Dive into the deep end at the 13th Annual Winter Blues Tour Jan. 29 at The Rex

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NEC LOGO GSMThere is no perfect day to hear the blues.  You don’t choose it.  It chooses you.

And when you’re walking down the street and hear good blues coming from the backside of some sleepy hollow, you go in, sit down, and let the blues take you over.  One limb at a time.
Thankfully, you can do just that on Sunday the Jan. 29 at The Rex Theatre on Amherst Street where they’ll be hosting the “New England Winter Blues Festival,” a gathering of country heavy rock blues with some good grind-it-down sound, with a dash of Italian born rhythm and roots. The show starts at 4 p.m.
Nick Moss is on the bill.  Man, he’s groovy personified.  His sound smells of old Chicago and country blues sped up and melted into one great lick.

Another artist on the bill has an interesting story.  And I’ll probably get it wrong.  But, Roberto Morbioli grew up in Italy with a family of musicians.  Somewhere between the bruschetta and stuffed mushrooms, Roberto fully marinated himself in blues music.  First rhythm, then more rooty, traditional blues.  Now, it appears, he does it all.

The Wicked Lo-Down is the “house band” at the fest and will be opening the show with a set of their own.  These cats are steamy!  “We hot,” as they like to sing. Throwing down with heavy harp, glass-sharp guitars riffs, with an urban rush coming at you raw and wide. Wicked Lo-Down are fire.
And headlining the New England Winter Blues Festival is the always working, never not bluesing, Mike Zito.  Zito, from Texas, has been laying the blues down with his rock-infused vibe for a long time now.  He’s an entertainer, well versed in how to bring an audience to their feet.  If Zito can’t heat up your Sunday afternoon, well, better get back in your comfy clothes, because Zito makes you want to dress up and dance.
It’s a Sunday afternoon show, which is actually a great time to dive into some blues.  Kick off with a nice Bloody and bacon and elevate your focus on the music.  Fall back and hear all that sound from the Windy City, down through the jukes in Greenwood, Miss right on up to today.

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Nick Davis and The Wicked Lo-Down

GSM had a back-and-forth with the promoter, Mr. Nick David, lead singer of the Wicked Lo-Down, has been putting on these shows around New England for over a decade.  This one being the final show of this New England wide Blues series.

1.  When you pick the artists to play a great festival like this one, are you committing to a particular style of the blues?  Or are you willing to consider all angles of the blues, from Clarksdale to St. Louis. 

 I am open to all styles of the blues when booking this festival. We have run the gamut over the years from legendary Chicago Blues, Texas Blues, Piedmont Blues, West Coast Blues, Jump Blues, Country Hill Blues, Blues Rock, R&B and more. This year, while it has a distinctly guitar-laden theme, covers a number of different styles.

2.  The Nick Moss Band sounds super groovy.  Great to see them on the bill.   Tell us something about them, please. 

Nick Moss is a modern-day, real-deal blues great. Though he has a style that is his own he has studied all the great blues guitarists.  His pedigree runs deep. He was in the Jimmy Rogers band for heck’s sake. He will be backed by members of The Wicked Lo-Down for this show.

 3.  As a promoter, how do you like putting on a show on a Sunday afternoon?  Personally, I love live music on Sundays.  Slightly different vibe, but it certainly can provide for some extended focus on the music. 

I like putting on a show any day that we can do one successfully. I do like the Sunday shows on these tours as we have already had 3-4 shows by that time and the musicians are well-primed and ready to rock.

4.  Roberto Morbioli from Italy, who is also on the bill, has a very interesting story.  He grew up in Italy, heard his first blues song as a kid, became obsessed with the music  and hasn’t stopped playing it since.  How did you come across Roberto?

Roberto has been coming to the Northeast for the last 15 years or so and has built quite a fan base here. I met him maybe 10-12 years ago when he was on John Guregian’s radio show, Blues Deluxe, on WUML in Lowell. I came down to the station, we hit it off and have been friends ever since.

 5.  Ok, so what can we expect at the New England Winter Blues Festival, beyond the always terrific Mike Zito headlining the show?

Well you can certainly expect Mike Zito to tear the roof off the joint. He is high-energy, hard-rocking Texas Blues and he will not leave you disappointed.

Like Nick Moss and Roberto, Mike will be backed by my wicked band, The Wicked Lo-Down which I formed with Paul Size (from the famed Red Devils) just before the pandemic. We started out getting together and writing music and soon realized we needed to put a band together. We put together a group of a-list musicians. Every one of our first calls said yes when they heard the music.  We recorded an album of all original Texas Blues/Rock-n-Roll/East Coast R&B burners that people are going nuts over. It’s been a real challenge to launch a band in the middle of a pandemic, but we are getting out there more and more and people are starting to take notice.

This is the thirteenth year I have been doing this festival/tour and it sells out everywhere we do it so get your tickets now!

Thank you, Nick.


About this Author

Rob Azevedo

Rob Azevedo is an author, poet, columnist and radio host. He can be reached sitting in his barn at Pembroke City Limits and onemanmanch@gmail.com