Alastair Greene – Thursday, February 9, 2023 – Knuckleheads Saloon, Kansas City, MO

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Alastair Greene

If there’s any artist more appropriate than Alastair Greene to be featured in the first installment of our new Cover Them There to Bring Them Here series, I don’t know who it would be.  Greene might just be the most immensely talented blues artists you’re not familiar with.  I’ve been following him and his music for nearly 12 years, but I finally had to drive 600 miles, to Kansas City, MO, to get to see him perform live. Let me tell you… it was worth the trip.

But let’s take a step back.  What, you might ask, is this Cover Them There to Bring Them Here thing?

Denver’s live music scene is amazing.  But as amazing as it is, we still sometimes get passed over by touring artists and bands.  It’s not intentional, as far as we know ?.  But for whatever reason(s), artists and bands end up playing somewhere close by, but they skip over the Denver metro area.

The dual purposes of the Cover Them There to Bring Them Here series are to (a) build awareness within the Denver area concert going public, promoters and venues of bands and artists we should be trying to get to Denver, and (b) to motivate those of us who love live music to raise our voices to let those bands and artists know we’d like to see them in our own backyard.  In each post within the series I’ll talk about ways we/you can do that.

With that as a backdrop, let’s turn our attention back to Alastair Greene.

Alastair Greene

It isn’t like Greene has never played in the Denver metro area.  When I was talking to him before he went on stage at Knuckleheads, he talked about playing the Buffalo Rose in Golden in July of 2021.  Shame on me for missing him then.  But it’s been a while, and Greene continues to tour, and it sure would be nice to get him back to Denver sometime soon.

A native of Santa Barbara, CA, Greene now calls Austin, TX home because, as he noted in addressing the crowd at Knuckleheads, “Austin really needs more guitarists”.  You get a lot of playfulness in an Alastair Greene show – he loves to interact with the crowd between songs, telling stories and cracking jokes.  At one point during the Knuckleheads show he announced that he was now going to play “Stairway To Heaven”, only to amend that to he was going to play a song that shared a common chord with “Stairway to Heaven”.  That song turned out to be “Wontcha Tell Me” from his most recent studio release, 2020’s The New World Blues.

Greene’s career dates back to 1997, when he formed his initial self-titled band, a blues/rock trio.  In the ensuing quarter century, he has released seven studio and three live albums.  While several of those albums found notable levels of commercial, and even greater levels of critical success, he’s spent much of his time playing guitar for more recognizable acts, including Alan Parsons and Sugaray Rayford.

Greene’s career trajectory seemed to take an upward turn in 2019, when Tab Benoit, who he had met a few years earlier at the Big Blues Bender in Las Vegas, asked Alastair to consider releasing his next album on Benoit’s Whiskey Bayou Records label.  The result was the aforementioned The New World Blues.   Co-produced, arranged and written with Benoit, the album garnered immediate critical and commercial success, debuting at the number three spot on Billboard’s Top US Blues Albums chart.

As a follow up, Greene released a live recording called Alive In The New World, just last month.  Greene’s second release on Whiskey Bayou Records, it includes ten songs, all from the The New World Blues album, and features Benoit on drums, and Benoit’s regular bass player Corey Duplechin on, well… bass.

Which brings us, in a roundabout way, back to last Thursday’s show at Knuckleheads.  Backed by Justin Sedillo on bass and Luis Balderas on drums, Greene delivered a 17-song, hour and forty-minute set to the extremely enthusiastic Knuckleheads crowd.  The set included seven of the eleven tunes from The New World Blues, starting with the opening instrumental “Back At The Poor House”, followed by the terrific “Lies and Fear”.  But Greene also dug deep, with tunes like “Lucky 13” and “Down To Memphis” from 2017’s Dream Train, and “Love You So Bad”, “Last Train Around The Sun”, and “Trouble At Your Door”, all from the 2014 album Trouble At Your Door.  And just for good measure Greene mixed in exceptionally tasty covers of Albert King, Buddy Moss, and William Clarke, plus a killer cover of Johnny Winter’s “Mean Town Blues”.

Alastair Greene Band

Greene is a superb guitarist, vocalist, and showman.  His interactions with the crowd, including the 45 minutes or so he spent manning the merchandise table before the opening act went on, are inspiring. He addresses everyone by name, shaking hands, taking pictures, and cracking jokes.  He made every person who spent their money to come see him feel like old friends. You don’t see that kind of connection with the crowd every day.  Greene makes it look effortless.

All the more reason for the people of the Denver area to band together to call for Alastair Greene to bring his show back to Denver, sooner rather than later.  How do you do that?  How can you participate? Go to Greene’s website, to the Tour Dates page, at https://agsongs.com/tour-dates.  Scroll to the bottom of the shows list, and you’ll find a Request A Show button.  Click it, and do your thing.

Will it do any good? Does anybody pay attention to those things?  If I requested a show, all by my lonesome, it’s doubtful it would get much traction.  But if all of you join me?  Who knows.  It’s worth a try, and as John Belushi’s Bluto said in Animal House, “It don’t cost nothin’”.

Story and photos by Rick Witt   www.rickwittphotography.com