Chicago Blues: Al Stone Chicago to Jacksonville by Gatorman

Posted on 12/30/2009 by Gatorman

Al Stone

There are artists and then there is Al Stone. Al is a true blue blues artist. He can hold his own with any top name blues/southern rock artist out there today. He has the stuff plain and simple. I met Al Stone while watching a live stream of a blues jam. Al was in the chat room. When I identified myself as a blues blogger he asked if I could listen to his CD. I said OK. I did not expect much, but man oh man, I was mistaken. I was totally blown away.  Mr. Stone is a Chicagoan who now resides in the land of the gator Florida. I am looking out my window while writing this and Al is one lucky man for it is wintertime in Chicago and the snow is falling down. (song hmmmmm)His Chicago roots are very evident in his music and it also reflects his southern rock location. Al is also a genuinely good natured individual.

How did you come to the music world?

With dreams of a new Cadillac good whiskey and bad women. OK that was just a joke.   Every one from my Mother and my three older sisters play music, and I was the youngest , when I was about 12 years old, my sisters had an all girl band called the Diamond Lenz. They toured the Midwest, and I was there roadie.

If it wasn’t music where would you be?
Well to tell you the truth, I used to work in forge shops like Wyman and Gordon and Commercial stamping and forging in the Chicago land area .

 Do you come from a musical background?

Yes, as I was saying before, and to add to the fact that, every one in my family plays music, my mother played fiddle, mandolin, piano, and guitar like Chet Adkins, and every morning she would wake me by playing Church gospels, and she was also a singer on a live gospel, broadcast radio show in Jacksonville, Fl.,  when she was 19 [ wjax ]
Where did you grow up? Do you miss it?

I was born in Chicago, than moved to a suburb called Markham, but I hung out in the Chicago area, most of my late teens and early twenties , playing music . And I will be back in Chicago soon, planning on doing a couple of shows in March , Cant wait so yes I miss Chicago!!

Where do you call home now?

Chicago, is my Home and always will be in my heart . But I am living in Jacksonville, Fl. At the present time on a piece of land that has been in my family on my mothers side since the old days.

What was your very first paying job, when where?

I think it was at this party down the street from my house, when I was in 8th grade, like 13 years old, we only knew 4 songs. If I remember one of the songs was Tobacco Road .

When did you first start playing?

I started out with Drums at 10, then my sister, Lorren, who played bass Guitar gave me her first bass at 12 . It was a cheaper one that she replaced with a Gibson EB0,  than in one of my earlier bands, we were playing this song, and the guitar player could not get the lead guitar break right so we switched guitars and from than on I played Lead guitar.

Who were some of your early influences?

Justin Pomeroy and Bob Carter, from a  Chicago  band called “ Pop “, Phil Lacafo from  Midlothian Il.  a band called Hartsfield, and Mike Bloomfield, Hubert Sumlin. Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Johnny Winters, my Mother and sisters, Marietta [ Lead and rhythm guitar ] and Lorren [ bass guitar ].

How did you come about your first Guitar?

I shoveled out the dirt and helped build forms to pour a cement side walk at a music store at about 13 years old.
What kind was it/ How about the first amplifier?

My first real six string guitar was a Gibson SG, blue metal flake,   My first amp Wilder 2+2 that was a hand me down from my sisters when the got there duel  showman fenders .

I really love the style of music you play. What genre would you put it in?

Electric Blues

Can you tell me what your current stage set-up is?

I am playing a custom hot rodded  Peavey amp, but it is a temp, till the same guy that did the hot rod work [ Erik Guess ] gets my Train wreak Express Clone done . And a Ibanez AR250 made in 2002 its made like a Les Paul double cut away guitar. No effects straight  into the amp, and a Seymour Duncan Pick up at the bridge.

Who was your favorite artist to play with?

There are two Bob Moseley, and Erik Guess. Bob Moseley, piano player, originally from Alabama, lives here in Fl. Now, Bob did some shows with me. Bob is older now and I am going to record some new songs with him in January.  Erik Guess, even though I play slide Guitar, this Guy Erik is just great .

Who’s in your I-Pod or who are you listening to currently?

I don’t even have an I-pod, but I been getting into the older Guys from the 40’s  50’s  60’s you know Otis Spann, Muddy Waters, Sunny Terry, Brownie McGhee, James Cotton

Who is your favorite guitar player?

I don’t have a Favorite one , but I have a favorite few, Jeff Beck, Johnny Winters, Ry  Cooder, are always in my favorite’s but I change from time to time with some of the new guys.

Do you have a favorite venue?

I love playing blues fests, but there is some thing to be said about the intimacy of a smaller club .  being close to people brings out the deeper emotions of your playing, its like your havin a personal conversation with the people in the room that your playing for.

Is there anything in the works?

Yes, I am recording some new songs to be released  asap, and I am focusing on a tour in the U.K. and South Fl.  I will be At the House of Blues , Orlando . June 26 /27 . Oh and Chicago in March

Where can we get your Cd “I Want It All”? and also I-tunes , there is also a site on Reverb Nation here is the link for that

How do you approach writing songs?

