Vintage Guitar - July 2016 - Open - 102
Earl onstage in
a Guild D-55.
There are a lot of types of blues.
Which do you like best?
I love traditional blues; it's what
I was brought up on. The first time
I saw Muddy Waters, he had Louis
Meyers with him, and I was never the
same. Then I got to play with Muddy
a couple of times in some little joints
in the south side of Chicago. I'm too
blessed to be stressed.
Do you have an overall philosophy
I'm very much into the spirituality
of music. I've been clean and sober for
261/ 2 years. Music has given me a second
chance in life. I sometimes feel there isn't
enough credit given to the old masters,
and sometimes not enough to up-andcoming people. I think we're put on this
earth to help other people. It's not enough
for me to play guitar; I need to work on my
higher self and be the best person I can be.
That will affect the music. And, I want to
carry on the tradition of the old masters
like Earl Hooker, Robert Nighthawk,
and Robert Junior Lockwood.
The last time I
there were only
50 people i n
t he place. We
were very close;
he wa s l i ke a
me. He played on
by Love album,
which was an incredible honor.
Otis Rush, un-
fortunately, had a stroke, I just went
to see him. What an incredible force
he was, but you don't hear about him
How do you feel about where you
are in life and in music today?
I feel really blessed to be still doing this, still playing music, and that
people still want to hear me. I don't
have a high-powered manager and
I'm not really in the music industry
anymore - I play mostly in the Midwest
and East Coast. Because I play so hard
and we play for three hours, I can't do
more than two or three dates before
I have to go home and recuperate.
That's why I don't tour. The blues takes
everything out of you if you're pouring
it out, and I do.
What's in the future for you?
I'd like to go to California, travel a
little bit more. In May, we're going to
play a festival in Atlanta. I'd also like
to make a record that's a little more
focused on the guitar, but then I don't
want to saturate the market with my
playing. I'm really a "live" guy, so
maybe we should do something live.
In the end, I just hope people take
good care of themselves, emotionally,
physically, and spiritually.
Earl with Guild: Tom Hazeltine. Ronnie Earl: Linda Carbone.
that can help any family situation.
Just pick up the phone and tell them
you love them. Sometimes the phone
weighs a thousand pounds, but pick it
up anyway and let the healing begin.
Earl with Diane
the band onstage.