Gentleman Johnnie Bassett
The veteran Detroit bluesman has a new CD
Published: June 27, 2012
In the '90s he became more visible, including a regular slot at Greektown's now defunct Music Menu with the Blues Insurgents, cutting records, touring and getting nominations for W.C. Handy Awards — the Grammys of the blues world.
The resurgence is growing stronger.
"It might be because of the material we've chosen over the past couple of albums," he says. "I have incredible musicians working with me. I appreciate those guys sticking with me. The Brothers Groove and the Motor City Horns are backing me. I couldn't have any better musicians with me. The Horns like working with me because it's so different to what they do with [Bob] Seger. They have a lot of freedom working with me."
Bassett's new album is I Can Make That Happen, out on Sly Dog, the blues imprint of the more jazz-focused Mack Avenue Records. Bassett says it's a perfect fit, as he able to attract both jazz and blues fans. He says that "blues" is nothing more than a name anyway.
"It's what you perceive it to be," Bassett says. "It don't have to be somebody who's down in the dumps or had hard times. It could be that sometimes, but I don't know who made it that. I don't see it like that. I don't do it. I can, but why? I let guys like Buddy Guy do that. I don't need to. I like my music to be happy. I like my music where people find themselves humming it, whistling it, and playing it over and over again."
And we do, sir.
Johnnie Bassett performs every Thursday at Northern Lights Lounge; 660 W. Baltimore St., Detroit; 313-873-1739. This Saturday, June 30, he also appears at Dylan's Raw Bar, 15402 Mack Avenue Grosse Pointe, Michigan 313-884-6030.
Brett Callwood writes City Slang for Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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