Sean Chambers... bringing the music to the people.
Sean Chambers Review by Deborah Bostock-Kelley
To be completely transparent, I didn’t think I liked blues music and had no idea what to expect at Skipper’s Smokehouse Saturday night. With an uncommon chill in the air, I discovered just how wrong I was. Blues is as sexy as hell. From the first blistering note, blues vocalist/songwriter/guitar legend Sean Chambers and bandmates, Todd Cook – Bass, Scott Phillips – Drums, and Rick Curran – Keyboards, returned to Sean’s hometown to have the audience eating out of their hands.
A rare mix of millennials (a bus full of USF’s Beta Theta Pi fraternity members), silver ponytailed hippie Boomers, The Silent Generation, GenXers, and even a young mom and dad pirouetted their kindergartener in the space in front of the stage, introducing the next generation of fan to the magic of Sean Chambers band. All around, enthusiasts of all ages were jamming in their seats, bopping their heads, tapping their toes, and experiencing this high-intensity blues and rock and roll in three sets. Occasional unaccompanied riffs instantly showed why the gravel-voiced Sean was nominated for “Best Blues Rock Album” of 2019 by Blues Blast Magazine.
Skipper’s Smokehouse is a great concert venue, especially with no pungent cigarette smoke wafting through the air, I could fully enjoy the exceptional performance and the energy coming off the stage was infectious. Fans were invited to sing along, and the band fed off of the crowd’s appreciation. My favorite cover was T-Bone Walker’s “All Night Long,” and the original songs from Sean’s albums were “Cry On Me” that brought audience members to the dance floor, the silky “Trouble & Whiskey,” and the earworm “Going Down.”
Down… Down… Down…Down…Down… I’m still singing this, this morning. For someone who didn’t think she had any kind of appreciation for the blues, I now have “Trouble & Whiskey” and “Welcome to My Blues” as part of my eclectic favorites on Spotify inspired by this electrifying concert.
To learn more about musician Sean Chambers, visit www.seanchambers.com.
Q&A Interview with Sean Chambers By Deborah Bostock-Kelley
How did you get introduced to the blues world? I got introduced to the blues world when I had the opportunity to play guitar for the great Hubert Sumlin back in 1998. Hubert was Howlin Wolf's guitar player for 25 years. He also played with Muddy Waters, and the list goes on. He not only took me around the world, but he taught me a lot about the blues, and how to give your all to the people and still stay humble. He was a great guy. We played together for almost four years.
When did you know that playing blues was what you wanted to do with your life? I think from a pretty young age, about 10 or 11 years old. However, when I first heard Jimi Hendrix play "red house," I think that was the moment I really knew this is the type of guitar I loved, and it inspired me to want to play blues. From there, I discovered a lot of the texas guys, like Albert Collins, Johnny Winter, Freddy King, SRV, Billy Gibbons, etc. Then I discovered their early influences, like B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Howlin Wolf, Muddy, Lightin' Hopkins, and again the list goes on.
What does the blues mean to you?
It means the opportunity to put music out there, and do shows and possibly help people forget about their everyday problems, even if it's only for a couple of hours. When I had the chance to play with Hubert, he and I promised to keep this thing going as long as we could. Unfortunately, he passed away several years ago, but I still remember and work every day to keep that promise.
What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?
I would tell a 15-year-old to have fun with it, and if you want to take it further, go for it! But, an old friend told me that there is no shame in working for your goal. In other words, there is no shame in holding a job, going to school, etc. So that way you can afford to fund your dream. A lot of guys just want to get out there and play right away for a living, but it is a building process like anything else. First, you have to build your fan base.
What has been the hardest obstacle for you to overcome as an artist, and has this helped you become a better blues musician? Probably the hardest obstacle has been finding good agents across the U.S., Europe, and Canada, touring enough, and staying busy with it all in general. It is a tough business, so we always have to have our wheels turning, whether it's doing a new album, touring, writing new material, or whatever. I think, at least, I hope this has made me a better blues musician.
What have been the highlights in your career so far? The highlight is most definitely having had the opportunity to play guitar and be the bandleader for Hubert Sumlin, as well as close friends. Like I said before, he was one of the greats, and I was lucky to play with him and for him. I look back at that as somewhat of my college education in the blues.
Who is your favorite band?
My favorite band is probably Jimi Hendrix.
What were some of the significant influences in your music, or what performers did you listen to when you were getting started? Have they changed to who you listen to now? I would say the major influences were all the Texas and Chicago blues guys. Also, the older blues guys like Son House and Bukka White, Lightin' Hopkins, etc. I listen to some new stuff now, but I always still love listening to the old stuff.
What are the ingredients to make a good concert? The ingredients for a good show is crowd interaction, good songs, good sound, and having a good time with the people!
What do you want your personal and professional legacy to be? My legacy would be my albums, and the persistent touring across the globe and bringing the music to the people.