Johnny Winter Gets All-Star Tribute Album, Led By Brother Edgar

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Johnny Winter is the subject of a new all-star tribute album, organized by his brother Edgar Winter. Brother Johnny, coming April 15, 2022, via Quarto Valley Records, features an impressive array of renowned classic rock musicians who knew, or were inspired by the legendary blues guitarist, including Joe Walsh, Ringo Starr, Billy Gibbons, Steve Lukather, Michael McDonald, Joe Bonamassa, and many more. Listen to the first release, a cover of the classic “Johnny B. Goode,” below.

The album is described in the Jan. 7 announcement as “a powerful sonic journey, traveling the course of Johnny’s musical life, impeccably directed, as only his brother Edgar could.” Also joining: Doyle Bramhall II, John McFee, Robben Ford, David Grissom, Taylor Hawkins, Warren Haynes, Keb Mo, Doug Rappoport, Bobby Rush, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Derek Trucks, Waddy Wachtel, Phil X and Gregg Bissonette.

The guitar-driven album celebrates the expansive styles Johnny was known for – the 17 tracks were curated by Edgar and producer Ross Hogarth to represent Johnny’s evolution as an artist – honoring his great legacy while also incorporating a personal tribute from brother to brother, and for which Edgar penned two new songs.

Edgar Winter was first approached about it just after his brother died on July 16, 2014, at age 70. Johnny had just played the Cahors Blues Festival in France, which was destined to become his last show. He had traveled to Switzerland where his next show was scheduled, but he passed away in his sleep at the hotel in Zurich before he ever got the chance.

In the album’s announcement, Edgar Winter notes, “Many people immediately started trying to convince me to do a Johnny Winter tribute album. But I was totally devastated and the timing just didn’t feel right to me. It wasn’t until after I completed the Rock ‘N’ Blues Fest, a tour we were meant to do together with our respective bands, that the idea of a tribute record started to take form.”

Edgar explains, “I had naturally expected the whole thing to be canceled. But much to my surprise, the promoters begged me to go on with the tour as planned, asking me to headline. The first night, after playing “Frankenstein,” I closed the show with “Johnny B. Goode,” “Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo”, and “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” dedicating the end of the set to Johnny.

“I had anticipated the tour to be very emotional, perhaps sad, and possibly difficult, but playing those songs turned out to be a great source of strength and comfort to me. Everyone on the tour was so kind and supportive, getting up to jam, and it became a kind of tradition. There was such an overwhelming outpouring of love and respect for Johnny, I began to realize it was not just business people sensing an opportunity here; it was Johnny’s true, loyal, and devoted fans and our fellow musicians, many of whom are on this record, who wanted to see this happen as well.”

The first release is “Johnny B. Goode,” a perfect fit not only in name but in sentiment, and a song that remained a standard in Johnny’s sets right up to the very end.

Listen to Winter perform the Chuck Berry classic at the 1969 Woodstock festival

The opening of the new recording rips right out of the speakers – that infamous guitar line along with Edgar’s smokin’ piano – followed by roaring vocals from Edgar and Joe Walsh.

The signature guitar is delivered by fellow Texan David Grissom, who strikes the perfect balance between Chuck Berry’s classic riffs and Johnny’s wild Winter whirlwind of intensity. Edgar plays saxophone accompanied by Bob Glaub on bass, Gregg Bissonette on drums, and additional vocals by Phil X.

Edgar, who turned 75 on Dec. 28, 2021, writes in his liner notes. “To this day, when I think of Rock ‘n’ Roll, I think of Chuck Berry and Johnny B. Goode.’ It’s not only Johnny’s story, it’s every kid’s story who ever picked up a guitar, coming from humble beginnings with the idea of making it big someday. So of course, it has to be on this album.”

Brother Johnny was produced by Edgar Winter and Ross Hogarth.

Edgar sums up reminiscing in his notes, “When I was very young, I can still remember thinking…no matter how much time goes by, how old I get, what happens in my life, or how far I end up from home – there is one person in this world I know will always understand what I’ve been through, how I feel. And that person is my brother Johnny. As kids, we were inseparable, much closer than average brothers. Not only did we learn to play music together, but because we were both albino, we shared a unique personal perspective on life different than anyone else’s.”

Related: A song from the Edgar Winter Group is in our story – 11 Surprising Radio Hits of the ’70s

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  1. Baybluesman
    #1 Baybluesman 10 January, 2022, 15:39

    There are not enough we words to describe the joy and contentment that I am feeling, hearing that Edgar, aided by some of the top-notch axe-slingers, will be releasing a tribute album to one of the greatest blues, blues/rock, and rock guitarists if all time, Mr. John Dawson Winter.

    I have followed the careers of the Winter Brothers since I bought the “Progressive Blues Experiment” in 1969, and have enjoyed seeing both Edgar and Johnny perform live several times.

    The Winter Brothers are like the other true great classic rock great artists, such as Peter Frampton, J. Geils Band, Allman Brothers, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Bob Seger (to name a few), while their studio work is often terrific, they shine when in the Live spotlight.

    Any BCB reader that wants a real treat, buy the Johnny and Edgar “Together” album, for a lesson in rock roots.

    What makes this particular tribute album special to me, is that my own Brother and I are only a few years apart, like Johnny and Edgar were, and the Winter Brothers music is a common bond to us, musically, and has been for over 50 years.

    I will be looking forward to 04/15/2022.

    R.I.P. Johnny, but may your spirit know that your music and legacy is “Still Alive and Well” and Edgar – “Keep Playing That Rock and Roll”.

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  2. Ezyrider NYC
    #2 Ezyrider NYC 11 January, 2022, 00:34

    I think Johnny’s one of the greatest blues man over the past 50+ years and I was lucky enough to see him from 1965 all the way through to 2019. He deserves a farewell concert and happy to hear so many people playing on this record. Rick Derringer played a long time with Johnny but I didn’t see his name mentioned in the list of musicians. I hope he is part of the tribute since they played together for so many years. RIP, JW….

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  3. mick62
    #3 mick62 11 January, 2022, 11:19

    I cannot WAIT to get this album!
    God bless you, Johnny!
    And thanks Edgar , for making it possible!

    Reply this comment
  4. Baybluesman
    #4 Baybluesman 12 January, 2022, 00:37

    To EZrider NYC’s point – I had the same question, right after my initial post –

    Curious as to why Rick Derringer wasn’t listed as involved, as he goes back to Johnny and Edgar’s beginnings, and has been involved pretty much throughout his musical career with both of them as a producer, band member, songwriter, and of course, wielding his own stellar guitar playing as well, for Johnny Winter And, White Trash, and the Edgar Winter Group, and beyond.

    Was there a rift, or some sort of fall-out, after Johnny’s passing in 2014?

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  5. beatseeker
    #5 beatseeker 21 January, 2022, 08:22

    i saw johnny and edgar together at the mississippi river fest in the early 70s.. damn!! also my fave album title of johnny’s? “hey, where’s your brother?”

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