Country Blues > Saturday Night Fish Fry

Jerron "Blind Boy" Paxton and Jontavious Willis at City Vinyard New York



I saw and heard a double bill Jontavious Willis and Jerron Paxton. I've known and seen Jerron for years and he just gets better and better, amazing in fact among the most brilliant instrumentalists this music has ever had and a natural comedic performer in the Fats Waller vein. His harmonica solo train piece was a wow, and his Johnny St. Cyr Rag, was just great. Also, I have to put in a plug for his Todd Cambio Fraulini Guitar which sounded absolutely superb.
The big surprise though was Jontavious Willis whose youtube videos give no inkling of what a charming captivating and astute performer and singer he is and what a monster guitar player he's become. Fine singer too. He was Really great. Had the audience eating out of the palm of his hand.
I've been involved in this music sometimes professionally since I was 16 which was back in the Pleistocene Era. I've seen literally thousands of people with guitars singing and playing every possible kind of music. Some of them went on to become megastars, but I have to say that THIS performance, by these two young Men is the only performance I've seen that rates up there with seeing Son House, Lightnin' Hopkins, Gary Davis, Sonny and Brownie, Fred McDowell, Louisiana Red, etc. It felt as if it were establishing an almost historic level of excellence in African American Folk and Blues related performance.
Wow guys! Ya killed me daid!

Thanks for the report; I'm sure I'm not the only one who's feeling very envious! I got to see Jontavious Willis here in Tucson recently, and I totally agree that what's available on YouTube doesn't do him full justice. (Nor, in my opinion, do the recordings he's released so far.) I was there mainly for him, but he was opening for Keb' Mo, and it was fun to see how quickly & completely he won over an audience full of people who had probably never heard of him until just before he took the stage. And of course Jerron Paxton is just incredible.

Weenies within driving distance should note that Paxton and Willis are playing at Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs tonight, and in Pittsburgh on Saturday. I had been hoping to watch the Caffe Lena show via the web, but it seems that Concert Window, which used to stream lots of Caffe Lena events, is now defunct. Maybe the Caffe Lena folks will put something on their YouTube channel.

Todd Brown

I was wondering when these two might team up. I only know them from their online presence but I am a big fan. They are, to my taste, the two best Blues Roots musicians out there. I live in the wrong part of the world, I need to see these artists!
I would also recommend Our Native Daughters. They are four African-
American musicians, women, who teamed up to make "Songs of" from earlier this year. It is a great record from top to bottom. The album cover features the four artists holding their banjos which is a novel, powerful image in 2019.
There are a batch of 20-30 somethings coming up in many of the Roots music disciplines that are astounding talents. I think we're seeing a renaissance in these genres, it's exciting stuff.
Phil did you get a chance to talk to JW or Jerron? JW is becoming a walking encyclopedia of Blues history and culture. I'm sure he'd love to talk to someone who is a student of Rev. Gary


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