Carvin Jones Band is bringing the ultimate guitar experience to Club Soda this Thursday. If you don’t know Carvin Jones yet, you surely will. He’s been named one of the top 50 blues guitarists in the world. Carvin Jones will not be along on stage alone as he rounds out his trio with Mario Ciancarella on bass and Levi Velasquez on drums. I had a chance to talk with Carvin Jones himself on the phone during his stop in Edmonton.
Ron : Good afternoon, Carvin. How are you doing out there in Edmonton?
Carvin : Fantastic. Thank you, brother.
Ron : I’ve been listening to some of your music and really enjoying it. So now I’m looking forward to your show. I know it’s your first time playing Montreal. So please tell us, who is Carvin Jones?
Carvin : Carvin Jones is a band that’s performed all over the world with a pretty good career so far and having fans from all over the world. I’m very excited to come to Montreal for the first time. I’m really looking forward to this.
Ron : Looking back to your early years was there a specific song or artist that made you want to pick a guitar and learn to play? Carvin : B.B. King! I saw B.B.King on television and my grandfather had every known record by B.B. King. If anybody knows anything about B.B. King they’ll know the man had a large catalogue of albums to choose from, you know? My grandfather would listen to B.B. around the house like 24 hours a day. I saw B.B. King perform on television as a child and I was like “Wow! Man I got to do that!” (laughing).
Ron : So where did you get your first guitar from?
Carvin : I got my first guitar when I was like seven or eight years old from a music shop where I grew up in Lexington, Texas. Growing up I was a good kid, I never got into trouble or nothing, so my grandmother bought it for me and I was a happy guy.
Ron : You were a good kid who learned how to play bad.
Carvin : (laughing) Absolutely, brother, absolutely.
Ron : Since then until now I’m sure you have a lot of guitars. Is there a favourite guitar that you love to play most?
Carvin : Oh yeah. A 62’ Fender Stratocaster.
Ron : So you decided to go into music. How did you get your career going?
Carvin : I just started playing. I went out to Arizona and would play everywhere and anywhere in the clubs. I just played, played and played anywhere I could. That was back around… 1991.
Ron : So when did your first album come out?
Carvin : First album… came out in ’93, Hot as Hell. I got to play almost every night. That’s what every artist would want to do, play live every night. So then I started to put out a bunch of live recordings. Even now days we might perform 300 shows a year.
Let me say this I can do 300 or so shows a year because I have never drank or smoked in my life. This way I have a lot of energy, brother.
Ron : Let’s talk about your most recent album, What a Good Day.
Carvin : Oh yes! Well when we people come to the shows and hear the songs from the album well, y’know that’s what it is. It makes for a very good day. It makes for a very good night also.
Ron : Do you have any favourite songs you like to perform live?
Carvin : Oh yeah, for sure. I really love to perform What a Good Day because it’s high energy and really gets the crowd on their feet. Plus it’s filled with really ferocious guitar licks. Let’s see..uh.. I really like to perform Two Long Years. It’s a really soulful blues song where I can build up the vocals how I want.
Something else I really like to perform is Jimi Hendrix Purple Haze. I don’t do too many covers in my show, but when I do I like to do Purple Haze or Hey Joe. The stuff that I learned as a kid coming up. That’s what I like to perform now.
Ron : Since we’ve been talking about your live show I was curious what is some of the best live shows you’ve ever seen?
Carvin : Hey man, I’ve been really blessed because back in the day I got to open for B.B. King, Buddy Guy, and even Albert Collins. These are some of the best live shows I’ve ever seen in my life. It was like “Wow man! This really is some good stuff.”
Ron : Those are some real legends. As you know, Carvin guys like Buddy Guy and Eric Clapton have spoken highly of you. When you hear that as an artist how does it make you feel?
Carvin : Oh man these are some of the guys I grew up listening to like Eric Clapton, Cream, Buddy Guy and to hear them say “I’m fantastic”, well it just doesn’t get any better than that. Wouldn’t you agree?
Ron : Absolutely. That’s why I’m wondering how you feel.
Carvin : Oh man I get goosebumps butterflies you name it. I can’t believe these people know who I am, have watched me play, and to give me praise it’s really an unbelievable feeling.
Ron : Is there anyone you are listening to these days that you really like?
Carvin : No, not really. I am so concentrated on what I’m doing I don’t really get a chance. I am so focused and locked in on what we are doing because we’re playing so many live shows.
When I do get a chance to sit down and listen to something it’s like John Coltrane or Wes Montgomery or something like that.
Oh, and just before a show I’ll get out my ipod and play some 50 Cent to get me going and pumped up.
Ron : Since this stop in Montreal is your first time here and the last on your Canadian dates, is there anything extra special you’re going to do?
Carvin : Oh yes! You know the people of Montreal are going to get a blues rock show unlike anything they’ve seen in their life. I can guarantee you that. I’m not saying I’m better than anyone else or anything like that. I’m just saying they’ll never see a show like this on June 21st, Club Soda, Montreal! They will leave there very happy. We’re gonna jam out.
Ron : I look forward to being blown away by your show.
Carvin : Oh absolutely, brother. I look forward to seeing you and all of Montreal there.
Make sure to catch Carvin Jones Band this Thursday June 21st at Club Soda.