Searing slide-guitar and howling electrified harp are the hallmarks of Chicago Blues, and Studebaker John is a home-town boy who is taking that tradition into the future. Inspired by Hound Dog Taylor and JB Hutto, John can thrash out a boogie while playing a lead-guitar line on top; he has a light but penetrating voice; he writes great songs, and his tone on the ‘Mississippi Saxophone’ has a spacious feel, reminiscent of ‘Shakey’ Horton.
In the late 80s, John recorded two albums for the Belgian Double Trouble label label and toured widely in Europe, where he found an enthusiastic audience for his hard-edged boogie. In 1991, he joined The Yardbirds and The Pretty Things on Demon Records ‘Wine, Whisky and Women’ and back in The States he signed for Blind Pig and began a series of five excellent albums, capturing the drive and vitality of his live show. In 2001, John’s ‘Howl with the Wolf’, album explored some deep Chicago roots, but instead of playing covers, this self-written album uses some classic themes to voice modern concerns. This has been the trademark of John’s work: traditional Blues forms energised by a contemporary outlook. Several films have used John’s music in their soundtracks, and he continues to tour, and to release an album every couple of years. His latest effort, ‘Kingsville Jukin’, still has his long-time bass player Bob Halaj in the line-up, but the band are billed as The Maxwell Street KIngs. Full of new songs, it keeps one eye on the past, much like Studebaker John.