s shuttered the doors to his gourmet restaurant and intimate concert venue, former Exeter business owner Doug Long hasn’t closed the door on his passion for promoting concerts. This week he is bringing some of his most recurring performers back to Tulare County for what he expects to be an unforgettable night of blues guitar. Johnny Winter, Sonny Landreth and Gary Hoey all performed multiple shows at the Orange Blossom Junction just outside of Exeter, but the three have never performed together.
On Saturday, July 27, Winter will headline the show at the Visalia Fox Theater but most concert-goers will also recognize the works and accomplishments of Landreth and Hoey as well. Winter, a Texas-born guitarist and singer has been recording since 1968, and is known for his fresh takes on classic blues. He received a Grammy nomination in 2004 for his album “I’m a Bluesman” and was featured in the 40th Anniversary Re-release of the Woodstock documentary.
Landreth is another renowned blues guitarist. Celebrated as a Louisiana slide wizard, Landreth reinvented himself last year on a completely instrumental record, fittingly titled Elemental Journey – critics recognized it as his most adventurous album to date.
Hoey, who played more than two handfuls of shows in Exeter and was featured annually at the OBJ Boys & Girls Christmas Fundraiser, is such a rock guitar icon, he’s been featured on Rock Guitar and on several movie soundtracks. He’s recorded 18 albums and found commercial success reaching No. 5 on the Billboard charts with his single “Hocus Pocus.”
As for Saturday’s show, it’s about time these three came together on the stage. Landreth and Winter have a mutual respect for each other that led to a compilation that was helped along by Doug Long himself. At one of his shows in Exeter, Landreth told Long about the time the two had played the 2007 Eric Clapton Crossroads Benefit Festival. But due to a scheduling conflict, Landreth was forced to miss Winter’s set.
“He was really disappointed,” Long said.
As fate would have it, the next time Winter came to play OBJ, his manager noticed Landreth’s poster on the wall of the small venue.
“His manager saw Sonny’s poster and said ‘Man we’d like Sonny to play on Johnny’s new record,’” Long said. So, Long put in a call to Landreth on the spot and got the two musicians in touch. A short time later, Landreth and Winter recorded a blues classic “T-Bone Shuffle” on Winter’s 2011 album “Roots.”
“I’ve been wanting to get them together,” Long said. He was able to work a scheduling miracle this summer getting Landreth to make a stop while touring with Peter Frampton and getting Winter to stop in while making his way touring through California. Long was able to round out the show when he put in a call to Hoey who instantly agreed to perform with the two legends. Hoey will get his chance to solidify his blues credentials after releasing his first blues album “Deja Blues” in November of last year.
“I’m looking forward to them coming out and doing a big finale together,” Long said of Saturday’s show. Long also expects Winter to give his best performance for area fans. “I think they’ll feed off each other and there’ll be lots of energy. People will be pleasantly surprised with how healthy Johnny is and how much energy he has.”
With 1,200 seats available at the Visalia Fox, Long is able to offer tickets priced as low as $35. Ticket prices range from $35-$65. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 27 and are available online at www.foxvisalia.org or by calling 625-1369.
Long, operating his promotional business as “DSL” also just confirmed Tommy Emmanuel at the Visalia Fox on January 29. Check back later for details on the return of this acoustic mastermind.