Caught Sonny Landreth at the St. Petersburg stop of the Sunshine Blues Festival on 1/20/13. This festival toured Florida over the weekend of January 18th through the 20th. The weather was great all weekend, with temps in the mid to high 70’s, which is a little unusual for January in this part of Florida. Learn more about all the acts for the Festival here. Anyway, Sonny Landreth played mid afternoon just before Walter Trout on the main stage this day.
If you aren’t familiar with Landreth here’s a little background…
Sonny is known primarily for his slide guitar playing. He is one of the top slide guitarists of the day and his technique is very much his own. Using open tuning and special slide technique using his little finger that frees up the other fingers for chords and damping. His unique style is immediately identifiable.
Sonny’s style and musical selections usually come strait out of the Mississippi Delta where he was born and spent much of his time. His family settled in Jackson Mississippi and later Lafayette Luisiana when he was young, so you can imagine the blues and cajun influences that surrounded him there. He still lives in Luisiana I understand.
I first heard him on John Hiatt albums including Slow Turning. He played in Hiatt’s band for about 4 years in the mid 80’s. Some of John Hiatt’s best work was recorded when Landreth was in the band. He played again with Hiatt briefly in 2003 on an album called Beneath The Gruff Exterior as part of The Goners.
Landreth went solo after his first stint with Hiatt and for the last 20+ years that’s been his main gig. Although he does appear as a background musician with other players including recently with Jimmy Buffet, of all people. He’s also a regular at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Festival.
So I’ve been a fan for a long time and getting to see Sonny is always a treat for me. I’ve seen him 3 or 4 times over the years and he does keep getting better. And if you’d like to learn more here’s Sonny’s Official Website.
His set at the Sunshine Blues Festival was typical Sonny with some great new tunes and his usual tight band. I didn’t get a lot of his 1 hour set but did get a couple of songs here.