Bamboo Room Presents Sonny Landreth
Friday, November 1, 2013 at 9:00 PM (EDT)
Lake Worth, FL
Southwest Louisiana-based guitarist, songwriter, and singer Sonny Landreth is a musician's musician. His slide guitar playing is distinctive and unlike anything else you've ever heard.
Most guitarists rest the slide on the strings over the frets to create a quavering, fluid sound. They pluck the strings above the guitar's sound hole. Landreth does that, finger-picking in a Chet Atkins style, but he also plays chords, as he says, on the "wild side" of the slide — up on the neck — creating what John Hiatt calls "ghost notes."
"It makes a more complex sound," says Landreth. "It opens up a lot of colors because you have harmonics and tones on both sides of the glass." But there's more. Landreth has perfected a tremolo using the palm of his hand as a baffle over the sound hole, which he combines with the notes behind the glass. "Kind of an accordion effect," he says. "So you can manipulate the sound with the motion of your palm."
Sonny Landreth was born February 1, 1951, in Canton, Mississippi, and his family lived in Jackson, Mississippi, for a few years before settling in Lafayette, Louisiana. Landreth began playing guitar after a long tenure with the trumpet. His earliest inspiration came from Scotty Moore, the guitarist from Elvis Presley's band, but as time went on, he learned from the recordings of musicians and groups like Chet Atkins and the Ventures.
After his first professional gig with accordionist Clifton Chenier in the '70s, Landreth struck out on his own. After recording two albums for the Blues
Unlimited label out of Crowley, ‘Louisiana, Blues Attack’ in 1981 and ‘Way Down in Louisiana’ in 1985 Landreth was noticed by record executives in Nashville, which in turn led to his recording and touring work with John Hiatt. That led to still more work with John Mayall, who recorded Landreth's radio-ready "Congo Square."
For 35 years, Landreth has mostly been known as a sideman — contributing his distinctive sound to other people's bands and other people's albums. But he's also released twelve CDs of his own and has worked with artists such as Eric Clapton, Robben Ford, Vince Gill, Dr. John, Jimmy Buffet, Mark Knopfler, Allen Toussaint and more.