Buddy Whittington Interview - Melon Valley Music Fest is July 16th

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Buddy Whittington Interview

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Buddy Whittington Interview - Melon Valley Music Fest is July 16th

This is Adrian Hart with your Southeast Colorado News on seconews.org

We're talking Melon Valley Music Fest '22, the first ever Melon Valley Music Fest in Rocky Ford, Colorado coming up on July 16th. We have tickets available right now. Check those out of course on seconews.org, musicatthejunction.com, and our friends at Art Matters Productions with that Event Link to purchase those tickets. (Here)

So first off we gotta say you gotta get in the gate we gotta to get that out of the gate. With me is our headliner. I am super stoked about this you guys, I don't know if you're very familiar with Buddy Whittington, but you're going to be after this Summer because he's coming to Rocky Ford and he's really bringing some hot talent. He's got the traditional Blues Guitar that you would image when you hear those iconic names. We're going to open it up here and have him tell about some of those iconic names that he has toured with, played with, and performed with. So, good morning Buddy, how are we doing?

Buddy: I'm doing okay Adrian. Thanks for calling and I'm looking forward to it. It's going to be hot up there. 

SECO News: Yeah, exactly, it's going to be cooking. Summer time in Southeast Colorado we get those temperature extremes, but unlike Texas we don't have the humidity, so it shouldn't be too humid.

Buddy: Right, you also don't have the oxygen. 

SECO News: That's right.

Buddy: Depending on what the altitude is. I've got a couple of cans of air I'm going to bring with me just in case. 

SECO News: Alright, very good, I guess that's some road experience speaking there on knowing how to pack your gear, right?

Buddy: Well, you know I've had a couple of times when it's bothered me a little bit, but usually we get through it okay. The last time I was out I had a friend bye me a couple of cans of oxygen that I ended up not using, so I'm going to bring those back with me so we can all keep breathing for an hour and a half.

SECO News: I'm sure you're going to be taking people's breath away, you've been across the globe on tour, burning up that deadwood. Do you want to tell us a little bit about the history, your history on playing the blues guitar?

Buddy: Well I spent fifteen years touring with John Mayall. I started, I believe, in 1993, before that I was playing around Dallas for decades and I was on a show one night with John in Dallas and before long we got a little acquainted that night and he called me and told me he was about to be in the market for a new guitar player and would I be interested in doing it. I thought, you know, this would not be one to pass up if I could make it work, and we had a three year old and one on the way. It was probably a little tough on my wife, but for the next fifteen years I was touring. We would go out 80 to 100 days a year, so it's not like we were gone all the time. I think the longest I was ever out, one time I was out for two months, which was plenty enough for me.

SECO News: I'll bet.

Buddy: Yeah, but we would normally do a month in the Summer time or something like that and we'd start in England, actually we would end up in England, because John was an English guy, but lived in California. But we would generally start in the Summer and just tour all over Continental Europe and Scandinavia, and you know, just all over the place. We'd come back and finish up in England and sometimes we'd jump over to Spain for a little bit and we've been just about everywhere. I was very fortunate to be in the band around that time. John is, I believe he's 89 now and he's announced his retirement.

SECO News: Wow.

Buddy: But he stayed with it for a long, long time.

SECO News: That has got to be quite the culmination of experiences, seeing the world from the viewpoint of the stage.

Buddy: It was great to be in an organization that had a little steam behind it, rather than looking at it as a guy that's just saying, "okay, I'm taking my guitar out and I'm playing around the world." Well, you know we had legit gigs and big festivals and you know I didn't have to do anything that was really difficult to me because we were always fairly comfortable. We had a nice flight or a bus, or if we were touring the states we'd rent a couple of Lincolns or Cadillacs and you know, just drive it that way... So it was great for me.

SECO News: As far as coming to Rocky Ford, when was the last time you were in Southeast Colorado?

Buddy: We did a Colorado Springs Gig Last Summer, that's the last time I came up and before that I'd been up for the old Belvedere Blues Fest, which is getting a reprieve this year, cause the Belvedere is no longer in business, but we do it at the same place in Canon City and that's coming up in September.

SECO News: That's just up the road from us.

