Winter Is Approaching

     Not much changes for Johnny Winter even when he releases a new album.  Fans will be experience the familiar when Winter plays Friday at the New Hope Winery.
        “I’ve been doing the same set for a long time,” Winter said while calling from Fort Lauderdale. “I’m doing the same songs with the addition of two new songs when I come in to play. There are certain songs I have to play, like ‘Highway 61.’ I like to please people.”
       But the selfless Winter occasionally pleases himself. He did just that by making ‘Roots,’ in 2010. The disc, which dropped in September, is his first album in seven years.
      The affable guitar hero-vocalist covered 11 of his most beloved blues nuggets.
     Some of the standouts are versions of Jimmy Reed’s ‘Bright Lights, Big City,’ T-Bone Walker’s ‘T-Bone Shuffle’ and Elmore James’ Dust My Broom.’
       “The songs I chose have been favorites of mine for a long time,” Winter said. “It was a pure labor of love. This project was one of the most fun things I ever worked on.”
      Winter received a little help from his many friends in the industry.  Such disparate players as Vince Gill, Susan Tedeschi, John Popper, Warren Haynes, Sonny Landreth, John Medeski, Jimmy Vivino and his brother Edgar Winter joined Winter in the studio.
      “Everyone that came in was a friend except John Popper, who I never met before,” Winter said. “It worked out great. Everyone was enthusiastic and had fun playing these classic songs.”
     Derek Trucks, who has played with the Allman Brothers, Buddy Guy and a plethora of other artists, gushed about joining Winter in the studio.
      “He’s one of the all-time greats, “ Trucks said. “It was an honor to play on his album. He’s one of a kind. It was a blast to take part in the project.”
      Expect Winter to work on a new album in 2012, even though he has released just two discs since 1997.
      “We’ll put out another record next year,” Winter said. “We’ll probably do the same thing (more blues covers). I just want to get it out and not go so many years between records. It was just such a fun experience going into the studio, playing songs you’ve always loved. Then I’ll go out and tour and add a song or two to that same setlist I have. That works for me.”
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