Most of the songs I write,  just kinda pop in my head , its like I see the guitar playing the song and the words are just there all at once, than I have to figure out what I heard and saw in my head .

Do you start with lyrics or music?

I try to write down the lyrics first as they flow from my mind, while all the while I hear the music in music head.

What would be your ultimate place to play?

That question,.. Its like a big menu at a great restaurant, to many choices to answer that one . I Guess it would be a show that was broadcast live, from a popular venue, so the world could view it.

What do you for see in the near future?

Good times, Great people, And music that tells the truth

Do you have any top secret things you’d like to share?

Yes, I Do and it is some thing that, I already know,  some people will not get it, and others will love it, at least I hope. And as a matter of fact when we first met I shared it with you. and  I am sure that, not many people have seen it. Do you Remember that test Video I did on a PC camera and a 70 year old 4 string regal.  Well lets give them that. It will be fun.  After all you said I should let people see it . So lets do it.  Give them the link.

As an artist how do you deal with the business end of the art?

Its all good, just go with it. There are good and bad times for every one.  And in the end if you did what you love and stuck to your Artistic  believes . Than what ever happens, than its ok.

Let’s turn to your CD “I Want It All”. I received your CD in the mail and really did not think much of it until I listened to it. When I popped it in my player I could not stop listening. I literally listened to it 5 times before I took a break. It has to be one of my all time favorite CD’s. It has extremely strong vocals and outstanding guitar work. Very, very soulful and straight from the heart and I believe this could easily be a big hit in 2010. Thanks the journey well be fun Tell me a little bit about how it came about. The title cut “I want It All (’59 Cadillac)” has quite a funky groove. Tell me about it. Gatorman, that is honestly, one of the songs that jumped in my head as I walked past a piece of paper and started writing, there was words and music in about 15 minutes. And another years worth of work to make it play just right .

“Strange” another funky style blues with the wah-wah guitar. Where did it come from?

Strange was written on a stage at a club, here in Jacksonville, Fl.  Where I hosted a jam, the story goes like this. It was early after noon the doors of the club were not open yet and I had my band on the stage for a quick rehearsal, I said  got a new riff for the jam tonight, so we jammed it , I told the band the changes, than we took a break, and I drank beer and scratched out the words on a napkin.

“The captain” is as poignant as the opening line ”Like a knife driven suddenly through a strong cold heart of a winter’s night”. I am at a loss for words to describe this one. It is simply powerful and well done. Where did the idea come from for this song?

It Came to me as I walked on the ocean beach in Jacksonville, Fl.

I leave the idea of what it means up to the listener , for that is the magic in that song .

“She’s Gone” is a great lumpty lump romp into the rocking side of blues. “Blind Dog” is my favorite on the whole CD. What a great groove. Where did the song come from?

Blind Dog was inspired By Johnny Winter, I just love that Blues he plays like  “ Going Back to Dallas “ and its about this mean dog that a girl friend had, and the dog didn’t like any one. So the first time I went to her house there I was walking up on a mean Dog that I didn’t Know and the dog just sat on my foot and liked me. The dog followed me every where till it got old .

“Pontiac Four Door” is quite humorous. Was that your intent?

No it’s a true store, and that is why its so funny. And as you know good blues is all about making real live hard times into stories that makes  fun of being alive .

“Drunk Again” great southern blues rock song. Is it based on real life?

Well , I am quit sure some one is living that life, but it reminds me of a few people I knew in my own life.

“Old #9” Another great down home delta blues influenced song. Lumpty lump at it’s soul.
“12 Personalities” Is it based on life experience? 

Well  has to do with the way I  saw  an old girl from back than.

“ Don’t Try To Change Me” What a rocker. Was that your intent or did it just happen?

Well it was what I said to the girl that didn’t want me to play music. I told her don’t try and change me !!  So I guess it got an in your face kinda sound .  it’s the old Blues had a baby and they called it Rock and Roll thing [ Muddy Waters }  

Thank you Al for the interview. Gatorman
Copyright 2009 Terrance B. Lape
Gatorman its my pleasure and Thank You
Al Stone 2009
 More Al Stone Links
You have got to see this video.
Al emailed me with this about the video.


  The Regal guitar played in the video is made for a banjo player to play when he is not looking for a banjo sound, but wants to play a guitar sound . It is 1930 's and was only made for a few years. It is a four string tenor Guitar style with a banjo shape neck.  In this video it only has three of the strings on it and they have been on the guitar since I was little about 45 years or possible more. ,  They are tuned  to strings 4,5,6 of a guitar in E tuning , the song was made up on the spot, to test my web cam, and what you are seeing is the first time it was played. Making up the words as I went along.  Song Title " Walkin Cane " has since turned into one of my completed new original songs I perform live at my shows, Starting with the first verse  just me and a Dobro and the band kickin in on the second versus, and me kickin in on an Electric Guitar,   with versus and solo breaks . inspiration comes when it comes !

well that is about it

Al Stone

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