Nelson, who will play Saturday in Delafield, was
mentored by Johnny Winter.
- When Paul Nelson arrives Saturday at the Waukesha
BluesFest in Delafield, he’ll bring the Paul Nelson
also bring late rock and blues legend Johnny Winter’s
influence, which is huge.
with that imprint comes a large blues lexicon.
was not only a blues icon monster, but he was also a
blues historian,” Nelson said in an interview. “He
knew everything there was about the blues.”
the world of guitar players, Nelson said you can tell a
musician’s influences based on the tone of his guitar.
While most guitar players will sound like two or three
guitarists, Nelson said the blues icon’s tone was a
combination of 10 guitar players.
multi-Grammy nominated artist and premier guitarist
himself, Nelson was guitarist and producer to Winter for
more than 10 years. He produced and played on several of
Winter’s albums, including the Grammy-nominated
“I’m a Blues Man, Roots” and “Step Back,”
which won a Grammy Award for Best Blues Album.
begun his musical journey at the age of 9, Nelson would
make his way to Berklee College of Music where he was
taught by heavy rock and metal virtuosi Steve Vai and
his career, Nelson has worked with musicians from Eric
Clapton to members of the Allman Brothers Band. While
Nelson admires several musicians, his favorite guitarist
is still Texas-born Winter.
Winter, Nelson said he learned to respect traditional
blues and that less is more. For Nelson, losing Winter
was heavy because he was a father and a mentor.
remember getting my first tattoo and having Johnny
looking it over for approval,” Nelson said.
began composing the band’s newest album “Bad Ass
Generation” about six or seven months after Winter
passed away in 2014 in ZŸrich, Switzerland.
was just pouring out of me,” Nelson said. “But in
the blues world you pass the torch, so I can’t stop
name of the album foreshadows the kind of classic and
Southern rock grittiness that you would expect from
rockers born in the 1960s and ‘70s.
on the album feature emotional melodies and soulful
guitar work defined by Nelson’s thick guitar tone and
endless licks mastered over decades of playing.
album’s title came about when another guitar player in
the studio overheard a few tunes.
we’re in the studio and I’m playing back the tracks,
and some guy walks in with a guitar and says, ‘Oh,
that’s badass,’” Nelson said.
Nelson found was that this experience reminded him that
people continue to appreciate the sounds of the ‘70s.
With that in mind, Nelson said that the album is a tip
of the hat to ‘70s production while maintaining a