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Johnny Winter All-Star Band at The Token, 3 Things to Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

Posted: Sunday, February 24, 2019

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Paul Nelson was the leader of the late Johnny Winter's last bands, and producer of the guitar hero's posthumous final album, "Step Back," less than three months after his death during July of 2014.

Nelson has gone on to record on his own ("Bad Ass Generation") and received a Grammy Award nomination for producing Joe Louis Walker's 2016 album "Everybody Wants a Place." But Winter remains near and dear to his heart, and Nelson continues to lead a Johnny Winter All-Star Band, featuring members of Winter's final band lineup and some guests, as he keeps the Texas legend's legacy, as the song goes, still alive and well.

Nelson, a singer and guitarist himself, says by phone that the Johnny Winter All-Star Band shows are "like a gathering, a little bit, for the blues family. They come out and we talk about Johnny and we talk about the music and guitar. It's like a blues event and get-together. I really like that community; You see it on the blues cruises and the festivals, in the intimate juke joints and theaters. It's a really great crowd, and very loyal."

Despite his other work, Nelson acknowledges a sense of mission in continuing to play Winter's music and protecting his legacy -- including via the film documentary "Down & Dirty." "I will always be Johnny's guitar player. That was a huge honor. He kind of took me under his wing, like he did with a couple of other guys, and played me music -- Bobby Blue Bland, Chuck Berry. He'd be like, 'Listen to this Muddy (Waters) track, this Chuck Berry song...' When you have somebody take you under his wing and say, 'This is what I learned, specifically, it gets you into the scene of what he was into. He was like a father to me, and I'm carrying it on."

Nelson is also working on a follow-up to "Bad Ass Generation," which was his first album after Winter's death. "It's going to be a real serious blues album. I'm going for the real deal -- maybe with a little rock in it. But I want to do a real blues album, so that's what I'm working on right now. After this run I'm hitting the studio, and Im really excited about that."

The Johnny Winter All-Star Band performs on Sunday, Feb. 24, at the Token Lounge, 28949 Joy Road, Westland. $20. 734-513-5030 or thetokenlounge.com.

Web Site: www.thetokenlounge.com

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