Buddy: Yeah, yeah, yeah we always have a wonderful time up there.

SECO News: Yeah, we love to see you come tour Southeast Colorado and we're stoked about having you in Rocky Ford. We've talked about who all you've played with, but your independent stuff is fantastic. That's what I've been listening to, all your solo albums on Spotify recently, so we're going to share that link again and we can find you on YouTube, but you've also more recently you were talking about participating in a blues project there out of Fort Worth. Do you want to tell us about that?

Buddy: It's called the Dr. Wu's Texas Blues Project. My friends Jim Ashworth and Bryan Freeze are the writers and recorders and to an extent the musicians. Then usually they'll have the guys that I play with in my band as the recording band, sometimes we have some special guest because some guys won't be able to make it cause they'll be out on the road or whatever. We've done six or seven installments of that, Dr. Wu's Texas Blues Project. A lot of those are on texasblues.org. There's a lot of them on YouTube. We have one that got a lot of plays on YouTube and the song was called, "Slow Rolling Train." It's been ten years maybe now, but Jim and Bryan wrote this tune about a guy who was going to Memphis to set up shop and play the blues and all that kind of stuff. All he wanted to do was hurry up and get back home to Texas. You know, the thing was had planned on hiring some young skinny kids who had all their hair and a waistline to star in these videos and after we saw how much it was going to cost to do that we decided to just do it ourselves. Bryan Freeze being the genius that he is with I.T. and that kind of stuff, we had some cameras and we did a little video for Slow Rolling Train that we actually got a lot of plays on.

SECO News: Very cool, we'll make sure that we've got that link in the article body here for folks to check out. We're going to welcome the Six String Svengali, Buddy Whittington, to Rocky Ford July the 16th. You're most recent album that "Six String Svengali" there's kind of some fantastic tunes on there as far as your solo stuff goes it reminds me so much, I don't want to compare you to any body, but it reminds me of ZZ Top. You're so riff heavy man, I love it.

Buddy: Well, that's the way we learned how to play down here. That's what was happening when I was growing up. I actually was fortunate enough to be in the Bluesbreakers with Mayall and we opened up for ZZ's Antenna Tour, we were the opening act in 1995 and did some gigs across the country on that. That was a real big deal for me. 

SECO News: Yeah, that is a real big deal, and it's going to be a real big deal to have you in my home town, Rocky Ford. So, I appreciate that you're coming down. Is there anything that you want to say to the folks in Southeast Colorado, Buddy?

Buddy: Well, just thanks for having us and I know we're going to have a good time. If you guys have anything you'd like to hear give us a try. We'll do some original tunes, we'll do some Blues tunes and we'll do some covers. Whatever you guys would like, we'll have a set list to go from but if there's something you'd like let us know.

SECO News: Alright, we'll put a poll out there and let people volunteer what songs they want to hear you play. I'll give you a list, how's that sound?

Buddy: Okay.

SECO News: In the fancy days of social media, yeah, that's called user engagement Buddy. I'm really excited about this, I don't know if you can hear it, but I'm about ready to fall out of my chair because this is going to be a hot Summer event in Southeast Colorado. Of course the proceeds from this event are going to benefit Rocky Ford Community and Economic Development there with Marty Lee. So it supports great causes like vocational education and some other things they are going to pursue with those funds. It's a good cause to get together and have a good time at the historic Arkansas Valley Fairgrounds Arena. So, we'll have you playing in our local rodeo arena, one of my favorite venues. Certainly it's going to be a good show. 

Buddy: Oh, we're going to have a great time.

SECO News: Alright, for Buddy Whittington, Rocky Ford Economic Development, and Art Matters Productions, our other entertainment partner in the first Melon Valley Music Fest coming up July 16th. I'm Adrian Hart on seconews.org.

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Join The City of Rocky FordArt Matters Productions, and seconews.org for the First Melon Valley Music Fest on July 16, 2022 at the Arkansas Valley Fairgrounds in Rocky Ford Colorado.
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Proceeds from Melon Valley Music Fest Benefit City of Rocky Ford Community and Economic Development.

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Arkansas Valley Fairgrounds Arena - 800 North 9th St. Rocky Ford, CO 81067